Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just a little Sunday stroll

I've been trail running more this year than in years past and I really love it. Here is the thing about trails though... they are much more secluded. This is a good thing and a bad thing all at once. I have never minded being alone. I like the quiet. (Just ask Mr KT. He turns the volume up, I turn it down, he turns it up again.) I love being outside. I love to be moving and active and I adore my dogs. I mean really, how could trail running be better!?

Last Sunday (a week ago) Koni and I headed out to meet a small group to do a run at a local trail. We were headed for more of a Nature Center type place with lots of trails. Apparently it is a pretty sweet place to run but they don't allow dogs. We asked the guy who was so politely telling us to get lost where he would recommend and he aimed us down the road about a 1/2 mile or so. Hummel Park. I knew very little about this park. Just that it had been in the news a little in the last couple of years.

I texted my husband before I got out of the car so that he would knew where we would be. I tucked my cell phone in one pocket and my work pager in the other since I was on-call and we took off. It was a really fun run. About an hour and a half uphill and down dale. We ran 190 steps, twice. We carefully forged a few of our own trails and just generally had a fun, dirty time. One of the dogs even got really lucky and dug out a bloody deer leg from the underbrush. Mmmmm. The trails were a little muddy and completely buried in leaves. The leaves had a little snow on top of them making for some slippery spots. The weather was pretty much perfect for this time of year. There were a couple of spots during the run that were a little eerie and made me glad that I had others with me. There were two or three places where there were crosses or wreaths marking a specific spot in the trees.

Anyway, we finished up and I got back in my car. As I was pulling out I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket and realized that Mr KT had never received my text message. I had no cell phone service back in there. When I got home, I looked up the park and its trails online. I felt like we ran all over and I was curious to see what it looked like from above. This are the tidbits of info/here say I found from the P.R.I.S.M. website among others.

Hummel Park, which is said to be one of the most haunted places in Omaha, NE and rumored to be an ancient Native American burial ground, was once the site of a fur trading post run by Jean Pierre Cabanne in 1823. It was later named in tribute to J.B. Hummel, a long time superintendent of the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department.


The park has a very eerie feel to it. Spread over 200 acres, it is filled with steep hills and winding, dirt roads. An area at the eastern edge of the park is known as "Devil's Slide" because of the many suicides that have taken place there. Erosion has washed the area free from trees and resulted in steep cliffs and sharp drop-offs.

One of Hummel Park’s most mysterious characteristics is the trees that bow over the road entering the park. It is believed that many black men and women were hanged from these trees in the early 1900’s by local racist lynch mobs …and their souls still dangle from the trees. Park visitors claim to hear screams and cries coming from this park late at night.

Another of Hummel Park’s well known mysteries is the “Morphing Stairs,” a long, stone staircase located at the top of the park. These stairs are said to “morph” because nobody knows the exact number of stairs in the staircase. Each time a person counts the number going up or down, a different number is counted on the return trip.
(Editors note: they say 188, we counted 190. Close enough.)

The “Morphing Stairs” lead down a large hill into a valley containing a decrepit pit area with a deteriorating shelter house. Spray-painted markings in this area, such as inverted pentagrams and swastikas, along with the presence of dead animal carcasses, indicate that Hummel Park is a place where occult rituals and devil worship have taken place.

In addition to these satanic rituals, numerous murders have been committed in the park. One of these murders involved an Omaha prostitute named Laura LaPointe, who, in 1983, was sexually assaulted and then robbed of $25 by four other prostitutes. She was beaten to death with a 6 foot tree limb and a softball bat, and later discovered in a roadside ditch located in a heavily-wooded area of the park.

The screams and cries heard by park visitors, coupled with local ghost hunters’ claims of unexplained electro-magnetic readings and sightings of various ghostly apparitions, indicate a high level of paranormal activity at Hummel Park.

Recent Hummel Park Murders:

Twelve-year-old Amber Marie Harris disappeared on November 29, 2005. She was last seen on a video tape from her school bus getting off the bus at 5:41 p.m approximately four blocks from her house. On February 14, 2006 Amber's backpack was found about a mile and a half from where Amber was last seen. On May 11, 2006, human remains were found in a shallow grave in Hummel Park. On May 19, 2006, the skeletal remains were identified as Amber's. Omaha Police did not say whether Amber Harris was killed in the park or elsewhere, and they have still not found a suspect.

Christopher Masters and his accomplice, Jeremy Herman, murdered Jeremy Drake in the Fall of 1992. The official story is that they had a fight over a pair of stereo speakers, that is when Masters and Herman kidnapped Drake. Later Masters shot and killed Drake. Herman said he just wanted to scare Drake. Drake's body was found in Hummel Park. Drake was 15-years-old. Both Herman and Masters were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

To be honest, running there with a group and our dogs, during the day is probably just fine. Stories about burial grounds and spirits don't bother me. It's the alive people who are scary. Due to the area and the crap that goes on there, I can guarantee we won't be going back (don't worry mom). It was a little eerie, it was a bit disconcerting to see the crosses in the middle of the woods but anywhere we trail run or road run could have potential mishaps. I guess my take is that if it feels wrong, get out but don't let fear keep you from doing the things that you love. Be vigilant, be smart but enjoy life. (And maybe always take a friend!)


Duane said...

Yes, people can be way scarier than ghosts! Stay Safe!

Chubby said...

Well, that's charming. Nothing like a little local color.

SUB6 said...

Very interesting ... and a little freaky :)

Jamie said...

This place doesn't sound haunted, it just sounds like that is where all the loonies hang out!

Be careful KT!