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home : opinion : columns April 28, 2016

10/28/2012 6:00:00 AM
Editorial Column: When rules of sanity don't apply

Alan Choate
News Editor

It was a beautiful night in rural Texas. Clear skies, comfortable temperatures. No moon. My friend and coworker Brian and I were wiling away a rare free weekend night at the local coffee shop, listening to music and trying to wind down from yet another hectic week.

The coffee shop closed for the night.

We needed something to do.

So we decided to explore a local legend, and within a few hours I was face-to-face with a kind of fight-or-flight terror I thankfully had escaped to that day and haven't encountered since.

But that's getting ahead of the story.

The tale around town was that, at a certain old cemetery on certain nights, a group of people would gather. Who they were, how many of them there were, no one knew, but this much was said to be truth: They were Satanists.

Devil worshippers.

And woe be upon anyone who crossed them.

Local boy Jerry vouched for that. In high school, when he and some friends were looking for a place to party, he claimed to have stumbled upon the Satanists mid-ritual. He and his buddies took off; the Devil's own chased them, rural highway to rural highway, all across the county.

So it made perfect sense to Brian and I that as the hour approached midnight, we should definitely wander out into the countryside - without anyone knowing where we were going, in the era when cell phones were rare and unreliable and unavailable to us - to look for a bunch of potentially violent whack jobs.

We knew we had to be prepared.

I went home to get a flashlight. On the way out the door, I realized we might need some protection. I grabbed the putter from my golf bag.

This'll do the trick, I thought.

You shouldn't laugh at me. Brian showed up with small pieces of wood, about the size of Scrabble tiles, inscribed with protective Celtic runes. We each stuck one in a pocket, but secretly, I was counting on my putter.

The graveyard was about a half hour outside of town.

There were no other cars on the road the entire way out there. We proceeded through a network of two-lane roads - they're called "farm to market roads" in Texas - until we found a sign that said, "Historic Cemetery," with an arrow pointing to the right.

I parked. We got out. I locked the car up tight.

The road sloped down to a bridge across a creek. A rutted path led from the highway to the creekside, probably from people pulling off the road to fish. We followed it - flashlights in hand, me hoisting the putter - intending to cut across country to find the cemetery.

About halfway down the path, though, we stopped cold.

I saw bones and fur in my flashlight beam. I prodded it with the business end of the putter. The bones had been scattered. The fur was ripped and tattered. No meat left.

"It's black fur," Brian said. "It's not a big animal - about the size of a black lamb. That's what they use in the Black Mass."

And then we completely wigged out.

We didn't run back to the car, but we weren't wasting time. I shined the flashlight under the car, and into the backseat and the seat wells. Because, well, the locked car had never really been out of our sight, but these were Satanists! Rules of sanity do not apply.

I was still a little jacked up the following Monday, and the trip made for a great story the following week. Jerry couldn't believe that we'd gone looking for that crew, and in general it just sounded cool.

But let's face it - that intense fit of panicked paranoia was caused by road kill. We were as close to finding Satanists that night as Charlie Sheen is to embracing a monastic, drug-free existence.

We fell victim to sleep deprivation (12- and 14-hour workdays were common) combined with caffeine, adrenaline, hubris and the plain old stupidity of the young.

And it was awesome.

Happy Halloween.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Article comment by: What are you trying to convey?

You are right. Rules of Sanity don't apply to this article. What were you trying to imply? It was just a strange article. Was there a point to this story? What a waste of ink, time and reading! We all have ridiculous stories from our youth. Some MAY have an educational value, yours does not.

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