Norman’s son discovered a tombstone with what appeared to be his father’s childhood photo on it, and he decided to investigate around their new hometown. One woman told him a horrible story of a woman with twin boys who tried to escape a dangerous cult, but only one man in town knew the truth. And it was just as shocking for Norman.
“Dad!” Norman heard his son, Blake, yelling from a little deeper into the forested area. They had been picking mushrooms, a great pastime they adopted in their new town in Maine. Their whole family had moved to the location from Texas when doctors told them that Blake would need to live somewhere less dry and heated.
They moved to Maine after finding a great job, and so far, they loved this town. Picking mushrooms in the forest next to their house was fantastic. But this is the first time that his nine-year-old son seemed to get scared. Norman ran towards the sound of his voice and discovered an open area with several tombstones.
“Dad! Look! Look!” Blake exclaimed once again.
“Oh, son. You found a cemetery. It seems to be abandoned, though,” Norman said, calming down since his son was not in danger.
“It’s not that. Look at this tombstone. Doesn’t that boy look like me?” Blake asked.
Norman approached the cement stone in the ground and saw a picture frame resting on it. It contained a photo of a boy, who couldn’t be older than five years old, and he looked exactly like Blake. In fact, people would probably say it could be Norman’s childhood picture, but that was impossible. He grew up in an orphanage in Texas and had no memories of his early childhood.
“You’re right, kid. But it’s probably nothing. After all, we have black hair and blue eyes. Tons of people look like that in this country. Let’s keep picking mushrooms,” Norman said, but he was lying to his son. He had a weird feeling in his stomach about that picture.
When they returned home a few hours later, Norman told his wife, Gina, who was curious but not overly concerned. He decided to put it out of his mind. It was a coincidence, just like he told Blake. But that night, he dreamt of a man he didn’t know and a green truck.
Norman worried about it that night. | Source: Pexels
Norman tried to forget about it the following day, but it was plaguing him. “You know, honey, there are tons of older people in this town. We can ask around and see if anyone knows about that cemetery and the picture,” his wife suggested.
“How did you know I was thinking about that?” Norman asked humorously, marveling at how his wife could read him so easily.
“You tossed and turned all night. Let’s go. There’s actually a lady at the supermarket who seems to know everything about everyone,” Gina continued, smiling at her husband.
“Oh, you found the old Woodford cemetery. No one goes near there,” the woman, Dory, said when Norman explained what they saw yesterday.
“Why?” he wondered.
“They were… very odd folks. Now, I was just a teen back then. But even my parents didn’t want me near those people,” Dory continued.
Dory told them what she knew of the town legends. | Source: Pexels
“Those people?” Gina added her question.
“Legend says they were part of a cult. Although, other people would tell you they were just a reclusive community. But anyway, there’s a story about a man who fell in love with a woman in town and got her pregnant. They had two boys, and she was forced to live with them. Allegedly, when she tried to escape, they killed her and one of the boys,” Dory continued. “No one knows what happened to the other boy or the father. But everyone thinks they died.”
“That sounds like a horror movie,” Norman commented, not knowing what to believe.
“I know. Most people think it was just a made-up story so that kids wouldn’t go to those forests alone. But I don’t know. I remember my parents were scared for a long time. They talked about moving at some point. But then, their worries disappeared. And no one talked about the cult ever again,” Dory added. “Suddenly, the area where they lived was empty, and years later, they started building houses there.”
“Is there someone in town who was an adult at that time?” Gina wondered.
Mr. Hunter welcomed them to his home. | Source: Pexels
“I can only think of Mr. Hunter. But he moved away for a long time and came back years after the cult mysteriously disappeared, so I don’t know if he could help you. He lives over at…,” Dory explained, giving them the address of the older resident in town.
“Is it ok to bother an old man with these weird stories?” Norman asked Gina when they reached Mr. Hunter’s house.
“Well, what’s the other option? You toss and turn every night over that picture? What if this is the answer to some of your questions about your parents? After all, the DNA testing website didn’t match you with anyone,” Gina replied, recounting how Norman got tested to see if they could find some family members. But it was a dead end. “Let’s just ask and see if he knows anything.”
