In desperation, Vernon Trotter nailed a crude crucifix on the side of his house to keep what he calls supernatural forces from haunting the place. It hasn’t worked.
Something, he said, is still coming into his house at night, leaving marks on the walls, floors, furniture, even their clothes.
“We moved here in 1996, and about six months later, we had stuff moving around the house and markings on the floors and walls. I couldn’t understand why these markings were here, until me and my woman got to talkin’ and she said it wasn’t her doin’, and I know it wasn’t mine, so that’s how we discovered these things were going on around here.”
Up a dusty lane and nestled along the edge of the woods is Trotter’s house. In daylight, things look peaceful enough, but when the sun sets and the late hours of darkness arrive, it’s a different story.
One of the first things the two noticed were unexplained piles of dirt.
“There were piles of dirt dumped on the outside of our house, different piles each morning until it got all the way around my house,” Trotter said. “Then it started dumping piles of dirt on my truck. We got the law involved, but they said they couldn’t do anything until we had a picture of those involved. But we could not take a picture.”
He even found ghostly specter of a skeleton within the glass of his rear window of his car. Trotter said he noticed, too, that in the mornings there was some kind of liquid in their car. “We don’t know how it got there, but it had a real bad odor.”
On the exterior walls are blotches of a oil-like stain, almost identical to those equally mysterious stains and blotches found throughout the interior walls of the 1875 house.
Trotter and his girlfriend, Ann Sturgis, have installed four-motion activated night security cameras and he’s convinced the images show strange “signs.” There appears to be something unusual in the photos, but it raises the classic question — what do you see in a cloud formation or ink blot? There does seem to be something eerie and seemingly unexplainable in the photos. Trotter said he sees some representations of an American Indian in the night photos, as well as the outline of artifacts.
“You gotta look real close at the pictures,” he said.
What he sees, he said, are outlines of some kind of evil spirit or something to do with Indians.
There’s the one that faintly shows what appears to be a skeleton in repose.
Another, taken of Trotter as he slept, shows what seems to be the top part of a human skull near his feet. There are others that shows what may be crudely cut numbers and letters, the kind of thing you might find on a homemade tombstone. It is the photos taken of his hardwood floors that are the most interesting. The photos seem to show the faintest shadows of complex designs. The floors, with no finish yet applied, are stained throughout the room, and in the mornings the two find the areas unexplainably wet. There are no indoor pets. To Trotter, there’s the strong possibility that this is like images of the Virgin Mary being seen on the side of walls, in a window or other objects.
Photos taken at night outdoors are equally puzzling. Trotter is insistent that the object in one photo, which looks like a can with cat eyes on he side, was not physically there when he and Sturgis examined the site after the photo was taken and reviewed.
“What you are looking at in that photo,” he said, “wasn’t there. That is not a can, it’s a person or something that can take on different shapes. It killed the grass where it was. Whatever it touches, dies.”
That same night, he said, he went into the yard into the night to investigate. “I saw whatever it was. It was in the form of an ‘electricity’ man. It was floating about 4 feet above the ground, travelin’ real slow, glowing, and had like a little static electricity flying from it. You could see it.”
Trotter described the sighting as having the form of a man. Decades ago in the Hebron area, many witnesses saw a glowing ball of light in the darkness for many nights on the edge of town. What it was has yet to be determined.
Then there was the late evening when the two discovered a man lying on the ground.
“It was a human — a dark form, but we knew it was a man, we could see it by moonlight. I told Ann, ‘Go get the shotgun.’ When she come outside and handed me the shotgun, I went to raise the shotgun up to it and it knew that I was goin’ to shoot. It ran. It did not turn around and run, it ran backwards in the woods as fast as a dog,” he said.
This is real, Sturgis said. “I saw it.”
Of course, Trotter’s discovery of what he called “Indian, human bones” near and in his garden was unnerving. When he had some yard clearing done a few years ago, the workers also unearthed some bones. Human bones, Trotter said, but none were officially examined before being reburied.
“Every time we see something (strange) it’s either coming from or going back to where the graveyard is,” Trotter said.
