When I was young living in rural Alabama, my sister and our friends made a club to investigate mysteries in the pastures and woods behind our house. So, it comes as no major surprise that I’d eventually begin writing about a club of teenagers (Dee’s Mystery Solvers) who seek to solve mysteries.
Behind our house, an old dirt road divided the dense woods and a large pasture, but the owners finally blocked the old dirt road when I became a teenager. Along the old road were places where people had dumped garbage long before I was even a thought. We found old bottles, shoes, discarded clothes, and other odds and ends that made for interesting “loot.” But also, in the center of the pasture, within sight of our yard, was an old house the pasture owner used for a barn to store hay. Unpainted, and missing parts of the walls and tin roof, this house certainly looked haunted.
My older brother and I had once gone into the old house to investigate. I was only about five years old, so the experience was frightening and exciting at the same time. He had me stand on the ground floor beside the old brick fireplace while he walked up the short spiral wooden staircase to the top floor. He wanted to knock on the fireplace to see if I could hear him from down below, but I never heard the knock.
Later, I went upstairs to find him. About one fourth of an upstairs wall was missing. Outside this open space was a panoramic view of the pasture, trees, and the pond on the next hill. An old iron bed frame stood against the other wall. Rusted hangers hung on an old metal wire with tattered clothes dancing in the breeze. The inside of the house wasn’t as frightening as I had imagined it would be, which is also how most unknown situations can be when one explores. Our minds often paint darker images of the unknown. Of course, my brother and I also read all kinds of scary comics, so in my mind I feared what might actually be hiding in that old house. To my satisfaction and partial disappointment, none of the things I pictured were there. It was rather tame.
Other mysteries abounded during our younger years. Some we never found explanations for why they occurred. One unknown occurrence was what we called the “ghost dog” because this dog barked and howled but we never ever saw it. We learned to accept that he was there, even though we never found him.
My oldest brother lived a while in the old one room shed behind our house during his mid-teens. Even to this day, he talks about the strange things that happened at night in the woods behind that shed. Things that frightened him, and he was never one to show fear.
So many elements during our youth shape us. Our earliest fears, curiosities, and obstacles get stored inside our minds. For writers, this is a wealth of information that later comes out in our stories.
And along comes Dee’s Mystery Solvers. The Beating Heart Beneath Hollow Hill Cemetery is based on an account told to me from a friend years ago. The overall premise is based upon this legend, and the outcome is nothing less than what others discovered about the strange mysteriously beating heart near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
More stories are to follow with Dee’s Mystery Solvers. I enjoy the freshness of how teenagers attempt to discover the truth through adventure and investigation. Writing these accounts brings me back to a younger time when there was so much to learn and new places to explore. Of course now, most of my explorations occur on the page, leading me to places I’ll never find in this world.