I was scared when...

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloween is the time for the spookiest of things, but as people get older, they sometimes realize those scariest moments are actually quite laughable. People always tell spooky stories around this time of year, and here is a list of stories from the community that just might make someone laugh in the face of horror.

Rachael Freeman, Cassville Area Chamber Of Commerce director, recalls a thrilling tale from her youth.

“When my brother was 13, he really got into lifting weights. I was 9 at the time and being the little sister,” Freeman said. “I had to do everything he told me to do, apparently.”

Freeman said they didn’t have a weight set, and her brother would put heavy rocks in a bucket and “curl” them.


“He once got the bright idea that he would take the engine out of an old lawn mower in the garage and use it for weights,” Freeman said. “Being completely and utterly terrified of snakes, there was no way I was going near the barn.”

According to Freeman, after many threats on her life, she reluctantly went out to the barn. Her task was to push the old lawn mower out of the barn.

“I knew there would be a snake waiting underneath if I dared push it,” Freeman said. “My brave older brother assured me that it was all in my mind, and I need not be fearful. My brave older brother is a liar.”

Freeman said as soon as she took one step forward with that lawn mower, a large gray monstrous snake hissed at her.

“I jumped out of my shoes, (I was wearing slip-on shoes) and darted to the house,” Freeman said. “I sprinted like I never had before. If anyone knows me very well, they would know that I am not fast. I lack speed in a mighty way. Not this day.”

According to Freeman, no sprinter was a match for her that day as she ran through the woods, over rocks and sticks she busted through the back door screaming and crying that she was bit by a snake.

“I screamed, ‘Call 911, I’ve been bit.’” Freeman said. “What seemed like years later, my brother came in the house huffing and puffing after chasing after me. He said, ‘Rachael, I never knew you could run that fast.’” 

Freeman said she lost all trust in her older brother that day. And apparently, she did not get bit by that snake, but she had cut herself by running barefoot.

Ben Lindley, Freedom Bank chief financial officer, tells a tale of the imaginations of 10-year-old boys getting the best of them.

“When I was 10 years old, I remember watching my first horror movie, Stephen King’s ‘The Silver Bullet’, with my best friend,” Lindley said. “This werewolf flick is laughable to my kids now, but back then it scared 10-year-old boys.”


Lindley said later that night, he and his friend stayed in the abandoned farmhouse next door. They had a grand time playing board games and eating candy.

“After we dosed off, we awoke to the most horrific noise,” Lindley said. “A furious ‘GRRROOWWLL’ was emanating from inside the house.”

According to Lindley, this continued for some time as the boys shook with fright in their sleeping bags.

“My mother, for our safety, locked the family German Shepherd in that old house,” Lindley said. “That dog must have seen a critter outside, and she made a terrible fuss over it.”

Lindley said eventually the boys deduced the truth, but his friend was too scared to go downstairs the next morning when he needed to use the bathroom.

“So, I suggested the gutter out on the roof,” Lindley said. “And that’s what he did.”

Sometimes people can bring terror onto themselves, which is exactly what Richard Asbill, Cassville superintendent, did just a few years ago.

“Since I am one who enjoys a good scare and practical joke, I hatched up a scheme to ‘pretend’ that we had called off school for then-Superintendent Jim Orrell,” Asbill said.

Asbill said he partnered with Joe Cavness on this adventure, and their efforts aimed at sending out a fake phone call to Jim Orrell saying school was canceled, as Orrell was out of the office that day. 


“After we hit send, the central office secretaries pretended to receive random phone calls that school had been cancelled, [which made us believe that we had sent the message out to not only Jim, but the entire school],” Asbill said. “Joe was so scared that while attempting to log back in to the computer to check the message audience, he forgot his password.”

Asbill said he then began to wonder if their joke had gone all wrong. 

“I can still remember Joe’s comment, ‘Richard, Jim is going to fire us for this,’” Asbill said. “Fortunately, all was well, and the real scare was enjoyed by the secretaries who got Joe and I.”

Mike Phillips, Barry County E-911 director, recalled somewhat of a supernatural thrill from his childhood.

“When I was 9 or 10, my family and I went to my parents’ friend’s house for dinner,” Phillips said. “After dinner, all of the kids went to the finished basement to play board games.” 


According to Phillips, one of the games that was presented as an option was the “OUIJA” board game. 

“I knew about that game, and was not interested in playing it due to my mother telling me to stay away from that game,” Phillips said. “She was adamant that it was an evil game, and bad things could happen if I played it.”

Phillips said some of the other kids decided to play it anyway, while he watched from afar.

“The whole time I was scared to see what was going to happen,” Phillips said. “It probably didn’t help that one of the older kids was turning the lights on and off too.” 

According to Phillips, he has never been around that game since.

JR Smith, goBEC manager, told a story of a screech of terror on a Missouri creek bed.

“One night, my dad, my son, one of my dad’s buddies and I all went overnight floating on Shoal Creek near Neosho,” Smith said. “We tied limb lines to catch big catfish, and once you set the bait, you go find a place to make camp.”


Smith said the camp can be anywhere along the creek, which is in the middle of nowhere, with no lights or any civilization.

“You build a big fire and wait until after midnight to check your lines to see if you caught fish,” Smith said. “While sitting around the fire, my dad would call barred owls, and they would call back.”

Smith said it was a lot of fun listen to the owls call back.

“Then, all of a sudden, we heard what sounded like a scream,” Smith said. “The sound was pretty far away, and the barred owls my dad had been calling stopped hooting as if they were scared off. “We all said, ‘Did you hear that scream?’ We all knew we were miles from the closest house.

According to Smith, again came the scream, which was was longer, louder and a little closer. 

