IN 1966 high voltage power lines came across the family farm. It broke my grandma’s heart to lose half of her upper orchard in the process.
I was 6 years old…so I did no climbing…but my older sisters and brothers climbed them before the transmission lines were strung across them.
We tolerated their existence, looked past the eyesore that they are, farmed around them, learned to never walk barefoot or bare legged under them in the summer. If you do, tall grasses and clovers will ‘snap’ and give you a little irritating jolt when they contact your legs. Honest to God.
We learned to marvel at the light show that they put on during a light but steady snowfall, after dark. Yes indeed, they do ‘spark’ when the snow hits them. I don’t know what the dynamics or the mechanics of it are…I only know what I see. Honest to God.
This went on for a lot of years, before we actually discovered a way to use them to our "advantage" and I use the word ‘advantage’ loosely…lol, entertainment might be a better choice.
I was 15, and cannot remember a lot of the particulars of the evening, but I do recall coming home after dark, my oldest brother driving his 1974 Chevy truck. We crested the top of the lane by the turn off for the field lane…and proceeded downhill under the powerelines. My younger sister was there too. Just talking away and we all seemed to pause and ask at the same time, "Did you see that?"
Wege, nickname from Godparents who called him "Luigi" stopped the truck, put it in reverse while I said, "Yeah, it looked like a cross!" and my younger sister said "No, it was like a bar of light or something!"
Wege said, "Well, whatever it was, there really was something in that alfalfa field!"
We backed up to sitting under mid-power lines and looked up into the field. At first there was nothing…and then, like a scene out of some black Sunday movie…it rose…slowly up from the earth beneath it…
It was a cross, wide…narrow, a bar of light…up high…then it sunk back down to the earth again!!! My heart was pounding…this was beyond scary, holy shit! It must be the end of the world!!!!
My brother looked moved beyond curiosity at this point, and my sister had begun to cry and was talking gibbersih in half broken words now!
Wege started to speak but was stopped mid-sentence by the cross rising back up again…and floating just above the earth. He said "What the…?" and realized that it was floating toward us! Then a lot of explicatives flew out of his mouth and even I was starting to cry at this point!!!! He ground gears trying to find 1st in his state of panic as the cross came ever nearer. Now it must have been a good 15 feet off of the ground at the top of the cross…
Wege’s terrified feet finally found the correct pedals and we sped down the lane, throwing dirt and gravel behind us as we went. We were nearly airborn as we crested the top of the steep hill in the lane.
I turned around to look behind us, and in between frightened sobs managed to choke out, "It is following us!!!!!"
At the bottom of that steep hill, was an electric pasture fence that crossed the lane… and my brother was too frightened to take time for the passenger to get out and open the gate. He had me hold the brake while he jumped out, opened the fence, I drifted the truck through while I kept an eye out behind us. He hopped back in and we were once again flinging dirt and gravel behind us.
We pulled in at my dad’s workshop and were beating feet for the house before the truck had even stopped running.
I am laughing at the memory. Oh my poor parents! Interrupted a quiet evening of watching reruns and reading a romance book…with barely intelligble stories of Armageddon and glowing crosses. My sister grabbed the bible, my brother grabbed a gun and my dad slowed us all down…
"Wait a minute; I will drive." Oh yeah I thought to myself…the voice of calm, because he has not seen the glowing cross!
We all piled into his big old Chrysler Newport. My sister, the bible and I in the backseat, mom, dad, Wege and the gun in the front seat.
In retrospect I think the most terrifying thing was the fact that my brother was so frightened by that cross!!! He was 21 at the time.
We went back up the lane, my brother getting out and clutching his gun in desperation as he opened the gate that crossed the lane. We got to the top of the hill and there was… nothing.
We started defending what we had seen immediately, as an actual sighting, not some sort of hallucination. My dad was getting quite the chuckle out of this.
We crested the very top of the hill, and then, just to be thorough my dad turned into the field lane. As we drove back along the top of the field, suddenly off to our left, IT appeared. It rose up from the ground and stated floating rather quickly keeping pace with my dads car. Just past one of the towers, my dad veered into the field, I am shaking my head and laughing out loud, my dad was suddenly not so glib…and it was obvious since we were suddenly ‘field stomping’ his baby in the alafalfa field. the cross was rising up now and moving away from us rapidly. Holy crap! My dad had managed to scare off the harbinger of the world’s end by merely running it down with his car. It moved quickly, no matter which way dad turned, it seemed to bounce up and down in a rapid, odd sort of way as it retreated. Finally it settled in one spot, and my dad turned the car into it and pressed hard on the gas! Just a few feet from the cross, a neighbor and another brother stood up with eyes as big as silver dollars while they waved their hands while shouting, "Stop, stop!"
Oh, my dad was pissed off! He had run down alafalfa, and nearly run down two young pranksters…over what?
The two ‘cross bearers’ smiled proudly as they showed off their creation. Two flourescent tubes, one the crossarm, one the upright, secured to the top of a 2X4. And when they raised it up under the power lines, the tubes glowed. They could barely speak for the laughter, They explained that when they tried to come down to the lane from the field to show Wege, my sister and me the cross, that we had taken off in a cloud of burning dirt and gravel!!! that only added to the humor of the situation. They really had not intended to put the fear of death into us; they were experimenting…and were so amazed that they just wanted to share it with us. Only after we sped away that like that did they realize the implications of what they had created.
My dad was still ticked, but was at the same time rather impressed with their ingenuity.
We did all laugh about it after the fact… but the foolery did not end there.
I went to school a couple of days later, and had to fight laughter when I heard a couple of kids discussing the glowing cross out Winfield way. And the legend grew and became exxagerated as time went on.
A couple of weeks later, my brother and neighbor chose a more populated area to make an ‘appearance’… down stream about three miles where a fairly busy road crossed under the power lines..and where there was a lot of low brush for cover. Just one appearnace for a short time… and the stories were confirmed…and the lookers were out, all of the amateur paranormal investigators made passes through that part of the valley. They waited about a week and chose another road that crossed under the powerlines.
People never caught on that the appearances all tended to be within close proximity to those transmission lines!
It was early June, and the cross made its last appearance to the public, on the road that I live on. I could sit in the field that I had originally anticipated the end of the world from…and look directly west to a great view of cars lined up along the public road… looking, wondering…
And then just like that, the cross was gone. All of the drive bys and the watching could not coax an appearance again…
And thus, save for a few, (and the readers of this blog) the mystery remains to this day…
So if you go driving in western PA somewhere north of Pittsburgh, and suddenly an eerie glowing cross starts to hover in a field beside your vehicle, laugh out loud! Pause…and look up, because I have a hunch…