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HAUNTED GHOST TOWNS
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GHOST-TOWNS WITH GHOSTS Page 2
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Published at Fort Oliver
1000 Palms, California
Four Times a Year
ON THE NEWS STANDS 10¢ A COPY
But sometimes they don't have them.
ONE YEAR BY MAIL — 4 COPIES 50¢
Darned if I am going to the trouble of mailing it for nothing.
10 Years ................... $5.00
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H A R R Y O L I V E R
Editor, Humorist, Historian, Publicist,
Pioneer, Philosopher, Prospector,
In anybody steals your thunder, make some more.
Each day is the only of its kind.
To those people who mess up our cliffsides with such paintings as 'Christ Died For Your Sins" here's hoping they do for theirs.
—Wayne Mitchell, Wildlife Photographer
Rubbing pots and pans with garlic will get rid of the smell of fish.
My Roadrunners, say "PACK RAT" packet next.
This is the Ghost Town edition with some fine Western Ghosts thrown in for good measure. I have been asked, while getting this packet together if I believed in ghosts. To this I must say, "NO I HAVE SEEN TOO MANY TO BELIEVE IN THEM." As I gather these stories I can't help but think of the fun I will have when I get to be one— "gee" I can hardly wait.
I found myself (at a party) telling about things I did 50 years ago, proving I was an old timer. ALL IT TAKES TO BE AN OLD TIMER IS YEARS — but it will take effort to make this 68th year outshine all the others — so far 1955 looks like a lot of fun — to your Editor.
YOUR EDITOR MAKES THIS ANNOUNCEMENT
AFTER A QUARTER OF A CENTURY AS PRESS
AGENT FOR THE GHOST OF PEG LEG SMITH.
The Old Boy at a conference Friday, May 13, told me he wants a change. Wants me to start the next quarter with a spirited, bunkun jubilee in a new spot, "Where?" . . . just watch the newspapers.
Peg Leg in New York
My 25 years as Press Agent for a Peg Leg Ghost has at long last caught the attention of New York.
Frank Scully, writing in the New York Variety, May 25, 1955, says, and I quote— "Wonder if Oliver ever heard of the silver pegleg that was buried with Peter Stuyvesant, once a mayor of New York? If he ever does, he may do for the silver market what even Wm. Jennings Bryant couldn't do.
Randsburg's Dancin' Skeletons
I called in all my Ghost-Writers here at Old Fort Oliver to help on this Ghost Town edition.
As we sat around the fireplace in my combination atom-bomb-shelter and wine cellar, the old timers told many of their Ghost stories, all have a slight flavor of the bottle. I have them scattered throughout this packet, not too close together, it was a big night, "for spirits."
Old Jake Topper told about the noisy Ghosts he saw and heard up at Randsburg. Says he saw two skeletons dancing on the tin roof of the old Hubbard Printing Shop.
Determined to get a better look, he climbed a ladder to the roof of the White House Saloon next door, as he stepped off the ladder toward them the two skeletons stopped dancing and reached for their shrowds. Jake said it was sure eerie.
"The tall Ghost put his cold bon'y hand on my sleeve and said to me — as if he could see I was scared — don't ever worry — look at me I would not be here if I had not worried myself to death — I thought I saw a tear in his eye-socket — but it was a moth. Yes sir said the Ghost, I was a newspaper man and I worried and worried, then I got so I worried because I could not remember what I was worried about."
Right then and there — said Jake — I made up my mind never to worry again. So saying goodby and keeping worry out of my mind I started down off the roof, and by gosh, you know I fell down the last three steps of the ladder and broke my ankle.
A ringer for us lazy folks.
Early risers are conceited in the morning and stupid in the afternoon.
—San Diego Aztec
My Dog Whiskers
The Best Dog I Ever Worked For
So Ghost Dogs Have White Fleas
My Dog "Whiskers" says, dogs are not supposed to have Ghosts — but he thinks something is wrong about this belief — says he picked up some white fleas in Goler Ghost Town miles away from any fur landing field — says those pesky, wingless, jumping insects — have got to have transportation of some kind.
I tried to talk to my Cats about Cat Ghosts, but those independent rascals had their own ideas about the spiritual hereafter — told me they work with the Ghosts through their first nine lives — then come back as women and haunt men — and we use all the tricks we learned as Cats — ME'OW.
GHOSTS, DEMONS, GOBLINS, BOGIES & SPIRITS Page 3
Says he met a Ghost that complained that he had been dead long enough to be considered "Great" (that is up there) he was not trying to fool other Ghosts — said, he had joined 37 Clubs and Groups and always paid his dues — had served on over a thousand committees and "once had an idea of his own."
Met a Ghost that used to be a sound-effects man in a radio station. He told him Frankie Lane murdered that "Cool, Cool Water" song, says, it's not Western any more.
Says, he heard a record of "Mule Train" with a horse's whinny dubbed in. Wants to help if he could but thinks the fools don't know how to tune in to The Ghost World.
He told Blackie, that the Ghosts will soon launch a Ghost to Ghost Network and figure they can easily haunt 1,997,799 houses a night in this way.
