Posts Tagged ‘Region Rats’

Ah, the summer of 1989. A lot of good times & memories (of what I can remember anyway) were made in that year.

We were a little older, a lot crazier, unfortunately, none the wiser.
We made it through the summer of 1989, however, with nothing to show for it. All except for a fridge half-full of beer and a small canon.

That’s right. We got ourselves a canon,
but that’s a totally different story.

The fact that there was absolutely NO SUPERVISION is what made all this possible.

Summer of 1989

820 Eaton Street

Hammond, Indiana

I thought I was living the dream. Probably the dream of every 18-year-old male across the country. Well, at least maybe among my fellow “Region Rats” anyway. I guess that’s why we pretty much hung out at my house all the time. The lack of supervision made it the perfect environment for all the “Shit Starting & Shenanigans” we got ourselves into.

We had a large assortment of beer thanks to the Great Beer Heists of '89

We had a large assortment of beer thanks to the Great Beer Heists of ’89

It usually started with a garage/back alley BBQ, but things always got carried away and into the basement as the evening rolled in. By this time, most of us were already half-lit. There was always plenty of beer (free of charge). Of course, this was before the “major bust” of The Great Beer Heists of ’89.
In fact, the warm keg of Guinness spent a good portion of the summer of 1989 in my basement before it was finally moved to a new [undisclosed] location for further study & observation. A few of us would always take a crack at trying to get the beer out, but it always ended up in failure. If we only had that specific tap for that Guinness keg maybe a few us would think differently about Guinness beer.

Then again, maybe not.

Thanks to the “Boys of Wildwood” we finally did get into that keg of Guinness.

 The “48 Club”

Let’s get to the point of the story.

We came up with a competition that if completed you were made a “48 Club” member. It was called the “48 Club” and to become a member you had to drink 48 beers within 48 hours.
Here are the rules:

  1.  You can NOT leave the vicinity.
  2.  You can eat, sleep and throw-up all you want.
  3.  48 beers must be consumed before the 48th hour in order to become a member.

Flaming Shots of Everclear
(an important part of the story)

Alcohol is flammable. The purer the alcohol in the liquor, the greater chance of it igniting.
It’s very flammable. Extremely flammable.

We found out that a particular brand of alcohol (liquor?) would actually ignite – Everclear!
I’m not sure if Everclear was intended to be sipped straight from the bottle, but we did it anyway.
It was horrible.
So, to liven the party, we lit a shot glass full of Everclear on fire and drank it that way.
Makes sense…right?

Yeah, right.
Now it doesn’t only taste like shit, but it’s dangerous too.

Not sure where the idea of throwing flaming shots down your throat came from, but after a few hits & misses , some of us became rather good at it. Almost expert even. May sound like a useless skill but I have to admit, it is rather interesting to witness. If you ever get a chance to witness a drunk throwing fire towards their face, take it.

48 Beers in 48 Hours

48 Beers in 48 Hours

Sometimes, things could go terribly wrong.
Like someone lighting their face on fire.

Or, things could go hysterically funny.
Like someone lighting their face on fire.

Note: On all Flaming Shots you are suppose to extinguish the flame before you drink it.
Nobody told us about that part.

(Back to the “48 Club”)
Let the Competition Begin!

By the fourth hour of the very first 48 Club Competition, there were only 6 or 7 serious (semiconscious) applicants still in the competition out of a basement full of juvenile delinquents.

You remember Cousin Mike?
He was with me during the “Jumping & Riding Trains” incident.

He was one of them.

The McDonald Brothers.
They were with me during one of the Great Beer Heists of ’89.

They were both hanging in there also.

So, there was Cousin Mike, the two McDonald Brothers, myself and a few others.
One of those still standing was Benjie Garrison.

Benjie Garrison is an awesome bowler and already a well-known competitor among his peers and other young professional bowlers. He is very, very good. I met Benjie in high school through a few of my friends. And like myself, he lived with just his father. I remember spending many days ditching school at his house when mine was “unavailable”. We dominated Super Mario Bros. on Nintendo.

