As Rod Serling said, there is a signpost up ahead...or in this case, along Highway 81 in southern Kansas in a small town begun in the cattle wealth of the late 1800's.   Here, for your enjoyment and thrills are several tales from this community.  Others exist but they remain tucked away in corners, memories, and local legend.

In 1960 or 61 (date is approximate at present based on directory information as to when the family resided at the home near east 7th and Douglas). "I was coming home and found myself being followed by small gray "things" - I cannot explain more. They were very nebulous and indistinct. I could see through them and I know I was afraid. I had been playing in an old rail yard behind our block (lots of sand hills). I was headed home ...the memory of the heavy sense of anxiety, the turning to look over my shoulder at the 'men' and the sense they were following are accompanied by a sense of moving in very slow motion...of a strange caste to the air and the sky...a strange amber bubble that encased the episode... Soon after this, I discovered a small healed scar on the back of my thigh - yet I had not been hurt there (it was about 1-1.2 inches long). It showed a strange "weaving" pattern of skin growth between the two smooth edges with tiny pinpoints around the edges. It remained faintly white for many years but is faded now. This was nearly 50 years ago and the memory has remained clear and insistent - like a tooth ache that has refused to go away. I am sharing this now - in the hope that it may help someone else who may have also encountered "something" strange during that time in this location." 

Wellington Lake Story
About this same time, around the area of Wellington Lake, came a report of a strange experience along a sandy road among a thick cover of foliage.

 "I was a small girl and we  had gone out to the Lake for a drive. I remember the sun as we drove through the trees, seeing the sparkle of the lake...my next memory is walking, alone, down that same stretch of road with everything absolutely silent.

I remember how tall the trees seemed walking alone down that road. It felt as if a clear bowl had been upended over the area and no sounds or winds were heard. It also gave a gray caste to everything, as  if it had suddenly clouded over.  I remember walking down the middle of the road in that thick sand wondering where did everybody go? .. I remember seeing our car, but at least one other car also, stopped at the side of the road. I remember seeing everybody just staring, blank looking, and then we get back in the car and drive away...everybody is silent until we move away from the gray area....and then it was as if nothing happened."

In about 1963 (thought to be no later than 1964) a resident in a house on North Jefferson street in Wellington, Kansas, reported "my brothers and mother and myself observed a red light bathe the backyard, there was no sound, no wind, nothing but the light." Later interviews with this witness indicated the red light covered the entire sky above the area just out the back door. She remembers seeing the mother and a brother go out and look up wondering what the thing was. The witnessed reported "Its appearance was similar to the "safelight" used in darkroom photography. Then it was gone, like a light being switched off. Details of the source were not visible; you could only see the red-orange round source of the light itself. I remember looking out the screen door, walking outside, looking up and then the next thing I remember is looking back into the house with the light gone. "

Rewriting History and Leaving Out the Negative Bits

Generations of people in Oklahoma City were born, educated and lived in the area descriptively called by author Lawrence Thompson in his "Gray Belt."  This place that was neither here nor there. A no-man's land created by poverty and want in a great economic depression. This series of articles and essays (location unsure) described the reality too many wanted to ignore and sweep under the community rug by even burying their names: "Community Camp", "Mulligan Gardens", and the "May Avenue Camp."
One local pastor Joe Gist of St. Mark's Methodist Church worked among the people in these camps with sympathy but realism.  Others were Don Christy of Boys Neighborhood and Miss Elizabeth Gilligan  of the Girls Neighborhood Clubs and Miss Mary Nichols Riverside School District who had been working there with depressed men, women and children for many years.
Local social columnist and advocate, Edith Johnson, asked bluntly "What Will You Do With the Gray Belt?" and her question echoes down the years.  Vague tales of things seen in the night have been reported in these broad regions that once where these camps; do the ghosts of those who suffered in those camps linger on or revisit in nightmares?
Maybe, just maybe, they are merely waiting for their full story to be uncovered and shared.  Maybe.

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H. P. Lovecraft

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