Editor's note, as if radio is not already driving us loco, their pun'y humor will get anyone off balance.
Plaque on Thousand Palms School
"One time in order to get money to go to press with my Scrap Book, I took a job as janitor of the Thousand Palms School. I might have been a better janitor than editor," "and if I had stayed at it I might have owned the school by this time."
I WAS HONORED
They gave me a party, showed me the plaque and said a lot of nice things like they do if you are dead.
(and one of your family is listening)
Ole J. Nordland, editor and co-publisher of the Indio News, said of me, "He is the desert's gift to editors with sun-dried news sources in the summer, the champion desert philosopher, humorist, called the biggest liar outside of Russia, the greatest practical jokester, and maybe just plain nuts, and if he is any of these things he's greater than any of us."
Nordland said his research led him to the conclusion that Oliver tells the truth more often than he lies, and his lies contain more truth than falsehood.
Gee— I felt like I was a Ghost and shouldn't be there.
They don't know what it is
Old Blue Montain Hard Rock, says, the old Forty-Niners thought they had hard times, but they were nothing compared to the Hardships the Uranium Prospectors have to put up with now adays, they ride around in steam heated cars with Radios to listen in on, while they keep an eye on the meter-dial of a Scintillator, and at night they pull off the road and camp in a House Trailer with Butane stoves and lights and Electric Blankets and Electric Shavers.
The Old Territorial Hotel still stands in Yuma, a block from the Government Prison Ruin. Its name was changed two times after Arizona became a state.
The old hotel was crowded and the only room vacant was one out over the river's edge, and with the reputation of being haunted. But the man was weary and decided he'd chance the room anyway. "By the way," he inquired of the evil looking attendant conducting him, "has anything unusual ever really happened in this room?" "Not for over 30 years, sir," was the reply. "And what happen then?" asked the guest. "There was a gentleman who spent the night in it," replied the other, "and he showed up for breakfast the next morning."
Two night watchmen of adjoining mines up at Randsburg have for years met a midnight and always greet one another with this bit of happy repartee.
"I'm a great lover of ghost stories."
"So'm I, pal. Let's shake."
The names of most dance-hall girls have been forgotten. One exception is Anna King, who was murdered in a dance-hall brawl at Bonanza and was buried by a committee of miners from Custer who learned that respectable townsfolk did not want her bones to lie in the town graveyard. They planted her well to one side in a square of earth marked by four pine trees. So magnificent were these trees that Anna's grave became eventually a state beauty spot cared for by the Department of Forestry.
NO SUCH THING AS
- GHOSTS -
Say's Liminatin' Lem
I didn't believe in ghosts either, so I said I'd stay in the haunted house. I moved right in and the first night at three o'clock in the morning, a ghost came through the wall as if there weren't no wall there at all.
What did you do?
I went through the opposite wall the same way.
Lem says this is not that old Ghost Story— but it's the Ghost of it.
GHOSTIAL RACE PREJUDICE — This handsome white tombstone rising from a gentle hill overlooking the Clearwater River, Idaho, marks the grave of Indian Jane Silcott who, in 1860, led Capt. E. D. Pierce's party of gold seekers through Nez Perce Indian lands to a bonanza strike near what is now Pierce City. Sharply contrasting its magnificance is the pile of rocks over the spot where her white husband, John Silcott, lies buried beside her.
You can't shake off a genuine sense of HUMOR
Your old editor climbed the hill to see "Sky-Eye Jones" the old timer that fixed himself a telescope out of a hollow log. I greeted the 90 year old, (as I shook his trembling hand) "And how is "Sky-Eye" today?" "Thank you" said the old timer, "I am well quite well, but this shack, it's sure jumpy, the jumpiest shack I was ever shook-up in. If it keeps trembling it will totter off its foundations. The shack is becoming almost uninhabitable, and I think I will have to move out of it soon. But I am quite well, quite well — I see too damn many shooting stars — but I'm quite well."
George Gobel TV Comedian gives with some Horse and Buggy Humor— that is the kind that stays funny.
About his honesty:
"If I tell you a lie, I tell you it's a lie — unless I'm lyin."
I know what my capacity for drinking is but I keep gdettin drunk before I can reach it."
"I only drink on special occasions. Special occasions like —well— like when the sun goes down."
Uranium wihout a counter
Some forty years ago when SHADY MYRICK of Randsburg was busy with his quest for gold in the Lead Springs area of the Mojave, before he made his big strike, he told me HOW TO FIND PITCHBLENDE ORE at night, at that time there was no URANIUM nor Geiger counters. Just look for a blue white fire on a low volcanic hill at night in the hot summer time.
"What is this black stuff good for?" I asked.
"Oh nothing much" he answered. "It takes a lot of that to make a little Radium."
Now that Pitchblende is worth $3.50 a pound, I may in the hot months search at night for what the old timers call "GHOST FIRE."
—INDIAN TOM. "Lipman"
COLORADO'S DAY TIME GHOST
Much of this story is known to folks of Colorado as this Black Ghost's claim to fame is due in a great part to his association with the most colorful names in its Ghost Town history.