Region Rats - photo by Open Clips

Region Rats – illustration by Open Clips

My house, however, was the hub. It was a bit bigger, plus it had a basement that was equipped with a bar. The bar was nothing fancy but it served its purpose. Built in the 60’s by my grandfather, this bar has seen its fair share of shit starting & shenanigans…

…and today was no different.

Although the rules simply state that nobody may leave the vicinity of the competition, Benjie and the younger McDonald  got hungry. Since there wasn’t any food in the house and nobody delivered this late, we decided to make an exception. There was a tiny 24-hour Mexican restaurant just a block away. The infamous LAS BRISAS Mexican Restaurant was a Region Rat hot-spot.

Being that Las Brisas was open 24-hours a day, it too, has also seen its fair share of shit starting & shenanigans. Serving not just the sober during the day, but also the drunks, addicts and idiots during the night. If you ever wanted to test your self defense skills, visit Las Brisas anytime after 1 am and wait. Even though the Hammond Police Department was exactly kiddie-corner from Las Brisas, some knuckleheads didn’t care. Something’s going to happen…

…and tonight was no different.

Benjie and the younger McDonald brother left the house together. It’s best to go in pairs. Besides, Cousin Mike was in no condition to go anywhere. He was worse off than the rest of us. And since this was my house and he was my cousin, I was the one to look after him.

So off they went.

Las Brisas wasn’t the safest restaurant in the Region, nor was it the cleanest, but it sure had GREAT tacos! photo by KAM MISTRY

When they walked into Las Brisas they could already tell that something was not right. There were three employees, one up front, one in the back and another sitting in a booth next to the register. All three of them had their eye on a couple (guy & girl) that were waiting for their order. They looked as if they were pissed off at one another.

The employee that was up front walked to the register and asked Benjie if they were ready to order. Just when Benjie was about to speak, a loud “Fuck you!” was shouted from the girl.

Benjie quickly turned and looked at the couple, “Wow. What was that?” Benjie jokingly snickered.

The guy looked up at Benjie for a moment and then went back silently speaking to the girl looking rather irritated

“What the fuck?” the younger McDonald said to Benjie.

“I don’t know. Whatever.” Benjie said back and then placed their order.

You were to pay right after you order at Las Brisas. This prevented ‘Dine & Dash’. When the employee gave Benjie his change she quickly went to finish up the couples order and gave it to them. The couple immediately left.

Not even a minute after the couple left, Benjie heard a ruckus right outside the restaurant’s front door. Benjie and the younger McDonald went to investigate and found the guy beating the shit out of the girl. Both of them went to grab the guy and pulled him off her.

Suddenly, Benjie felt a thud on the back of his head. When he turned around he saw the younger McDonald throwing the girl a pretty good distance away. When he did, a loud clank was heard. The girl dropped a tire iron in the process of being thrown. After the younger McDonald threw the girl down he jumped on the guy and started beating the shit out of him.

Yes. This happened.

The guy was totally unconscious, but the younger McDonald kept beating away. The girl stood up and decided not to intervene. I guess she knew that it didn’t matter she was a female. It wasn’t until Benjie, when he got his bearings, that stopped the younger McDonald from beating the guy any further. They both went back inside the restaurant. The girl just stood there and continued to scream at the both of them.

The Hammond Police showed up just when they sat down to eat their tacos. It looked as though the girl was trying to explain to the police why her boyfriend was laying unconscious in a Las Brisas parking lot. She was looking through the restaurants glass, pointing to the both of them telling the police who they should be arresting. But the police never came in the restaurant and asked any questions. It seems that they just hauled the couple away to jail.

End of that story.


Back at the house, none of us knew what was going on with Benjie and the younger McDonald. This was, of course, before the readily available cell phone.

This was also when we started doing “Flaming shots of Everclear”.

Turning up the heat!

Benjie and the younger McDonald finally made it back from Las Brisas.

“We got into a fight,” Benjie announced as soon as he walked down the basement stairs. “Man, we kicked the shit out of some guy and his girlfriend.”

The younger McDonald went ahead and tried to explain what happened, but with the tape deck blaring “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns’n Roses made it a little difficult.

