Friday, January 21, 2011

Lights and Lizards over Beckley

Around 1997-2002 my grandma lived on Bluestone Rd. in the Bluestone subdivision, located in Beckley. Her house was the very last one on the road, atop a steep hill. However, the road continued on into a dirt/gravel path into the woods.

I'm not dreadfully familiar with the area, but apparently it used to be a coal/lumber "short cut" back before the subdivision was built. It's still fairly active, being used mainly as a party spot.
My grandma's patio doors faced towards the hill, so she had a fairly decent view of the night sky, the hill, and part of the road leading up the hill.

I used to spend the majority of my summers with my grandma, so both of us got used to the way the lights of the cars coming down off the hill looked liked, and more importantly what they sounded liked.

After she had been in the house for a year or so, my grandma started making references to things that just didn't make a whole lot of sense to the rest of the family. She'd nonchalantly mention the "UFOs" over the hill. Sometimes she'd just refer to them as "them" or the "lights."

Despite the fact that my grandma had always been an extremely no-nonsense person, and was still in perfect health at this point, we began to wonder if alzheimer's wasn't starting to set in. At the very least...we just thought she was seeing the cars going up and down the hill and was frightened about being up there all alone.  My grandfather had passed away in September of 1997, after living in the home for only a short time.

Summer came around again, so once more I went up there to stay for a few weeks. We were getting ready for bed, and my grandma was going around the house locking all the doors and shutting all the curtains. When she got to the dining room where the patio doors were, she yelled at me to come quickly. I dashed in there and saw that she was pointing outside.

I'm not sure if I would call it a UFO or what...but there was definitely some strange balls of light bouncing around the hill. There were about five of them, and they kinda just lined themselves up in a row, then moved to make a circle formation.

I'm still not exactly sure what they were. They could have been searchlights, but were much too bright for flashlights. It was summer, so it could have been ball lightening I suppose...but what are the chances of her seeing ball lightening in the same spot on numerous occassions?

My grandma didn't make any other claims to see anything until that following January. One evening my mom called to check in on her. My grandma answered after about 7 rings, screamed into the phone that there was an alligator on her porch, then hung up. Hehehe, my mom tried calling back, but there was no answer. In a panic she called my uncle who was already en route after my grandma had called him to report the alligator, lol.

My uncle gets to the house and in below freezing weather finds my grandma standing on her front porch in her nightgown holding a broom. At her feet was a box. I seriously think my uncle was ready to take her to the nursing home that night, or otherwise have her committed.

However, when he lifted the box, he found this HUGE lizard-like creature. My grandma had said she captured it because she knew no one would have believed her, lol. My uncle's friend is a DNR person, so he agreed to come check this thing out and see what it was. He said it was a Hellbender, a very large amphibian, but it was, like, 3 times normal size.  Most likely it awoke from its "hibernation" early and was out seeking warmth and food.  There are no creeks or bodies of water near this area, so we're still not entirely sure where it came from.  Hehehe, however, that became another thing to tease my grandma about. We kept telling her the "aliens" left it there.

In 2002 I was dating a guy who was extremely interested in UFOs and I had told him about my grandma's claims of the lights. Apparently he had researched WV sightings and that particular area of Beckley was what some believers had deemed a UFO highway.

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