They knocked on the door, and an old man with a cane answered, “Yes?”
“Mr. Hunter? We’re Gina and Norman Tanner. We just moved to town a few weeks ago and wanted to ask you some questions. Is that alright?” his wife explained with a big smile for the older man.
“Oh, sure. Come in. Come in,” Mr. Hunter said and ambled with his cane to put on the tea kettle. “Sit down. Sit down. We can talk while we drink tea. I haven’t had visitors in a long time.”
“Thank you, sir,” Norman said.
Mr. Hunter fell in love with Mary. | Source: Pexels
The older man sat down in a high chair while Gina and Norman sat on the couch. Mr. Hunter smiled at them and asked, “So, what can I do for you kids?”
They told him about the picture they found in the forest, and Mr. Hunter’s expression slowly changed to worry. “Wow. I haven’t seen that picture in many years.”
“You’ve seen it before?” Gina urged, excited that Mr. Hunter seemed to know more about it.
“Seen it? I put it there,” Mr. Hunter revealed, shocking both of them.
“Who was that boy to you, sir?” Norman chimed in.
“It was my one remaining son. I assume someone told you about the legends of a cult in this town, right?” the older man asked, and they both nodded. “Well, it’s not really a legend. But it wasn’t a religious thing. The community didn’t trust outsiders and preferred not to talk to anyone. I broke those rules when I fell in love with Mary.”
“You’re the man of the stories?” Gina asked, shocked.
They had twins. | Source: Pexels
“Yes. I hated the community, and my parents didn’t let me around other people. But when I met Mary, I fell in love right away. When she got pregnant, my parents forced her to move into our house, and we had no choice. Mary’s parents were furious about the pregnancy,” Mr. Hunter said, looking up at his ceiling while recalling those memories.
“We had twin boys, and Mary stuck with it for their sake. But the community was harsh on her, and they got harsher on the boys. Finally, when the boys were five, we planned to escape and move far away. But someone discovered our plan. Mary grabbed one of the twins, Brian, and ran. But she didn’t get far,” Mr. Hunter stopped abruptly and gathered his thoughts.
“We’re so sorry,” Norman said, looking down. “Maybe we shouldn’t have asked.”
“No, I need to tell someone because everyone in town seems to think it’s just folklore, but it was real. It happened,” Mr. Hunter insisted. “When I saw what they had done, I knew I couldn’t escape. But my other son, Norman, needed to move away. I went to town, placed him in the back of a lobster truck, and never saw him again.”
Mr. Hunter tried to find that delivery truck. | Source: Pexels
“Norman?” Gina asked, looking back at her husband with wide, tearful eyes.
“Yes, that was his name. Anyway, I called the cops on the community after that. I told them everything. They arrested the perpetrators, and the others escaped. I don’t know where they’re based now, but I hope they all rot. After that, I got on my own truck and tried to find Norman. I thought that truck would deliver lobster nearby, but I was wrong. I spent years trying to find my kid to no avail.”
Mr. Hunter pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his tears.
“Sir,” Gina began slowly. “We have reason to believe that my husband might be your son. His name is also Norman.”
The older man looked at them in disbelief. “Really? But why?”
They told him about finding the picture on the tombstone and how identical that boy looks to their son, Blake. “But may I ask why my picture was on a tombstone?”
“Didn’t you read the names on the cement stone? There’s the resting place of Mary and Brian. I didn’t know if Norman made it or if something had happened, so I placed that picture as my way of mourning him too,” Mr. Hunter explained his reasoning. “But you might be Norman? My kid?”
Mr. Hunter fit into their family perfectly. | Source: Pexels
“There’s a huge chance,” Norman said and he began to cry.
They took a DNA test to confirm what they suspected, and it turned out to be true. They told Blake what was going on, and they introduced him to Mr. Hunter. Slowly, they got to know the older man, who became part of the family. And the story traveled around their town. People marveled that it wasn’t just a legend, and it had a somewhat happy ending.
What can we learn from this story?
- Small town legends exist for a reason. Some myths are based on real stories. They’re not all made-up or cautionary tales for kids.
- Follow your instincts. Norman had a weird feeling about the picture on the tombstones and followed his gut until they discovered the shocking truth.
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