; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

True Story: Dancing Ghost Cattle?

By Scott Harper - This is a firsthand account of something that occurred when I was a child. To this day I'm not 100% sure of what I saw. This was one of my earliest paranormal encounters, and still may well hold the record for the strangest. It happened when I was six, and has left an irremovable mark in my life.

When this happened, it would've been in the early-to-mid 1980s. I would've been 6-years-old. Maybe 7-years-old. At the time, I would occasionally spend a Friday or Saturday night at my grandparents' house. They lived in the country a few miles outside of a small town in central Ohio. On the evening in question, I was at their house with Grandma. Grandpa was out somewhere—I don't recall now where. As evening came on, darkness was starting to fall. A dense fog also started to roll in. For some reason, Grandma began to grow very nervous. She told me several times not to look out the window. She seemed afraid of what I might see if I did. Being an inquisitive young boy, I wanted to know why I kept being warned not to look. It had never been an issue before. Grandma simply became more agitated; she soon became upset. She refused to give me an actual answer. She just kept giving me variations of an answer I hated and loathed as a child, and still do to this day—"You'll do as I say because you're a child, and I'm an adult." She refused to give me a logical reason as to why I wasn't allowed to look out the window. So, I refused to accept that. Eventually, she left the living room to, if I recall correctly, start supper in the kitchen. As she left the room, she warned me yet again - without explaining the reasons—that I wasn't to look outside right then. I, of course, promptly climbed up on the couch, and assumed a kneeling position, arms braced on the back of the couch, looking out a window. Fog kept rolling in, more and more densely. With the sun setting, darkness approached quickly. Soon, visibility was down to almost nothing. Still, I kept staring out into the growing dark, and the fog, wondering why Grandma had so abruptly become so adverse to me looking outside.

When the glow appeared in the fog, I had no idea what I was seeing, thinking the source, at first, to be car headlights. I stared harder, not quite believing my eyes, upon realizing that headlights weren't the answer. Gradually, the glow intensified, and I realized that the source of the glow was approaching my grandparents' house, moving along the road. The glow could soon be seen to actually be two glows—one yellow, the other pink. Both colors were washed-out, pastel shades.

I kept watching, getting nervous. My jaw dropped a few moments later when the glows brightened, and their source came into view through the fog—two cows, dancing on their hind legs. One glowed pastel yellow, one glowed pastel pink. Each had a foreleg over the shoulder of the other, swaying, and dancing—almost staggering—their way along the road.

As I watched the spectral cattle, stunned, Grandma came back into the living room. Upon seeing me looking out the window, she shouted at me to move away, and not to look. I told her to look, and pointed at the cows. Grandma hurried forward, took one glance out the window, and promptly fainted, dropping to the floor.

Being a small child, I was, at that point, freaking out. I had my unconscious grandmother lying in the middle of the living room floor, and what appeared to be a pair of ghost cows dancing down the road outside, moving steadily nearer to the house. I froze, having no idea what to do. I kept looking back and forth between Grandma, and the dancing cattle.

Luckily, Grandma came around quickly. The cows were, by then, vanishing from my view, blocked by the front of the house. I jumped off the couch, going to Grandma. She woke up completely very quickly, screaming me at for having looked out the window. She kept shouting at me to never do that again when told not to, and to be sure not to mention anything that had happened to Grandpa when he returned home.

I wanted to know why I couldn't tell Grandpa. Grandma resumed her earlier non-answers of simply commanding me to do as I was told because she was the adult. Again, I wouldn't accept such an answer. I wanted something rooted in logic, and sound reasoning. She wouldn't give that to me. Nor would she even talk about the cows we had seen, much less explain them to me. So, the instant Grandpa walked through the door, I told him exactly what Grandma and I had seen outside. Grandma resumed screaming at me for, once again, disobeying her. Grandpa immediately grabbed up his rifle, and went back outside into the foggy darkness. Grandma kept shouting at me, asking, "Why did you tell him?" over and over.

