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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Horrendous Clown Incident Part 3

Be My Ghostly Valentine

Victoria Summers
Be My Ghostly Valentine

It’s been over 20 years ago that Fred Summers, Victoria’s husband, died. Vickie's old Aunt Mabel actually outlived Fred by 3 months. Even though Mabel and Fred did not see eye to eye, they were not adversaries. When she heard that Fred had died, she suffered a debilitating stroke and was never the same. It was how Fred died and where he died that most likely scared Mabel the most and take its toll on her.

Here is what happened: Victoria took it hard. She was young then. She arranged and had Fred cremated and buried at the city cemetery. His bronze urn was placed in a niche in a columbarium and left there. She never visited his final resting place since the funeral.

Vickie stayed down there in Mobile and planned on selling her home in Cockeysville after she took care of Mabel for a while. Alas, Mabel died so Vickie’s plans had changed a bit. She did not want to cremate her aunt because Mabel said that in case she is going to burn for all eternity then there’s no need to get a jump start on it. So Vickie buried her body also in the City Cemetery. Two deaths, two funeral bills - This took a toll on Vickie both emotionally and financially.

She sold Fred's old Plymouth for what she could get. She took a train to Baltimore and went back home.


Vickie aged gracefully but alone. She never married and began a career as a telephone operator. Day after day, year after year she would connect callers, handle questions, and hear all kinds of things.

Well, at the end of January 1986, the weather was a little cold but Vickie had 3 weeks of vacation time earned and wanted to get a break soon, if not in January, then in February. You see, December of '85 was very hectic at the telephone company and it seemed she worked more overtime between Christmas and New Years than she did all year.

So she thought to herself, “I need to get away – go somewhere warmer.” The light bulb appeared over her head, so to speak. “I’ll go back down home and visit the cemetery, leave some flowers and buy some seeds to bring back for my planter.”

The more she thought about going the more reasons popped in her head. She made arrangement s with her employer and the week of Valentines was set. “Perfect! I’ll bring a Valentines grave decoration for Fred – I miss him so much.”
"I’ll bring a Valentines grave
decoration for Fred – I miss him so much."

She was so excited about this that she called her friend at another cubicle to tell her. “Janey, I’m going back home and bringing a big Valentine for Fred!” Janey knew that Vickie hardly spoke of her husband but when she did, Janey saw how happy Vickie became.

“That’s wonderful Vickie! Hang up I’m coming over” and Janey hung up.

Vickie was distracted and did not hear that last sentence. “Yes I know Fred’s gone, but I still love him so much. I am going to bring a Valentine's heart for him. I wish he were alive so I can tell him!”

Then, on the other end she heard a faint “I’ll be waiting.” Just at that very moment Janey tapped on Vickie’s shoulder. Wow! She must’ve jumped 15 feet into the air.

“Relax, it's only me. Who are you talking to, Vickie?” asked Janey.

“Oh, no one, whew! – just talking to myself and going batty!”

They chatted a bit and right before Janey left she told Vickie, “I’m goin’ on break. In the meantime you better hang that up – the light is still on.”

She turned around and Vickie put the headset back on and heard strange creepy laughter. Yes, clown laughter – but they were not happy laughs, rather diabolical.

She threw off the headset, hung up and skedaddled to the break room. "I must be hearing things!" she said to herself aloud.

The Train
The train Vickie was on seemed
colder than it was outside.

Well, the time came for Vickie to take a train down South to visit the old homestead, Fred’s urn and Aunt Mabel’s grave.

Even though it was chilly, the train Vickie was on seemed colder than it was outside. All in all, there were only about five other people in her car but they did not seem too happy. One of those passengers got up and sat next to Victoria.

“Hello, ma’am. I hope you don’t mind me sitting next to ya?” the stranger, in his late 30’s, asked her.

“Well, you’ve done sit already so you might as well stay put. Goin’ to Mobile?” she questioned.

“Unfortunately, yes. It’s a business matter but I reckon it won’t bother you if I tell you would it? Oh, by the way my name is Ozro Green, what’s yours?” he said politely.

“My name is Victoria Summers, but you can call me Vickie. So, uh, what is this business matter of yours if you don’t mind my askin’?” she replied and inquired.

