Zombie Road (Urban Legends #1)

I just finished binge watching the first season of the Netflix original Stranger Things (SPOILER ALERT: It’s fantastic however unless your further out of the loop than I am, like the Zombie Road area(1), you’ve probably already seen it and are thinking “My carby goodness(2), Fin. How are you so behind?”) and it got me thinking about my own encounters with the paranormal and ask most St Lousians about the subject and they’re likely to mention either Lemp Mansion (another story, for another time) or Zombie Road.

The infamous Zombie Road (formerly the Lawl Ford Road, now apart of the Al Foster Trail) has gotten notoriety since the 50’s as a “creepy little hang out in the woods” however there’s a lot of good reasons why the little road is creepy as hell at night.  One being that there is like no light back there.  On a full moon night, you might be able to see the shadow of the tree line which is cool as all get out since light pollution is making it increasingly hard to find places where one can really understand palpable darkness, since experiencing darkness that thick I can appreciate a healthy fear of the dark.   Another reason the place gives me the fantods is all the death.  There have been several recorded incidents of suicide, people being run down by trains, people falling in the river, and one particularly strange incident in the 70’s where a teenager boy lost his footing and got caught on a fork shaped branch on his fall to his demise.  The forked branch managed to rip his face and scalp off leaving behind a grotesque mask.  Top it all off, there are stories about run away mental patients, dead barge works roaming as zombies, sightings of human shadows in the woods, vengeful Native American spirits (it’s believed to originally be a trail used by Native American peoples and when the Pacific Railroad company came through it likely didn’t end well for the Natives).

Naturally, being an (increasingly) rebellious boy and growing up in the dreadfully dull West County (much of it is the picture of suburbia) there wasn’t much to do OTHER than investigate places like Zombie road.  However, now it’s gotten much riskier with the cops issuing up to 1,000$ trespassing tickets now. I guess kids have Pokemon Go now, but think of all the Ghost type Pokemon you could capture down there!  Anyway, one night me and a friend decided to go explore and see for ourselves what Zombie Road had to offer.

I don’t remember much now, ten years later, but I do remember getting down there and walking for a good 20 minutes not really hearing anything or feeling anything unusual until we decided to leave.  As soon as I said, “Man, this is kind of lame.  Lets go.”  both my friend and I heard a deep WHOMP.  Similar to the sound of a grocery bag full of ground red meat and water exploding on the ground.  This got our attention.  So we decided to continue further down and we heard an extremely loud/deep hammering into the ground.  As if someone was repeatedly dropping a giant tamper and the sound was getting closer.  We kind of got wigged out by this point and decided to make our way out when I was assaulted by what I can only assume was a bat in the face.

baseball bat

Not a bat.

bat man

Not the bat.

bat

A bat.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve pissed my pants literally, sober and intoxicated, many times in my adult life.  This wasn’t one of the incidents, but it’s an honourable mention.  After that was a blur of running through the pitch black back to the car.  That was the last time I went to Zombie Road, day or night.

Have any good Urban Legend experiences to share? Feel free to leave a comment below explaining your encounter with the esoteric.

 

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Footnotes:

  1. This is a really bad local-vernacular based joke, “the loop” generally refers to a trendy St Louis attraction The Delmar Loop and I live, currently (I move a lot, on average 1.1 moves per year), in the Webster Groves area and further “out of the loop” would be Zombie Road aka the Al Foster Trail all the way out in Wildwood which is in the dreadful West County area.
  2. Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM)
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Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

salinger bojak

First order of business, I must apologize.  I got over ambitious (a common theme in my plan making process) and about 2 months before going live with this blog and about a month before finishing Infinite Jest I thought “I believe I will write a 5 part literary analysis of Infinite Jest as my first article series”.  Such a nice thought.  However after finishing the book two weeks ago, I’ve been left…stunned and a little disturbed.  Infinite Jest is a big story.  There’s nothing small about it.  The story is so big even DFW admits “the story can’t fully be made sense of” and “does resolve, but it resolves… outside of the right frame of the picture. You can get a pretty good idea, I think, of what happens” which even if you believe the author is dead(1) (too soon?) this is still extremely intimidating.  These intimidation factors aside, there are plenty and plenty of reviews written by people who are actually read(2) regularly and to top it there are books and books on analysis written on this book.  This being said, I’m going to step back and take some time since there’s not much likely I’m going to write that hasn’t been thought-said-written several times over.  So there’s no agenda on when, basically just when I have time and interest (I’ve already began re reading the book) and I’ll try to do something special to make my predictably unoriginal ideas more worth experiencing.

…and now for something completely different.

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

Nine Stories is a collection of short stories (SPOILER ALERT: There’s nine of the stories) by, the generally hated by high school students because Catcher in the Rye (I liked it then and now but I’ve always been kinda odd in my age group), J.D. Salinger.  Salinger opens up with a rather famous koan “We know the sound of two hands clapping. But what is the sound of one hand clapping?”  Each story sets up a relatively domestic scene: A beach vacation, a couple of girl friends enjoying an afternoon drink, a friend calling for some emotional support, just to juxtapose that with a startling ending.  Some endings are disturbing, some are strange.

Overall the book can be read in an afternoon however as is the genius of a good short story is that there is much more to the story than just a shocking ending.  Each story captures small moments artfully and depict characters much bigger than can fit on a few pages but if extrapolated further may loose some of their significance.

This was my first Salinger book since Catcher and I deeply enjoyed it and look forward to rereading it.

Nine Stories gets 4 power crazy celebrity game show executive producer J.D. Salingers out of 5.

salinger bojak 1

Footnotes & Errata:

  1. The French essay “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes, not to be confused with the conspiracy that DFW is still alive writing under a new nom de guerre in order to escape the weight of IJ.
  2. I do recognize the few (it might actually be only three of you atm) of you who do read my stuff and FSM bless you and I love you and please keep reading. Thank you!

Images from Bojack Horseman Season 2 Episode 10 “Yes and”