Homestead Days – True Stories, part I

Pioneers weren't allowed to smile

In my last post, I mentioned how I used to work as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service.  Those that know me best find it very funny because it is the exact opposite of what they would expect me to do after college.  Being a new experience and completely outside my comfort area, it was a great opportunity I will always remember (even when I have to endure the occasional “park boy” comments from friends).  Of those memories, my absolute favorite story is from the day I met Eugene.

First, a little background.  My main tasks at the park included staffing the visitor center and giving tours through the restored tall-grass prairie and cabin.  Mostly the tours were either for elementary students on a field trip or the random vacationer traveling to all of the National Parks in their RV.  It was a pretty slow day without any groups scheduled to visit when a white van pulled into the parking lot.  It was the same type of van that schools would use to take small groups of students when a bus was too big.  The only difference was, this van had the windows tinted.  I was about to ask if anyone had scheduled a tour group when a grey-haired man wearing hip waders got out of the van and approached the visitor center.  He was in his mid-seventies and really didn’t say much when he entered.  He simply asked if there was a map for the trails which I provided to him.  As he was going back out to the van, I heard him mutter to himself “I think I’ll find what I’m looking for here.”  Ok, that was odd but certainly not the strangest thing until what I saw him do next.  He opened the back of his van and put on a pith helmet, grab a pickaxe and start heading out onto the trail.  I may not have been up to speed on all park regulations, but I was pretty sure digging up the ground at a national monument is frowned upon.  The Chief Ranger agreed and went to check out our mystery guest.  His name was Eugene and he wasn’t trying to dig up parts of the prairie, he was looking for “something.”  Although we were still unclear as to what that “something” was, he hadn’t done anything wrong and agreed not to damage or take anything out of the park.

Needless to say, we kept a pretty close eye on Eugene.  According to the Chief Ranger, there were now three red ‘x’ marks on the map which is apparently where Eugene was headed.  When he reached the spot, he used his pickaxe to make a small hole in the ground.  In hole he would bury an octagonal shaped disc, perform a cryptic chant then unbury the disc and move on to his next marker.  When he was finished, he returned to the visitor’s center and began to explain what he had been doing.  Eugene was driving across the country looking for sources of negative energy.  He said “they” had told him that these three spots on the map may have been where the negative energy started but alas, although he called them ‘hot spots’ they were not the source “they” were searching.  We asked who else was traveling with him, since we didn’t notice anyone else in the van with him.  Turns out “they” were the voices that told him where to turn as he drove.

Eugene explained that this negative energy had caused him quite a bit of problems in his life.  It started when lightning struck a dead tree by his house and split the tree in two.  This released the negative energy which sapped all of the positive energy from his life.  He said he was barely able to function after the lightning strike.  He was unable to get out of bed, unable to sleep, basically he said he was existing in a near-catatonic state.  That is, until he started taking baths in water mixed with baking soda. The mixture helped disinfect the negative energy on the skin (he was quick to point out that he had to keep his eyes open underwater to cleanse them, too).  Feeling better, he began working to remove the negative energy by hauling away the tree.  Although tree was gone, the negative energy still remained.  With some flair for the dramatic, he explained that he was able to shoot the energy into space.  How could he do that?  Using an upside-down pyramid.  “Don’t discount the power of the pyramid” he declared.

Since the park was not the source of negative energy, he said he had to be on his way.  He left us with a warning, though.  Although it was not the source, there was plenty of negative energy at the park and our lives would begin to suffer if we did not take steps to eliminate it.  With that, he drove away never to be heard from again.  Of course, he did fail to provide the step-by-step instructions for using a pyramid to shoot the energy into space so I’m pretty sure that energy is still there.  If you travel to the Homestead, be cautious.  You may want to take some baking soda baths just to be safe!


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