Long ago when I was an early teen (1976, in Massachusetts) I used to go visit my friend Steve. His home was about 2 miles away if I went by road, and a mile away if I went through the woods. I usually walked through the woods, because it was faster and I like the forest. One thing I always passed was an old mill. It was said to be from the time of the revolution. It was deep in the woods, abandoned, falling apart, and was often used by the high school kids as a place to hang out and drink.
One day, I'm heading to Steve's house when I pass the mill. This is about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, on a Saturday. His brother, Kyle is splayed near the creek where the waterwheel used to be. It's weird to see him here. He calls me over. I ask what's going on and he tells me he's really drunk. I ask if I can help him home, he says "No, but give this to my dad." He unsnaps a leather bracelet that he always wore. It had his name stamped on it. He hands it to me and I ask again if he wants me to help him get home. He says "No, just give that to dad."
I ran the rest of the way to Steve's house. I get there to find that the family is frantic. A police officer is there, taking information. Apparently, Kyle has been missing for more than a day, and everybody is panicking. I tell them I just saw him, and show the bracelet to his dad. They begin to freak and ask me where I found him and why I have his bracelet. I explain the incident at the mill. Dad and the police officer take off for it. Steve was really freaking, his mom's in a panic, I don't know what to do.
Eventually Steve's dad comes back with the news that Kyle is dead. Now chaos is theme in the home. After a while, a cop takes me home where I answer some more questions. My folks are concerned, as they should be.
A couple of days later they come back to take my statement again. Why? I didn't get an answer. One of the folks talking with me is a psychologist. The officer talks with my dad in another room. Why? Yes, I found Kyle, so what?
It turns out that the coroner who was called to the scene later determined that Kyle's cause of death was alcohol poisoning. However, what was concerning everybody was the fact that the coroner put Kyle's time of death at many hours before I found him and supposedly talked with him. The coroner concluded it was likely he had died the night before and had laid undiscovered until I stumbled by, and therefore could not possibly have had the conversation I reported.
How do I account for this? Several possibilities...
- The coroner is really wrong with his time-of-death estimate. *Verdict: Unlikely*
- I somehow stumbled upon the spirit of Kyle, who guided me to bring his parents to him and free his spirit from some kind of torment.*Verdict: nonsense*
- I stumbled upon his corpse, and somehow managed to construct the entire event in my mind, because it was somehow less traumatic to have talked with him than to have found a dead guy. *Verdict: Probably*