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Another True Account from Fate Magazine

The Antioch Cave by Ted Stewart

We were in the eighth grade in the fall of 1965. Barry Maguire sang the Eve of Destruction on

WKDA radio in Nashville, our McMurray Falcon football team lost only one game all season,

and there was news the Milwaukee Braves were moving to Atlanta. These were the important

things to a thirteen and a half- year old kid floating through puberty with little real stress in life.

It was adventure, or the thought of the unknown, that fed my imagination in those days.

I dont know why we called it the Antioch Cave. It was a big, black hole opening up in the side

of the ridge on the north bank of Mill Creek right off Blue Hole Road in Antioch. I don't even

remember how I knew the cave was there, but somehow I was aware of its location and I vowed

to enter it someday when I was older. At thirteen, I was now older.

My mother drove me and my friends to the cave, dropped us off, and for reasons that totally

escape me now, allowed us to go into that cave. Or, perhaps being the age that I was, I lied to her

about our intentions. Whatever, I had previously explored the cave with such notable friends as

Gordon Gelley and Bruce Kinnard in the recent past. After my initial exploration, my dog,

Ghia, always accompanied me and my friends into that dark, gaping chamber.

She was a 65 pound, 4-year old black and tan shepherd mix possibly with some Chow. She

feared nothing. I’d seen her in action against the wild animals of Caldwell Country Estates and

the Ellington Agricultural Center. Creatures such as opossum, skunk, raccoon, and

muskrat usually fled from her in terror. She used to locate snakes for me to catch along Seven

Mile Creek. I never saw her frightened of anything...until that day in Antioch Cave.

I had probably ventured into the cave 6 or 7 times in the past. The inside of the cave was always

about 58 degrees in temperature that felt chilly in the late summer, but quite balmy in the dead of

winter. A clear, small stream ran through the entire length of the cavern. During a rainy spell,

that ground water could easily double the size of the underground stream.

Antioch Cave had a large, impressive opening like that of a yawning giant. Sadly, the front of the

cave was strewn with trash of the uncaring. Beer cans, discarded wrappers and assorted garbage

was mindlessly scattered around the aperture. Further in, however, the cave was nearly pristine,

mute testimony to the courage of the litterers. This was a safe, easy cave for budding spelunkers.

In the earlier visits, we discovered no off shoots, or branches, of any kind. We just went in for

maybe one quarter to one half mile (its difficult to measure distance when traversing

underground) and reached what appeared to be a dead end. The stream flowed out from under a

wall. Older kids told us the other end of the cave came out into a sinkhole in a farmer's pasture.

We were told when the water table was low enough, one could low-crawl under that wall for

about 10 feet and stand up again to continue exploration. But, I was never that serious enough

and I was always too chilled to attempt crawling on my belly like a reptile. We always hit that

wall, turned around, and sludged through the stream back out into the sunlight squinting like

sleep-disturbed vampires.

I was with Ghia, Mark Turner and Steve Hagewood on the eventful day. Ghia, of course, never

had a flashlight, but she invariably led the way. I never understood how she could see well

enough to lead, but she always did. This day, we only had one light with weak batteries emitting

a feeble, yellowish light. Well- equipped we were not. Thats why Steve decided to stay back at

the mouth of the cave. It was an intuitive move on Steves part. So there we were: Ghia in front,

me with the pitiful flashlight, and Mark almost blindly bringing up the rear.

We were about 3/4 into the usual cave route when Ghia discovered a virtually invisible turn to

the right. We never saw branches in any direction in the past and we would have missed this one

if not for Ghia. The sight of the turn to the right was normally obscured by the shadows created

by the flashlight. The branch was around and behind a stalactite/stalagmite formation, and

slightly uphill for about twenty feet or so. Then the path began a descent until we felt we were to

the right and approximately 6-8 feet underneath the main corridor of the cave. Ghia was still

leading when the roof of the passage began to lower, forcing Mark and me to duck-walk as the

walls, too, began to narrow around us. Slightly down-hill we were still heading when the passage

turned very sharply to the right. Ghia, still proceeding ahead, went around the descending bend

and was now out of sight.

I was almost on my hands and knees with Mark about 6 feet behind me when we heard the most

primeval, guttural growl come from Ghia still in front out of sight. I had never heard Ghia emit

such a sound and she never made an awful noise like that again. Though nearly terrified of what

she was confronting, my morbid curiosity was stronger than my fear and I just had to take a peek

at what she was experiencing. The problem was that I was almost crawling and the flashlight was

very dim. Still, I just had to slither another ten feet or so, further down and to the right.

At the sound of Ghias warning, Mark had enough and said he wasn’t going further. He couldn’t

go far, however, because wimpy as it was, I had the only light. I gathered up my nerve and duck-

walked the distance until I could see Ghia. I made that walk through what was now slick mud.

As my light reached Ghia, she turned around and acknowledged my presence behind her before

very quickly re-engaging what lay just ahead. I had never seen her hackles raised quite like that

before. The vision of Ghia so aroused finally put real fear into me. Never had I seen her so

frightened, so threatened, so intimidated. Nevertheless, something inside me had to know what it

was. The quandary now was that I could see Ghia about 5 feet ahead, but what was freaking her

out was still to the right and out of my sight. I would have to inch closer to see around the bend.

By now, my intuition told me whatever was just ahead was not a good thing and we were all

extremely vulnerable to whatever it was.

Scared, or not, I still had to know. So, onward I crept until I knew in just one more waddle I

would be face to face with this entity like Ghia. I paused just at the point of no return because

deep in my gut I felt that something was unearthly. I was directly behind Ghia now. Only she

separated me from the ghastly unknown. It would take another small lurch forward for me to see

in front of her.

I made that lurch in one motion, with forward momentum while turning around

and simultaneously attempting to reveal that presence with one swift swing of the almost

extinguished lamp. The image was seen for probably less than a second. I can only describe

what I saw as a nebulous figure on the floor of the muddy corridor approximately 6 feet in front

of Ghia. The entity was about 5-6 feet in length sideways and possibly floating just off of the

floor, but the borders of the figure were vague, almost like an ancient, very faded photo. It

reeked of evil.

I cannot explain what it was I saw and Mark never came close to observing it. My reaction was

get back out of the cave just as quickly as I could, but we still had to duck-walk that distance out

of the side branch until we could stand up straight and double-time it out of there. Ghia almost

knocked me down trying to get back out in front. We pretty much raced back out with Ghia

leading the charge. Seeing that light at the front of the cave some 10-15 minutes later was a

gorgeous sight.

Ghia refused to go back into the cave ever again. I ventured back into the cave, but my

inner voice warned me not to go back into that creepy branch. Even upon return to Antioch Cave

in 1969 as a senior in high school with two Atlanta friends and three excellent

flashlights, something warned me internally not to visit the branch. I listened.

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