Setting: Futenma, Okinawa, 1960s. Dry Ridge, Kentucky. 1970s to Present Day.
The nightmares began to haunt Anita when she was four or five years old, living in her birthplace of Okinawa. Little Anita Yamashita found herself in a repeating nightmare, running along a deserted beach in her attempt to escape what seemed to be chasing her — the birds. In her young and innocent mind, the sky was darkened by thousands of birds, zooming closer and closer to her as they cried their cacophony in anger against the sky. As she glanced up to see if she was putting any distance between herself and the birds, she was dismayed to discover that the myriad of birds were aiming their droppings at her. As the bird droppings closed in on her, darkness engulfed her, and she felt warmth, only to wake up and find that in her terror, she had wet the bed.
Anita found herself stuck in this recurring nightmare well into her thirties. By then, her birth mother, an Okinawan lady, had fallen ill, and Anita had been adopted at age seven by an American family, the Ziehls. Anita had grown, gotten married, gotten divorced, and then had met the love of her life, Rick Kinman. Rick and Anita have lived happily in Kentucky, where they raised their family.
But the dreams still plagued her nights. By now, her life experience had widened her perspective, and that created a new kind of horror. The birds were no longer birds — the birds became planes, and the bird droppings transformed to bombs. She would shake herself awake from the scene and find herself running to the bathroom.
Perhaps the dreams weren’t a curse. Perhaps they were part of a supernatural gift that was innate in her genetics, as her experiences certainly didn’t limit themselves to dreams. After the Ziehls adopted her, she lived on the base at Futenma. One day she found herself playing behind Frank’s Toy Store. Someone in the toy store family had passed away and was laid out in their home. As Anita was playing, she felt the urge to look up, when she witnessed a ball of fire with a contrail floating out of the neighbors’ window. The fiery orb whirled around the outside of the house a few times and then surged up into the sky and vanished.
When Anita met Rick, they built their family life in Kentucky, in a house that started as a log cabin in the 1870s. Their house had been, at one time, inhabited by the McCoy sisters, and one of the sister’s presence was so strong that to this day, the house is known as the McCoy house. One of the sisters had commit suicide when the suffering of cancer became too much for her, and the Kinmans’ neighbor Walker, who was 90 when he crossed over 10 years ago, related the story of finding her and fetching his father to help cut down her poor body, when he was a boy.
Suicides often ripen a house for paranormal activity. When Anita and Rick began to renovate the old house, as often happens, the renovations stirred up the dissatisfaction of Mary McCoy’s spirit. The activity became so rampant that eventually Anita cried out, “Mary! We are trying to bring our house to its former glory. We love our house, just like you!” That calmed down the activity, although Mary was still keen to make her presence known to Anita, even going so far as making a Pepsi bottle float down into a box, right in front of Anita. Once, a spirit scared Anita’s friend out of the house, appearing in shadow form as it wandered from room to room. This happened shortly after Anita’s adoptive father had crossed over, so she wonders if it was his spirit.
After reading Anita’s experiences, I am now haunted by questions. Were the McCoys members of the famous McCoy family — the ones involved in the Hatfield and McCoy feud? What about Mary? Was she the spirit who had escaped a life riddled with cancer, or was she the sister?
The fiery orb that Anita had witnessed in Okinawa — It seems likely that Anita had witnessed a soul departing the earth. Did that soul find peace?
And Anita’s nightmares…the most disturbing of all…had Anita tuned into a past life? Or had she tuned into one of the civilians who lived in Okinawa during World War II, a battle that cost Okinawa 100,000 lives?
Become a Patron of the Arts of Storytelling and Folklore!
Your patronage of the Arts of Storytelling and Folklore allows me more time to research, speak with people, and spend time crafting truthful-yet-enjoyable tales of personal encounters with the paranormal and small-town folklore, told to me by normal, every-day folks just like you.