After a few minutes, Grandpa came back inside, upset. He claimed to have seen nothing outside. Grandma refused to discuss it further, but kept glaring at me. For the rest of their lives, both Grandma and Grandpa refused to talk about that evening. Neither ever said another word to me about it. Any attempts on my part to obtain more information from them—I'm still full convinced that they knew what the glowing, dancing cattle were; why else would Grandma have been so adamant that I not look outside even before they showed up—were met only with silent glares, and angrily shaking heads. Before long, I stopped talking about, letting it rest. I told no one else about it.

For a long time I thought that would be the end of the story. Then, one day, out of nowhere from my perspective, another chapter got added.

A childhood friend of mine, whom I've long since lost touch with, had a lot of problems at home. She mother loved her drink, and had a new live-in boyfriend seemingly every month. This friend in question, and her younger sister, were more or less raised by their grandparents. Her grandparents were next-door neighbors to my parents and I while I was growing up. One day my friend kept acting oddly. I asked her what was wrong. She told me I wouldn't believe her if she told me. I promised not to laugh, and asked her to tell me. The story she told me left me shocked, and amazed.

The night before, she had spent the night at her grandparents' house. This happened more often than not, so that wasn't at all unusual. The night before had been very foggy. My friend told me that, as it was getting dark, and the fog began rolling in, she had looked out her bedroom window. In the fog, and growing darkness, she had spotted two steadily brightening glows moving toward her grandparents' house. One glow had been pastel yellow, and the other had been pastel pink. She watched, too afraid to look away, she said, and saw two glowing cows—one yellow, one pink—dancing along on their hind legs. Each cow had a foreleg over the shoulder of the other, as they staggered, and danced drunkenly along through the fog.

My friend said that she jumped onto her bed, covering her head with her blankets. She refused to get out of bed until morning. Even then, she was afraid to look out the window, and frightened to be outside. I told her of my own sighting of what seemed to be the same phenomena from several years earlier. The fact that I didn't think she sounded crazy made her feel better. The fact that she hadn't simply been dreaming—the explanation she had been trying to convince herself of—made her feel worse. After that, she refused to ever discuss it again.

Hearing my friend's account made me feel better. I knew, given my grandparents' reactions when my own sighting of the dancing ghost cows had taken place, that I hadn't been imagining them. Having confirmation of the same type of sighting from someone else made me feel better, though.

Still, in all the years since, I've not heard of another such encounter. Why? There are a number of similarities between my own sighting, and that of my childhood friend. Both events took place at our grandparents' homes. Both took place as darkness was falling. During both, heavy fog was rolling in. Both took place in the same general area of the same state. We were both young children when our sightings took place, though she was older at the time of hers than I was at the time of mine. I don't recall if both sightings took place during the same time or year, or the same time of the week.

Is there a connection? Or are the similar details only coincidence? Given that the sighting my friend had took place right next door to my childhood home, I also have to wonder if the phenomena wasn't, in some way, linked to myself.

Has anyone else had such a sighting? If so, I'd be very interested in hearing the details. Every time I think back to my own sighting, and the story related to me by my friend, I wonder if the dancing ghost cattle are still there. I also wonder why they were there to begin with. Research has turned up nothing new.

Scott Harper is the author of more than 30 published short stories and several novels. There has been talk, from several fronts, about turning his fourth novel, "Predators or Prey?", the first book in his Wendy Markland series, into a live-action project. Interest from a movie producer has also been voiced about turning his eighth novel, "Quintana Roo, Yucatan", into a film

Harper graduated from Marysville (Ohio) High School in 1993 and began screenwriting in 2007, after the publication of several short stories and novels. He has worked on projects for James Tucker Productions and 11th Dimension Films. He is currently involved with several projects, covering literature, film and comic books. As of May, 2013, he is also a contributing writer for "Nuclear Winter Entertainment".

Scott has previously submitted articles to 'Phantoms & Monsters'

Predators or Prey?

Well Wishes

Quintana Roo, Yucatan

Winter's Rite