Phantoms of Crooked Lane

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       Phantoms of Crocked Lane
                                        ”When time seems to play tricks on our senses!”


Some stories are factual, while others are pure fiction, but there are those stories, which are caught somewhere between fact, fiction and legend; this is such a story.  Haven’t you ever turned off the main highway onto a back country road, seeking a shortcut to a certain destination, still to many miles away; well I have and it can be quite an unexpected adventure.  Join with us as we discover how one can be caught in a world where past and present appear to clash, in this story titled the "Phantoms of Crocked Lane”.
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“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” --- Second Amendment.   Founding Father George Mason has stated; “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”  Mr. Mason is also quoted as saying; “Considering the natural lust for power so inherent in man, I fear the thirst of power will prevail to oppress the people.”
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Ole Jake’s General Store

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It was mid-spring of 1998, and I was 56 years old at the time, a month away from my 57th birthday, I had seen much, but there were a few places I’d always wanted to visit before time slipped away.  I was still working full time driving disadvantaged and disabled people to medical appointments, and daytime activities.  I had enough vacation saved up, so I took time off to visit the Cyclorama Museum of the Battle of Atlanta, then on to Stone Mountain, just east of the city.  Afterward deciding to take Highway 75 southeast of the city, which forks off to the south and into Florida, while the other half of the fork branches off into Highway 15 to Savannah.
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But somewhere along the way, missed the turnoff heading south, so I decided to take a side road so as to see something different, rather then the routine freeway scenery.  However as it turned out what was supposed to be an alternate route, turned out to be first a narrow paved road, which turned into a dirt road to nowhere.  The sun would set in about an hour and a half, so either I would find my way out of this maze or else locate a place to stop for the night, these were my priorities.  After seemingly miles without end down the dirt road, I spotted a business called Jakes General Store, a very old wooden building that looked much like a survivor from some forgotten past.
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In any case it never occurred to me that there were any General Stores left anywhere, but here was the real thing, looking like a picture from one of those old medal plate picture, collecting dust in someone’s attic.  I pulled up in front of the store, walked in and looked about, this can’t be the 1990’s I thought, this place was stocked as if it were the post ‘Civil War’, then I thought to myself, ‘boy am I lost.’  An old man came out of a back room and introduced himself simply as Jake, the owner of the store!  His overall appearance, cloths and mannerisms were themselves a relic of a long ago time, and he had a very old Southern Accent, the strongest I’d heard in all my lifetime.
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”How do I get out of here, I am looking for the main road heading south into Florida”, I said!  Jake looked me over, like one looks at a stranger from some distant place.  “You are lost”, he said!  He slowly raised and outstretched his left arm and pointed toward the south, “head that way, you’ll come to where you have a choice, left or right, go left.  Straight ahead down that road is fenced with a wooded gate, on the other side is a road called Crooked Lane, stay out of there!  Turn right, that turn off will get you to where you want to go!”  Old Jake did not even crack an expression of any sort, but merely stood there, and waited for me to leave.
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I thanked him for helping, turned and headed for the door, but before leaving I turned about so as to have one more glance at the old man, known as Jake, but to my surprise he was gone, he had seemingly disappeared.  Outside the store I slipped into my car, backed out and headed south, just as Jake had directed, however, since there was absolutely no traffic, I slowed down, turned and looked back, in total astonishment, I had to stop my car, and back up, there was no sign of the General Store anywhere, the lot where it had stood was overgrown with shrubs and weeds. I got out of my car and looked about, to be sure this was the place, this is precisely where the store had been, only moments ago.  I had inside the store; I know it was there!
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As I got back into my car, I thought to myself, maybe I imagined it all, then I shook my head, no that’s not it, that’s not it at all, there sure enough was a store there and I did talk to Ole Jake, who gave me directions.  I headed south just as Jake had instructed, a few miles down the road and straight ahead, just as Jake had said, I found myself facing the old wooden gate, the road went parallel to the fence, which went to the left and the right just as he had said.  But instead of immediately turning right, I paused, wondering in my mind what was out there beyond that old broken down wooden gate.  What was out there that would cause an old man like Jake to give such a stern warning?
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There was plenty of flat ground just outside the gate, suitable for parking my car, so I decided to pull up and investigate, I made a loop to the left and parked directly in front of the gate.  I stepped out of the car, and walked up to the gate, then scanned up and down the fence row, the moon was full and the sky clear, so the visibility was excellent for this late hour.  My eyes then focused on what was out there across the field, as well as the dirt road, Jake had called Crooked Lane.  Everything was overgrown, and somehow, I couldn’t see what was so mysterious, there wasn’t really any road to be seen, and the field on either side was barren, save for a pile of rubble some distance off to the left.