In Jim Town oft called Gin Town; on June 10, 1892, Bob Ford, slayer of Jesse James, was shot to death in his own saloon in much the manner that he had murdered his bandit chief.
At Ford's funeral, which was conducted by the sporting gentry of the town, there were no flowers but quantities of wine and champagne.
Later Ford's body was removed and shipped to his home in Missouri, and that same day his open grave (still warm) was used to bury a Negro murderer.
Ford's slayer, a youth named O'Kelly, had killed Ford, he said, to avenge Jesse James' death, but feeling ran high against him. He was saved from lynching by the intervention of the renowned "Soapy" Smith, who in the camps of Colorado and later during the Klondike Gold Rush at Skagway, Alaska built up a lucrative racket by hawking soap on corners. His "spiel" consisted of the startling announcement that many of his cakes of soap were wrapped in $50 and $100 bills and that a chance to draw for them cost a mere $5. Some cakes were wrapped in bills, to be sure, but no one but Soapy's "shills" or come-on men, ever had the luck to draw one.
History was made! That same night "Soapy" Smith was run out of town, and out of Colorado. And it is said (in ghost circles) that the Negro Murderer stirred restlessly in his grave and that his Ghost got up and left its grave before sundown.
Many old time Colorado Miners have told your Editor they have seen this black shadowy Ghost dart in and out as they travel along rocky trails in the deep canyons (the only Ghost that don't wait for nightfall.)
Your Editor got 99 per cent of this yarn from Histories of Old Colorado Ghost Towns. "Guess" what my one per cent is? — but don't write me — as I candle each letter — if it has no money in it I do not open it — so hold your breath for the three months and wait for the answer in the next packet.
Mexican Flying Sombrero
Lands in Salton Sea
As told by Old Captain Catnip Ashby — who scoffs at Ghost Stories.
I saw her coming in carried by a high wind, it was manned by a crew of cucarachas, who brought it to a perfect landing, whirlig as it was after it hit the water, yet they guided it to the shore safely. One of the cockroaches (it sounds better in Spanish) one of the cucarachas with a moustache, the pilot I think, told me they had tried flying saucers but it was too hard to hang on. Then he said "See each of my crew carry a 'sticly' cocklebur to hang on to, to keep from whirling off into space and you know you get lonesome if you are all alone in space — I think there is too much space, don't you?"
And, said Catnip, I had to agree with him.
says, he likes liquor straight. Taking in his hand a tumbler of whiskey, he said, 'Blindfold me and hold my nose— 'cause if I see it or smell it, my mouth will water and dilute it!"
Francis Bret Harte's
Cat and Fiddletown Dog
We were being shown through The Old St. Charles Hotel at Fiddletown, a Ghost Town up in the Mother Lode. As the Guide directed us, saying, "This is the room and desk where Francis Bret Harte wrote his famous masterpiece, "The Luck of Roaring Camp,' as his cat (a constant companion) lay happily on the window-sill and purred, from his chair he could look out this window and view the scene of the story."
"Indeed! Why, last year you showed us another room on the other side of the Hotel and you told us his dog (a constant companion) was always at his side and he had written "The Outcasts of Poker Flat,' looking from that window."
"Quite right, quite right Sir — but that room is being repainted this week — the Dog is having a week off — and you Sir are sure spoiling my vacation — this week I was not going to talk or think about that dam' Dog.
4 HAUNTED GHOST TOWNS Packet
This Page is Dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist The Desert Prospector
DESERT RAT Scrap Book
The Day They All Come Back
Easy to read ONE ACT Play by Robert Finch
ROBERT FINCH is a talented dramatist who combines a high regard for his craft with a deep, sure knowledge of his locale and its people. As you read this play you will know them to be as genuinely American as Ham and Eggs and as Western as a Silver Dollar.
It is my hope that printing this Great Ghost Town play might encourage some of our Western Communities to stage shows backgrounding their own early life.
Robert Finch has written a dozen one act Westerns. CAUTION the plays are protected by copyright law, including professional, amateur, radio, etc. but the fee is small, if you wish to add one to your "Old Timers Day Celebration."
Write Robert Finch, care, Play Department, Greenberg: Publisher, 201 East 57th Street, New York 22, N.Y.
THE DAY THEY ALL COME BACK
A ONE ACT PLAY BY ROBERT FINCH
HARRY, a barroom pianist
KERRIGAN, an old gambler
POP, an old miner
LILY, once an entertainer
CLAYT, a miner
*Copyright, 1946, by Robert Finch.
