The Man in Black

Ad Blocker Detected

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

When I was a teenager we lived  in Kalamazoo,  Michigan,  in  the last house on a court. The house all were large and  old, and no doubt many children have run and played in that court.

One summer afternoon in 1935 or ’36 a storm was brewing. The sky was growing dark and the  huge  oak trees that lined our court made it even darker  there.

My two sisters, Ruth and Phyllis,  and several neighbor girls were playing a  made-up game that consisted mostly of chasing each other back and forth to the end of the court, screaming a  lot. I was a little old for  such kid games but that day I had “lowered my dignity” to join in the fun.

As lighting crackled directly overhead and  thunder sounded almost instantly behind it, we decided we had  time to  make  only one more dash to the end  of the court before the rain came. We had run only a  short way when we all came to a sudden halt.

Directly in front  of us under the biggest oak tree was a man dressed all in black. His  wide-brimmed hat and ankle-length coat were from a long-ago past. The wide brim of the hat shaded his face so  we could not see his features.

Seconds before, he had not been there  and we couldn’t  understand where he had  come from. Yet there he was, arm and palm held  outward as if to  warn us to go back. And go back we did, racing and stumbling onto our front porch.

We just had reached the front steps when a bolt of lightning blazed downward and with an earsplitting crash struck the pavement where we would have been at that moment if the man in black had not frightened us into racing home.

The concussion felt like a hand  slammed into  my back. Screaming, we  turned  to see where the man in black was.  But there was no man! Only  the smell of sulphur  hung in the air and the rain came down in torrents.

Our father,  hearing  the noise, came running out and  when we told  him our story he dashed to the  end of the  court to see if he  could see the man in black. But there was  no one anywhere on the street.

Where the tall  stranger came from and where  he went we’ll never know, but we’ll remember him. If it hadn’t been for him we would not be  here today.

Barbara Carrothers

 Coloma, Michigan

August 1976

Leave a Reply