Before any of us could ask Benjie any questions, he was already at the end of the bar with his taco take-out. He sat with his back to us and that’s when I noticed the blood stain down Benjie’s back.

“Dude, you’re bleeding!” I shouted.

The younger McDonald went to check out Benjie’s head.

“That chic busted your head open.”

We all checked out his wound. Yep, there was a gash alright. She bashed him good.

Benjie took his last bite and muffled with a mouth full, “That bitch.” He grabbed a napkin and went upstairs to clean himself up in the bathroom.

Meanwhile…we showed the younger McDonald what we were up to since they left. Rash Key, Jay Gee along with the older McDonald brother with myself included poured ourselves a half-shot of Everclear. Each of us then lit the Everclear in the shot glass on fire.

“What the…?” the younger McDonald said looking wide eyed. “What are you guys going to do now?”

Before he realized, all four of us at the same time, threw the flaming shot down our own throat.

“HOLY SHIT! That’s fucking crazy!”

“Oh yeah?” a voice said coming from the other side of the basement. It was coming from Cousin Mike as he stumbled toward the bar. “I’ll show ya how to do it.”

Cousin Mike grabbed the bottle of Everclear and an empty shot glass. He carelessly poured himself a FULL shot spilling alcohol all over his hand as well as the bar.

“This is how you do it.”

Before any of us knew what was going on, Cousin Mike lit his shot glass on fire.

And his hand.

And the bar.

But that didn’t stop him.

Cousin Mike went ahead and was going to finish what he started. He tried to throw that flaming shot down his throat. But it was more like him throwing a fireball at his entire face than down his throat.
Oh yes. He threw fire at his own face.

So, Cousin Mike lit his hand and face on fire along with the top of the bar. I freaked out and everybody started yelling. I just started whacking Cousin Mike in the face trying to put the fire out. He gripped onto the bar with both hands (one of them on fire) and let me slap the shit out of him. The idea soon spread because everybody stopped screaming and started slapping Cousin Mike in the face.

And I do mean everybody. Like four pairs of hands.
I then threw a towel over his burning hand and put out the bar.

After a few quick moments of trying to extinguish Cousin Mikes face the fire eventually went out.
But wait a minute.

Benjie wanted some of that.

From nowhere Benjie flew into the scene. Throwing himself over the bar and with a stretch – SLAP!
He slapped Cousin Mike the hardest of everybody…and the fire was already out.
What the…?

But hold on.
This night doesn’t stop there.

Check back and find out what happens later when we come across vomit, a beer-bong & $100.

Not many Hammond residents are aware
that back in 1980 a Hessville pastor 
turned up missing.

Supposedly abducted by a Satanic cult.

That’s right, Dan LaRose was kidnapped by Satanists

A satanic symbol; possibly a shrine.

Pastor Dan LaRose claimed that Satanists kidnapped him

He told his fellow followers, friends and family in Hammond he was abducted by a Satanic cult in 1975 from Maine, N.Y. , so this isn’t the first time Pastor Dan LaRose has been kidnapped by these Satanists.The Satanists decided to man-handle the pastor and kidnap him, because LaRose was “talking shit about Satan”.

Satanists “don’t take to kindly” for such blasphemy.

The day before Pastor Dan LaRose disappeared, people in the parish claimed that LaRose stopped in the middle of his sermon and stared towards the back of the congregation. Witnesses who turned around to see what LaRose was staring at saw nothing. However, Pastor LaRose claimed he saw one of the Satanists kidnappers in a window.

Witnesses also stated that LaRose was acting strangely and said that Satanists were threatening him and his family.

He’s been missing for 27 years.
Dan LaRose left behind a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.

Why didn't he try to contact his family?

Dan LaRose even claimed that the Satanists used “shock therapy” to erase his memory, then they dumped him off in Minneapolis – bastards.

Hell on Earth

If there’s a “Hell on Earth”, it must be Centeron, Arkansas because that’s where Dan LaRose popped up – in 2007!

Not only does Dan LaRose hang out in Centeron, Arkansas – he’s the freakin’ mayor!

