"Pocahontas Parkway Spirits Revisited"
Benj. N. Keys, Jr.
Indians on horseback dashing along the Parkway and some even occasionally riding right through passing cars and trucks as they darted back and forth across the busy roadway. Late night drum beats and wild chanting coming from the distant woodlands adjoining the Parkway…..ghostly spirits holding torches allowing themselves to be seen watching the workmen from woody hilltops while others enjoyed darting around as well as through the buildings at the toll booths! Many of these spirits found simple pleasure in keeping the toll booth workers upset by continually ‘banging’ on the backs of the metal maintenance buildings. The happenings became an almost daily ritual and were witnessed by a multitude of workers as well as by scores of other reliable witnesses. Thus, the beginning of a series of incredible paranormal happenings that to this day continue to stigmatize the Pocahontas Parkway whenever the name is mentioned! Some say that an occasional happening still occurs but on a less reliable basis. One night a tollbooth worker, who was enjoying her lunch break, suddenly lost interest in eating when her can of Soda kept moving all over the table. She dedicated it to the ‘spirits’ who wanted it much more than she did and went back to work in the safety of her booth. You have to admit things like this could serve to keep the boredom down!
Reports of paranormal happenings began in early summer of the year 2000 and soon attracted the attention of Chris Dovi, a reporter for the Richmond Times Dispatch. Instantly, Chris had a feature story on the streets covering the reported strange happenings! Once the article hit the street, hordes of thrill seekers packed coolers with beer and lunches and grabbed blankets to relax on. They soon flooded the area hoping to catch a glimpse of what might turn out to be a ‘once in a lifetime’ happening, a ghost sighting! What followed could not have been anticipated by anyone short of a Psychic and caught everyone involved in the operation of the roadway off guard! Scores of thrill seekers began to park illegally either on or along the sides of the busy high speed parkway! Many could be seen hanging like cocoons off the Parkway overpasses as well as trespassing on any nearby private property at all hours of the day or night!
Reports had stated that the ‘entities’ were being seen in the wee hours of the morning, usually after 1:00 am, so the diehards who came were well prepared to spend the entire night. They were so determined to ‘see something’ they continued to come back night after night. Before long however, instead of seeing ghostly spirits, most were beginning to see police! Safety along the busy parkway became so compromised that both the state police and county police had to be called in to control the crowds. Another article had to be published ‘post haste’ by the newspaper warning people of the illegalities as well as the eminent dangers involved in parking along the highway! Police soon confirmed that there had been no actual sightings by anyone except a few who may have been blessed with an overzealous imagination or ‘one too many’ from their beer coolers. After a few days the boredom caused the crowds to abate and still no one came forth to claim that they had actually seen or heard anything. A few very reliable groups did manage to record some of the drum-beats and chanting but they kept quiet and guarded their tapes zealously to prevent another onslaught of sightseers!
One person was overheard to remark that it would have been a very foolish Indian, ghost or otherwise, who would have made himself known to these crowds! Suspicions even began to circulate that the whole thing had been a clever publicity stunt to get exposure for the expensive toll road and get it off to a good start! Well, for that matter it did get a real work-out during the ordeal! The rumor however, was soon vehemently denied by roadway officials but many continue to believe it to this day!
There are a few die-hards who refuse to give up and remain adamant that some day or night they will see eventually ‘see something’. Those poor souls can still be occasionally found parked on the side roads and overpasses each night, as bleary eyed as ever, waiting and hoping for that ‘once in a lifetime’ sighting to take place.
After the crowds finally abated it was time for the professional paranormal investigators to intercede! Armed with the proper equipment, they went to work, dedicated to a fault. Their goal was to find the truth! Were there actually restless spirits roaming the areas making it known they were very unhappy that a modern express highway had been built directly over their ancient village sites and resting places? It had long been known that this area had been involved in many bloody battles during both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Could it be that they too were playing a part in these happenings? Extensive research of historical records soon gave credence to both possibilities!
Interviews with neighbors that have lived on lands adjoining the parkway most of their life, swear they have heard the drum-beats and chanting in the early hours of the morning but have become so accustomed to them they simply shrug them off! They had been told by their ancestors that these noises were being made by the ghosts of the Indians who once lived there and that was good enough reason to ignore them and let them be! Not a single person would admit that they were interested enough to have gone out to learn what was causing all those strange noises! After hearing the drumbeats and chantings myself, I really can’t fault them. There are just too many places in the all those thousands of acres of woodlands, swamps and croplands for Indian Ghosts seeking revenge, to hide and maybe ‘pounce’ on you when you pass!
Records and dated material prove that Native Americans had indeed deemed this area, at the ‘Falles of the James’, to be a most idyllic and sacred place to live and bury their dead. First inhabitants had been the Algonquian Indians. Next came the settlers who turned the area into an agricultural plantation. Due to the proximity of the area to the City of Richmond, both the Revolutionary War and Civil War had also left their impact on the land. With all this prehistory it may even be far more than just the restless souls of Indians who are furious in having their eternal ‘resting places’ disturbed. During one of the investigations I had one very excited person come running up to me to tell me that he had just seen a Confederate Soldier in full uniform on horseback swinging a sword over his head ride right past him at the edge of an adjacent field! From the look on his face, there was no doubt that he must have seen something! Unless the ‘soldier’ comes back that way when someone is around to photograph him, we may never be able to confirm what the guy saw!
