The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Curiousness leads to haunting finds

Viewpoint by Karen Gavis/se news editor

When I was a child, I loved to dig. And I still do. But now, instead of trying to find out if I can dig all the way to China, I look for answers to other things.

Research is part of college, something we inevitably have to do. Occasionally, though, I research just because I am curious.

As a child, I may have asked too many questions because my father continually said to me, “Curiosity is what killed the cat.” Well, curiosity has not killed me yet, but I have realized that some things uncovered while digging can haunt a person quite literally.

Several years ago, I began researching the area folklore of my hometown in Missouri. A light appears on rural farmland similar to the lights in Marfa, Texas. The most prevailing legend that attempts to explain its occurrence says it is the ghost of a Haitian slave hanged near the crossroads. I originally dismissed the stories as tall tales — all but one. My father said it appeared on the end of his tractor when he was plowing a field late one evening.

I knew he was not a storyteller, so I began investigating, recalling a tree in the area that locals referred to as “the hanging tree.” In the process of interviewing elders, I discovered that, although no longer in existence, there was once a town in that area named none other than Crossroads.

The research I have done on that subject haunts me so much that one night, I dreamed the corpse of a black man was buried in my front yard.

That is where some stories are — buried. You have to dig and pry to get them, and sometimes what you find is far from glamorous.

Recently, research on another topic led me to a cemetery in Arlington with rows and rows of tiny little gravestones for babies, many without names. The graves were identified by numbers or first name only.

It was a historic place, and the cemetery once belonged to a home for unwed mothers. I do not need to close my eyes for what I saw to haunt me.

Will I quit digging? No. Will I keep writing? Yes, because their stories and others wait to be told.

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