THE TIME: A midwinter evening, some years ago. It is just about suppertime. THE PLACE: A deserted mining town in the mountains, called Crystal. The saloon there. The saloon, once gaudy and magnificent with its giltwork and mirrors, is now old and tattered and incredibly dusty, with cobwebs in every corner. A feeble, broken door at R leads to the rotten, crazy old porch. Upstairs of the door is the ancient, battered bar with its brass rail and broken mirror, a few dirty bottles and glasses still remaining on the shelves behind it. Two little old tables with chairs about them. A small and broken upright piano at L. There are evidences here and there that the saloon has been converted into a dwelling place. At L, near the piano, stands a rusty, pot-bellied heating stove and a wood-box; utensils hang nearby. A roll of bedding stands in a corner, and near the window is a small cot. The window, old-fashioned and many-paned, is in the rear wall; it overlooks the street, but the panes are so grimy as to almost stop the light from entering. On or two panes are broken, repaired with newspaper; in the gap left by one missing pane a gunny-sack has been stuffed. To the saloon furniture has been added a rock-chair and an ancient, tattered Morris chair, complete with a moth-eaten antimacassar and a mouldy old footstool. The saloon seems so old as to be about to collapse. The big oil painting above the bar (the picture of a buxom, golden-haired girl in pink tights, standing by the bright blue pool in the forest) is faded and grimily indistinct. Dust is everywhere — grey and ghostly. The floor is creaky and broken, the chairs in a wretched condition. AT RISE: It is evening, deep in winter, and outside the snow falls thickly. In the gloom, fumbling awkwardly over the old stove, is HARRY, a dirty apron around his waist, cooking supper. HARRY is a man past middle age, with just a trace of his youthful dash remaining, symbolized by the bright checkered vest and the derby hat he wears, just as he did eighteen years ago when he played piano for the dancing here. KERRIGAN sits at the table, R, playing solitaire and smoking. He is a man of sixty, tall and gaunt and pale. His dark suit, white shirt and black tie are neat though threadbare, and aging though KERRIGAN is, one can picture the dashing young gambler he used to be, and the limp and greasy old playing cards flit through his fingers as readily as ever. HARRY. (He peers through the gloom at the skillet, and then crosses to the hanging lamp) Gettin' dark already. (He strikes a match, reaches up to light the lamp.) KERRIGAN. (Looking at his watch) It's hardly four o'clock. Dark comes early these nights. (He glances toward the window.) It's still snowing. HARRY. (He crosses to the window, peers out into the street. Suddenly, from a distance, there is a rumbling and a snow-smothered crash) What was that? KERRIGAN. The weight of the snow must have broken something down. HARRY. Is the old fellow outside? KERRIGAN. Yes. Somewhere. Probably hunting. Took his rifle. Clayt's up in the hills. HARRY. (He returns to his cooking) Seems like he's always traipising around somewhere or other. KERRIGAN. He gets out in this weather and prospects for the gold. That's more than we do, Harry. (HARRY fetches a clean, well-worn white table-cloth from behind the bar. He handles it carefully. This is plainly an occasion.) HARRY. Didn't even get dirty, the whole year it's been laid away. (He fingers a threadbare spot.) Won't last many more anniversaries, though. (KERRIGAN picks up his cards, so the two tables can be pushed together and the cloth spread.) That's the eighteenth time I've spread that cloth. (KERRIGAN settles down to has cards again while HARRY bustles about, getting dishes for the table, setting five places.) KERRIGAN. I keep forgetting the town's been deserted so long. Why, it seems only yesterday. . . . (But he trails off in a sigh, not finishing.) HARRY. Lily baked a cake for the party. And we found some candles — eighteen of 'em. KERRIGAN. Fine. (POP enters, a grizzled old man, heavily dressed against the cold. He has a stubble of grey beard, his hands are gnarled and frost-bitten, but in spite of this he looks strong. About him is a mystic air of being lost in memories, thoughts of the past. He carries a rifle which he leans against the bar.) KERRIGAN. Hello, Pop. POP. Evenin'. KERRIGAN. Shoot anything? POP. Nope. Snow's too thick to see. Anything good for supper, Harry? HARRY. Venison steaks. Say — we heard something fall, somewhere down the street. POP. (Disgustedly) Snow busted the roof in, down to the stage depot. KERRIGAN. (Comfortingly) Well, when we find that gold, we'll build a brand new stage depot for Crystal. POP. Already this is the last building left that's fit to sleep in. Hardly another whole building left. KERRIGAN. You'd better wash up, Pop. We're just about ready for the celebration. POP. Fine. But I washed up down't the creek. (He glances around the room,) HARRY. (Interpreting the glance) If you're lookin' for Clayt — he's out prospectin'. POP. (He, too, sounds rather plaintive when speaking of CLAYT) That boy's got too much energy. He's always pokin' around in some old prospect hole or other. HARRY. I don't like to talk about Clayt, since he's your pardner — you practically brung him up since the day he came to Crystal. POP. Yeah — I can see him now, gettin' off the stage coach — all dressed up, in them pilgrim clothes. Why, everything that boy knows he learnt from me. HARRY. Clayt's too young and hot-blooded. He can't wait fer things to happen, like us older folks can. Sure, we gotta find that lost vein of gold — but no reason to traipse around lookin' for it every day, even in the dead of winter. POP. Work, work, work, all the time. That's Clayt for you. Always been that way. KERRIGAN. (Quietly) He'll get over it. Some