A cool, crisp breeze, the remnant of a summer storm that had blown through Hot Springs, Ark., earlier in the evening, chilled this summer night in 1970.
Roger Shuffield, now from Azle, Texas, and friends Bob and Terry, pulled into the parking lot behind the Hot Springs Boys’ Club that overlooked a complex of four baseball fields used for Little League and softball games. The fields sat lower than the lot, so when these college sophomores on summer break stepped out of the Bob’s car, the entire complex spread out before them.
“I went with two friends to the parking lot for a few hours of wine and chilling out,” Roger said. “Having grown up there, and having worked there one summer, I knew it to be a perfect spot for wasting an evening with friends.”
The boys reached the parking lot around 7 p.m. and spent the next two hours drinking cheap wine and smoking cigarettes on the hood of Bob’s car.
“It was still daylight and we hardly noticed the transition from day to night as we joked and carried on, only moving from the hood of the car to answer nature’s call,” Roger said.
At 9 p.m., the boys, staring out at the Hot Springs city lights, decided it was time to leave.
“We basically spent the evening in random conversation,” Roger said. “The entire time was as mundane as any evening when friends get together.”
That changed quickly.
“When we decided to leave the place, we all got into the car and we passed the rear security light, one of those lights that seem to make everything appear a lavender color,” Roger said.
At that light, Roger and Terry talked Bob into stopping the car for a bathroom break before they left the parking lot.
“The two of us got out and walked the few feet to the south wall of the building,” Roger said, the night now complete, the boys backlit by the security light.
“We stood a few feet apart and watered the wall and pretty much finished at the same time,” Roger said. “As I turned around to face the direction of the trail, which crested the driveway from below near a 15-foot lone pine tree next to the light, suddenly a very large form rose from the lower fields coming up, not as if walking or stepping, but more like floating up from below.”
“This thing looked like someone had concreted a very, very large man in a diving suit,” he said. “Bell helmet and all, and contoured the head into the shoulders as if there were no neck, no facial features, only smooth gray, but lavender tinted from the guard light.”
The creature stopped; Roger felt because it noticed he and Terry standing at the top of the hill.
“It appeared that I was only looking at the thing from the waist up,” Roger said. “It was almost a third as tall as the 15-foot tree next to the trail and at least three feet across at the shoulders. The thing appeared to be potentially some 10 feet tall.”
Roger shot a glance toward Terry. Terry looked back at him, eyes wide, and the boys knew they were seeing the same creature. This snapped them out of their shock and they ran for Bob’s car.
“He hadn’t seen a thing,” Roger said about Bob. “We drove away and never looked back; and lived to regret it.”
For the past forty years, Roger and Terry have discussed what they’d seen, and still don’t know what the hulking, concrete-like figure could have been.
“We’ll never know what that thing was,” Roger said. “The only description I’ve had for it all these years is Golem, a mud man. Because that’s exactly what it looked like, an enormous clay-like figure rising up from the dark before us. Featureless, massive and unlike anything I’ve ever seen since that night.”
From European tradition, the Golem is a giant humanoid molded from clay and animated by magic.
“Occasionally, I see drawings made by those who have been abducted (by extraterrestrials) or have had close encounters of some kind and ever so rarely I’ll see something akin to what we saw that night at the Hot Springs Boys’ Club,” he said. “If anyone can shed any light on this, feel free to comment.”
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, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
Jason’s newest book on the paranormal, “Paranormal Missouri: Show Me Your Monsters,” is available at Jason’s blog, from-the-shadows.blogspot.com.