Ingrid Batson

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

The old abandoned lighthouse way out at lonely Oyster Shell Point hides secrets in shadows that whisper prophecy at ebb tide....

Submitted: June 13, 2018

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Submitted: June 13, 2018



Exactly what happened to me in that dreadful wilderness is difficult to explain.  Way down south on Florida’s Forgotten Coast, ruminating in the age-steeped cluster of worm-eaten waterfront wooden structures that lean and sway with the Apalachee tide, the isolated fishing village of Carrabelle cloaks its grim secrets in resolute silence  In this legend-haunted maritime community, there’s a rustic hundred-year-old board and batten building that was, many decades in the fog-shrouded past, used as a one-room schoolhouse.  Its time as a bastion of academia was during the early decades of the twentieth century, although there’s no plaque or sculpture to commemorate the badly weathered edifice’s years of scholarly service.  It now houses the village library.  With a quaint and neatly maintained pecky cypress interior that smells curiously of honeysuckle, it is endowed with a surprising collection of worthy tomes, which thankfully includes journals and diaries of those obscure generations who kept their heads above floodwater by harvesting the seafood bounty of the vast hypnotic deeps of the unfathomable Gulf.

As part and parcel to my research into reports of paranormal and unexplained events occurring in and around Tate’s Hell Swamp, I spent numerous hours in the alluring bijou library.  You can well imagine my surprise when, while thumbing the dusty pages of a very old diary kept by a spinster who lived in companionless solitude, I discovered a spellbinding account which, in remarkably legible handwriting and intelligent vocabulary, detailed a haunting description of what can only be categorized as a truly paranormal (and as yet wholly unexplained) phenomenon.

The literate spinster’s name was Ingrid Batson.  She was an able woman of courage and independence, especially in that day and age, and also considering the hardship of her social situation.  She was the lighthouse tender out at Oyster Shell Point.  Her nostalgic occupation, as it transpired, was the odd twist of fate that made her diary narrative possible - crucial evidence that the swamp known as Tate’s Hell is steeped in witchcraft, the occult, and otherworldly presence.

Ingrid’s history is a sad one.  Her parents had been emigres from Straubing in Lower Bavaria.  As Mrs. Tibbets, the gossip-ready librarian explained, the new arrivals had not been well-liked by locals due to their disconcerting foreign behavior.  It seems the Batsons engaged in vexing rituals during witch sabbats - Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, and Samhain, a/k/a All Hallow’s Eve.  These nighttime revels were considered highly objectionable by the other citizens in the isolated seaside settlement.  As a result, Ingrid had endured a doleful childhood of being alienated as an outsider.  The fact that she was an only child increased her sense of awkwardness and isolation, perhaps contributing to her solitary occupation as keeper of the lighthouse way out on lonely Oyster Shell Point.

Ingrid’s eerie diary entries include bizarre sketches, symbolism, and diagrams of a ghastly species that, as told to me by the river rat Durden Hall, lie in the morbid realm of alternate dimensions - realities that exist parallel to, yet virtually separated from the ordinary world to which most of us are complacently accustomed.  Ingrid Batson’s macabre diary shocked me out of complacency.  

I didn’t entirely comprehend her enigmatic figures and equations.  She seemed to be cryptically hinting at some underlying system of nature which, though it lurks in everything all around us, is of great difficulty to perceive with the five mortal senses.  Alone in the stale shadows of the back corner of the antiquated library, I noticed a disturbing pattern.  When reading the artfully scripted words of Ingrid’s mysterious diary, I invariably became absorbed to such an acute degree that the entire outside world seemed to diminish dramatically, as if falling away into the far distance of an all-consuming chasm.  That’s when I began to hear the voices.  Whether they were external to myself or merely a stress reaction of the surging convolutions of my own straining mind, I still don’t know for sure, yet that I did hear the eerie disembodied ululations is a fact for which I would give testimony under oath in the highest court of this or any other land.

Ingrid’s augural diary entries began on a date coinciding with the arrival of a strange personage in the isolated coastal hamlet.  A diminutive little fellow of unusually small stature clad in an odd gray suit of peculiar clothing ornamented with abnormal insignia appeared as if from nowhere.  The uncanny fabric of the short stranger’s attire resembled fish scales rather than woven threads.  With puzzling intensity, he walked silently at noonday up and down the village dock, apparently gazing with tremendous concentration at something in the glistening water.  The wary folk of Carrabelle would have thought him a freight train hobo if not for the simple reason that the nearest railroad to the remote village was a far many miles to the west at Apalachicola.  Perhaps the creepy little fellow was a lunatic, but even so, how was he so small?  He was no bigger than a toddler.

When confronted by the constable, the weird stranger spoke an alien tongue that was entirely gibberish to the people of Carrabelle.  None could understand the foreign language of the spooky little visitor.