Our investigation of the Indians took scores of sleepless nights but the end results were amazing. One night on a lark, I decided to attempt to communicate with the spirits of the dead buried in the mounds so I stood atop one of the larger of the mounds and called to them in their ancient Algonquain Indian Tongue. A few years back, I had acquired a rare copy of the ancient Algonquain language from the early 1600’s and had been attempting to learn to speak it proficiently in case I ever had the opportunity to use it. Surely there would be no better time than this! The first few words had barely left my mouth when I heard a popping hissing sound and was startled to see what appeared to be a bolt of horizontal lightning slowly coming toward me at a height of about 6 feet above the ground. It hit the mound in front of me and a giant crack opened up! Why it did not cause my demise I will never know! No doubt, I had done something out of the 'ordinary’ and now I had to face the consequences! From that crack arose one of the strangest ectomists I had ever encountered. Then the faces of animals began to appear in the mists! I had no problem remembering the old Indian legends that tell how the spirits of Indians can come back to visit this dimension but only if they come back in the form of animals! The first ‘spirit’ to appear and the most outstanding of all was the Spirit of the Great White Wolf who supposedly watches over all that are buried there. Then other ectomists contained the faces of foxes, coyotes, beaver as well as one very mean looking face of a sort none of us would dare identify. Afterwards, none of us could understand how we managed, but luckily we did take numerous pictures! The real content of them did not become apparent until later when we got home and downloaded. Many were so awesome that a novice could have easily gone into shock! I can look back now and laugh but back then what was taking place was a serious matter indeed and things were happening too quickly for anyone to comprehend! What had we done! Had we gone too far and opened Pandora's Box? The Indians must have understood my attempt to communicate with them in their ancient language and thought I was here on their behalf to challenge the parkway's right to disturb their eternal rest! If so, I had ‘bit’ off more than I could chew had suddenly become overloaded!
With the help of the very latest in electronic devices there was no remaining doubt that the old legends were now been confirmed! These spirits were indeed restless! Were they going to take revenge on me if I did not do something about the highway that had passed right over and through many of their old village sites and burial mounds? No doubt about it, I had definitely gotten myself in between a ‘rock and a hard place’! I caught myself constantly looking behind me for a long time afterwards!
Many people feel that civilization’s intrusion is immoral when it disturbs the resting places of those who have gone before us but, the matter has to be looked at realistically! What other recourse does society have? We live in a rapidly expanding world where it is no longer a viable option to set aside to many areas as ‘protected historical sites’ when the population is exploding at such a rapid rate. The need for expansion in both residential and business areas and the need for more highways is now of prime importance. It is not only here at the Pocahontas Parkway but the same all over the world. Comparably speaking, this particular area is only one of a multitude of such places with a rich historical heritage. For instance, the entire city of Richmond is built on identical lands and under identical conditions yet we rarely stop to think about what might have once been when we enter our homes or drive down the streets.
On-going paranormal investigations all over the world constantly provide proof of extraordinary happenings similar to the ones that have taken place on the lands adjoining the Pocahontas Parkway. Ever so frequently, some incredible paranormal happenings will spill over into our world without any sort of rational explanation. Scientists have always suspected that a parallel world adjoined ours but it has only recently become a proven reality with the advent of the latest advances in electronic technology! Incredible new devices and technology are beginning to open doorways that allow us to see just how intricately everything fits together into one Giant Metaphysical Matrix, the backbone of the Universe! Things that scientists once could only hypothesize have now become a reality. Even our pictures bear mute proof of this!
It has not been that long ago that the same held true in the field of medicine. Only after the microscope was invented did it became possible to see and understand another world that existed around us and affected our daily lives. With its use, it was now possible to identify and defend mankind from the encroaching world of diseases.
To those who believe and would love to learn if paranormal entities really did or still do inhabit the parkway area, we have provided ample pictures which will allow you to view the results of our endeavors.
Today it is no longer feasible to visit the lands adjoining the Pocahontas Parkway due to changes in ownership and the stigma that was created by the crowds who ‘trashed’ and trespassed the area. However, we are confident that our many incredible pictures will be convincing to even the most ardent ‘doubters’ that something paranormal did occur there! By viewing them, we afford you the same privilege we enjoyed! View the pictures and then you make up your own mind.
Interests in the paranormal world is increasing as can be attested to by the increasing number of clubs with their rapidly expanding memberships. As always, the paranormal world will no doubt continue to be exploited by sensation seekers, but the real truth is out there if you are truly interested and care enough to seek it out. All that is necessary for exploration is a good digital camera, a computer and the knowledge of how to use them to your best advantage. The human eye can only occasionally see what the infrared capabilities of the digital camera lens sees every time.
One last but very important factor, make sure you have permission to intrude on both private and public lands! Treat them with the same respect that you would want to be treated if they belonged to you! If you go about it right you will be rewarded with an awesome and wonderful new dimension to explore!
A major point to remember. This parallel world is a highly complex and wonderfully world most definitely devised by a supreme deity and therefore should be afforded reverence. The time is right for us to begin learning more about this realm and how it could affect our future on this planet! Could it be the ancient ones are trying to tell us something before it is too late?
May the Spirits of the Ancient Ones as well as all the others who still choose to reside in Mortmain on the lands alongside or under the Pocahontas Parkway, Forever Rest in Peace!
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