“Well, I’m a writer and got a contract for a major newspaper – and I won’t say where – to investigate the Horrendous Clown Incident of 1952 for a book and article I’m writing. I’ve been going back and forth to Mobile writing about this and want to put this story to an end and start on my other project, which may have ties somehow to this story,” he explained.

Well Vickie was taken aback. She could not believe what she had heard and deep down did not want to hear anything about this. As far as she was concerned, since Fred died, so did that ghost story. She debated in her mind whether she should tell this writer anything and everything or nothing at all. She decided to play dumb and excuse her reaction.

“Sho is gettin‘ cold in here ain’t it?” she asked as diversion.

“You are very right about that. It’s like a ghost climbed aboard and brought some demons from Hell to taunt us. No, actually, it’s quite warm. Well, we’ve got many hours of travel, so I’ll go back to my seat and let you be,” he said to her getting up.

She then asked out of curiosity, “Oh before you go, what was that other project you were talkin’ about?”

H turned around. “Oh, new details, even ghostly occurrences related to The Hammond Circus Train Wreck of 1918. Somehow there is a connection between that strange disaster and the Clown Incident so right now it is a little fuzzy. For now, I need to go down to Mobile to gather some old newspaper clippings, get a few snapshots, maybe see some police reports, and finish the writing."  

In Mobile

After a long delay in Virginia due to a severe storm, the train made its way to Mobile. The Mobile area was unusually cold this year so it wasn’t the warm climate Vickie had originally hoped for, but nonetheless she got away from work and was able to get a chance to do something different.

Vickie got her room and planned her Valentine’s Day visit. But before she could do anything she had to go back to the train station to arrange for her ticket back. She did not buy round trip; perhaps she had too much on her mind.

At the station, she was told that there is no train direct to Baltimore. She was furious, “Then how did I get here?”

The ticket agent replied, “Ma’am, I don’t know how you got here but I do know that there is no train direct to Baltimore. Years ago there was but not now. Why don’t you just fly?”

Not knowing he meant fly by plane, Vickie took it as an insulting remark and said, “Why don’t you fly yourself!” And she huffed out of there vowing that she will somehow get a train back to Maryland just to spite him. "I will get a train back if it's the last thing I do!" she yelled on the sidewalk in front of the station.

Vickie went back to her motel room and got settled in. She made her plans:

1. Buy seed for her planter at home
2. Buy a Valentines heart wreath for Fred’s urn
3. Visit Aunt Mabel’s grave and say a word or two for her.
4. Pick up a cheeseburger and malt at the dime store
5. Avoid running into Ozro Green, lest he find out who she is

Well, the next day was St. Valentine's Day. Vickie woke up with tears in her eyes. The love of her life is dead and she has really nothing to live for. All she has is her job as an operator. She is just living day to day and knows one day she will join Fred.

She called a cab that picked her up and the driver asked her, “Where to ma’am?”
“Oh, where can I buy some flower seed? Is there a hardware store here?”
“Ma’am this is Mobile, there’s plenty.” He replied.

“Good, I need to go to the hardware store for some seed, then to the city cemetery, and you can wait for me and then to the dime store so I can buy a burger and then take me back to the motel. How’s that for a fair?” she asked him.

“Well, first of all, ma’am, the dime store, all dime stores are gone. Woolworth's, Kresge, Jupiter. Even Ben Franklin. They're all gone. All the big super markets took over. There’s plenty of Wal-Mart’s. There are some dollar stores, like 'Dollar Bills'” he explained to her while driving slowly, looking at her in his rear view mirror.

“I guess I am living in the past. I’m living in the past every time I come here, which isn’t too often. Just take me to the city cemetery office, thanks.” She elaborated briefly.

The City Cemetery
"Vandals had broken into the cemetery last
August and desecrated some graves."

And so the cabbie took her to the cemetery sales office. She got out and the cab stayed there waiting while she went in and to purchase a plastic Valentines heart shaped wreath – a decoration small enough to be placed in front of Fred’s urn in the columbarium. She then proceeded to ask for the grave location of Aunt Mabel as she had forgotten what garden she was buried in. After getting that information she told the desk clerk that she wanted to know how long the decoration will stay on Fred’s spot.

