My father and mother have always been superstitious folk, iron horseshoe above the doors, putting iron nails in the fence posts, even hanging garlic on the doors when they'd hear someone in the nearby town had passed away. They feared everything from ghosts to vampires to werewolves, and especially fairies. Which growing up on the farm was a bit of an embarassment as I rode to school on a School Bus. Yes, this wasn't some tiny farm in the middle ages nestled away from the town just waiting for a horror movie to happen. It was the 1960's, in Indiana in the United States. The house was nothing special, but my father did own a descent number of corn fields, a silo, some barns, and several farm hands who would come out and help come planting and harvesting. He even knew the truckers by name who regularly hauled away the corn yields.
This being a descent sized stretch of land, including a field across the road that stretched for a few dozen acres; it was a surprise when my father started to sell off to the city a few lots here and there for new houses. The market wasn't right for corn some years, and I recall his being upset when he had to switch over a whole field from market corn to feed corn, and grow soybeans every other year to keep the farm afloat. There was even talk of switching to raising chickens. Now my father was not just a superstitious man, but a stubborn one and he said he had a secret weapon in times of need. For all the old stories he used to tell about his grandfather, my great grandfather, who moved to America from Ireland there was one I hadn't heard till that day. That my greatgrandfather had moved to America not just because he was seeking new oppertunities and ended up marrying into a faming family thanks to his impressive farming skills...as my father put it in his stories; passed down by two generations self indulgence I'd say. The story he told however was that my great grandfather stole from his family some secret to prosperious farming, an amulet...as cliche as this sounds this is Ireland we are talking about and a pretty old family, so some bauble they'd hang outside on a tree or bury in a field thinking it would bring good luck wasn't as unheard of as one might think. However this one was a tad unusual, in that he never unwrapped whatever it was from a tied up really old leather sack it was. It wasn't too small either and by the shape I was afraid the thing was like a dried out pig's heart...or worse.
My mother was none too pleased but she never spoke up to my father. I disliked that, so old fashion. Although I am thinking the farm was in worse than I thought as this all felt..a tad...too black magic for my usually superstitious father. That is, he set up two poles in the yard and made a scarecrow out of it, putting the leather sack inside the chest of the scarecrow; yes, the sickening feeling it was a dried out heart came back. The Scarecrow was nothing special, old hat, burlap sack full straw for a head, old jacket and pants for arms and legs stuffed full of straw as well of course. Thing is my father never had a scarecrow out there before, and never let us make one for Thanksgiving or Halloween, not that Halloween was that big a thing for teenagers at the time other than mischief night and I didn't live close enough to town to really do any of that; and trick or treating wasn't really a thing yet at the time.
My father also put in iron posts around the back gate, iron posts under every first floor window and had three iron horse shoes above the front and back door respectively. I am convinced we had to be in real trouble with the bank or something as for him this had to be an extreme measure. He made a rule, all windows facing the back field where the scarecrow was were to be shut tight at night, locked, with an iron bar sitting on the window sill, and on moonlit nights we were to never look out those windows. It sounded dumb I know, and I was just indulging a desperate superstitious man.
However one night as the moon was illuminating the field I glimpsed movement in the field through the curtains as whatever was out there was really reflecting the moonlight. I thought perhaps someone either as a prank or maybe one of the farm hands who had been talking as my father had no doubt talked about the scarecrow to them too; like maybe "don't touch it, its cursed" or something of that nature knowing my father and what they'd expect; was out there thinking something valuable like a historic jewel covered relic was inside it. I don't want to accuse my mother of talking but that was also a possibility. Both thoughts however quickly left me as I peered out to the field. There was a person way out by the scarecrow, wearing either a white dress or some gossimar reflecting the moonlight giving it a fainy blue or violet glow. It was one of those thin material ankle leaf upside down umbrella looking dresses, although it was so far away I couldn't make out any feet as they spun around. The were wearing all white or that same gossimar material but didn't look right, like their waist was too long, their torso too small and rounded on their waist like someone had just stuffed a shirt and tied it tight. Her neck was long and skinny, much too long for a person's neck, and her head was oversized and oval, think Grey Aliens, but that too wasn't really a thing for a few more years (yes I know I heard there were older depictions of those but I didn't know about them); I digress; its head was stark white and no hair, instead looked to be wearing a long wedding veil trailing off its head. It was far enough out that I couldn't make out much more detail; other than the arms seemed longer and thinner than they should be for a person. However as it spun around the scarecrow I did noticed one other feature that yes, fits with the Grey aliens, giant black eyes. I watched it for just a few moments until it slowed down and tried to touch the scarecrow, but it stopped, and judging by the hand in front of the scarecrow, each of its fingers would be as long as my forearm and come to sharp points.
