HomeSouthern VoiceRestless Spirits

Restless Spirits

by Diana Beall

The raging storm came with a mighty roar. The wind blew fiercely, lightning flashed every few seconds, and thunder roared as the rain came splashing down against my window. It was so frightening, I couldn’t close my eyes. I wanted to scream, and I held it in for as long as I could, until a huge shadow passed by my window. “Mom-ma, daddy,” I yelled at the top of my lungs. They both came rushing in as the loving, concerned parents that they are.

“It’s only a bad storm,” my Mom would say as she kissed my forehead. “But, there’s something at my window,” I explained. My Dad walked over to the window and said, “Oh, I see the problem, son. What you see is a shadow of a large branch that keeps moving in the wind. I’ll fix that and close the curtains and make it disappear. Now, everything is all better.”

With my eyes still wide open, I asked, “What if there really is a monster or ghost out there?” As my Mom stroked my head, she talked about the bottle tree in our front yard. I listened as I did when it was Christmas Eve and she told me to stay in bed if I wanted Santa Claus to bring my gifts for Christmas morning.

“The bottle tree will protect you from those restless spirits, the monsters and ghosts that keep you awake, my dear,” she said. I had often wondered why we had blue, green, red and white bottles hanging upside down on a metal-like tree. As she continued her story, my eyelids became heavy with sleep. Fighting so desperately to stay awake, I barely heard my Mom’s voice as she said “Good night, sweet Travis,” and I was fast asleep.

When you were a child, how many times did you cry out for your parents during the night of a furious storm? Whether there was a bottle tree in your yard or not, thunder, lightning and wind combined with a dark night can stir any child’s imagination about goblins under the bed, boogiemen in the closet and monsters tapping at your window trying to get in. And when your mother or father assured you that the bottle tree in the yard would protect you from these “imaginary creatures,” you were able to sleep in peace.

Diana Beall lives in Wiggins, Mississippi, and writes bi-weekly articles for her local newspaper. She became a freelance writer three years ago and also does ghost writing, albeit not the scary kind.

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Blue Bottle Trees