CHAPTER 22

TWENTY-TWO

Indiana has always been home to strange phenomena and even stranger tales. Some of it must have roots in the real world, in actual events. Much of it, however, is likely just horseshit. According to folklore, there were flying saucers over Muncie in the 70’s, weird government projects involving MKULTRA in the counties surrounding Bloomington in the 80’s, Mad Man Frankie stalking Boy Scouts from Terre Haute to McFadden’s Bluff, The Grey Lady lingering in Willard Library, a bunch of haunted bridges, Satanist cults, and countless other spook stories and rural legends. The Great Vincennes Ghost Chase was sure to be added to the annals of Hoosier mythology, even if the moniker wasn’t quite accurate. But for those who had been there, those who’d seen it first-hand that late October evening, it was something they’d never forget.

The Devil’s Hot Rod (some say it was driven by a nun who had flipped out and murdered her entire convent, others claim it was the vengeful spirit of James Dean) flew, literally, through town, tatters of torn and bloody shroud (or a nun’s habit) trailing after. And fast on the heels of the spectral Shoebox Ford (it may have been literally ablaze, but probably it was just red) was the Devil’s Host: large, bat-like creatures (there may have been demons riding them, and there was a difference of opinion on whether it may have actually been guys in Klan robes riding ghostly horses or it could have been albino buzzards that only sort of looked like flying hell creatures) but in any case it seemed really, really odd to have Klansmen or buzzards flying right down the street in Vincennes, past the site of the historic Executive Inn where Old US 50 and US 41 and US150 all sort of came together (just like in that ancient legend of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil at the crossroads!) and then in a flash they were gone, but the cackles and howls of the strange chase echoed long after, and some say that when all the otherworldly apparitions reached the stretch of 50 where it crossed over the Wabash River, POOF! They all disappeared in a cloud of brimstone and sulfur, and sometimes, even now, when the moon is full in late October, you can catch a glimpse of the Devil’s Hot Rod screaming across the cement bridge that spans the river, and then vanishing in a burst of green flame, because everyone knows that evil spirits can’t cross running water. That’s just a plain, hard fact, friend. It’s in the Bible. Truth. Look it up.

Either that, or even the Devil hates Illinois.

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