I watched this thing for a few moments, it looked like it was trying to dance with the scarecrow, which thankfully never moved; I am sure my shock would have turned to terror right then and screamed had it done so. It stopped and turned, I don't know if it saw me peeking through the curtain but it slowly glided towards the house. I ran to my bed, yes, its not like I had any other options and prayed that my father's superstitions were enough to keep that thing out there away from the house. I didn't look out there again and eventually fell asleep.
It wasn't there the next night, or the night after; and for a month things were uneventful. But a month to the day almost, I woke up from a dream swearing I heard a woman's voice whispering in my ear saying, "Wake up and watch me dance."
I went to my window and peeked out, it was there again, this time however there was a goat chained to the post with the scarecrow, I recognized the goat as the type belonging to a neighbor down the street. My father had gone to visit him that day, but he would have had to have snuck this goat and hid it somewhere. Of course the barn was most likely. I wander if my mother knew he did this. I didn't ask, never have, as I saw this dancing thing stop her dance and stab the goat clean through with her hand, like stabbing something with a fork and lifted it up like a meatball. Its oversized head opened up and looked to be lined like a beartrap; or like a cartoon character thinking of something evil and it popped the whole goat inside. Even from a distance I could see its compact torso and long thin waist expand to accomodate the goat. It wasn't like a gut, more like it had been dropped inside a wind sock with no spine sitting ontop a stopper, in other words as expanded in the back and sides as the front, just a stretching tube. It looked to suck the blood from its long pointed fingers and then wrape those fingers around its body and press inward. I wish I couldn't hear it, but there were these horrific popping and cracking sound echoing like gun shots over the hills; when it was done its waist was thin again, and it turned towards the house and began to glide down the hill; and again I ran from the curtain and forced myself asleep praying it was only a dream.
Another month went by, the corn was now getting about waist high, the bottom of the scare crow was almost invisible; and this time I caught my father, he tried to hide it, but the animal he had in the barn was a noisy one. I didn't dare approach my father and knowing what he had in mind for a dog, a golden retriever at that; I couldn't stand it but I had no choice. It was barking out there, at dinner no one said a word. I am sure my mother knew, and my father had to know we knew that dog wouldn't be there the next day. I didn't acknowledge it but reminded us to keep the curtains closed and keep the iron bars on the sills, and that we could stop when the first snow fell. That night I watched through the curtain as my father tied that dog out there. If I had my own car, if...so many ifs, I might have tried to save that dog; or so I tell myself. If I am being truthful I'd have been too scared to, between my father and that thing in the field I'd have been too scared of his anger and that thing's hunger; which I knew had something to do with the amulet in the scarecrow; obviously, and my father was sacrificing animals to it; but why a fucking golden retriever? Did the neighbor find out the goat was gone and refuse to sell him another one? I don't know. I do know I couldn't sleep and when I saw movement outside.
I never saw where it came from, but just up from the other side of the hill would be enough not to see; although a part of me hoped it was an alien being signaled by something in that sack, or a spirit summoned by the so called "amulet" and not something that was always out in those woods beyond the corn field. Even if I had gone to sleep, that dog's barking would have woken me up. Ontop of that I heard the radio in the living room turned up as loud as possible; my parents had to be down there trying to drown out the sound. The thing was out there, glowing in the moon light; but not dancing; the dog was barking, it bent over and held out that arm as long as its own body as if to pet the dog. I'd love to say the dog lived, that it pet the dog and the dog licked its hand and it picked up the dog and left...but...I'd be lying, the dog tried to bite it and it pulled its hand away and a soud echoed over the field; a combination of a screech owl sound with a cat's hiss with an undertone of a woman screaming. In a quick motion...I was glad the corn was so high up. I closed the blinds and hid the sight, but even over the radio downstairs those gut wrenching pops and cracks; why is that so loud? Why does that sound make me so violently ill? I feel even if I didn't know what the cause was I'd be sick from hearing it.
