Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 15:43:21 +0100
From: Paulette Boyd (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: The Drowning Lady
This is a story related to me by a close personal friend, and judging by her character, and the look on her face as she told me, I judged it to be true. What's so strange, however, is the way the scenery seemed to change from the river bank to that of an ocean view. Please read, and tell me what you think.
Kathy, her husband, and another couple were spending the weekend camping at a secluded spot on the Clinch River. The other three had left camp earlier, intent on catching fish for their supper, traveling about a mile down the river to a special spot, excellent for fishing. Alone at the camp, Kathy decided to enjoy her privacy by bathing in the river. Finding a hidden spot below the camp, soap in hand, she waded out into the river to a spot of waist deep water, about half way across the stream. There she began her bathing rituals. As she enjoyed the cool water, she was suddenly startled by the sound of a large splash a short distance away, as though someone had fallen or dived into the water. Thinking her privacy had been invaded by an unexpected swimmer, she searched the area the sound came from, and along the river bank for signs of who ever it might be. There was no one in sight, either on the bank, or in the water. She returned to her bath.
Suddenly her attention was caught by movement on a high rock ledge protruding into the water a short distance away. To her shock, a woman, clothed in a long, flowing gown, her long hair swaying in the breeze, stood there. The surrounding scenery had magically changed--where the lady stood, suspended on the edge of the rock, was surrounded by empty blue sky-not the tree lined embankments that should be in view. The water, itself, had also changed from the dark color of the river, to a clear, crystal blue. Seaweed swayed at it's depths, amidst coral formations.
As Kathy stood there frozen in shock, the woman began to fall, feet first, into the water below. Time seemed to slow, as Kathy watched the woman sink beneath the water, her hair spreading out around her as she descended. Tiny bubbles arose around her, as she sank slowly to the bottom, and from sight, among the seaweed growing there. The woman did not struggle as she sank slowly into the watery depths.
As she disappeared from view, time seemed to return to a normal pace, and Kathy was released from her trance like state. The ocean view had vanished, and no sign of the woman was seen. The entire episode had had a dream-like quality. Shaken, Kathy exited the river, and returned to camp, where she zipped herself in her tent, to await the return of her husband and friends.
Sometime later, the fishing party returned, to find a shaken Kathy, visibly upset by what she had witnessed. As she told her story, the men grew quiet. Then, as she finished her description of the woman, and her plunge into the water, her husband chuckled quietly. Thinking that HE had lost his mind, to laugh at such a story, she asked him what could possibly be funny about what she had witnessed. Putting his arm around her, he said,"Honey, you just saw a ghost. That woman died years ago, in fact, they buried her right over there in that old fence row." Even more shaken than before, and somewhat disbelieving, Kathy pressed for details. It seems that, in the early 1920's, a woman's body was found along the river bank near where Kathy had sighted the woman fall into the water. She was never identified, and since no one claimed her body, she had been buried by the owner of the land along this particular section of river, in the old fence row, and in an unmarked grave. The law, being very lax in the area at the time the lady was found, made no investigation that proved fruitful, in either determining who she was, or how her drowned body had gotten there. The mystery was never solved, and her spirit is apparently not at rest. Many different people have witnessed exactly what Kathy had seen--the lady falling to her death in the water below.
Did she fall? Or was it suicide? And what of the ocean view around the ethereal form? Could she have died somewhere far away, and her body transported to lie in the murky waters of the Clinch? Perhaps we will never know, but let us hope that her restless spirit will soon find peace. (This story is posted at my site)