Yet it is possible the remains of early settlers were discovered. Edging the flower plot next to the house are large slabs of slate-like stone not found naturally in the area. It’s the kind of slate that looks like that of the earliest tombstones on the Shore. It came from an area in the back of his garden.
Across from his yard in another landowner’s field is a sizable, sandy hill. That, too, he said, has long been claimed to be that of an Indian burial ground. It does appear a likely spot — high and sandy — for an Adena Indian burial ground.
“The old man that we bought the house from was born and raised here, John Glover, he told us that there was an Indian burial behind our shed. That story came from his great-grandmomma and his grandmother and grandfather. He said that there was some kind of buried treasure here, too. That’s all we know.”
At the suggestion that his neighbors might find them, well, crazy, Trotter is offended.
“These people across the road told us they think something’s going on strange over here because their dogs were howlin’ for an hour. Then about 3 a.m., they howl again, it’s a different kinda howlin.’ You wouldn’t believe what’s going on back here. People around here think somethin’ weird is going on here. It ain’t us, there’s somethin’ of the paranormal going on here.”
All the two have are the black-and-white, grainy night photos from the security cameras to show folks. There are the stains on the floors and walls to be seen. And there are the stories of their experiences.
“We are getting some kind of disturbance here from some kind of force,” he said. “We are afraid, a little bit, but nobody’s been hurt, yet.” So their plight continues.
“We have been trying to stop this for 10, 12 years, and we are getting tired of it,” he said.
The two don’t know where to turn for help, and were relieved when community resident Diane Bivens, a deacon of a church here, offered to help with special prayers.
The Bible teaches there is a God and a Satan, Trotter said, and he is convinced the kind of evil “spirits” that are exorcised by priests of the Catholic church are alive and well at this spot. So he tacked up a crucifix to ward off those spirits.
“Somebody told me to hang a cross, that it would help stop what’s goin’ on, but it’s not helpin.’ It’s gettin’ stronger. I’m tellin’ ya, something really weird is goin’ on here. “We don’t go to church, but we definitely believe in God.”
In the meantime, they remember the request in the Lord’s prayer: “Deliver us from evil.” - delmarvanow.com
Excerpt from Ghosts II of the Eastern Shore: Folktale Series
I first read about Vernon Trotter and his amazing experiences in the local newspaper in late September of 2008. I was waiting for the release of the previous volume, Ghosts of the Eastern Shore: Book 3 of the Folklore Series when it caught my eye one Sunday.
The article was by my old friend and inspiration for local folklore, Brice Stump. His article was straightforward and unbiased, but the story he unfolded was little short of bizarre. Not far from me, in the sparsely populated stretches of woods in northwestern Wicomico County, a couple of everyday folks were having experiences that were anything but everyday.
Vernon Trotter lived in a house built, according to the article, in 1875. The photos showed a long wooden building surrounded by trees and brush. Vernon and his companion Ann Sturgis, looked like normal, average folks, dressed simply and without guile on their faces. The lengthy article detailed the experiences and I put it aside to follow up later.
I e-mailed Brice about their exact location and phone number, but he was cryptic, and rightfully so. The Trotters are entitled to their privacy. He gave me the road, and that was it.
A couple of months later I was talking to Salisbury historian George Chevalier who called me about a lady near Fruitland with a haunted house. I wrote down her phone number and mentioned I had read about Mr. Trotter and his worrisome ghosts. George let on that he knew Mr. Trotter and gave me his phone number.
As the weather was deteriorating with approaching winter, I put the number aside, promising to follow up when the weather was better. Launching the publicity machine for the new book consumed my time and attention until February, after the National Outdoor Show.
Hearing about some ghostly things at the show, I thought once again of Mr. Trotter, but the weather was cold and snowy, so I left him to lie until March 12, 2009, when he called me. Well, specifically he called my home and talked to my wife. She said he sounded upset when she called me at the office.
“You know he wants to talk to you about the spirits.” - Andy Nunez
NOTE: Since 2010 I have not heard any further information related to this haunting...Lon
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