“Why This Wind Was Called Mariah”
This tale has nothing whatsoever to with the song entitled “They call the wind Mariah” from the 1969 hit musical “Paint your wagon.” It does however have everything to do with the late Mrs. Mariah Tucker who had lived on a scratch farm on the outskirts of the small town of Cactus Blossum...
- Mariah Tucker From Cactus Blossum
- Why They Call The Wind Mariah
- My Meeting With Mariah Tucker
- A Red Haired, Full Bosomed Figure
- Boxes Of Expensive Leather Shoes
- “My Name Is Mariah, Mariah Tucker.”
- Tea And A Snack With Mariah Tucker
- Not A Shadowy Ghostlike Appearance
- Jim Huntley Mysteriously Joins Mariah Tucker
- “Mariah Must Have Pulled Jim Huntley In.”
Mariah Tucker From Cactus Blossum
According to the pencil scrawled entry written by the clerk, Mrs. Mariah Tucker, drove her 1915 Model T Roadster into Cactus Blossum and proceeded to the deeds office where she paid the clerk the grand sum of $35 cash, the asking price for a small piece of land 3 miles out of town. The date was12th September 1920 and the price was the grand sum of $35 where she had been living ever since, weather-stained wooden farmhouse on the property about three miles east of town for the remainder of her life.
There must be quite a number of persons living today, who had heard about and know somewhat of the story I am about to tell of "Old Mariah Tucker," as she was always called. She was not a particularly sociable person having discouraged any attempts by local folk to befriend her and had chosen to live alone. Since choosing not to speak of her own affairs, nobody thereabout knew anything of her past, neither did any of her relatives if indeed she had any. Without being particularly repulsive in a manner or speaking, She somehow managed to be impervious to any form of curiosity, yet
exempt from the evil repute with which it commonly revenges itself when baffled;
As far as I know, she got her living, cultivating a small and not very fertile vegetable farm.
THEME MUSIC HERE: "GHOST TOWN"
Why They Call The Wind Mariah
A peculiar feature of the surrounding semi desert landscape is the way, in which the dry desert floor steeply rushes up to meet the nearby canyon walls, hardly two miles out of town on the Texas side, added to this was the strange way the parched dessert wind would rush by , slamming into the sheer canyon walls up ahead and gathering momentum, it doubled right back with the speed of a West bound freight train in the direction of Cactus Blossum, flattening or ripping away anything in its path. One moment the wind would howl like a banshee and just as suddenly as it had arrived, it would die down again, followed by an almost deafening silence.
One such terrible windy night, in 1928, Mariah had disappeared and a prolonged search the next day by her neighbors had failed to turn her up or to throw any light upon her whereabouts nor did anything inside her little house show a preparation to leave, all was as she might have left it to go to the nearby Lister water pump for a pail of water. For a few weeks, little else was talked of in that region; soon "old Mariah Tucker" became a village tale for the ears of passing strangers.
My Meeting With Mariah Tucker
Myself, an earlier passing stranger, I do not know what was eventually done regarding her property. The house is still standing, vacant and conspicuously unfit, Her old 1915 Model T Roadster, left on the spot where she had last parked it, now, a rusted shell beyond repair, where I had last seen it some 20 years ago, when I had stopped over at the Cactus Blossum Inn, while hauling freight, bound for Galveston harbor, with my old 18 wheeler Mack truck. Of course the old house had itself come to be considered "haunted," but even more strange were the varying tales told of the startling apparitions of Old Mariah Tucker, particularly at times when the strange wind blew up the canyon pass on the Texas side of town. A fact, as yet to be revealed to me on the night of my stop-over at the Cactus Blossum Inn. I recall, that I had spent a grueling 14 hours behind the wheel earlier, having agreed to haul an urgent load of freight for Galveston docks, doing it in about half the usual time. The cost of running a privately owned 18 wheeler Mack can be a huge money trap and so I welcomed the offered prospects of double pay plus expenses. After a fine meal of a slab of rump steak, some hashbrowns and a pint of Budweiser in my belly, I was ready to hit the sack.
