Part 2 of an 8 part series

by Philip Wallace

. Manson Pike Astral Fright .

Middle Tennessee is well known as the home to one of the most famous spirits of all time, the Bell Witch. If you are unfamiliar with her, here’s an excellent website to consult: We’re taught about the Bell Witch from an early age here. Some of the stories re plain silly such as if you leave a cup of water out at night and say you don’t believe in her, the witch will turn the water into coke. The one that never failed to raise chills was that if you looked into a mirror and said you didn’t believe in the Bell Witch three times, she would appear in the mirror. To this day, I’ve never been able to pull off denying her three times. But there is a more sinister and evil presence that also once graced Middle Tennessee that frightens me more then the Bell Witch. His name is Charlie.

The ringleader of the Family, Charles Manson, has ties to the region. His mother settled in the Short Mountain area of Cannon County in Tennessee at some point after Charlie had grown up. According to the Ed Sanders book about the Family, when the Family made a cross country jaunt in their black school bus Middle Tennessee was one of the places they stopped by. Charles must have left some of his evil aura behind to torment small children’s dreams, because that’s exactly what happened to me during the mid-seventies.

I was ten years old and had never heard of the devious hippie. I lived on a 5 acre farm in a big two story home. It happened to be just off Manson Pike. I would get spooked sometimes at night since I slept on The second floor alone so I generally slept with the light on all night. I would get very testy if my parents turned the light off before they turned in. One evening I nodded off after reading a book so it was like any normal night. I began to dream about along haired, bearded guy. His hair was dirty and he wore Indian moccasins. He didn’t do anything but dance around and giggle like he was insane. I wasn’t frightened enough to wake up, but I was definitely uneasy about the dude.

I’m oblivious to who this guy was or why he was even in my dreams. The next day I’m getting ready for school when a commercial airs for a soon to be aired television movie called “Helter Skelter” all about the crazed Charles Manson. My father sees me staring intently at the screen and tells me I can’t watch that movie because it’s for adults only. I really had no interest in watching the film, but I amazed that the person in the film looked like the guy in my dream. Maybe I had caught the promo before and the wild hippie leader had imprinted itself on my brain. Or is there the chance that Charlie was just out traveling the astral plane on that evening long ago?

The years have passed and the dream just gets creepier to me. If he was truly out appearing in people’s dreams, was Charlie attracted to my house because of its Manson Pike address? Do I need to even consider the gibberish Manson has uttered about his powers to be true? There have been rumors of devil worshippers in the hollows of Cannon County perhaps connected to Charles and the Family. The skeptic in me usually triumphs over such paranoid thought. I had seen the promo for the movie and therefore dreamed the main character. The only power Manson has is to repel. The rumors in Cannon County were started by moonshiners to Keep people away from their stills. I forget all about such nonsense, but with Halloween around the bend I will no doubt lapse into ten year old innocence again for a short while and I will wonder about Charlie and why he’s never appeared since.

Read Part 3: My Last Trick or Treat Run

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