Ingrid, being the only resident of foreign background in the quaint boondocks community, was summoned to the village gaol where Constable Garret had detained the odd little man.  As the helpful, albeit gawper, Mrs. Tibbets tells the tale, according to Garret, Ingrid spoke at length with the unidentified dwarfish transient.  Their talk was in hushed tones, yet Garret was certain that Ingrid had been speaking the unintelligible language of the perplexing traveler.  It was eerie.

Ingrid departed the gaol advising the constable to release the mysterious little fellow at once.  She said he was indeed a foreigner from very far away.  When asked how far away, Ingrid told Garret he wouldn’t understand even if she explained.  She assured the gruff gaoler that all the cryptic visitor wanted was to explore Tate’s Hell.  She also restated in no uncertain terms that it would be in the best interest of the village to release the irksome chap immediately and permit him to go on his way without further interference.  

Ingrid returned to her lonely lighthouse, yet the constable and the elders were not disposed to follow her unsubstantiated, and frankly offensive, advice.  This was apparently a grave error that resulted in the disappearance of the suspicious little voyager and the brutal death of the stubborn constable who had been discovered next morning lying face down in a gruesome pool of blood-soaked swamp muck.

The confusing symbolism that I found among the mesmerizing pages of Ingrid’s profoundly engrossing diary was most definitely occult.  My understanding of the ancient art of witchcraft is not as replete as I would have it, yet Ingrid Batson had obviously gone far beyond generally known or commercially published volumes on the disturbing subject of the Medieval Arcane.  Though she mentions a number of Grimoire, her elucidations of thaumaturgy suggest she possessed a secret knowledge not of this Earth - a worrisome expertise that far surpasses the superficial tenants contained in cult recognized tomes such as Codex Seraphinianus, Pseudomonarchia Daemonum (the Hierarchy of Demons), the Book of Spells, the Book of the Dead, and planetary magic grimoire such as the legendary Heptameron (The Seven Days) explaining blood rituals with the power to conjure angels for each day of the week, a classic compilation of necromancy penned by the early Renaissance astrologer and alchemist, Pietro d’Abano who, after being maliciously accused of heresy, died in the lightless torment of an Inquisition dungeon.  

The inscrutable text of Ingrid’s esoteric diary entries intimate planes of existence the horrifying nature of which in all my years of paranormal investigation I have never before encountered.  Her ghostly notes even include a schizophrenic rhetoric which is in fact a key to entering altered states of consciousness as related in a ghoulish passage from the disturbing compendium On The Writing of the Insane, published in 1870 by G. MacKenzie Bacon, psychiatric warden of the notoriously controversial Fulbourn Asylum.

The reclusive woman was obviously a genius with an IQ off the charts, as she made several oblique references to Non-Euclidean hyperbolic geometry and a divergent branch of quantum field theory postulating subatomic cyclic degeneration into total wave function collapse of the original eigenstate, the scalar surface integrals of which were being deeply analyzed in 1913 by famed Russian mathematician Nikolai Sokolov when he went mad babbling incoherently of an invisible space outside of the space in which we exist, a fearsome shadow-dimension of chaos and misery that, due to increasing technological advancement and pollution of the environment, is seeping into the orderly world we know, turning logic inside out, setting off a psychological chain-reaction affecting each year a larger percentage of the global population, the first warning signs of which are an increase in cases of clinical depression, autism, and reports of sightings and encounters with persons who by all accounts have been long dead and buried in graves.

Ingrid laid out a scenario which, as best I can figure, illustrated an abstruse astronomical event that occurred on her fifty-fourth birthday, summer solstice of 1924.  From what I could make out, a bewildering unidentified object of unknown origin appeared in the night sky over Carrabelle.  From her bird’s-eye perch atop the Oyster Shell Point lighthouse, she clearly observed and documented the celestial anomaly.  The weird UFO was so bright as to be visible during daylight hours.  Nights were illuminated as if by a silvery lunar aura of double its normal full moon brightness.  The object grew bigger with each passing 24 hours, as though it were approaching Tate’s Hell, then, on the third night, a cataclysmic explosion shook the coastline with violent atmospheric shock-waves.  A blinding flash was instantly absorbed by the towering slash pines, bald cypress, and tupelo sweetgum of the grim intertidal wetland.  For 29.5 days, exactly one lunar phase cycle, the trees of Tate’s Hell Swamp glowed in the dark.  Even the weeping willows along the banks of Lost Creek, a backwater tributary of the Crooked River that winds its silent channel through the gloomy hummocks of the ominous marshland, were luminous, emanating a soft spectral green glow.  

For the entirety of her adult life, Ingrid lived alone out at the old Oyster Shell Point lighthouse.  When she died, the dreary place was abandoned.  The very last word inscribed in Ingrid Batson’s mysterious diary entry of June 21, 1924 is Tunguska.

© Copyright 2018 Sean Terrence Best. All rights reserved.

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