A Red Haired, Full Bosomed Figure
Back in my room I had myself a relaxing hot shower and lay down to sleep. My head had hardly touched the pillow and I was out for the count. It had felt as though I had hardly slept, when I was suddenly awakened by a rhythmic banging of some kind. I sat up and realized that the noise was coming from the direction of the window. In a few strides I was at the window and drew the curtains back. The source of the banging was that of a woman. In the bright moonlight I noticed the color of her hair, it was bright red. I could see that in spite of her youthful figure and full-bosomed appearance, she kinda seemed a bit schoolmarmish, you know, in the nape of her neck, her long red hair had been twisted into a tight bun and her dress seemed completely out of character, almost a 1920s' Gatsby kind of dress which was covering her body from neck to toe, flapping wildly in the gusting wind, were the ends of a bright blue shawl loosely draped across her shoulders, and one hand clutching it to her chest . When I returned my gaze to her face, I noticed that she was clearly worried about something. It was at that point, that I noticed also, the eery loud howling of the wind. I was about to open the window to try and hear what she was saying, when I noticed her waiving her free arm and pointing frantically to something in the direction of the front of the inn. She had no sooner started pointing when she suddenly faded from sight.
Boxes Of Expensive Leather Shoes
I hastily rushed over to my tote bag and grabbed my coat. When I arrived at the front
of the inn, I was expecting to find her but she was nowhere to be seen, from the corner of my eye, I noticed, that the tarpaulin holding my freight together, had loosened itself and was about to blow away in the gusting wind. The freight consisted of hundreds of boxes of expensive shoes destined for the export market. Loosing the load, would push up my already inflated insurance premiums, something I could ill afford. In no time, I had
managed to re secure the load without loosing as much as a single box. I just had to find this amazing lady to thank her. I gazed at the time on my watch, and was shocked, it was 3:15 am.! What on earth would anyone, a young woman at that, be doing outside at this hour and in such a dangerous wind? I looked around, desperately trying to find her but to no avail, she had inexplicably vanished. I reasoned, that she must have been a passerby, who had simply stopped to report the loose tarp flapping about, and decided to knocked on the first available window to give the alarm. Just as I was about to return to my room, the howling wind suddenly died down completely. With the nocturnal noises of the crickets and frogs and the eery sound of a hooting owl starting up almost as if on que, way in the distance.
“My Name Is Mariah, Mariah Tucker.”
I returned to my room and was again instantly fast asleep. A few hours later, I was awakened by the buzzer alarm which I had set in my wristwatch. I washed, got dressed and went to the Inns' dining room, where I was cordially greeted by the elderly owner, Fred Jacobson. He was asking whether I had managed to sleep through all of the noise. I responded by telling him about the appearance of my secret guardian angel. With a somehow, knowing smile starting to cross his face, he excused himself and walked over to the far wall of the dining room, where he took down a framed picture from the wall, dusting off the glass surface with his jersey covered arm, he walked back to where I was seated: “Was it perhaps this person?” he asked and handed me the picture.
It was an astonishingly well drawn pencil sketch and unmistakably her, and I immediately asked him who she was. To which he answered:”The person who had sketched her was a talented young artist passing through Cactus Blossum on his way to an art convention in Dallas, as I recall, he was about to drive up the canyon road, when this woman was suddenly standing directly ahead, she was signaling him to stop, which he did. With a troubled expression on her young face, she asked him to please take her to the Cactus Blossom Inn 3 miles back. He had lots of time to spare and smilingly, he invited her into his car. where she sat silently and motionless next to him on their way back to the Inn which prompted him to ask her what her name was: “My name is Mariah, Mariah Tucker.” she replied, staring directly ahead of her. “Noah Bates” he responded as he offered his hand in greeting, which she quietly accepted. A sudden indescribable chill started running down his spine, triggered by the icy touch of her skin against his. He could not understand just how come her hand had been so cold"
Tea And A Snack With Mariah Tucker
As they arrived at the Inn, she spoke, saying: “Don't leave town just yet, please wait a while.” she almost insisted. He suggested they drink a cup of tea together and perhaps enjoy a light snack before he left for Dallas. He had gotten out and walked around the back to open her door. As he opened the passenger door, he was
speechless, she was gone!, vanished! He thought that she somehow had gone into the Inn, perhaps to make an urgent phone call. When he got to the dining-room, he walked over to where the owner Fred Jacobson was busy restocking his bar fridges: “Hello, did you see a lady come in just now?” he asked. Fred hadn't seen anyone and asked: “what lady?” “Mariah Tucker, I found her standing at the Canyon road asking to be brought to your Inn.”He replied. “Are you quite sure she said Mariah Tucker?, and that she not only got into your car, but actually spoke to you as well?” Fred asked, an expression of disbelief crossing his face. "What's with the third degree?, off course I'm sure.” he replied. “Not only that, but she also shook my hand, I need to find her right away.” “Could you describe her to me please?” Fred asked. “Ill do better than that, I am a portrait artist after all.” he said, as he opened a sketch pad which he had in his hand. From an inside pocket in his jacket, he produced a pencil. “I'm never without these” he said, as he walked over to sit at one of the tables and started sketching this very sketch. “What was the color of her hair?” Fred asked. “Her hair was red, the dress was an emerald green and the shawl was bright blue.” “So, do you know her.” He asked. “I sure know about her, but you are much too late if you wanted to actually meet her.” Fred replied.
