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"The Preacher"
Marylin Williams

As near as residents can determine, the sightings began in the late 1940’s, when a preacher, his wife, and two small children were coming home late from a church function on a cold rainy night. Their car broke down on a remote narrow two-lane overpass, not equipped an emergency lane, so he was forced to leave his car sitting in the southbound lane. Since the area was isolated, he thought it was best for he and his family to remain in the car out of the storm until help arrived. Finally after several hours, the preacher saw lights approaching from behind. At first he was grateful, but he quickly became concerned when he realized the car had not decreased its speed and was coming up the small hill too fast. The alarmed reverend leaped from his car and started towards the rear of the vehicle, futilely waving his arms to warn the oncoming car of the impending disaster. Visibility was poor because of the deluge, and the unsuspecting preacher didn’t have a chance. Unable to stop on the rain-slicked streets, the car crashed into him, hurling him over the trunk and overpass guardrail and continued, careening into the preacher’s car. All lives were lost when both vehicles catapulted over the guardrail and onto the road below. The only evidence of the accident that remained on the overpass was vestiges of shattered glass and twisted metal, and a man’s black hat.

A few years later, another motorist became stranded on the same isolated section of road late on a rainy night. The driver claimed he scanned the area for lights from nearby farms, and when he didn’t see any signs of homes, he, too, sat in his car out of the driving rain and waited for help.

Afterwards he told friends that he must have dozed but was startled awake by his car moving. In the rearview mirror, the stranded motorist saw a man dressed in black and felt the plodding steps as the black clad figure pushed the car forward one laborious step at a time up the incline, as the rain streamed from the his hat and down onto his shoulders. The grateful driver stayed in his car and steered it up the overpass until gravity pulled it down. Once the car was safely parked on the shoulder, the driver got out of his car and ran back to thank the mysterious Good Samaritan, but when he got to the top of the slope no one was there, and the only sign of the phantom assistant he found was a man’s sopping wet black hat.

As the area grew, the sightings increased, and many people claimed to see a solitary man, dressed all in black walking on the lonely, seldom traveled road. Several eyewitnesses reported that the man waved at them frantically as they approached the southbound incline. While others purported they heard heart-wrenching wailing on cold rainy nights. Never-the-less every driver remembers the halting, ponderous steps as a tall, gaunt man dressed in black inched the vehicle forward. However, most residents prefer to avoid the area late at night whenever possible because everyone knows the preacher continues his wretched wandering and in his wake he always leaves a grim reminder of that fateful night-a black wet hat.


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