day he'll be just like the rest of us. HARRY. (He takes the meat up in a platter, and serves it with much style) Meat's all done. We can eat. KERRIGAN. (He turns the lamp up a little higher) We're all ready, I guess, except for Clayt and Lily. I'd better call Lily. (KERRIGAN starts for the stairs at L, but before he reaches them LILY appears, carrying a great cake with eighteen lighted candles, lighting her tired face and making her young again. The men gasp in surprise as LILY descends the stairs. LILY was once a real beauty — her bare shoulders are still handsome, her hair still black and in her face is still something of her former beauty. Her dress is of a period long gone; dark red velvet, it is faded, stained and sewed in places. But with the gold necklace she wears, set with a large blue stone, it makes a pleasing effect. The men, startled, rise gallantly. Touched, KERRIGAN bows, in his courtly way.) KERRIGAN. Miss Lily, you're a fragrant breath out of the past. (Pleased, she smiles at him.) POP. (Enthusiastically) Music for the lady! (HARRY hurries to the piano and with his stiff old fingers he pounds out Auld Lang Syne as LILY dramatically makes a sweeping cross to the table and places the cake there just as HARRY finishes the song.) HARRY. I've got a surprise, too! (He hurries behind the bar.) A bottle of brandy! (He gets out the musty old bottle, returns to the table, and fills the glasses.) LILY. Where's Clayt? POP. (Impatiently) Oh, poking around somewhere, as usual. LILY. It doesn't seem like he'd want to miss the anniversary dinner. POP. We just can't wait for him. No telling when he'll be in. HARRY. (Also a little plaintively) He's too impatient! Hasn't learnt to take things easy. POP. (More tolerantly than before) O'course, he's just a boy still. LILY. Well, gentlemen, let us begin. HARRY. Won't you make a little speech —(With a smile.)— Mayor Kerrington? POP. I made one last year when I was Mayor. KERRINGTON. (He rises. There is a flutter of applause from the others) It is strange and touching that I, once the town's most undesirable character . . . (OTHERS chuckle) . . . a gambler and a gunfighter — that I should now address you as Mayor of Crystal. (He hesitates. There is a flutter of applause.) I remember — yes, I recall it as though it were yesterday — the glory that was here — the thousands and thousands of dollars in nuggets and gold dust washed from the earth and rocks and squandered in violent pleasure. The miners crowded at the bar there — the swinging of the dancing girls a-sashaying in their gold and red and yellow dresses — and the dancing and the drinking and the gambling — and sometimes the quarrel, the shot, the bloody death. And the battles we fought with the mountains, the rivers, the storms, to make our fortunes. Now they have long been gone from us — those men and women — many are asleep, up on the hill above the town. But they — and we — were all young then and full of life. They were great days, friends, Let us drink to them. (Enthusiastically they raise their glasses. KERRIGAN sits.) HARRY. (Plaintively) They're all gone. We're the only ones left. LILY. (As they begin to eat) I don't mind so much. Any more. KERRIGAN. (Understandingly) Neither do I, Lily. LILY. Sometimes I can be sort of happy — I look at the street sometimes in the sunlight — and I see someone walking towards me in the dusty road — I pass a doorway on a summer evening, and in the shadow of the door it seems that someone I know is standing there — with a smile for me. (She is strangely quiet.) If there was a lot of people here I couldn't remember things here so clear. POP. (He fumbles over his food, lost in his thoughts) I remember when they left — God knows where they went. HARRY. (Suddenly puzzled) That's funny — I've forgotten too. KERRIGAN. To some new strike or other. LILY. Back home, some of them. (To POP, comfortingly.) They'll come back. POP. They all went except us. (Complainingly.) I never could understand it. HARRY. We lost the vein of gold. Disappeared. POP. But it wasn't gone. We'll find it again someday. They oughtta known. HARRY. (He chuckles to himself) I was playing the piano here one night, like always. All of a sudden the boss threw me the key to this place and said, "Harry, I'm going back home, for the mines are all played out. This joint is all yours; the whole shebang, lock, stock and barrel." POP. (For the first time revealing his doubts) Sometimes I — I wonder if they're all coming back. HARRY. (Surprised and indignant) Of course they are! What else are we waiting for? When we find the gold they'll all come back a-flocking! KERRIGAN. (Raising his glass) To the day they all come back. (They laugh, drink, and POP shakes off the sudden fit of discouragement.) POP. Yes sir. I'll drink to that. (To LILY, admiringly.) Miss Lily, that's a mighty pretty dress you're wearing. HARRY. Lily's a fine-looking woman. Always was. LILY. (Greatly pleased) I was pretty once — but it's a long time ago. KERRIGAN. (Gallantly) There never was a girl in town could compare with Lily. HARRY. (Something about the dress LILY wears strikes a chord in his memory) Lily — ain't that the dress you wore the night that . . . that . . . (He fumbles and hesitates ackwardly.) LILY. Yes — it's the one I wore the night they shot Lonnie Stinson. (She sighs.) I never could bring myself to wear it again until now. (She smiles ruefully.) Now I have to. It's about all I have left. HARRY. (Unhappily) I'm sorry I said it, Lily. I never meant to remind you. LILY. It's all right. Everything reminds me. Every day of my life. (Quietly, remembering.) I was wearing this dress when he kissed me goodbye. He held me ever so tight and he said, "Lily, if I ever see you again I'll be a rich man. And together we'll make our lives right again. And if I don't come back, think of me once in a