Not A Shadowy Ghostlike Appearance
“He had stayed over one night several years ago and the person he had sketched was That person in the picture, none other than the fiery, red headed late Mrs. Mariah Tucker, clothed in the same emerald green dress and brandishing a blue colored shawl around her shoulders.” I was speechless, since the person in the sketch was drawn in pencil, making it impossible to guess the color of her bright red hair, green dress and blue shawl which the woman I saw at my window was wearing. She looked as solid or three dimensional as any living person I had ever seen, no “proverbial” shadowy, Ghostlike appearance. I asked again: “Did you just say, the late Mrs. Mariah Tucker?" To which he replied: ”Indeed, I did, I was born in Cactus Blossum in 1948, about 20 years after she had disappeared and I was well aware of the many stories surrounding the mysterious woman, in the years leading up to and following my birth” Although there had been several spectral encounters with her at varying times since her disappearance in 1928 these appearances had often coincided with the arrival of the peculiar wind, at which point she would somehow appeared to warn of or prevent some or other impending danger.”
Jim Huntley Mysteriously Joins Mariah Tucker
At one time, some 10 years ago, stories of her supernatural appearances, became so rife, or through some attesting circumstances had seemed so important, that some of Cactus Blossums' most serious minded citizens deemed it prudent to investigate, and to that end arranged for a night vigil on her property. The parties to this undertaking were Jim Huntley, a water diviner; Walter Mc Baine, the local Judge, and Festus. J. Sackett the town Sheriff , all men of repute and consequence. They were to meet at Judge Mc Baines' house at nine o'clock in the evening on the appointed day and go together to the scene of their vigil, where certain arrangements for their comfort, such as the provision of fuel and the like, for the season was winter, had been already made. Huntley did not keep the engagement, and after waiting a half-hour for him, the others went to Mariahs' old house without him. They established themselves in the lounge, before a glowing fire, and without any other light than it gave, awaited events. They had agreed to speak as little as possible: they did not even renew the exchange of views regarding the defection of Huntley, which had occupied their minds on the way. Roughly an hour had passed without incident when they suddenly heard (not without emotion, doubtless) the sound of an opening door somewhere in the rear of the house, followed by footfalls in the room adjoining that in which they sat. The watchers rose to their feet sharply, but stood their ground, prepared for whatever might ensue. A long silence followed—how long? neither would afterward venture to say.
“Mariah Must Have Pulled Jim Huntley In.”
Then the door between the two rooms opened and a man entered. It was Jim Huntley. He was pale, as if from excitement—possibly as pale as the others felt themselves to be. His manner, too, was singularly distraught: he neither responded to their salutations nor so much as looked at them, but continued walking slowly across the room in the light of the fire and opening the front door, he passed through into the darkness outside. It seems to have been the first thought of both men that Huntley was suffering from shock, that something seen, heard or imagined in the back room of Mariahs' house had robbed him of his senses. Acting on the same impulse both men ran after him through the open door. But neither they nor anyone else ever again saw or heard of Jim Huntley!
This much was ascertained the next morning, during their discussions with the towns folk of Messrs. Mc Baine and Sackett. At the "haunted house", they said, that a new snow had fallen to a depth of several inches on the ground in front of Mariahs' house. In the snow Huntleys' trail leading from her house was conspicuous, his tracks, turning away from the front door, leading away toward the nearby Lister water pump, a distance of about ten yards from the front door, where they abruptly stopped and vanished. The two men had sworn that Huntley had preceded them before simply disappearing into thin air. Huntley's disappearance was as complete as that of "Old Mariah Tucker " whom, the editor of the local paper somewhat graphically had accused of having "reached for from somewhere and pulling him in."
* Dedicated to my friend MARIAH: I sure hope this tale touched the spot
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