We never spoke of it, I was restless the next day, angry but unable to do anything. Another month and the corn was high enough you could barely see the scarecrow. The ears were growing pretty big and pretty abundant. Most of it looked ready to harvest already, but my father insisted it would be bad, we had to wait a few more weeks. I knew what he meant, the next full moon. It had always been on the night of a full moon. He didn't admit it, he just said when my mother gave him a frightened look, "One more and done", and then turned on the radio while we ate dinner.
My father was acting very dodgy those two weeks before the full moon, he had the barn locked up. I had come home from school to find my mother crying inside and my father shouting; I couldn't make out the words and they pretended everything was alright when I came inside. My mother locked herself into the master bedroom, my father was in a really bad mood and took to sleeping in the living room and spending alot of time out in the barn which he kept locked up. My mother had stopped talking altogether for the week before the full moon, she had such a sad and vacant stare in her eyes. My father had just a few days before the full moon bought a television, a big one with dials and rabbit ears with a fake wood paneling. On that night he told us to stay in the living room, away from the windows. He went around checking the iron bars were there, all day looking around to make sure all the iron bars were in place. He commanded us, yes straight out ordered us to sit in front of that television watching reruns of I Love of Lucy and The Beverly Hillbillies real loud. But I could still hear him pull his truck into the barn and then drive it around the side, up the harvesting trail for the trucks by the cornfield. When I got up my mother without saying a word grabbed my arm and just stared at me, terrified out of her wits. I sat back down for her sake.
An hour later my father came inside, covered in mud and washed up. He made himself some dinner, and had his hunting rifle on him, like five crosses around his neck and put an iron bar across the frame of the back door and then across the front door. He came into the living room without saying a word, but had his rifle leaning against the arm of his chair which he had scooted back and was watching the backdoor more so than the television. My mother started to cry, and almost got up but stopped when the popping sounds started. Those loud familiar cracking and popping sounds like gun shots going off. My mother froze, her face pale, she took two steps to the television and turned it up as loud as it could go, painfully loud. My father was wincing, but didn't say a thing until another hour passed. He took his rifle, turned the television down a little and told me to put the bar back across the back door after he went out. I did what he said, and I could hear him driving his truck back out to the cornfield, then back, parking it in front of the house as usual. Whatever he had in the barn was gone now. When he came inside he put the bar back across the front door, looked at me and gave me a hug; something he had never done before since I was a toddler, and just stood in front of my mother for a good five minutes before muttering, "It won't happen again; never again." He rubbed his eyes and went outside to the barn; where he stayed till the next day. That night however my mother was in their room crying the whole night. When I looked out my back window before going to bed, I could tell in the moonlight that the scarecrow was gone.
When it came time to harvest the ears of corn were huge, easily a foot long each if not more so for some, with 10-20 ears on a stalk; the ears were so huge I couldn't believe some of the stalks were even upright; and it looked like the ears had grown five more inches and doubled in number from just a few weeks earlier when I thought we were going to harvest them. Some of the men who came out to help harvest the corn said we should have put some of it in a contest at the county fair or contacted the Guinness Book of World Records; but my dad refused. When one man asked him how he accomplished this he laughed nervously and said "hard work and alot of sacrifice," at which point he nearly threw up. He was also standing near where the scarecrow had been and I saw him pick up some muddy torn up boots from the ground and carry them to the barn in a hurry. I made that scarecrow, I didn't put boots on it.
In most years we kept some of the corn for ourselves, put it out in the big freezer. But this year we didn't keep any of it, sold the lot of it. My parents weren't really the same after that, a few years later when I was looking for my own place, my mother divorced my father and moved to another state with my aunt. I talked with her from time to time and visited her around Christmas; she refused to hear anything about "that horrible man" or the how the farm was doing. My father became more of a recluse, sold most of the fields for housing development and retired from farming save a small few acres he kept as a nest egg and then in 1983, he had a seizure. He had been standing and just staring at a Pacman arcade machine the grocer in town had put in to effectivly steal quarters from kids who were into the video game craze at the time...heh..which never stopped. I digress; but its hard, even now in my own old age. My father went to the hospital and was sent home the next day; that's where I found him when I went to check up on him. He had taken his own life, gun shot. He had written a note that just said, "I'm sorry", then a name; I won't list the name, but it was a man's name. I had a really bad feeling about that and checked the news paper clippings at the public library I knew the year and what months to look at for my town and the one's nearby. I found it. It was a guy, looked somewhat like me had I been only a few years older at the time; possibly a distant relative given the area. The paper listed him as "missing" last seen leaving a bar drunk and getting a ride from an older man in a pick up truck. No plates were listed, the color and type matched; but were also really common in the area; this town was easily twenty miles away from the farm. Not a far drive, but not close by either.
