By Brandee Bibb-Langarica, HPI Member
I was born Brandee Bibb, went through school as Henderson, immediately married as Carpenter, married again as Langarica and am now hyphenating. Life has been a wild ride and heartbreaking at times, to say the least, but not incredibly scary, except the 8 to 10 times in the past thirty nine years that I have ended up at the old abandoned drive-in in Mt. Shasta California.
In 1974, at the age of 7 ½, my mother’s new husband, because of his job, moved us from my birthplace in Southern California to Mt. Shasta. From the beach to the mountains, city to country, warmth to snow from family and friends to, nothing familiar. Downtown Shasta back then, consisted of a Foster Freeze, Safeway, a pharmacy, DMV and a Berninas sewing machine and fabrics shop. On the outskirts of town there was a drive-in and the only form of entertainment for 65 miles. My little brother and I went there with my mom at least 6 times in 2 ½ years before moving again to Sacramento. That was a lot because my mother didn’t like us very much. As soon as we’d get to the drive-in, she’d sent us out of the car to the little playground by the snack bar and bathrooms. I was expected to wear my 2 year old brother out on the swings and merry-go-round before the movie would start.
It always felt ominous out there and I remember one night, I thought I could hear battle cries from long past Indian warriors. The screams came toward me through the drive-in, past by all around me, then through the field across the street from the entrance. I just took my brother back to the car and proceeded to watch “Tommy” from the back seat which really blew my mind at the age of 8, but everything with my mother did. Needless to say, I never told a soul about what I’d heard that night. I was afraid genetics were kicking in and I was going to end up crazier than the rest of my family plus I would have been teased to no end, my mother was a horrible bully and maybe she’d already scared me so badly in my short life that a bunch of non-existent Indian warrior screams rushing past me really didn’t do the damage it could have.
I just knew that nobody would believe me and only bad things would come of my telling. Nothing else about Shasta scared me or made my hair stand all over my body with chills. I actually have pretty fond memories of Mt. Shasta. It was beautiful and wooded with very few people around. We could and did play and explore outside all day. Everything away from the house was great, except the drive-in.
Fast forward to 1992. I was 25 years old. I didn’t have much spiritual clarification or knowledge of ghosts and was just surviving the best I could when I fell in love for the first time. His only surviving immediate family was a sister who lived in Dunsmuir, California and he wanted to take me to meet her. I was thrilled to go. We arrived from Sacramento with an easy 4 hour drive. I was nervous and excited but as I said, in love and nothing else mattered.
We planned just a quick overnight visit and it was great. We left late the next day at around 8:00 PM. It was dark and we stopped at the only gas station before getting on the freeway back to Sacramento. Leaving the gas station I have this inexplicable terror run through me. I couldn’t place this fear and looked to my ‘knight in shining armor’ but instead, my gaze goes out through his driver side window just in time to see us passing the old Shasta drive-in. I held my breath and squeezed my eyes shut for as long as I could before he asked me what was wrong. I said, “Nothing.” God forbid he’d see me as crazy and really, what could I say? This was so random and stupid. I was a grown up and felt like the boogie man had just crawled out of my closet and I was 7 again. I blew it off and soon forgot all about it but secretly vowed to never go back.
Forward to 2003. I’m driving out of Sacramento with 2 very small children, a dog and a giant parrot in a cage in my car.
It’s August, hot and still light out at 8:00 PM. It took a lot longer to pack the UHaul, say our goodbyes and get on our way to our fresh start on the Oregon coast. My divorce from the second love of my life was horrendous and soul shattering. I was emotionally broken. I dreamed about a beach in Oregon, had no family there and had never been there but I found it and went. I had to. After 4 hours in the car I needed to pull over for gas, snacks and the bathroom. It took about 45 minutes to do this alone with two toddlers and a dog. I actually let the bird out to flap and stretch thinking it would be the last time to do so for another 4 hours before reaching our new home.
Two weeks before I’d flown in to Portland with my grandmother and with her help, drove to the coast, pinned down the job I’d gotten 5 months prior, rented a tiny place and set up daycare for the kids. We flew back to Sacramento and started packing and tossing the remnants of my life. I was happy to be on the road even though I was completely alone as far as other adults and totally unprotected. Still, no fear just excitement to get started on my recovery. I think I should mention that, though I was unaware of it at the time, the destruction of my psyche by the soul shattering divorce had started a year long psychic period beginning with the dream of the beach that brought me to this point in the first place.
Back In the car everyone belted in and comfy, we exited the gas station looking for the freeway on ramp so we can get back to our grand adventure and I hear a hum, which becomes a whine. I turn the radio down a bit and I wonder if it is possibly a tire or in my engine. There isn’t a street light or house to be seen and we’re about a mile away from the gas station. I have to pull over and check this sound before it becomes something worse and does some real damage. I immediately pull over on this pitch black, two lane country road all by myself without a sign of life anywhere. I turn off the ignition and the noise stops. OK, not a tire, crap it’s in the engine? Think! What to do? I don’t want to get out of my car so I restart it and decide to watch it closely. I can change a tire in the dark but couldn’t diagnose an engine problem or fix anything out there so decided to find the next gas station. I start driving and the humming starts and gets louder. Now I’m just a little pissed off at God. “ Really? You are going to drag me through the past year of torment just to get me out in the middle of nowhere at almost 1 AM just to see how I handle this one? I’m sick of these divine tests God, please don’t do this to me now, here and with everything I love in this car. Please!” I hear this screaming in my head but its not loud enough to drown out the whining I’m hearing for real. The engine light is not on, the oil and water levels, I just checked back at the gas station, were fine. Maybe something got jammed when I closed the hood or I didn’t close it all the way.
I still can’t see any lights ahead or the off ramp so I pull over again and pop the hood. I grab a little flashlight and I get out of my car with it running this time so I can find this noise. I shut the car door and the noise stops. The engine is purring like a kitten and I realize as I shut the hood that this bizarre noise is inside my car and another much scarier realization comes over me, I am directly across the street from the entrance to old drive-in in Mt. Shasta. The sign is gone now but I know exactly where I am. Right in the path the screaming warrior cries ran past me all those years ago and I instantly feel my head splitting with pain and bile comes up my throat. I am panicked and may throw up.
I can’t explain the terror I felt any other way but that I was being glared at by unseen eyes and I was going to be eaten alive any second. It was so quiet and still and I was frozen in place. Something in me screamed, “GO NOW!” I jumped back in my car, locked the doors, threw it into drive and sped off. No more whining noise thank God. I desperately needed to calm down, my head still hurt and the bile taste was still there but lessening as I got further away. I turned the radio back on and the whining hum noise starts again and I instantly realize what it is. My recently rescued, crazy dog, asleep in the front seat, had 2 favorite songs. She’d run out from her hiding place under the china cabinet, howl through the entire song and run back to her hiding place every time one of them came on the radio. Other than that, she never made a noise nor interacted much with anyone.
Coincidentally, her song was on the radio and as it ended so did the whine. She was sound asleep the entire time and was hum-howling to it in her sleep. It would have been comical had I not been so scared. I was never so entirely terrified of something I could not see as I was that night in that place and never since.
Paul Dale Roberts, HPI Esoteric Detective
aka The Demon Warrior