“I thought maybe it was a coyote,” Smith said. “Then it got louder and closer, and it was moving too fast for a coyote.”

Smith said the scream was as if it was a young girl screaming as loud as she could.

“We all jumped up from our chairs,” Smith said. “My dad’s friend was pretty freaked out because he said, ‘What was that, and what are we going to do? We have no place to take shelter.’”

Smith said the next thing they knew, the screech was right above their heads in the trees.

“It was so loud it made our skin crawl.” Smith said. “Then, my Dad took the flashlight and pointed at the noise. It was a screech owl.”

Smith said they were not sure whether the screech owl was having fun with them or if it was just saying hello.

“Either way, we laughed pretty hard at each other once we figured out what it was,” Smith said.

Lance Massey, Wheaton superintendent, had back up when facing one of his worst fears in the Wheaton high school math room.

“It was a cool fall morning, about this time of the year, when I heard the dreaded call over the intercom that Dr. Massey was needed in the high school office,” Massey said. “Upon arriving at the office, my secretary told me that I was needed in the high school math room. At that point, a million things were going through my mind of what the problem could be as I walked the couple of hundred feet toward the classroom.”


Massey said upon arriving at the classroom the substitute teacher informed him that there was a snake in the window sill.

“Those were certainly words that I did not want to hear.” Massey said. “You see for me, every snake is a rattle-headed-copper-moccasin, and I despise them all. Not that a snake has ever done anything to me, it is just that I get chills up my spine as I see, think, hear about and even write about snakes.”

Massey said now that he was in the classroom, and face to face with his adversary, he had the concern of what he was to do.

“Fortunately for me, a few teachers had heard there was an issue in the math room and came to see what the problem might be,” Massey said. “One of our teachers had a love for snakes, and grabbed the snake up and took it outside and set it free.

“Moral of the story — be prepared to face your fears, but also know there are people that can give assistance,” Massey said.

Ernest Raney, Exeter superintendent, found a way to face his fears that would last a lifetime.

“I was scared when I walked upon a great big black snake in the summer of 1976,” Raney said. “It was a hot July summer day. I had just turned 7 years old, and didn’t have a care in the world except getting from one shaded area to the next on the hot blacktop beneath my bare feet.”


Raney said his sister had just gotten her first pair of earrings and lost one of them when we were jumping in a bounce house.

“After searching for a long time, she finally gave up,” Raney said. “My parents had always told me that if I were to ask anything in Jesus’ name, it would be done. This was my chance to get to know Jesus just a little better.”

Raney said he began to pray that Jesus would place the lost earring at the gate of his yard, which was about 30 feet from the porch.

“I would stand at the porch, pray that God would answer my prayer and walk down to the gate only to find nothing,” Raney said. “Then, return to the porch and start the whole process over. After many times walking from the porch to the gate and back, following each prayer, a great big black snake stopped me in my tracks.

“That’s when I decided to pray God would place that earring in a different place.”

According to Raney, that didn’t work either. Finally, he mustered up enough courage to pray that God place the earring at the gate again.

“I faced my fear of snakes and went back to making the trek from the porch to the gate, praying each time that God place that earring there,” Raney said. “After what seemed like forever, praying for the earring to be placed at the gate, right in the middle of the gate facing straight up, the diamond earring was right where I asked in Jesus’ name that it be.”

Raney said this was a life lesson for him at a young age to spend time in prayer each day.

“When life presents a snake,” Raney said. “Have the courage to continue walking that narrow path toward victory.”

Scott Conover, youth pastor at the First Baptist Church of Cassville, told of his 8-year-old self on a terrifying ride.

“I was scared when my twin brother convinced me to ride ‘The Zipper’ when I was 8 years old,” Conover said. “It was a ride at our local fair growing up that involved going up in the air, spinning, and going upside down all in one ride.”


Conover said he thought it was terrifying, and it took his twin brother two years to finally convince him to ride it.

“Then when we got on the ride, we went up 30 feet in the air, got turned upside down, and the ride broke down.” Conover said. “We were stuck in the air, and upside down for 30 minutes while we waited for them to fix the ride. Needless to say, I haven’t ridden it since.”

As an officer, Sgt. Taylor Lombard with the Barry County Sheriff’s Office is used to having company in the back of his patrol car, however, he never expected a suspect with four paws.

“It was a normal night in Barry County,” Lombard said. “I, along with MSHP Troopers, responded to a residence to back up another Deputy on a call.”


Lombard said after finishing the call he left the residence, and immediately made a traffic stop on a vehicle.

“After speaking to the driver, I returned to my patrol car to write a citation,” Lombard said. “I heard a noise come from inside my car that I knew wasn’t normal.”

Lombard said thinking he was hearing things he continued with his business, but the “meows” became more frequent.

“I gave the driver their citation, and returned to my car where I finally told my partner what I was hearing,” Lombard said. “I shined my flashlight into my backseat and much to my surprise, a cat was staring back at me.”

According to Lombard, after regaining his composure, he transported the cat back to the residence he was at prior.

“I carried the cat back to the front door where I handed it back to the owners, who thought it was as funny as I did,” Lombard said. “I still to this day have no idea how the cat managed to get into the back of my car.”

Dana Kammerlohr, Cassville police chief, recalled a story of a slithering scare.

“We were tracking for another agency at night,” Kammerlohr said. “The tracking line is black, and is about 30 feet long, so it would drag behind me.”


Kammerlohr said one of the other officers yelled, “Snake!”

“I am ok with snakes when I know they are there,” Kammerlohr said. “When I don’t know they are there, they scare me.”

According to Kammerlohr, she jumped and turned around to see what she thought was a snake, move.

“I almost dropped my tracking line,” Kammerlohr said. “But it was the tracking line, and not a snake.”

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