Monday, September 10, 2007

The Ghost of Dugan Lane

Author's note: As my loyal readers know, I took a few months off from the blog to work on my new book, "Never to Far From Home: UFOs, Ghosts, Bigfoot and the Gates of Hell" (I’m making progress), and to promote my current book "Haunted Missouri" (which is selling quite well ... thank you). Now I'm back, and the poll I posted overwhelmingly (65 percent) requested a ghost story, so here it is: The Ghost of Dugan Lane. Enjoy.

Dugan Lane runs north along Indian Creek through the wooded, hilly landscape of southern Missouri. It lies near a small town that boasted a tomato cannery during the Great Depression.

The town is almost empty now, but this story isn’t about the town, it’s about a young woman who lived near the town at the turn of the 20th century.

Amanda Dawn is a fictitious name given to the young woman by Ozark author Ronnie Powell who promised family members and witnesses he’d never use real names, and, for the sake of Ronnie’s pledge, the town’s nameless, too. The house Amanda lived in isn’t there anymore; it burned several years ago, but Ronnie knows Amanda’s still there – he’s talked with people who’ve seen her.

“I’ve talked to people who say they actually saw the ghost of Dugan Lane,” Ronnie said. “Two or three of the last surviving people who witnessed the ghost – they’re dead now – and to them it was real. The ghost of Dugan Lane has some legend and truth in it.”

Amanda lived in a house at the bottom of a hill with her husband and toddler, Roberta. One morning, Amanda sat Roberta on the floor and started preparing breakfast. When she turned to look for Roberta, Roberta was gone.

“Roberta got curious,” Ronnie said. “She tried to pick up a cricket and it hopped out the door and she went with it.”

Roberta wandered into the well house and fell into the well.

“Amanda heard her scream and ran looking for her,” Ronnie said. “The only thing she saw was Roberta’s hand disappearing in the dark water below. They tried for days and days to find the body and never did.”

Depression consumed Amanda. She sat staring at nothing for days.

“A few days later she walked out to the road as her husband went to the corn field. Then went and jumped into the well,” Ronnie said. “They found her body.”

For years after the tragedy, people saw Amanda walking the road crying out for Roberta.

“The last time she’s been sighted, strangely, was about a year ago,” Ronnie said. “There’s no house there or nothing, but this woman said she saw a woman dressed in an old tattered gown with long black hair. She didn’t know anything of this story.”

Ronnie stayed in the old house one night, waiting and watching for Amanda’s ghost, but she never appeared.

“There are areas and there are buildings that have very (strange) activities,” he said. “I’m not afraid of ghosts and would like to see one and visit it. I’m on the upper end of non-believing, but there are things that are unexplained.”

Ronnie’s had an interest in ghosts, and writing, all his life – he’s written six books and published two. His account of the ghost of Dugan Lane was published in the premiere issue of Country Folk Magazine.

As the years, and decades slip past, and people forget the story of Amanda and Roberta, a silent witness keeps vigil on Dugan Lane.

“Whatever happens down there keeps happening,” Ronnie said. “She’s still looking for her little girl.”

Ronnie’s book, “South Through Bare Foot Pass,” is available in some local Ozark stores or by e-mailing him at

His second book, “Tiddleson Son of Tiddle” – an Ozark fantasy adventure – is available at Powell's Web site:

Copright 2007 by Jason Offutt

Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or Include your name, address and telephone number. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason's book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri's Most Spirited Spots,” is here. Order online at: or visit Jason’s Web site at

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