while." (Softly.) "You're my girl," he said. "You belong to me." (KERRIGAN pats her hand.) POP. (His interest in the vivid memory overcoming his consideration for LILY) That was the day he robbed the Carson City stage! HARRY. And when dark came he walked in here, never knowing he'd been recognized. (They grow excited in recreating the vivid scene.) KERRIGAN. The Sheriff was waiting for him when he stood in the open door. POP. (Staring at the door) I can almost see him there. LILY. The Sheriff never gave him a chance. He had a derringer hid in his sleeve. Lonnie never even saw it. HARRY. And there was poor Lonnie dying on the floor, his head in a pool of blood. (LILY weeps. KERRIGAN touches her confortingly.) KERRIGAN. There, Lily. He's warm and safe, and he knows that you're nearby. He can't be so lonesome up there on Boot Hill, under the snow. POP. (Lost in his dreams apropos of nothing) If we only hadn't lost the vein. One week it was there, and we were all getting rich. The next week it was gone. Disappeared. Covered up or something. Where did it go? How could we lose it? KERRIGAN. Perhaps, after all, it was gone. Mined out, like they said. HARRY. (Passionately) No! It's there, under the rocks somewhere. We'll find it! POP. You bet your life we will! And we'll all be rich and happy! (HARRY gives a cheer.) KERRIGAN. (Gallantly) Miss Lily, will you favor me with a dance, if Harry will oblige us at the piano? (Touched, she takes his arm and he leads her to the floor, as HARRY tinkles out a waltz on the piano.) POP. That's what we need! Dancing! Just like old times! KERRIGAN. (As he and LILY waltz, gracefully, POP watches them admiringly, and HARRY, at the piano, smiles at them over his shoulder) I've seen the time I couldn't crowd my way through the men that wanted to dance with you. LILY. (Pleased) You never tried. You were too busy winning other men's money to worry about their women. POP. Wisht there was a crowd there at the bar, yelling and hollering, and it'd be just like it used to be. (He drinks, attempts faultily to sing.) Play louder, Harry! HARRY. My fingers are too stiff, Pop. Gettin' old I guess. (KERRIGAN and LILY finish the waltz.) LILY. That's enough, I guess. I must be getting old too. That was nice, Harry. (HARRY bows. They start back to the table.) KERRIGAN. I wish you knew that song, "Oh Promise Me." HARRY. Never wanted to learn it. I like the old ones best. POP. When we find the gold we'll have a whole orchestra in here, and Harry can lead it! We'll have everything we want! We'll make this the finest town in the West. (The door opens and CLAYT appears. Presenting a startling contrast to POP's and HARRY'S references to him, he is not young, nor a boy, but middle-aged, dark, heavy-set, roughly dressed. He has the look of a driving, hand-working man.) Clayt! HARRY. There's the boy now! LILY. Sit in, Clayt! You nearly missed the celebration. KERRIGAN. The candles have all burned down. CLAYT. (Strangely silent as though something has happened that is so momentous as to strike him dumb) Yes. (Silently, he takes off his mackanaw, hangs it up, as the others look at him wonderingly.) POP. (As CLAYT crosses toward the table) Clayt, you oughtn't to be late to the anniversary supper. It ain't mannerly. HARRY. Did you forget what day it is? LILY. Why don't you eat, Clayt? POP. (Suddenly irritated) There's something wrong with the boy. I can tell. He's got somethin' on his mind. (CLAYT says nothing, licks his dry lips nervously. POP gets angry.) Clayt! Are you deef? What's the matter with you? (He suddenly knows the truth.) You're hiding something from us! Speak up! (He knows what it is, and the others catch his excitement. Loudly.) Did you find the gold, Clayt? Did you find the lost lode? (POP is frantic with excitement. The others watch breathlessly.) Did you find her? CLAYT. (Hardly able to get his breath in his excitement) I — I found'er! HARRY. He and POP leap to their feet) What? POP. Where is it, boy? KERRIGAN. How'd you find it? (They don't wait for answers. HARRY and POP clap each other on the back, cavort and prance about.) HARRY. We're rich again! LILY. Rich! . . . POP. We've found'er! Hurray! KERRIGAN. (He is pleased but not boisterous as the others) They'll be coming back, now. LILY. Yes. POP. All our old friends. We'll have a boom town here again! HARRY. (Gloating, to himself) Rich! Rich! LILY. (To herself) I don't know . . . (The others fail to notice.) CLAYT. I was gonna break the news sort of slow — so's you could take it in better. KERRIGAN. Where'd you find it? CLAYT. Well, I just meant to grub around a little in one of them prospect holes up the Gulch. Climbing down the hill I started a rock slide. Uncovered the vein, plain as day! POP. Clayt, you're a wonder! I'm proud of you! HARRY. After all these years, it took Clayt to find it! (HARRY goes to the piano, again strikes up the last bars of Auld Lang Syne — they all sing happily. Then, quiet they reflect on what has happened. Out of the silence.) POP. Such a long time we've lived here alone, and now everything's going to be just like it was before. All our old friends'll be back — standin' three deep at the bar there — and the whiskey'll be flowin', and the hurdy-gurdy gals'll be here! And the stage coach'll run again and the street'll be full o'wagons and men on horseback once again! Everything like it used to be! (LILY has placed her head on her arms and is silently weeping. KERRIGAN notices.) KERRIGAN. Lily! Lily, what's the matter? POP. (Amazed) Why, she's cryin'! HARRY. We found the gold, Lily! Aren't you happy? POP. Did we say something to hurt your feelings? LILY. I — We've been all right the way things were — just us five, for all these years — why do things have to be changed? It'll never be like it used to be — it'll all be new and different! (Miserably, she rises, crosses to the