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First Summer: Part One

We entered the cemetery at dusk.
There were seven of us. Kathy, team leader. Theresa, electronics expert. Her daughter Ailish, photographer. Millie, EMF person. Kara, publicity. And Jen, Wiccan and secretary to the group. And me.
Kathy had been forming a ghost hunting team, the Lock Haven Paranormal Seekers. She'd visited Radio Shack, and picked up equipment---And also picked up Theresa, who managed the place. Theresa had recruited Ailish, who'd brought in Kara. Kathy, looking for historic information, had come to the Heisey Museum, where I work, and picked me up. And during a tour, I'd met and recruited Millie.
In the initial days, we'd also been through a couple of people who had turned out to be flakes, and a psychic who had turned out to be a fraud. But we'd narrowed it down to us.
We walked into Highland Cemetery, to do a walk-through, have me show the important spots, and practice our investigation.
It was the beginning.

It was the morning after a meeting. Ailish and Kara, eighteen and twenty respectively, picked me up before work, and we hiked out to Zindel Park. Ailish had gotten hold of an underwater camera, and planned to climb down into the pit with the Giantess, to get photos.
"You're her mother," I'd said to Theresa at the meeting before. "Can't you do anything about this?"
Theresa had shrugged. "I figure, let her."
The Giantess was from a Henry Shoemaker story about an Indian prince who had a giant sculpture carved in the form of the woman he loved. But this sculpture had a curse put on it, so that it caused death and famine every time it was placed anywhere. The Indians chose to bury it in McElhattan Creek, and there it stayed. The story ended with a spooky little clause about "think what happens the next time it's discovered!"
That had been this summer, and it had been me who discovered it.
"I thought we'd just sort of, you know, stick our hands in the water with the camera," I said. "Is there any way I can talk you out of this?"
"Are you kidding?" said Ailish. "This is the most fun I've had all summer."
"Oh, yes," I said. "And I'd like to thank you, Ailish, for giving me a pretty good sense of how my boss feels all the time. That's really what I needed, more sympathy for Anne."
We walked in, me smoking a Cuban Mistake. No snakes this time---The weather was cooler. I'd brought my whip from home, just in case. I'd shown Ailish the one at work, in my desk drawer. Ailish had been highly amused at the idea of a "work whip". When we got there, we took a prybar, and lifted off the metal trapdoor.
"You sure I can't talk you out of this?"
"Oh, ease up, Lou," said Ailish, and went down the ladder.
She put on her goggles and tried going under, but couldn't see a thing. So, clinging to the ladder, she held the camera under water, and got several photos and a minute of video. She flailed around in the water for a minute, trying to get a better angle, and then emerged, grinning.
"I kicked it in the head," she said. "Maybe I shouldn't do that. Didn't this thing kill a whole lot of people? I am so bad-ass!"
"Well, come on, bad-ass," I said. "Let's dry you off. And then, if you guys got time, let's stop at McDonald's. I owe you a breakfast."

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Lock Haven Paranormal Seekers
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