She, the desk clerk, replied inquisitively, “It will remain there until Easter time when we then dump all old decorations and put up Easter decorations and flowers. Did you want to keep the decoration before it is dumped in Easter? You’d have to come and pick it up yourself.”

“No, I don’t think I’ll be coming back. This will probably be the last time I see Fred.”

At that moment, the desk clerk’s mouth opened and she asked, “Fred Summers?”

Vickie said yes and cocked her head looking like a human question mark.

“I am so sorry Mrs. Summers. Vandals had broken into the cemetery last August and desecrated some graves. We later noticed that your husband’s cremation niche in the columbarium was opened and the urn missing . . .” she was explaining this when all of a sudden Vickie almost collapsed as if her own heart had sunk to the floor.

The clerk helped her to a chair and and asked if she was OK. Vickie nodded and the clerk asked if she would like some water. Vickie said no.

The clerk continued, “It was the strangest thing because we didn’t notice it right away. In any event, we had tried to contact you, but the mail was undeliverable and your phone was disconnected. We had no way to contact you or any other relatives.”

Vickie, after regaining her composure, responded, “Oh I am sorry. Poor Fred! I never received any mail because I had moved from our home to a small apartment. I never got a phone. You see, I’m a telephone operator and I’m on the phone 40 hours a week. I don’t need to be on the phone at home. After all, I have no family left to call.”

The clerk felt sorry for Vickie. Day after day this clerk dealt with funerals and burials and grieving families. She was touched by Vickie’s sadness and said, “You know I’m gonna close the office early today. I see you have a cab out there waiting. Send him on his way. I’ll take you back to your room if you want or drop you off. I’m going get out of here also because some gentleman keeps pestering me about some crime.”

Vickie, grateful, said, ”Okay we’ll send that cab off. Who’s this guy that keeps a-pesterin’?”

The clerk, whose name was Josie Shaffer, said, “I don’t remember his name – hmmm. He said he was-a comin’ as soon as he gets a cab.”

“I guess I got the only available cab. Hey cabbie . . .” she called to the driver “This kind lady will bring me back. Here’s your fare and tip. You can go.”

The cabbie replied, “OK ‘cause I got another call to bring someone right back here.”

“Well you do just that. Just don’t tell him the office will be closed by time he gets here, ha ha he. At least that way you can get the extra fare from him,” said Josie.

Then Josie said, “Let me lock up and we’ll be on our way. Keep your heart for now and later on I’ll get the groundskeeper to put up a temporary heart at the niche for you. Again, I am so sorry. By the way, I do remember the name of that feller – Green . . . Oswald Green or somethin’”.

“Ozro Green. I met him on the train. You know . . . .here’s the funny thing about this – the ticket clerk at the train station said there was no train from Baltimore to Mobile. Yet Ozro Green and me were on the same train.” Vickie revealed.

“Well, I just don’t know. "I could’ve sworn he said he just flew in from up North and that he needed to come look at some burial records for his book, “ stated Josie.

“Flew in? He sat down – right next to me . . . on the coldest train I’ve ever been on, “ Vickie stated with surprise.

“Well, Mrs. Summers, maybe you flew in and didn’t know. Maybe he came in on a train and he didn’t know. But all I know is you’re both here and you and me better drive off before this guy shows up and asks me to re-open the office, “ Josie reasoned.

And off they went. Vickie noticed that Josie was driving a Plymouth and briefly mentioned that Fred used to have a Plymouth. Then thinking about the stolen urn Victoria had an idea.

“Josie, I am much obliged that you are taking me back and wanted to ask a bit of a favor, considerin’ I have no idea where my husband’s ashes are, “ Vickie said.

Josie told her to go on. “If it isn’t too far off the beaten path, there’s a dirt road short cut that actually goes past where my husband suffered a heart attack. Since you'll be puttin' a temporary decoration on Fred's niche, maybe I can at least leave this Valentine heart there to mark where he died?”

“Vickie, I will do that for you. I know where you are talking about as rumors were spread about the whole incident that happened back then. I never believed any of it. The story kept changing. Anyways, the dirt road is blacktop now; it’s no big deal,” Josie said with compassion agreeing to drive there.

