Where I live in the Ozarks, the end of October is a time where locals have learned that it is best to stay out of the hollows at night. Evil spirits are particular known to haunt the wooded hollows after midnight in late October and early November. Some of these spooky hollow stories became Ozark legends and they are told annually at the various Ozark Halloween haunting festivals.
Apparently people love going to these haunting events to feel scared as long as they believe that they are actually safe. I guess it can be like reading a scary novel, but beware, the haunting in the hollows during these Halloween festivals may seem just like play acting, but there probably is more in these Ozarks hollows than just meets the human eye.
I am not sure why the spirits of the Ozark hollows pick this time of the year to do most of their haunting. Maybe the first killing frost has something to do with it. Perhaps the smell of dying decaying vegetation invigorates the spirits of the dead and reminds them that it is time to come up for their annual All Souls Day reunion.
I also do not know why the spirits prefer the hollows rather than the ridges. Maybe the wind on the hills tear them apart or the late night frosts in the hollows makes it easier for the spirits to locate one another, but more likely, there are portals to the underworld among the many caves of the Ozark river bottoms.
Besides all the private haunting that people living in the Ozarks experience, just before Halloween there are several public state park sponsored haunting events. These state park run Halloween events are exceptionally well done. The Ozark state park haunting events are held in the river bottom hollows surrounded by deep woods, the parks have great scary story tellers, and the spooky atmosphere by candlelight always makes one think that something eerie could actually happen – maybe something could.
The story tellers and the realistic settings at these annual haunting events would do Washington Irving proud. In case you forgot, Washington Irving wrote the world-famous classic “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“. Irving wrote the first story that I read, that gave the spirits in the hollows of the world their undue justice.
We lived in a deep dark Ozark hollow for a few years, so there are things about the hollows that I know about first hand. Where we lived, the nearest neighbors were miles away and we were completely surrounded by conservation forests in the heart of the Ozarks in Shannon Country Missouri.
Shannon County is often said to be in the Twilight Zone. Trolls and unexplainable humanoid type creatures can still be seen even in the day time here. Some say it is because there is too much interbreeding in the county. Others blame the occult influence of the Scottish Rites for the demonic presence. But the real ghost hunters believe that there is a portal to the underworld among the thousands of caves in this very heavily wooded area of the Ozarks.
The hollows of Shannon Country is where few men dare travel alone at night unless they are locked in their cars. Lone people traveling in cars that break down in one of the countless river bottom hollows would rather spend the night in their car then attempt to walk out or even attempt to fix a flat. Those that do spend the night alone in a Shannon County Ozark hollow probably did not sleep much and they probably got some new gray hairs that night.
Like I said, we lived in a deep dark hollow and just look at my hair! I did not venture out much during late night hours but the few times that I did, soon cured me of doing anything that stupid again. I felt safe in the concrete house that we lived in (no kidding) but my wife still tells me about doors that closed themselves and the black snake that she found under the carpet.
The history of our hollow goes back many generations People died on that property even in more recent times. We met three prior owners of that property while we lived there, all confirmed the belief that the hollow was haunted.
One night not long after watching the low-budget Blair Witch Project horror film. I decided that I would teach my dogs a lesson. The dogs were always wandering off into the miles of deep woods that surrounded our property and I wanted to keep them near the house. So, I took a flashlight and slipped into the woods unseen by the dogs. Then I put the flashlight under my face like they did in that movie and came out of the woods roaring like a madman and running toward the dogs.
The six fearless dogs took one look at me and then took off in different directions. I chased them all around the property for what seemed like about 20 minutes. Before long I realized that I was scaring myself, so rather than totally freaking out, I went back in the house. So where did that evil presence come from that freaked me out? Maybe my acting disturbed the real haunter of that hollow? Whatever the case, scaring the dogs worked, after that night the dogs stayed out of the woods at night.
I think something else was going on that night than just my act, because the last time I got that freaked out was when I was camping alone near a ghost town in the Black Mountains that are Southwest of Golden Valley Arizona. That was a very freaky place and still is, but that is another ghost story.