stairway.) Oh, Clayt! I wish you'd never found it! CLAYT. (Puzzled and indignant) What's the matter with her? Why, we been lookin' for all these years! KERRIGAN. (Quietly) She's afraid it won't be the same when they all come back to Crystal to get rich. POP. It'll be wonderful! HARRY. Excitement — money — lots of fun! POP. It'll be just like it was before! KERRIGAN. Well — of course some of those that come will be strangers. Quite a lot of them, Eighteen years is a long time. CLAYT. (Amazed and angry) Why — why, you don't even sound glad I found it! HARRY. (He hadn't thought of it before) Some of'em that were here before'll be too old to be interested. POP. (It suddenly occurs to him) Some of 'em'll be dead. KERRIGAN. A good many, probably. CLAYT. (Furiously) What the hell's the matter with all of you? I never saw such a bunch of croakers! POP. Don't get excited, Clayt. It's just that we're struck all of a heap. HARRY. (Trying to revive the enthusiasm) Clayt's right. We got to stop croakin' and get busy — stake out that land for ourselves! It'll make us all rich! CLAYT. Yeah, we got a lot to do. HARRY. Better take a lantern along, Clayt. So's we can see to stake'er out. (CLAYT gets a lantern from the corner.) CLAYT. (Bitterly) I never thought it'd be like this when we found'er. I thought everybody'd be happy about it. It's what we wanted — ever since I was hardly more'n a boy. HARRY. We'd oughtta be glad. (But POP and KERRIGAN sit in silence.) CLAYT. (Lantern lighted, ready to go. He looks at KERRIGAN and POP) Well? (Silence. Suddenly KERRIGAN starts, remembers something.) KERRIGAN. I wonder what's keeping Miss Lily. (His voice betrays a sudden feeling of alarm.) I better go see. (He rises, starts for the stairs L. Just as he reaches them the loud report of a gunshot is heard, from off L. All stand motionless, frozen with horror. POP groans, as he realizes what has happened. KERRIGAN dashes up the stairs and off at L. POP involuntarily moves slightly toward the stairs, then he and HARRY stand waiting. Silence for a moment, then KERRIGAN appears at the top of the steps. By his attitude of depression it is plain what has happened.) Lily's dead. (HARRY expels his breath in a long sigh.) POP. (Heartbroken) Poor Lily. (He sinks into a chair. HARRY slowly crosses to the bar, stands there staring.) CLAYT. (Helplessly) Why — why? KERRIGAN. Because she thought she was going to lose the only happiness she had — living in the past, with just her old friends — and Lonnie. CLAYT. It — it's awful. (But depressed as he is, he is determined to see his plans through. He slowly puts his hat on, moves to the door, stops, turns.) Well . . . (No one looks at him.) Coming with me, Harry? HARRY. I — not yet, I guess. (CLAYT opens the dor and starts out.) POP. Come back here! CLAYT. Pop! Have you went crazy? I'm your partner! What are you pointing that gun at me for? POP. Because I'm going to kill you. CLAYT. (Trying to bring POP to his senses) Pop! For God's sake! You and I been together for years! We're partners, Pop! (POP plainly means business. HARRY watches, frightened. KERRIGAN looks on almost calmly.) I'm going to kill you — unless you forget about that claim — don't ever tell anybody you found it, not as long as you live! CLAYT. (Appealing to KERRIGAN) Are you going to let him kill me? Why don' you stop him, Kerrigan? KERRIGAN. I think he's right. CLAYT. (He takes a deep breath and would argue further with POP, but POP raises the rifle and draws the hammer back. CLAYT speaks in a dry whisper.) I — I'll forget. I promise. (POP hesitates.) So help me God I promise. I — I'll never mention it again! (POP slowly lowers the rifle. CLAYT, the strain ended, sits at the table, head in hands. POP puts the rifle in a corner, moves silently to the window, gazes out into the night. KERRIGAN picks up his cards, sits and deals out his game of solitaire. HARRY crosses to sit moodily at the piano.) KERRIGAN. Still snowing, Harry. HARRY. Yes, (In a grief-stricken voice) Poor Lily. KERRIGAN. When the snow stops we'll take her up there with Lonnie. (To take HARRY'S mind off it.) Play something. HARRY. I — I couldn't. KERRIGAN. Sure you can. (HARRY slowly picks out a few chords, plays softly, moodily. KERRIGAN notices POP at the window.) What you looking at, Pop? POP. (He sighs. He has lost his belligerence, and now he seems more than ever to be living in the past, his eyes dreamy, his manner vague) I — I was just thinking — about things. (Staring.) You can see the old wagon tracks ther in the road. The snow's fillin' 'em up now. (Some strange mood is taking possession of him.) Why, in those days the road was black, crawling with men and horses and wagons — hundreds of'em! KERRIGAN. (Quietly) Those were great times. POP. (A subtle change in his tone) They sure were. (He turns from the window to look about the room. He is growing very excited.) And they'll come again, too. (KERRIGAN looks startled.) All our old friends'll be back. Standin' three dep at the bar — singing and laughing and shouting. The whiskey'll be flowin', and there'll be music and the dancin' of the hurdy-gurdy girls in their bright dresses and bare shoulders and fancy shoes! (Triumphantly.) They'll all come flocking back here when we find the gold again! HARRY. (Startled into banging out a discordant note on the piano. Amazed) But Pop! . . . KERRIGAN. (Quickly interrupting) HARRY with a gesture that is needless, for POP didn't even hear him.) Never mind, Harry. Go ahead and play something. POP. (As KERRIGAN watches him, understanding, and HARRY helplessly fumbles at the piano, POP continiues, lost in his dreams, as the CURTAIN begins to fall) And the stage coach'll run again and all day long the street'll be full o'wagons and men and horses once again. Everything just like it used to be! Everything. . . . (But the CURTAIN is down.)