Yeah…no shit!
But you see, Dan LaRose wasn’t known as Dan LaRose.
Nope. He wanted people to call him “Kenny”.
His new name was Ken Williams, and now owns a radio-show program.

Those Satanists hooked him up – bastards.

But wait a minute, it gets better.

Satanists turn out to be an “underworld” crime group

Yeah..I know – wtf?

Well, I guess nobody was buying the “Satanists kidnapper” story, so LaRose decided to tell the truth.

He was kidnapped by the fucking mafia.
Well, not actually by the mafia – the mafia told him that he had to pretty much…kidnap himself.

Yeah, the mafia couldn’t or didn’t have the resources themselves at the time to arrange a proper kidnapping, so they made Pastor Dan LaRose kidnap himself.

That’s fucking brilliant.
I’m totally buying this story.

Pastor Dan LaRose claimed that he walked to Calumet City, Illinois and bought himself a bicycle, then rode west – ended up in Arkansas. He’s been there ever since, where he maintains his talk-show radio program and spends time with his new wife.

“I had an idea that sometime this would come down,” LaRose said. “It had been a lot of years, though.”

“I was told I had crossed the line and had to disappear again.”

LaRose’s original missing persons report from Hammond police in 1980 said he was born in Allentown, Pa., in 1940.
The fake I.D. that LaRose had came from a BRUCE KENT WILLIAMS – who died in a car crash in Middleport, NY in 1958.

LaRose said that his abductors threatened to kill his family if he didn’t cooperate and provided him with the Williams I.D. when they erased his memory and dropped him off in Minneapolis. He starting using it again after he left Hammond because he “didn’t know what else to do.”

“I’m afraid even now that because this has come out, that my family and friends might be in danger.”

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Americans and their love for the middle finger.

Americans love their middle finger.
A greeting with an unruly gesture.

I believe this to be true.

It seems to me as if every child born in the United States knows that the middle finger is a “bad thing”; some I believe know this even before they learn how to spell their name.

As an American, raised in the midwest, in a little section known as “the Region”, I became accustomed to the middle finger in my early childhood. I thought it was a strange phenomena that by simply making a fist and raising just the middle finger could bring such dismay.
In order for it to work properly you must be making eye contact with the person or thing. I say thing because I’ve witnessed my father giving the middle finger to the television.

I also never understood as a child the whole “giving” somebody the middle finger. Aren’t you pretty much just showing them your middle finger? It’s also called just “giving them the finger”, you know,  instead of saying the word “middle”? It seems that this mighty, unruly, disrespectful gesture that when in use or in conversation, the middle finger has been given the notoriety when the word “finger” is being used or talked about.

For example, if you heard that somebody gave somebody else the finger, you know right away what finger is being refered to – the middle finger, of course.

Growing up as a “Region Rat” here in the Region, giving somebody the finger doesn’t always have to mean disrespect. It still may mean “fuck you”, however, there’s more to it.

For example, if I saw my friend win $100 from across the street; he saw me and knew that I knew he just won $100, being so far away, we’d probably just give each other the finger. Congratulations.

To understand the “middle finger” – I had to know how it started

I see people giving each other the finger at least once a day – strangers even. Whether somebody is taking their time crossing the street, or changing lanes without proper signalling (or while signalling) and cutting somebody off, even if by accident. A long honk from a car and then somebody usually showing their impeccable middle finger stamina.

Really…? How odd.

So, after a little research I came across a couple of sites and found a little bit of history on the middle finger.
Interesting…very interesting indeed.

Giving somebody the middle finger dates back at least over 2500 years ago from ancient Greece. It started as a crude joke from a playwright named Aristophanes. He was a very popular playwright and was given the same notoriety as we do to our favorite modern-day celebrities. The crude joke is that in one of his plays there was a mix up with a middle finger and with a penis.

I also found out that it can also mean a sign of sexual superiority and you’re wanting to make someone (anyone, obviously) your bitch. It means you are becoming “phallic aggressive”, so instead of threatening with an erect penis like a wild animal (it doesn’t have to be your own, you can threaten with a dildo also), giving somebody the middle finger will do just fine.

