Case No. 1: The Mysterious Disappearance of Oliver Larch

Near South Bend, Indiana, Christmas Eve, 1889

On the wintry evening of December 24th, the Larch family was having a party to celebrate Christmas. The landscape was bright with new-fallen snow, yet, heavy clouds hung low, making the sky dark and dreary. The windows of the farm house burned with the warm, cheerful, light of the party, as family and friends finished up the evening meal. The happy guests, beaming from a wonderful dinner, included a lawyer from Chicago who was a long-time friend of the family, a judge from South Bend, and a local minister and his wife. They were all well acquainted and had a history with each other, and, the Larch family.

Eleven year old Oliver Larch popped popcorn for the group, in the kitchen, while they retired to the parlor for conversation, games, and, to sing christmas carols that Mrs. Larch’s played on the organ. This was a familiar get-together that the group looked forward to every year. They truly enjoyed each other’s company.

A few minutes before eleven o’clock, Mr. Larch asked Oliver to run out to the well for a bucket of water to refill the drinking-water crock. By now the snow was about six inches deep so, Oliver put on a warm coat and some over shoes, took up a bucket, and, headed out the door toward the well which was about 75 feet from the house. Just as Mr. Larch returned to his guests, they all heard a chilly scream!

Help me! Help! They’ve go me! Help! they all heard as they jumped up to rush to the boys’ aid. As Mr. Larch and the others, threw open the door and lunged into the night, they were met with a terrifying silence. Oliver was not there. Literally, not more than seconds had transpired from the time he walked out of the house, to hearing his screams. Holding a lantern high, and walking on they followed the boys tracks, only to discover that they ended half way to the well. They stood in stunned silence, not comprehending how this could be. Then, they heard poor Oliver scream again.

And, now we come to the most horrifying fact of all. Oliver’s screams were not coming from out in the woods, they were coming from up above, from somewhere overhead, in that blackened sky. They could not see him, and, they could not help him. All they could do was stand in disbelief as his screams for help slowly faded away.

Help! Help! They’ve go me!……..help!……….help!

Later, the authorities investigated, but, turned up nothing the stricken family didn’t already know. How can a person just disappear like that? How does one get “taken” into the air? The evidence clearly showed that Oliver never made it to the well. His tracks simply stopped. Yet, there were no hot air balloons in the area, and no carrion bird could be big enough to take hold of a sturdy boy like Oliver and, launch them both back into the air. It was simply impossible, yet, something carried the boy away in front of a half dozen witnesses.

To this day, no one has ever explained how a young boy stepped off a porch for a bucket of water, and, vanished into the night sky.

Referenced from Strangest Of All, by Frank Edwards.

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