Ozro Green and the Cabbie
The cabbie explained that he’ll get to see
the grave of the four clowns who
were supposedly buried. 

On the way there they drove past the same cabbie who was headed in the opposite direction to the cemetery. Upon arriving at the cemetery, and seeing that the office was closed for the day, the cabbie was instructed by the patron – Mr. Ozro Green – to head back to his motel. As strange as coincidences are, and they do happen,  the cabbie asked if it were OK for him to take a shortcut back to the motel. The passenger said yes, especially after the cabbie explained that he’ll get to see the grave of the four clowns who were supposedly buried and re-buried by the authorities.

Being a writer and journalist, Ozro has now found another source, a taxi driver, to glean information about the clown incident. The cabbie spilled the beans about the death of Fred Summers at that mass grave and so Ozro then put two and two together regarding Victoria Summers.

“It’s funny. I flew down here and on my way down on the plane I sat next to a lady claiming to be Victoria Summers. . . “ Ozro said as he was putting pieces of an old puzzle together to draw a conclusion for his book. “. . . She never looked out of the window. Kept looking down. Very sad and lonely, as if she was dying or on her way from a funeral. She kept complaining about being cold, but the plane was very warm, too warm to be precise.”

He continued, “When we landed, I got off the plane, but she sat there. As I was leaving I told the stewardess that she – Victoria, that is – may need help getting off. The stewardess came back and said that Victoria already left, that she was gone. Strange, isn’t?”

“Strange? Downright spooky, suh! It ain’t Halloween it’s Valentines Day,” said the cabbie and they both laughed on their way back to the motel via the shortcut.

“I’m going to let you in on a little secret, since you bein’ writin’ a book and all,” blurted the cabbie while he made a left turn. Then he fell silent, because he didn't want to share too much for fear of getting on Mr. Green's wrong side.

“I’ll make it worth your while if you give me some good juice on the Clown Incident as long as they aren’t simple rumors. Go ahead,” advised Mr. Green.

“Well, the lady I picked up at your motel, by the ways, I took to the same cemetery. You both shoulda just came together. She left with the cemetery lady and they told me not to tell you, but look, I’m a-tryin’ to live like an honest man,” explained the cabbie.

He continued, "Fred Summers was killed by those clowns because he walked on their graves. that's what I believe. She has to be his widow."

“This is weirder than anything. It must have been Mrs. Summers. We seem to be sharing the same route somehow. Karma? But I can’t reason why,” pondered Ozro Green aloud, starting to get chills up his back.

The Clown Grave Site
“If it isn’t too far off the beaten path,
there’s a dirt road short cut."

Well, fifteen minutes ahead of the cabbie and his passenger, Vickie and Josie arrive at the spot where the clown graveyard was, the place where Fred suffered his heart attack.

“You know Josie, you probably weren’t around then, but they found my husband's body over the spot where those clown bones were buried . . . and his pant leg was snagged on barbed wire . . and he was gripping a sign . . .” Victoria was telling her with tears in her eyes. 

“Vickie, you don’t have to talk about it, let’s just put the heart up and leave,” Josie said to reassure her.

After the time of Fred's demise, after a quick police investigation, and after the funeral, Vickie could not find the strength to go see where Fred had his heart attack. She devoted more time to taking care of and visiting Aunt Mabel for that short period of time. Vickie was determined this time to muster up the courage and face it - see where husband died and settle the many years of uneasiness - to close her case once and for all. Valentine's Day with her heart and her love will make peace with her.

She sat in the car when it it pulled up to the area which was supposedly the clown graves. Now the area looked a bit different. Aside from the road being paved, there was a simple wooden picket fence surrounding the area where the clown bones were allegedly buried. He fence itself needed painting and the tree nearby was still there. Since it was winter, the ground was hard, the grass was brown, but from the looks of it, someone had to have come and at least clean up the area and trim the grass and pull all the weeds. At least this was done in the fall or early November.

There were no signs designating this as a burial site, nor were there any warning or “Keep Out” signs. Most likely, the county decided to make it look respectable and ward off vandals or rumors. And this seemed to do the trick.