Repeated use of the middle finger can cause “phallic aggressive behavior”. Having a phallic aggressive attitude and behavior can lead to “flipping the bird” excessively (aka giving somebody the finger). So you’re not just showing that you’re a better man (woman) than that person, but that person is your sexual inferior.

During the middle ages giving somebody the finger was almost unheard of – it went away, some say it went underground. I say it just lost its popularity. That is, until the 19th century and the invention of photography.

"Old Hoss" Radburn brought the middle finger back

Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn brought the middle finger back in this 1886 photo of him on the professional baseball team the Boston Beaneaters. This photo is documented proof of the first person to be “flippin’ the bird”

There could be a lot of things that would upset Charles Radbourn enough to provoke “The Old Horse” to give the finger right before this photo was taken. Back then, professional baseball players didn’t make enough to support a family so most found part-time jobs. Charles Radbourn was by trade a butcher.

So everybody thank Charles Radbourn (December 11, 1854 – February 5, 1897) for bringing back the middle finger – so we’re able to express how we feel when others are out of an earshot.

So what is this obsession with the middle finger and Americans?

Frankly, I just think it’s our way of saying, “I don’t want to deal with that right now…I got something else going on.”

Some people get easily offended and will try to escalate it into something bigger. It’s like if they feel they’re being told that they’re sexually inferior, wait…
…I guess they kind of are, especially if that person is being phallic aggressive.

Yeah, we are quick to flip the bird, but at the same time, we’re sensitive about it also.

Can exercise play a role in an addiction treatment program?

Fighting off addiction can be a lengthy and difficult process. The pain addiction can bring on is sometimes intolerable and many may fall into a regretful relapse. Many patients fall into a relapse after a short time attending an addiction program, but some may even have a relapse after years of attending and completing a program. The creators of sympathize and understand the difficulties of fighting and eventually overcoming the powerful hold that comes with addiction.

Exercise can help the brain resist temptations and is sometimes suggested and/or prescribed by doctors and addiction experts. It has been proven that vigorous exercise increases dopamine concentrations in the brain and according to Mark Smith, a neuroscience professor at the Davidson University, gives the brain the same effects as the addiction. This study has been going on for years and researchers were surprised the connection between increased physical activity and the decreased risk in substance abuse. Exercise has the same effect on the brain as do anti-depressants taken orally. Doctors have seen that longtime abusers have an increased risk in developing mental disorders such as stress, anxiety and depression and found that exercise can also help in treating such conditions.

Recovering addicts have been reported in saying that they prefer to participate in groups when performing physical activities associated with treatment. Treatment programs do sometimes organize outings such as bicycling or hiking encouraging physical activity to their patients, so that they may continue with being physically active when they have completed the program successfully. Doctors have discovered an increase in successful recoveries when exercise takes part in a treatment program.

It is said that a recovering addict will never be fully recovered and that the temptation will always be there. However, exercise and a proper diet can help in trying to calm these cravings to a degree where the recovering addict is no longer at risk in having a relapse. Some experts believe the key a successful recovery and to remain drug-free is to continue with an exercise regimen even long after the recovering addict has completed the recovery program. The brain is used to an increase of dopamine. Exercising has now taken the place of supplying the brain its increased need for dopamine instead of whatever the recovering addict was abusing. If the exercises or physical activity suddenly stops, the risk of a relapse can be at risk. It seems “boredom” can trigger the brain in wanting a quick fix of dopamine which can cause an addict (or a recovering addict) to rely on drugs to motivate the brain to want to engage in some sort of activity.

Consult a Personal Trainer

Just like everything else in life to much of a good thing could be harmful if not fatal. Consulting with a doctor to involve a physical trainer may be beneficial in the recovery process. Overdoing certain kinds of exercises may harm the body in many different ways such as serious sprains, or fatal injuries to vital organs and even brain aneurysms. It’s been suggested that a recovering addict should pick up a hobby of some sort to help minimize the risk of over exercising.

Rest in Peace - Adam Yauch

Rest in peace, the Beastie Boys will never be the same.

Thinking of you, Scott Ryan

Today I thought of an old friend, because of the passing of Beastie Boy member Adam Yauch and I say old friend because I knew him and his family practically all my life.