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Perhaps there had been a farm located here at one time, and the dirt road led to town, but now it appeared there was nothing left, accept that very time worn pile of rubble.  But still, I couldn’t help but believe that despite Jake’s cold expression, he was trying to tell me something, so I once more scanned the road beyond the gate, such as it was, and the fields on either side.  The fence along either side of the gate was made of an old fashion type heavy wire, made in squares of approximately 6”x 8” or thereabouts, but long rusted and worn with age.  Then I decided why not, the visibility is as clear as it’s ever been, for it being the middle of the night.  So I climbed through the opening in the gate slats, and climbed through!
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At first everything seemed as it was before I climbed through, nothing notable, then after walking down what was supposed to be a road, a distance of perhaps 30 yards; weeds became shorter and thinner until what I thought was an overgrown road was now clear.  The road twisted back and forth into the distance as far as I could see, a narrow, dusty road it was, which obviously earned its name, The Crooked Lane.  Looking off the left across the open field there stood a farmhouse and barn, where before there were only aged ruins, the weeds and long grass was gone.  The field was now covered with crops; wheat, corn and what appeared to be a modest vegetable garden!
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Suddenly my chain of thought was interrupted by the sight of five Yankee Cavalrymen, riding at a modest pace toward me; I wasn’t sure if they could see me or not, and anyhow I figured they must be re-enactors.  But then it came to me, that couldn’t be, only moments ago, the farmhouse and barn weren’t even there, and the field as well as the road was overgrown with brush and weeds.  Somehow this must truly be for real, but how could it be, I’ve never believed in ghosts, nor do I believe in houses and barns suddenly appear, where there was none before.  I decided I would figure it out later, but for now, what were these Yankees up to?  I watched as they turned off the road, and headed for the farmhouse.
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The Yankee Commit Atrocities
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I just had to get closer, so I walked cautiously toward the front area of the house, when, by the time I had covered 2/3rds of the distance, I saw these Yankee barbarians dismount, draw their sabers, and kick open the front door of the house.  A short while later they were dragging two young ladies and an elderly woman out onto the lawn!  I couldn’t believe my eyes, dear God in Heaven, I am unarmed and seemingly out of my time and place, having no way to come to the aide of these ladies.  One of the Yankees, a Sergeant, beat the elderly woman and drove her through with his saber, cursing at her about being a dirty, traitorous Rebel.
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The other Yankee Soldiers began to beat the two younger ladies severely; I assumed they where the elderly woman’s granddaughters, then the Yankees began to tear at their cloths, mocking them.  Even though I couldn’t see real clear, it being night time with only the moon as light, still, I turned my head away; I couldn’t watch the torment to which these ladies were suffering, if only I had brought my Second World War German Lugar.  A family souvenir handed down to me, which I never have expected to need it in a real situation!  Just about that time I heard horses approaching at full gallop, coming from the far end of the road, obviously heading toward where the ladies were being beaten, violated and eventually slaughtered.
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As the horsemen got closer, I could see the two uniformed Confederates, who were obviously unarmed, but still they bravely rode close to where the Yankee butchers were, jumped down from their mounts, picked up whatever was close at hand, a pieces of wood or a portion of an old tree branch.  They did their best to defend the ladies, but to no avail, there were just to many well-armed Yankees, for them to overcome. Unarmed as they were.  The first Confederate Soldier, a Private, was sorely wounded in the right arm with a saber, and began to bleed profusely; still, he kept on swinging, but unfortunately he was finally cut down.
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The second Confederate Soldier fought on, now opposed by all five Yankees, but his battle lasted but a short while, until he was driven through with a saber, and fell to the ground.  Suddenly an old man well up in years appeared at the front door yielding a musket, and somehow managing to hang onto a copy of the bible in his left hand, a bible may have been reading.  He managed to prop the musket up with one arm, and fire it at one of the Yankees with his right hand, and felled one of them.  He then dropped the musket and reached inside the door, grabbing onto what looked, a distance, to be a club of some sort, and began to swing it back and forth as he approached the four remaining Yankees.
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The Yankees were mocking him as they cast aside his club, grabbing him, and led him toward a tree not far away!  A third Yankee cut off a length of rope hanging from a branch of that same tree, a rope no doubt used for what precious little wild game they could find!  I was sweating by now and my nerves were raw, praying that if only I could do something, but alas, we were no doubt existing in two different time dimensions.  The only thing my experience told me was that somehow I was seeing these events from a past that was now more then 148 years removed, from my own time.  Still this definitely was no video movie show, it w as real!
