We lived at 1412 Main St (Whitley Ave.) in Corcoran, California. The name of the street was actually Whitley Ave, but, all the locals referred to it as Main St.
The reason I mention this is simply for the sake of those not knowing the area, looking for it on the map, and disbelieving the story.
The story I relate here is true. It actually happened. And I have chill bumps running up and down my spine as I write. I've often considered the experience and am prone to different opines each time, all according to whatever frame of mind or scripture I could relate it to at the time.
The bottom line is this; for all I know, it was a physical manifestation of a demon.
I was quite involved with our local United Pentecostal Church at the time, but still feared ghostes (more than one - as my Dad would say it), ill spirits . . . whatever you want to call it, (them). Let me get to the story and leave the rambling for another time.
We lived directly across the street from the Optometrist, Dentist and a Drs. offices, which were all in one building. The building sat perpendicular to the street. It was on a very skinny lot, and the lot next to it was quite wide, but nothing more than a huge grassy area.
Next to that, on the corner, was an old house with a large front porch running the full width of the house. It was a large house, single story, with the porch the entire width running parallel to the street.
The house sat on a lot which ran lengthways to the side street all the way to the alley which was half a block. The entire back, side yard, and a large part of the front yard was extremely overgrown with small saplings, large hedges, large bushes . . . it looked like a jungle in there.
Us kids always thought of it as being haunted, and Dad didn't seem to object to our description. All I know, is that we stayed clear of the house, especially at night.
Well, on this particular night, I was so bored I jumped on my bike, rode west to the corner, turned south across Main St, then turned back east toward the Drs. offices. I rode my bike down the side of the buildings on the sidewalk a couple of times.
On the last turn, I was headed back toward Main St when something caught my peripheral vision. I glanced around, looking toward the haunted house when through the bushes where no one was able to get through came this figure.
I didn't wait around, I just stood up on the pedals and started pedaling for all I was worth. It couldn't have been more than 100' to the sidewalk on the street, and that thing was at least a couple of hundred feet away, plus, I was on a bike and pedaling hard!
Now I rode the bike all the time, and I was good! I made a slide, skidding the back wheel of the tire to the left so I could turn in the direction going away from whatever it was coming at me.
I wanted to get out there and to some light FAST! When I finished my turn and was up vertical again, and again, pedaling with everything I had in me, the thing was right beside me.
I turned my head just enough to look at it, and I still feel the chills that went up my spine that night. With me standing up on the pedals of the bike, and I was 6'1" in height, I was right at eye level.
The eyes were blazing, read coals of fire, the mouth drawn up in a devilish mocking grin. It carried a very long lance, and easily paced me as I was hurtling down the sidewalk at breakneck speed.
I was leaving the safety of my house across the street behind, but I wanted light! And town, where all the lights of the businesses were, was only another block.
That thing was right next to me for over a block, and never tried to hurt me although it could have at any time it chose. All I know is that is scared me so bad I nearly hurt myself!
I went tearing on down into town where the biggest part of the businesses were. Under the mezzanine of the theater, into well lighted places. As I approached the lighted areas, the thing just disappeared out of sight, slowly fading into nothingness in the bright light.
But I was still very scared, shaking uncontrollably, almost in tears. I didn't know what it was, what it wanted, where it was or if it was coming back.
I proceeded a few more blocks through town, then crossed the street and headed back toward home. Caddy corner from the theater was the Jolly Kone, which sat across the alley from the city park.
Running caddy corner through the park was a foot worn and crooke trail which meandered along gracefully through the park. It was lined by tall park lights which were not too bright, and being quite tall, were little more than decoration as they afforded little light.
Since I wanted to stay away from that thing, I went past the Jolly Kone and intended to go up the alley which ran right past the back of our house. I did not intend to go through the park as it would take me further from my house, but there was LIGHT!
Although it was quite dark in the alley, suddenly, right beside me, standing between me and the direction I needed to go to get home, was that thing again. So, I took off in the direction of the only light around; across the park, corner to corner on the little path that meandered peacefully along.
Only tonight, there was no peace between me and that thing, and the peace along the little path was torn up. It wasn't being traveled peacefully that night! I was doing at least a hundred . . . (well, it seemed like it. The lights posts were going by like a picket fence . . .).
But still the thing ran quite casually and even gracefully along, easily staying within reach of me. It was so close I could feel prickles on my skin, as if static electricity was passing from it to me.
It made no sound whatsoever, but, out of my peripheral vision, it never was out of being close enough to reach out and slap me off the bike.
When I busted out of the corner of the park onto the street, I was a block north of my house. I pedaled like a mad man one block west, then turned back south on the same road that lead back down past the house.
I slid around the corner of the alley, went the half block to my house, and pedaled furiously right up to the large concrete steps leading up to the back door.
When I leapt off the bike, I had to pull the door out to open it, and when I rushed past it, I looked around, but the thing was gone. I rushed through the back bedroom where Joey and I slept (which was little more than the back porch boxed in), through the kitchen, and on into the house.
Mom knew something was up because I was white as a sheet, and could not sit down. I was completely winded, taking huge gulps of air trying to catch my breath. Even after I slowed down breathing, I still was so antsy I just could not sit.
Mom and Dad were incredulous at my story, and looked at each other to secretly glean what the other was thinking. Finally, I grabbed me some clean clothes and headed for the restroom for a bath. I fully expected that thing to appear in the house with me, and I was still extremely scared.
I have never seen the thing again, but have thought about it thousands of times. I've even written about it numerous times, and people have read it with varying degrees of believability. But, I don't care! I know what I saw, and what happened that night. I do know this: I sure stayed clear of that place ever since.
Recently, while on a trip home from Turlock, California with my sister, Betty Sue and her husband, Roger Black, we came the back way home, down 43 highway.
We ambled around Corcoran a bit, visiting all the places where we lived as we were growing up. We actually lived in two of the work camps, not unlike those described in the Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck.
On the way out of town we drove by our house on Whitley Ave, both front and back. I paid special attention to the 'haunted' house across the street, and all the jungle has been removed. The house has been restored and looks quite nice. But, I can guarantee you this: You could not give me that house, nor pay me enough money to live there!!
The whole scene is so entranced in my psyche that I'll never be able to forget it, even though it happened in 1965, the year before I went into high school. That was 53 years ago, and I can remember it like it was yesterday, and I still get the same chills I got that night.
What was it? I wish I knew. Would I want to go through that experience again? Not on your life. But, now, I would stand my ground and rebuke the thing in the all powerful name of Jesus!!! You know why? Cuz I'm too old to run, too fragile to fight, my .45 wouldn't hurt it and I can't pedal that fast no more!!