FROM OLD CALICO GHOST TOWN
In its heyday Calico was wild and the duties of Sheriff and Undertaker were numerous.
One morning the Undertaker found a dead donkey in front of his porch. He called on the Sheriff and asked him, what he should do with the body.
"Bury him, you're the undertaker aren't you or are you an Ass too?"
"Yes, yes, I know, but it's the usual thing to notify his mearest of kin, are you sure you do not feel you should send flowers?"
—As told by Calico Post
A couple of ghosts in Oklahoma wandered into a roadside drive-in and demanded a whiskey-and-soda. "This is a dry state," snapped the proprietor, "and we don't serve spirits."
CALICO GHOST TOWN
13 Miles East of Barstow
Calico in the 1880's was the largest silver mining Camp in the southwest. Almost obliterated by time, it is now being restored by Knott's Berry Farm. An ideal outing for the rockhound, and camping groups.
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THE GHOSTS OF OLD
Virginia City Ghosts are different, says, Paul Smith of the Museum of Memories. Telling of the ghost of an old Doctor that steps out on the stage at Piper's Opera House at 13 pulse beats after midnight every Friday the 13th and asks "IS THERE A PATIENT IN THE HOUSE?" —H. O.
THE INDIAN GHOST
of THOUSAND PALMS
The ghost of Chief Pushawalla watches Paul Wilhelm of Thousand Palms Oasis. The Chief traded this oasis to Paul's dad (the Lucky Dutchman) about 50 years ago for a buckboard and two mules. The crazed mules died later, with the Chief, because he couldn't get them out of the wash. This was during the cloudburst of 1899.
Yes, the Chief watches Paul as he digs into the old Indian graves and watches him as he plants palm seeds and tiny palms between the giant palms of 200 years. He laughs at the little plants for Paul is trying to gild the lily. Can't do much to what is already the prettiest darn Oasis on this Desert.
—Reprinted from Packet 1 of Pouch 2
A Ghost in Virginia City told your editor that there is no truth to the belief that breaking a mirror is bad luck — fact is, he said, you are sure you are going to live at least another seven years, to have that bad luck.
Then there is the Ghost of the absent minded professor who rolled under the dresser and waited for his collar button to find him.
I am not so much irked by those who hate cats as by those who apologize for them.
—Cats Magazine Guy Bogart
The Flying Ghost of Picacho
Jim Dugan went up in Colorado River's only steamboat explosion and came down on both sides of the river. *Steamboat the 'General Jessup" year— 1859.
Some old timers at Picacho say, the Ghost gets together some times in Arizona, some times in California, and has been seen meeting himself face to face in the middle of the river.
*Paddlewheel Days (page 101) in California.
WORST ARE THE GHOSTESS SAYS DUSTY
I ain't speekin' to any Ghost or Ghostess.
I saw a pretty Ghostess sitting on a sand dune, in a Mirage, once — but she said she didn't believe in human beings — I was glad when the wind turned the Mirage into a Dust Devil — snippy she was.
Gasoline and Oil
Open the Year 'Round
DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK 5
Uranium searchers prowl the old Mines and Ghost Towns with disrespect for the Old Time Gold Miners but the Ghosts of these fellows are there, and they like to play tricks on you who ride in Jeeps and such, so if the camp stove blows up, you get lost, you're out of gas, the lantern won't stay lit, or a hundred other things happen — remember you're trespassing where they did it the hard way.
There's a million in uranium here — but it's too spooky for me! Let's get out of here"
(Same "Maggie Gerke" Ghosts as on front Page)
All text was hand-entered (no OCR scans) by Ric Carter (all of Harry's misspellings retained). Dick Oakes did the layout, markup and graphics reproduction, but not the contents, which remain the property of Bill Powers and his heirs.