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Two Yankees tied up the old man, raping the rope around both him and the tree, but I noticed that somehow his left hand was still holding onto the bible, which was now laid across his chest; two Yankee barbarians backed off, and began to torment him.  While the remaining two decided to violate the two young ladies in front of the old man, who squirmed back and forth, wanting to find someway to defend his granddaughters.  Finally being finished with their evil deeds, one of the two, a large man, turned and drove through the bible and the old man, and into the tree, using what looked to be a long dagger.
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The three women, the old man and two Confederate Soldiers being dead, the Yankees set fire to the house, the barn, laughing hardily as they rode away.  After watching the five Yankees ride down Crooked Lane in the direction from where they had come, I turned and headed back in the direction of the gate, hoping against hope, that I’d wake up in some motel room or at home, only to discover it was all a nightmare.  I just had to walk forward toward the carnage, and see if what I had witnessed had truly taken place.  After looking about what I saw was horrifying, mutilated bodies and blood that what was left behind by these Godless Yankee barbarians.
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I was seeing first hand what they had made of their victory!  I turned and slowly walked across the field in the direction where the old wooden gate should be, praying within myself that it would be there.  I had seen much more then I had bargained for, and just wanted to get out of this place!  As I got within rage of the gate and the fence on either side began to appear, but just as sudden I decided that I wanted to verify within myself that what I saw, I actually did see.  So I turned about again and walked back in the direction of the house, but the house and barn was not anywhere to be seen, only the old ruins I saw in the beginning.
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Nonetheless I continued until I approached the very location where the torment and slaughter had taken place!  The bodies were gone, and the tree was felled over on the ground, and decayed by the passing years, only remnants remained.  As I looked closer, what I saw was most unbelievable; there were bloodstains in the very places where the three ladies and the two Confederate Soldiers once lay.  How could this be after so many years, time itself should have erased all traces of the bloodstains on the ground?  After a while I turned and headed back to the gate, while turning over in my mind all that had happened!
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As I once again got within range the old broken down gate and the fence appeared once more, so I climbed through, got into my car and drove off in direction as described by Ole Jake.  Soon I found my self at an intersection where I saw an overpass; before crossing over to the other side and heading south on the freeway toward home, I spotted one of those all night coffee shops, so I pulled in and parked.  I decided a return to the real world was just what was needed, so I walked in and took a seat on a stool next to the counter.  It appeared that I was the only customer at this wee hour of the morning, so I figured there must be only a single waitress on duty.
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The All Night Coffee Shop
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I took my hat off and rubbed my eyes, it finally come to me just how tired I really was, maybe I could find one of those rest stops where I could pull over and get a little nap before continuing home.  Given the strangeness of what has happen, I had totally forgot that I had my cell phone in my trouser pocket, I reached for it, opened it, the time had truly slipped away, it was 3:00 O’ Clock in the morning, and I hadn’t slept at all.  Just then a lady came out from the kitchen, and ask just the right question, “How can I help you sir, maybe a cup of coffee?”  She turned around to fetch my coffee, when I called out to her, “O, how about an apple pie, with whipped cream”?
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She looked back at me, and gave me a positive nod of the head, and a slight wave of the hand!  Very shortly the waitress was delivering my coffee and pie, about then a man came out from the kitchen, I learned later the two were husband and wife.  The kind lady backed away and began wiping down the counter a few stools away, her husband, like his wife, were born and raised in a very friendly and traditional section of North Carolina, so striking up a conversation came natural to them.  “I am Jim Blakely”, he said, “I noticed you came from the direction of that dirt road out back, and you have that certain look on your face.
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Let me guess, you met Ole Jake, and now you are wondering if it was all a bad dream?”  I looked up from my coffee at Jim, “I take it you met the old gentleman too, and patronized the General Store, was it real, I asked, or do we both have an out of control imagination?”  Jim gave me slight smile, “Yes the General Store and Ole Jake were real enough, but not in the way most people think!”  About then his wife, who goes by the name of Brenda, came down to where Jim and I were, and began describing their experience, “about 20 years ago, Jim and I went through the same scenario as you.
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We turned off the highway onto what we thought was a paved shortcut to Highway 75, only to discover it had turned into a dirt road.  Then we did as you did, and stopped in at Ole Jakes General Store, and he gave us the same directions as you, as well as the same blank look.  We did preciously as you did and stopped in front of that old wooden gate, and the rest you know.”  Well, I said, “what do the two of you believe it was, how could all, which the three of us saw, have taken place before us, and yet not be in the here and now, in the real world?  It was like something out of the distant past being seen in the present!”  Jim looked at his wife, then at me, “go ahead Jim, tell him!”