I also say old friend because I haven’t seen him for a very long time.

And I also say old friend, because even though he may not be with us physically, his spirit lives in all of us.

I miss you Scotty.

I remember when I was introduced to the Beastie Boys – it was Scotty Ryan. He called me up and told me to come over to do “whatever it was”…so I did. I walked that dreaded train track that followed along Lyman Avenue to Scotty’s house from 165th Street so many times by then I knew exactly how many steps it took to get there.

(a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point)

When I got to his house he immediately took me to his room so I could hear this new rap band. What was so weird about this was that they were ALL WHITE. There were other white rap groups – but they sucked.

(even Kid Rock was known then, but he REALLY sucked – remember “Yodelin’ in the Valley”?)

The Beastie Boys were different. What made them different was that they were actually good. They rocked. Yeah, we know that RUN DMC helped them BIG time, wrote some of their BIGGEST hits…so what?

They pulled it off.

Plus, RUN DMC saw something in these guys, that’s why they staked their reputation on them. RUN DMC is a rap group that pioneered the way for A LOT of black rap artists and for them to put up three white dudes from New York…something’s up.

Anyway, Scotty put the cassette in his “boom box” that was underneath his bedroom window that faced the driveway and blared away.

The first thing I heard from the Beastie Boys was… “No sleep ’till… (nah nah – na naah…) …Brooklyn!”

(I fell instantly in love and was going to base my entire life around their philosphy…not one of my better  judgements)

I looked at Scott and we started laughing, Scott was laughing so hard he accidentally drooled on the inside of cassette case.

I remember him saying, “Aw, man,” looking down at the cassette as he used the bottom of his shirt to wipe it up. He looks at me…looking at me in a way to see if I saw him drool on his shit – I did.

He walked past me, with that infamous grin on his face, “That sucked, ” I heard him say.


A father and son built two of these “flawless” boards from scratch.

Hammond, Indiana loves the Cornhole

Yes, it’s true! The residents of Hammond, Indiana is now involved in a REGIONal epidemic known as none other as  “Cornhole”. Some prefer “Corn Hole” – not me.

Board dimensions:
4'x2' playing area
The circle is 6" in diameter and is
   9" from center of circle to 
      top of board and
  12" from center of circle to
      either side of board
The playing board has to be 3" thick and
   needs to be raised 12" from ground
The Cornhole bags are 6"x6" and weigh 
   between 14.5 -16ozs

 Building your own set is easy, but you can still find somebody who will build you your own custom set – for the right price.

– They’ll give you the most reasonable price possible*
*minus shipping

If you want to build your own, here’s the best website that shows you how; step by step at

 A little history on Cornhole

Unbelievably, the history of Cornhole is mostly unknown, there are rumors floating around but nobody knows for sure. However, there is a story that’s claiming that the game was discovered during the 14th century in Deutschland (Germany), then rediscovered in the great state of Ohio in the United States within the last century or so. Experts and researchers confirm that a game very similar to Cornhole was played among the Indians in the area now known as “the REGION”, who would fill the dried out inner organs of pigs (mostly the bladder) with dried beans and competitively tossed them for entertainment.

It was the Blackhawk tribe in Illinois who were first known to do this, however, it’s also been said that the game was actually created in the Kentucky farmlands, this argument is still ongoing. The game began to increase in popularity in the late 1990s in Cincinnati & Athens, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois & Hammond, Indiana then on to East Lansing, Michigan.

Michigan State University & Ohio University is where Cornhole REALLY took off.
It was played majority of the time as a drinking game.

Black & Red - Chicago Bulls - Cornhole Bags

It’s best to use cornhole bags that are filled with real corn.
That’s the way the game was intended to be played.

James Peters - HoBoTrails

One of the strangest things I’ve done when I was “under the influence”.

I was asked:

 What was the strangest thing
 you ever did while drunk?
      I went to a party in St. Petersburg, Florida with a bunch of night stockers. I worked for a local department store and the guys who stocked the shelves were all off work on this particular night and they threw a party.
      I went there and as soon as I walked into the place I started doing tequila shots. I didn’t plan on staying that long, because unlike the stockers, I had to be at work in the morning.
Needless to say, I got drunk and ran out of the place like a madman (so I was told).

