My Proof of Survival
by Mary R. Crawford
In 1990, Wilburn Heath purchased a couple of acres on the outskirts of Scottsboro. The area was quiet and seemed to be an ideal retirement site. He and Nina, his wife of 30 years, were making plans for their “laid back” years, which would be coming in the near future. Wilburn immediately began building the small, compact house that they both had agreed upon. It was at the stage that it could be lived in, but was lacking the finishing touches and trim work. He had completed a very large building which he intended to use for storage and for a workshop. After retirement, he planned to do some small jobs just to keep from getting bored. Wilburn was a mechanic by trade and had a habit of trading for junk car parts. He had hauled in loads of these items to the point that the lots were overflowing.
Right in the midst of their preparation for retirement, Nina was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although she fought a hard battle, she was taken from him within a period of six months. Wilburn was devastated and attempted to bury himself in work. The thought of life without her was just unbearable. The long hours and mental anguish were taking their toll on his system.
But Wilburn didn’t appear to have noticed except he had decided that he could not bear to live at that site. Wilburn approached his young nephew with an offer to sell the property to him. Steve was 23 years old and had a wife to be responsible for. He did have a good job with Current Electrical Co. However, he was not ready to make the major purchase of a house.
Steve gave the idea full consideration, then went back to talk to his uncle. He felt that with the house not being finished and the lots overflowing with junk, his chances of floating a loan were slim. He told Wilburn that he was willing to purchase the property, for the stated amount, providing that he be allowed to live on the property until it was in a more presentable condition. In lieu of rent, he would put the finishing touches on the house and clear away all the junk. A gentleman’s agreement was reached, and, Steve and Karen moved into the house.
Right away, this young couple set about to complete the needed tasks. Quite naturally, they were very excited. It was a dream come true! They spent every spare moment in attempt to hasten things along. As each piece of trim was nailed and each load of junk was hauled away, their dream seemed to be moving closer. The quiet neighborhood would be ideal for the family they planned to have someday. Everything appeared to be falling, nicely into place and the future looked bright Then, without prior warning, Wilburn was smitten with a fatal heart attack. Steve and Karen met with Nina’s sister and her husband, who were attempting to put Wilburn’s affairs into proper order. All were in agreement that the method of purchase that Wilburn had established with Steve was valid and should stand as it was.
Both the house and lot were showing a marked improvement. Steve and Karen felt that within a couple of months they would be ready to secure a loan and finalize all the necessary paperwork. But suddenly, strange things began to happen. Porcelain figurines came flying through the air and crashed against walls. Appliances stopped working for no apparent reason. Bad luck of all kinds was engulfing them. They tried to stay optimistic by telling each other that it was the strain of the situation. Such things can’t happen. But the worst was yet to come. Their doorbell began to ring at late hours of the night. Whenever Steve went to check, no one was anywhere around. Being an electrician, Steve felt that was a small problem. Somehow, the wiring must have gotten a short. He took care of the problem by disconnecting the doorbell until he had time to properly rewire it.
With that problem taken care of, they settled in for a peaceful night. It was a major shock when the doorbell continued to ring at wee hours of the night. The whole situation was beginning to grate their nerves. Soon, they felt that something had to be done. Since we all know that such things can’t happen. they determined that they must be imagining part of this. They decided to go out and shop for a loan the very next day that Steve was off from work. They were sure that once they had gotten everything into legal order, they would be more relaxed and the nonsense would stop.
The following day when Steve arrived home, Karen was visibly shaken. She told her husband that she had started into the bedroom to do some cleaning but a man was standing in the doorway blocking her way. She went on to say that he just stood there, looking at her, then disappeared from sight. In answer to Steve’s questions, she described this mysterious figure as being about six-feet, one-inch tall and stout. He had blond hair with a crew cut. His eyes were clear blue and piercing. Steve swallowed hard and said, “Uncle Wilburn!”
The following day, Steve had a day off from work. So he and Karen headed for Scottsboro in search of a loan. Their hopes were soon shattered. Neither bank nor finance company would grant the needed loan. Disappointment was overwhelming. They had worked so hard. For what?
Within a short period of time, this young couple had located another place, and had no problem with securing a loan. As they engaged in packing and moving things out, everything began to calm. Once they had gotten settled into their new home, everything was quiet and peaceful. There were no weird noises nor flying objects.
In summing up this story, Steve said, “I always liked Uncle Wilburn, I wouldn’t have minded to have helped, had he still been alive. But I still wonder why his spirit was so restless.”—Dutton, Ala.