Wow wow WOW!
What an incredible weekend. I couldn't have guessed it would go so well, considering how badly people who've gone on "pilgrimages" to Duck Falls have said the locals treated them. I completely understand exactly what they went through that day and since. The town was a media circus for weeks after the disaster. Months later and they're still combing over forensic evidence. I saw at least one or two CSI vans over the weekend. And I spoke to so many wonderful people who are hurting deeply from what happened that day. This didn't just happen at Ghostland—this was in their community. Their friends and relatives worked there. Died there. I got a few more interviews for the Survivor Interviews section (even though these weren't technically from people who had been at the park). I promised them I would treat their stories respectfully and not editorialize, which they seemed to appreciate.
Oh, and you may have noticed I shut down my Twitter account. I got bombarded with so much online harassment over the weekend because of that Garrotegate post that I think I'm done with social media for good. I love to interact with all of you who've supported me but it's just not worth it to be constantly told I'm a piece of human garbage and all kinds of other slurs on an hourly basis. As an empathic person it's very difficult for me to deal with. It's almost like people are reaching through my phone and slapping me in the face.
Anyway, the wonderful people of Duck Falls were a font of information. But here's the thing: they just want people to leave them alone. And I completely understand that. They just want to get on with their lives but people keep dredging it back up. Like the people of Sandy Hook.
I wish I could convince people who want to travel there to please reconsider. But I just know it's likely going to get worse with time. Maybe eventually Duck Falls will embrace their infamy a little, like Salem, Mass. Or Roswell. But right now they're still healing. And I think that healing will take a fair amount of time.
I really shouldn't say so, because I don't want to encourage people going out there, but there are a few in town who think the park is still haunted. Some even think the spirits have spilled out of Ghostland and are haunting the town itself. They've apparently had a lot more power outages than they used to. But that could just be a coincidence.
Anyway, like I said I've added some of these interviews to the Survivor Interviews page but here's a few "sound bites" for you:
Resident 1: I seen colored lights in the sky above that place a couple days after what happened. I didn't report it or nothin 'cause I didn't want folks thinkin' I was talkin' about aliens. Burt Bucklebee used to say he seen aliens hoverin' over his field at night but I can't say I ever seen nothin' like that before what happened, an' I been livin' here since I was yay-high. But like I says, I seen 'em. I dunno what they was but they was there plain as day even though it was night like I said.
Resident 2: I was outside the day it happened. I remember you actually, you were there with a Hispanic-looking woman I think, isn't that right? … Well, I stayed there the whole time. I was supposed to meet my husband in there during lunch. But I was there when it all started, way at the back of the line so I could see over the top of the wall. It's the strangest thing, but I'd swear on a stack of bibles I half a dozen people shooting straight up into the air like something was lifting them up and then they just dropped out of sight—zip, zip, zip, one after another. My husband was one of the survivors, thank God. He won't talk about it though. He didn't talk much to begin with so nothing's changed there.
Resident 3: You never think tragedies like this will happen to you. It's always something that happens to someone else, somewhere else. I've lived here for almost twenty years. It's a nice town. Peaceful. Quaint. But it's tainted now. We're thinking about moving somewhere else, but who would buy our house? It'd be like moving next door to Chernobyl. And now our wiring's on the fritz—we just upgraded from knob and tube two years back.
Resident 4: That plot of land was cursed long before they put that park there. Burt Bucklebee knew it. You think it's a coincidence he had a heart attack the same exact day he was packing up to move out to Florida? Then there was that kid, too, and the old lady at the Cripple Castle [note: this is apparently what some residents call the seniors home]. Heart attack, same day. Splat. So you can argue all you want about that park and who's to blame but that land was cursed from the start. The Native Americans knew it. Burt knew it. What they should do is demolish the whole damn place and salt the earth where it stood.
So yeah, I got some really good interviews as you can see. The rest are available on the Duck Falls Residents page under Interviews.
More later this week, hopefully. I'm exhausted! But I haven't been this excited in a long time!
A phone call woke me up in the middle of the night on Sunday. Unknown caller. Nobody there when I answered, just silence. I've gotten six calls just like that since, always in the middle of the night, two others on Sunday, three more last night. I blocked the number but another one just takes its place. It's not telemarketers, that's for sure. I feel like it's a concerted effort of harassment.
Why always in the middle of the night? And how did they get my number?
I don't want to assume Hedgewood is behind the calls, but the other day on the news one of their PR guys mentioned my blog—which actually caused an uptick in hits, hello to all my new readers!—so it's obvious they know about me and they're not pleased with what I've been doing. But the calls did start the night I came back from Duck Falls. Maybe it's someone I talked to there? I did give out my number to a fair few people. Could I have upset someone?
Oh, by the way, I was so excited to share some of my interviews I forgot the most important part. I went back to Ghostland. It's wrapped in so much police tape you could gift it on Christmas, so I wasn't able to get beyond the parking lot. But I saw those towers and gables and amusement park rides over the top of the wall. I was there. I didn't chicken out. I was terrified, shaking from my head to my toes just like I did that Halloween when I was a little girl, but I did it.
And you know what? It wasn't that bad.
It was cold and the wind was whipping my hair in my face, tinged with the sweet smell of hay and sour animal poop from a nearby farm. But I stood there for, oh it must have been five or ten minutes, waiting for something to happen. Like when we stood there waiting for the door of the house on Tracey Street to open. And just like back then, nothing happened. I walked back to my car, feeling pretty good about myself. I'd faced my demons, looked them right in the eyes, and I survived.
A horrible thing happened there. We can't deny that or forget it. But we can heal. I feel I have. I hope I've brought some peace and clarity to those of you following my journey as well.