I woke up very early the next morning on wet ground and the first thing I saw was the full moon. I also saw a palm tree, then I noticed that I was surrounded by tall grass.

      I thought to myself, “My God, those guys were trying to kill me by throwing me on Alligator Alley.”
Now if you’re not familiar with Alligator Alley, look it up. But let me tell you that it’s notorious for being heavily populated with alligators.
      I couldn’t believe it, I was all the way down by Alligator Alley. I raised my right hand. I was holding onto my pants.
My pants were off?
      What the…? You mean to tell me that those guys “butt raped” me? Oh my God…NO!!!
      I sat up…wait a minute. I looked around.
      I wasn’t in Alligator Alley, I was in someones front yard.
      It was like 3:30am and I had no idea where I was. All I saw was a tiny red neon light in the distance.
I followed the light.
      I got to a car dealership, I found a payphone (luckily) and made a collect call to my wife. She stayed on the phone with me until some girlfriends of hers came and got me. I was standing at a payphone with my pants in my hand.
      What a sight I must have been – I mean… really.
            P.S. – I wasn’t “butt raped”, thank, God


The Willis Tower - November 18, 2011

Chicago, Illinois – Remember when the Sears Tower was the tallest structure on the planet?

I do.

I remember skipping class from Hammond High School and riding up to Chicago to spend the day. My friend Todd Morris would borrow his mom’s car to drive to school in the morning and ended up picking up 3 or 4 of us and we’d all take off for the city.

We’d park the car in a parking garage in the loop somewhere and would stroll the streets of Chicago (weather permitting, of course). We would go everywhere, you name it, we’ve been there…twice!

One of the places we would stop at would be the Sears Tower. We would mimic the movie “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” by stepping on a railing and leaning our forehead to the window. It would give a weird feeling through your entire body, almost as if you’re falling – pretty cool.

A Brief History on the Sears Tower
(A.K.A. The Willis Tower)

  •    Completed May 3, 1973 the Willis Tower was formerly named the Sears Tower
  •    It contains 110 floors
  •    The Willis Tower stood at 1,450 ft. until 1982*
  •    The Willis Tower stood at  1,704 ft. until 2000*
  •    The Willis Tower stands at 1,729 ft. today
  •    The Willis Tower had the record for tallest man-made structure until 2009

*  The antenna was lengthen to increase its height

The Willis Tower

The Willis Tower

A Coincidence
   For the past two and a half years I have been walking the grounds of Oak Hill Cemetery in Hammond, Indiana, researching its history through the internet and public records.
I’ve found nothing new on the subject of Oak Hill Cemetery; nothing worth digging deeper into.

Since my interest in the historic cemetery, Oak Hill Cemetery has seen its share of misfortunes. From trash blowing around the headstones, to fallen limbs atop huge memorial grave markers; it seems nobody is maintaining the grounds. Everything started falling apart for Oak Hill Cemetery’s owner and grounds crew when there was a complaint that there was a pile of headstones and grave markers in the corner of the graveyard right next to a trash bin towards the end of the 20th century.
Just recently, a skull was discovered but the Hammond police report that there was no foul play involved and that they presume it was most likely caused by the former grounds crew when they accidentally  unearthed and broke through a casket and exposing its contents. This was most likely caused by an inexperienced grounds crew while removing headstones and other grave markers for some mysterious reason. That incident and why it occurred is still under investigation.

The east end of the cemetery runs along Blaine Avenue which is separated from Oak Hill Cemetery by a set of railroad tracks that are no longer in use. Blaine Avenue runs north/south and the cemetery is on the east side of the street. On the west side of Blaine Avenue are homes that face the cemetery.

One resident, who asks to remain anonymous claims that since 1998 she has seen some pretty strange happenings that she would have categorized as paranormal.