He wasn't old, he was in the article just barely old enough to drink, had a family and friends looking for him. He was never found; no suspects, no known motive, just another person who vanished into thin air. I was sick to my stomach reading that, I will admit I vomited. We didn't ask questions, my mother knew, I know she knew, how she acted. I never brought it up with her. Back before my dad committed suicide I had gotten married, had some kids; my two sons and a little girl I'm so proud of. We ended up getting a big place one town over from the farm. In all those years I tried not to think about any of this. Even when my mother passed away it never came up. It wasn't until recently when my oldest grandson had gone out to the old farm; I had sold it to the bank, but, guess they never unloaded it; that or someone bought it and just left it; I don't know I never wanted to see that place again after we cleared my father's stuff out. Well, my oldest grandson went out there after asking about the farm, hearing about it from my cousin who used to be one of the farm hands, and hearing about that crazy year the corn grew like it was on steroids. He had one of those "drones" and wanted to go out there, filming the whole place from the air; which I'll admit was really neat, like something out of Johnny Quest.
While out there, we checked the place out, old, falling apart, devoid of any furniture save a dresser, a bedframe, and disturbingly an iron bar on the floor by the window upstairs. We didn't leave those there, my father had taken all those rods and stuck them up somewhere in the barn; they weren't there when we cleaned the house out back in 1983. I had a sick feeling seeing those there, I walked around and found the old celler was full of iron poles of various sizes most pretty small; all newer than 1983 for sure and found out not much later why. The barn was mostly fallen apart, there were a few other newer structures, or what was left of them, like garages or stables that were burned down. My daughter, the boy's mother, kicked at the dirt there and nearly freaked out, finding bones. They were huge and broken, definetly horse bones. Whatever happened there. they didn't clean it up for some reason and just left it all to rot. Given the front door was mostly missing I started to get the feeling the lack of furniture and most anything but the occasional lonely piece of trash was likely due to years of people going through and just taking stuff, and possibly only one person had lived there for some time by the look of it; I honestly wouldn't know; but whatever happened included burning down a stable with the horses still inside, packing iron bars in the cellar, and sleeping in one room with an iron rod under the window. However I did find nail holes above most the doors that looked newer; scrappers could have come by...and somehow missed the big pile in the cellar. I don't know, but what I can piece together sounds like I lived in a horror movie and whomever this was, was in the sequel.
My grandsone played with his drone for awhile, we checked out the barn, deciding the house was too run down and creepy, and the stables were a horse grave they didn't want to see any more of. Nothing much else to see, a trooper car did come by and ask what we were doing. Young man, nodded when I told him I used to live there back from the 50's into the early 70's. He told us the property has been empty since the mid 90's; but occassionally gets squatters and teens; usually around Halloween because of the urban legend. I told him I didn't know there was one, not one when I was little about the farm. He told me he wasn't surprised, he himself was just in his twenties, not much older than my oldest grandson. He said the legend was just some gender swapped "Slenderman" had to explain that one to me; with a touch of Flatwoods Monster and aliens. Kids said weird lights could be seen flying over the property, through the woods, and on some full moon lit nights a tall white alien woman with big black eyes but no nose or mouth would appear and ask you to dance with her; the legend went if you refused to dance she ate you with her big pacman mouth hidden in her featurless face, but if you agreed you'd be dancing till morning and sick from exhaustion; the only option was to not say anything, run, and hope you make it to your car...or...as he put it, hide in the house in a circle of iron bars; which explains why all those were there. Kids brought them out there because of this legend he said was called "The Moonlight Dancer". Part of it sounded familiar, but I don't know how; not any direct way anyway; after that year nothing ever happened again. But then again, I don't know what my father ever did with that "amulet" never saw it again either, not even when we cleaned out the house; and I don't think my mother would have taken it...so someone, somehow, might have it, or found it from where ever it was my father hid it. I pray for whomever has it, and if they should read this, and know what I am talking about, lock it away in an iron trunk and bury it, drop in the sea, dig a hole and pour concrete over it, something; because...its not a game. I don't know what that moonlight dancer is, but its a monster, and not worth it for a good harvest, let alone for kicks.