It’s Halloween… Tales from a Small Town Boy Will Have You Shakin’ in Your Boots

Glen Roberts

With Halloween approaching fast, it has reminded me that over the years Cleveland Vibrator has sold several vibrators to entertainment enterprises for use on their Halloween projects. One of these projects, I was told, was for a Haunted Mansion Halloween Party for a pretty well known publication here in the U.S. (*Mansion may be a pretty big clue here). They used two 1125 VMS Air Piston Vibrators mounted below the floor to surprise folks as they walk on them. We even built an “Earthquake Machine” for the Natural History Museum here in Cleveland, Ohio to give visitors the experience of what an earthquake may feel like. They even covered the drive motors so you could actually sit on them. This holiday also brought back an experience I had at a burial vault company visit just a few years past. But, before I tell this story would like to explain what led up to my reaction to this visit.

I think that our beliefs and fears about Halloween go back to what we have learned or were told as kids. This for sure applies to my background as a youngin’. I was raised in Southern Ohio on a small farm that had no phone service until I was twelve or thirteen. You could count the number of cars that came down the road past our farm house in a day’s time on one hand most days. Although we didn’t have to pipe in sunshine, our farm was in a small valley surrounded on all four sides by forestry and when it got dark, it got really dark. With no place to go after dark, you end up in the house listening to family and friends spinning yarn talking about strange occurrences they have seen or heard about. You hear about that old abandoned house that someone had died in and when you would walk past at night, you would see a light in the window or hear a baby cry. They tell you about old wive’s tales that the family dog will howl all night when a family member, especially his master, is going to pass away.. and long into the night, it actually happens.

My favorite is hearing about a neighbor who was out fox hunting with his dogs and while he was walking home after dark, he encountered what looked like a large man walking toward him on the road with chains wrapped around him and rattling them as he walked. The hunting dogs cowered at this apparition’s  feet and howled as it brushed by the hunter. He swears that night he met the devil on that old dark dirt road. I think this all sticks with you no matter how old you are. I remember walking home from football practice a few years later, I was surrounded by woods down that old dirt road. I felt my senses highten with every creak and crack I heard, every movement in those woods caught my attention. If it were daytime, these sights and sounds would not have bothered me, but it was something about the dark and the eeriness of those woods…  I believe times like this causes you to have that chill up your back and the hair stands up on the back of your neck. That feeling somewhat freezes you in place and although you want to walk away, or even run, it is difficult to do either. This brings me to my sales visit to a burial vault company a few years back.

The Cleveland Vibrator Company manufactures industrial vibrators and mounting brackets used on the steel molds that form the concrete burial vaults. They weld the brackets around the outside of the steel frame and take the portable vibrators, which are normally our 1 ¼” and 2” UHVM vibrators, and move them from bracket to bracket until they obtain the desired results. The vibrators serve two purposes, they help settle the concrete in the molds and aid in the removal of air bubbles which creates a better finish. I had setup an appointment with a manufacture of burial vaults located in a small town in Mid-Ohio. I arrived around noon and found they were located in a residential area and assumed the old “Grandfather Clause” must have applied here. I drove down the driveway and when I turned the corner behind what I thought was a house, I saw burial vaults lying along the driveway in the back, some were open and some were closed. Plus, I didn’t see any live bodies… I started to feel the hair on the back of my neck start to stand up.

I slowly got out of my car and walked to what appeared to be the office and found the door unlocked but no one was home. I then went out in the manufacturing facilities, which was two wooden structures as I remember, and again found no warm bodies. The operation showed folks worked there but were nowhere to be found. At this time I thought it was best to walk back to the sanctuary of my vehicle.

The whole situation brought back memories of being a 10 year old and staying up late on Friday night with my brother to watch a show called ”Chiller” that came on at 11 pm. They would always show the old black and white Werewolf, Mummy, Dracula and many other classics I can’t even recall. You got to know the old horror movie masters such as Lon Chaney Jr., Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi on a pretty routine basis. The only problem is, we rarely made it past the first half hour before we became so scared that turned the tv off and to the bedroom we ran and covered our heads with our blankets, which was our safe-zone way back then. There is no doubt these scary situations are created by more imagination and very little fact.

In the case of the burial vault visit, I did call the owners and was told they were called away and all the employees had most likely went out to lunch together. That most certainly explained why no one was there. It didn’t change the fact that those dog gone burial vaults that day gave me the “heebee geebees”. It sure made for an exciting visit and oh by the way, I have not scheduled that second visit as of yet, and I don’t know if I ever will… HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


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