They dug up that poor soldier boy from WWII and those other poor souls and now somebody is going     to have to make it right… Oak Hill has a way of making things right… she can take care of herself.”
*Hammond Resident of 40+ years, anonymous

   When our brief conversation ended I didn’t know if she was talking about the cemetery or its owner, Teresa Roark. When the elderly lady stated that “Oak Hill Cemetery has a way of making things right; she can take care of herself”, I was confused and lost for words when I heard her say this. Her eyes were fixed on the cemetery behind me when she was explaining things to me – like she was talking about an old, hurt friend.

A Reminiscing Story
She told me that she lived in this house for a long time; grew up in the neighborhood. She lived on Monroe Avenue, right off Cleveland Street when she was younger. She remembered when the railroad tracks that ran between Blaine Avenue and Oak Hill Cemetery were used more frequently, almost on a daily basis, and one day something happened to her when she was walking down Cleveland Street. She was on her way to Lyman Avenue to visit a friend when trains using those tracks made her stand and wait until it ended. Lyman Avenue began off of 165th Street and was just on the other side of these particular railroad tracks.
While she stood waiting, she noticed some girl standing in the cemetery through the spaces of the railroad cars. She couldn’t have been any older than 13-14 years old so she decided to walk closer to the moving train to see if she could get a better look at the girl through the open spaces, but the only thing she could make out was her long brown hair and her plain white gown.
She kept looking towards the end the train to see when the end of the train would come. It was still a good 12 or 15 train cars away, and at the speed of this particular train was going no faster than 5 mph, it’ll be another minute or two before she’ll be able to get a good look.
This wasn’t the first time she seen a train on these tracks before, so it was normal for her to walk all the way up to a moving train; to the point where she could touch them– but being extremely careful, of course. At the last couple of spaces where she could see this girl standing in the cemetery, she was at least a good 30-40’ away from the inside of the cemetery’s fence, just enough where she couldn’t make out any details about her face.
It struck her kind of strange, towards the last couple of spaces through the moving train – where the girls could see each other and how this other girl in the cemetery hadn’t move since this all began. When the second to last space of the train cars came she was as close to a moving train as you could get.  The second to the last space came and went and now one more train car to go; one more space.

This is when a cold chill went down my back.

When the last space finally came and enabled her to see the girl in the cemetery before the end of the train – it took her by surprise. The girl in the cemetery was now exactly on the other side of the train! She wasn’t in the cemetery anymore!

“She was 6 ft away from me…she was wearing a pinkish sweater over her plain white gown now…her face was rotted…teeth were exposed…her eyes were large…her hair was still long and brown…”

The woman said she started to run but when she looked back, the girl was no longer there. She didn’t care though and continued running all the way home.

I came back a few days later to ask some follow-up questions, but she told the person who answered the door to tell me that she was done talking about Oak Hill Cemetery and the door was quickly shut.
I walked over to the tracks and looked south and saw how the tracks crossed 165th Street and followed all along Lyman Avenue until 173rd Street. I then looked north and followed the tracks to as far as I could see; the tracks just seem to disappear into the scenery.
I looked back at the cemetery and deep into its beautiful natural landscape. Even though the cemetery hasn’t been properly maintained for so long, the wider beauty it possess is “soul elevating”.

Oak Hill Cemetery is located at the city’s highest elevated point and there is no point higher within the city limits.

Word of Advice
We the residents of Hammond, Indiana have a civil duty to care and maintain of our beloved historical cemetery, Oak Hill Cemetery. There is NO REASON that this cemetery is on the brink of becoming ruins. The founding fathers of Hammond, Indiana are buried there, such as Marcus Towle (one of the first mayors of Hammond) who has a street named after him that’s located in north side of Hammond. Once these problems have been resolved, peace should once again fall over Oak Hill Cemetery and its surrounding residents.
It’s a terrible shame that a historical cemetery such as Oak Hill Cemetery has seen such a terrible disregard. Volunteers from all over the region are making an effort to have Oak Hill regain its respect and its natural beauty.

Oak Hill Cemetery

Oak Hill Cemetery was found in 1885 in Hammond, Indiana and located at the north-east corner of Hohman Avenue and 165th Street.
Read my post titled “The Hauntings of Oak Hill Cemetery” at