After a few minutes of staring and thinking, Vickie opened the door. She told Josie to wait in the car that as soon as she hangs the wreath on the fence and says a few words that they can be on their way. So Vickie gets out and walks over to the area and stands before the picket fence.

She had a piece of yarn with her which she affixed to the back of the heart wreath. After doing that she tied
“Happy Valentines Day, Fred.
I love you."
the yarn onto the fence, straightened the heart and stepped back.

“It’s been a long time, “ she said aloud looking at the wreath and the grave area. “Happy Valentines Day, Fred. I love you and I miss you. Soon I will be with you,”

From behind the big old tree a voice was heard “Happy Valentines, Vickie. I give you my heart”.

And from behind that tree stepped a spectre who looked like Fred! He held out his right hand and walked on the clown graves towards Vickie.

Vickie was in shock – total shock.

She could not move or speak. As he got closer she saw a black and gray and beating human heart in his hand, as if he was trying to give it to her. When the spirit was 3 feet away the heart crumbled into dust and the spirit disappeared into the ground.

Then there was a loud scream coming from the Plymouth. It was Josie who happened to turn and witness Fred’s ghost briefly and see it disappear. She then started the car and sped off leaving Vickie standing there all alone.

The Train The Cab and the Radio

Vickie was able to move again. She stiffly headed onto the blacktop - in shock - and within an instant she was hit and killed by a speeding car. It was the cabbie. Yes he took the same route as Josie but he was speeding very fast, as cabbies occasionally do.

In order to avoid hitting her he swerved up onto the clown burial ground and hit the tree. Somehow, he did not avoid her, of course. The car hit her and ran over her body as it skidded off the slick black top and into the tree by the clown grave site.

Ozro was able to get out of the back seat of the cab, with just a slight scratch on his forehead. He shook himself and ran over to Vickie’s body. BUT - There was no body. There was no blood. In a distance he heard the rumble of a train accelerating on its tracks and he got more chills up and down his body as he heard a train whistle. There are no tracks or trains nearby this side of town. Yet he heard it as clear as day.
The sound of the train faded away.

After being unable to find Vickie, he made his way back to the cab. He noticed the Valentines heart hanging from the fence. Most of the rest of the fence was knocked down by the cab. The tree itself seemed to suffer trunk damage from the car, which was totaled, with anti-freeze steam filling the air.

Ozro then realized that he needed to get the cabbie out and see if he needed help. He couldn’t open the driver’s door nor could he see in the frosty window. So he called the cabbie but there was no reply. Then he heard a faint “hospital” come from the cab. The cabbie was still alive. So Ozro tried to get the cabbie out from the other door but it was too badly damaged to open.

He reasoned he needed a rock or something to break open the window and try and help the cabbie or even use the dispatch to call for help. So Ozro went looking for a rock but the area was too clean, except for the wreckage. He went around the tree and found . . .
a brass urn.
He went around the tree and 
found a brass urn frozen to 
the ground and pried it up.

Ozro was then filled with fright but determined enough to save a life. He grabbed the urn, which was frozen to the ground and pried it up. There was a memorial plate on it. It said “Fred Summers the Love of My Life”. Ozro took the urn and was able to smash the cabbie’s window open. As he did that the urn cracked open and the last remains of Fred summers fell all over – on the car, on the cabbie, on the ground and on Ozro himself. Nevertheless, he was able to reach in for the radio and call dispatch for help.

As he was calling “Dispatch, dispatch come in, we need and ambulance!” the cabbie had a death rattle and breathed his last. Ozro, disappointed, put the radio down and looked for Vickie one last time. He tried to brush off the ashes but they would not budge, as if they were glued to him. Ashes or not, he was determined to find her so he can see if she was still alive.

“I know we saw her. We hit her. I heard the thump of her body. She didn’t look right – sort of pale, and sad.” He thought to himself. He looked under the cab, all around, but she was gone.

He then realized that he needed to get out of there, especially before dark or he freezes to death, which ever comes first. He reached in for the radio and called “Dispatch dispatch please help this is no joke!”

He then heard some static and tried adjusting the volume. Then he heard laughing from the radio. He heard the laughing from the Circus Clowns From The Grave.

The Clowns always get the last laugh.

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