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Jim then attempted to explain the unexplainable; “You might look at it like this, history has handed us a living video, a video of events that took place long before any of us were born.  Haven’t you heard of ships in the North Atlantic, having over the years received messaged from the Titanic, decades, and in some cases nearly a century, after the sinking?  The only way I can explain it is that it is some kind of visual time displacement.”  Who are these people I asked, what is all this about, “Well, said Jim, the best we’ve been able to figure, is that the Confederate Sergeant is the father of the two girls, and the Private is their brother and his son.  His wife and there mother, remains unknown!
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It appears they were returning from the war, having been with General Albert Sidney Johnston’s army when he surrendered, a couple of months before the events we all witnessed.  Jim continued, “Albert Sidney Johnston surrender to William Tecumseh Sherman at the farm of
James and Nancy Bennett near what is now Durham North Carolina, it was 18 April 1865.  At which time 89,270 Confederate Soldiers representing the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida surrendered, and were paroled.  James and Nancy Bennett were like many families at the time, who suffered tremendously during the four years of war!
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The Bennetts lost three sons: Lorenzo, who served in the 27th North Carolina, buried in Winchester, Virginia; Alphonzo, who is currently unaccounted for in the family history; and their daughter, Eliza's husband Robert Duke, who died in a Confederate Army hospital is buried in Lynchburg, Virginia.  The Bennetts never fully recovered from the war, and by 1880, James Bennett died and the remaining members of the family moved to the new community of Durham, and begin a new life without him.  The Bennett Farm was abandoned and fell into ruin, a fire finally destroying the farmhouse in 1921.  In 1923 a group called the Unity monument, was dedicated on the site!
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In 1960 the Bennett Farm site was fully reclaimed, and restored by local preservationists!  It was at that time turned over to the State of North Carolina, and made a state historic site.” 
Jim and Brenda, as they stood behind the counter, had all the fine mannerisms of a true Lady and Gentleman of the South!  It impressed me that Brenda was dressed in the traditional but working dress of a Southern Lady, even then considered old fashion, but was none-the-less pleasant to me, given my Christian Conservative principles.  Brenda reached over and refreshed my coffee, while Jim walked a few paces down the counter and pulled out something from a glass rack, his mind still on the story of the Bennett Farm.
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Without thinking, I took the necessary amount of money out of my wallet, and placed it on the counter, so as to pay for my order, just as Jim laid something on the counter in front of me.  “There is no charge for this, a gift; perhaps it will help you on your journey home!  The discussion had brought back an old question I’d had on my mind for seemingly decades, so I spoke up and asked, “If a visual and audio image of events that took place nearly a century and a half ago, can appear today, is it possible for someone today to travel back in time to that time period?”  While waiting for a response, I finished my coffee, stood to my feet, taking their gift of a snack, wrapped in a paper bag, in my left hand.
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While all three of us glanced at each other, Jim answered for both of them, “some Scholar might call it Quantum Physics!  Half a century or more ago, had you asked that same question, people would have thought, that just maybe you have taken all those science fiction movies too serious.”  We all walked parallel along the counter toward the door, the two of them from behind the counter, I from in front!  Then Brenda summed up the entire issue, “This side of the
Rapture, all kind of things are scientifically possible; you might wish to contact Professor Herbert Lawson, at the Texas Science Institute, he’s an old family friend, just maybe you are closer to an truth then you might image.”
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We all reached the end of the counter and stood near the exit door, shaking hands and saying our good byes; as I passed through the door, I felt as if I had gained two really great friends, true friends.  I got in my car, the car still facing the front of the coffee shop, and put the key in the ignition; before starting the engine, I looked up at the coffee shop, one more time.  The two of them were standing near the center glass window; after gaining my attention they waved, and I then waved back.  As I pulled out of the parking lot’s side entrance and crossed the overpass I wondered, what if I look back, will the coffee still shop be there, or did I imagine that too, I chose not to press the issue?
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God save the Confederacy
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The Presidents Davis stated, “we have fought long and hard for our liberty as well as our national independence, however now is the time to build the nation for which we have struggled.  To this task I call upon those of you who once bore arms in her service, that you will now bear the tools, both literally and figuratively, which are required to forge this new nation, the Confederate States of America.”
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Army of Georgia
The Church Visitor
The Last Sunset

The Pre-tribulation Rapture

Visitors from Beyond

Women in Men’s Apparel
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Our rightful President after the surrender of our Confederate Armies continued to be Jefferson Davis, and pending the independence of the Confederacy, followed by free elections, our constitution remains valid but suppressed by the occupation.  The power to disband a sovereign nation and terminate its constitution has never been granted to a hostile foreign power, their President nor its Generals.

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