The Screamer in White
Ever since the 1920s, the people that live near Whites Bluff in Dickson County have talked about the white screamer of the woods. An unidentified creature that screams in the night and sometimes appears as a misty apparition. Some say its a stray mountain lion, others a banshee, while some think that its a bigfoot-like creature that escaped from a circus train. People have recorded the screams and say that they sound almost like a woman. They say if you go walking in the hollow around nightfall along Trace Creek, you might hear the screams or see a ghostly white figure. So, to say the least, most of the local people just dont know what they have on their hands. One thing is for surethe people that live around Trace Creek say it can still be heard or even seen.
On a rainy afternoon, Debbie and Will Henderson explored the finished log house that had just been built for them on fortythree acres of property they had purchased along Trace Creek Road. They were beginning to adjust to their new life as recent retirees from the big city and settle in to the quieter surroundings (crickets, owls and whippoorwills as opposed to sirens and busy streets). They were the only city transplants in the area in quite a long time and it certainly became the talk around Whites Bluff. The nearest neighbors, the Jacksons, were more than a little perturbed because they had planned to buy back the forty-three acres that they had put up for sale in the spring. They had just raised enough money to buy it back. They had sold the property and bought it back twice already. It was part of a three-hundred-acre family plot of land divided up amongst several family members and it had some of the most prime timber and supreme scenery on it. Trouble was, the Hendersons bought it up in February and were totally moved in by the end of April. Old man Jackson would not give up his ancestral land that easily. In fact, he began to plan his next move. After
all, he was retired now from being the manager at the sawmill and had nothing better to occupy his time.
Debbie sat looking out of the kitchen window that opened to a meadow that sloped off into a wooded hollow. The rain had subsided as the day waned.
I dont think we could have asked for a better view for our breakfast nook, honey!
Agreed, Will responded, as he sat her glass of pinot noir down in front of her. Then, he opened the window to hear the sounds of the approaching evening and they watched the light fade and the shadows lengthen across the meadow.
Its amazing how much I dont miss the noise of Poplar Avenue, she said sipping the wine and looking further out to the forest-clad hills surrounding the hollow below them.
Agreed again, Will said with a smile, while he looked out, too.
As the twilight faded, they both heard a strange noise coming from the woods just beyond the meadow; it sounded like a womans scream. They were both quite alarmed and went down into the meadow. The sound faded and disappeared once they got there. Will decided they should phone the sheriff and let him know.
Yep, its the white screamer again, the sheriff responded casually.
The white wha? Will answered.
A local legend, sir. We aint sure what it is exactly, some kind of supernatural thing many folks believe. People in the area have been hearing the sound for years. Its nothing to be alarmed about. Thank you for your call.
Sheriff says its a local legend. Some supernatural noise that the locals know about; been around for years, Will said after taking a sip of wine.
Well, that doesnt sound all that comforting, Debbie said, as she swirled her wine. Let me ask Mary Cooper about this, shes lived in the area for years and probably can tell us a little more.
Mary Cooper was a local real estate agent nearing retirement age herself who knew a little something about the history of the area. She met with the coup
le in their kitchen the next day and told them all she knew, which was mostly just conjectures about what the local people thought the source of the noise might be, such as the story about a wild man from Borneo that escaped from a wrecked train. Then she promised them that she would ask her 81-year-old mother, who might know more.
That night Debbie had a vivid dream. There were other instances when she had had dreams about past events that turned out to be true. Whether or not it was a curse or a gift is hard to say. In this dream, she was standing in a clearing on a hill overlooking a beautiful creek hollow. Suddenly, she saw a group of townspeople dressed as if they were living in the 1800s, holding flaming torches and weapons of all sorts, approaching a small cabin to her right.
Thats where the boy lives, in that cabin. The boy that drowned my daughter! a man shouted to her right. The mob suddenly ran up to the cabin and set it ablaze. After a few minutes, a figure with pale skin jumped out of the window and ran towards the hollow. It was a young man, covered in flames. There he goes, get him, someone in the crowd yelled and they took off after him. A moment after this, a blood-curdling scream came from inside the cabin. Debbie awoke with a start, shivering and shaking all over. She told her husband about her dream. He was quite concerned and they both began to wonder what was happening to their idyllic retirement.
That night, they heard the sound againit even seemed a little closer to the house. Will investigated again but still found nothing. This continued for several nights. On the fifth night, Debbie had another dream. This time, it was of a family from the around the 20s. She was down in the hollow this time. She heard the same scream from the dream a few nights ago and saw a man in overalls running up a hill towards the sound with a shotgun in his hand. A few minutes later, she heard screams from the house in the hollow that sounded l
ike multiple people, most likely a woman and some children. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a badly disfigured, pale figure run into the woods with blood all over his tattered clothes. She swore she saw him drop something that looked like a human arm! Once again, she awoke in a cold sweat. This time she was in a panic. Will did the best that he could to comfort her but was at a loss as to how he could get this whole business to end.
The screaming continued each night until the seventh night. It was just past twilight and the meadow was lit up by a full moon. Unlike the other instances, the screaming was followed by a female cry of Help me! Someone please help me! coming from down in the hollow. Both Will and Debbie took off for the hollow, sensing something was different about this evening. They fought their way through the woods towards the sound and ran along the creek for about a quarter of a mile. A female voice was still crying out for help.
Finally, they reached an area that had younger trees than the surrounding forest and saw what looked to be a stone foundation of an old house. About twenty yards away were three small headstones all in a row. A few more yards in the woods lay Sally Jackson who had tripped and fallen in the undergrowth. She was clutching her leg, still calling for help. Her skin was covered in white make-up; her eyes had badly drawn dark circles under them.
Please dont let him get me! she cried!
Then suddenly there was an unearthly scream coming from the hill above them, just like in Debbies dream. The very next instant, their gaze was drawn to the hill overlooking the hollow they were in. They saw a glowing amongst the trees on the hillside and Debbie swore that for an instant, she caught a whiff of smoke, but no fire was spreading from the area. In that same moment, a vapor appeared on the opposite bank of the creek they were standing near, and then materialized into a glowing, white and badly disfigured m
an that stared at them with a look that could freeze the blood. Will stood between the figure and his wife. A moment later, the figure vanished into a vapor that slowly vanished into the surrounding air. Quickly, Debbie and Will helped Sally up, placing one of her arms around each of their shoulders. Her leg appeared to be broken.
Sally Jackson confessed what her father had her doing each night and their motives on the way to the hospital. Her father told her to dress up in white make-up and make screaming sounds all around the area at night in order to make them want to leave. She apologized and begged their forgiveness. They were stunned and did not respond to her pleas right away. They were still not quite able to come to grips with what had taken place. They decided to forgive Sally for what she had been put up to once they reached the hospital, but still had so many unanswered questions about what they had witnessed.
They received a visit from Mary Cooper about a week later. The screaming sounds had stopped and the eerie figure made no other appearances for the time being. She shared with them what she had learned from her aging mother. I cant believe Ive never heard the whole story about this area. There is quite a lot of detail to it. Apparently, around the very late 1800s a young man, an albino, was hanging around a lake not too far from here on the neighboring land. He was watching a young girl whose name I believe was Ellie Mae Jackson, his neighbor, who had fallen off the bank. He was trying to help save her but could...