People that came down to our Ozark hollow homestead sometimes freaked out for no reason. Maybe it was mainly the isolation. However, I remember one guy that attended a Bible Study that we were starting at the house, and after the first lesson he totally lost it. He verbally attacked the teaching (intro to the Revelation commentary by Chuck Missler) and then he grabbed his wife and departed the property in a big huff. I don’t think he was reacting against Missler’s doctrine because the guy had no Bible knowledge of his own, but I do have my own theories on why he flipped out.
This guy had lived in his own Shannon County hollow for many years. I think he may have carried along a couple of residents that he did not know he had, and the Bible study set them off. Or maybe the residents of our hollow were still having a feud with the residents of his hollow. Some Shannon County residents are like the original Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. There have been ongoing feuds between the different Scotch/Irish clans almost since their arrival in the Ozarks.
A month or so later, this real McCoy drove down to my place drunk on homemade wine and apologized for his behavior. Guess he needed the alcohol to get the nerve. He said he did not know what came over him that night because I had never done anything bad toward him. Then because he drove past where he should have stopped, his car got stuck in the mud. That was the last time he came down to my property and he stopped showing up at the local church. A neighbor told me that this man was considering joining the local Mormons.
After a few years of living in the hollow we had to move, so I put the place up for sale and tried to sell it myself. I remember one couple particularly because they flew in from another state just to see the property and the property seemed to be everything that they were looking for. I was showing the grounds and everything was going great, but all of a sudden, right out of the blue, the guy tells his wife that they have to leave RIGHT NOW. That is all he would tell her or us and he emphasized the “RIGHT NOW” loud enough to make it very clear that they were leaving RIGHT NOW.
Several days later his wife called and apologized for him. She said she loved the place but some dread came over him like he was about to die there. She said she really loved the place but she would never be able to get her husband to live there.
Then there was a woman who put a contract on the place but three days from closing, she felt that her own broker was putting too much pressure on her to close so she backed out. I figure her spirits vetoed the sale because they felt she could not get along with the local residents.
One thing I did notice is that all these people gave me no indication that they were Christians, so they were totally exposed to whatever was roaming the hollow. I actually loved the place but the biting bugs were really bad in that damp hollow. So, when we moved I said no more hollows.
There were other experiences but I think I said enough. We now live on top of a ridge in the Ozarks but we have to drive through a seasonal river bed hollow a mile down the road to get to a reasonable sized town. We are not in Shannon County anymore but we are about a mile from it, as the crow flies. The river bed canyon hollow we drive through is very scenic in the daytime but at night, it would not be a place where you would want to walk through alone. At night it fits just about every description of what you might imagine that Ichabod Crane experienced.
I remember one night about a year ago, two girls got their car stuck in the mud down there while trying to turn around because the creek was up and they could not cross it. This happened after midnight and they walked up to our place which was about a mile up the road on top of the ridge. They can see the lights in the distance from down there and they walked up the road toward them. I am sure they were whistling in the dark all the way since the road on both sides is lined with deep woods. I have seen a five foot rattlesnake on that road. They were fortunate, the spirits of the hollows seem to prefer loners, at least I have not heard anything to think otherwise. So, travel in groups around Halloween when going through those hollows and you should be safe.
Yeah, the hollow, a mile down our road quite often looks just like this picture at night but I am not about to go down there alone and wait to see if any headless horseman shows up. However, if you want to travel through a Ozark hollow alone at night like some Ichabod Crane, you probably will soon have your own stories to tell about the haunting of the hollows. Or maybe not!
Don Koenig founded www.thepropheticyears.com website in 1999 after almost thirty years of independent study on the Bible and learning from many astute teachers within Christendom. Don created his website to write about Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and his Christian worldviews. Don wrote a free Revelation commentary ebook in 2004 named "The Revelation of Jesus Christ Through The Ages". The World and Church and Bible Prophecy section of this website was started in 2007.