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Ballast In Underland.

Updated on October 31, 2009


Ballast In Underland .



His family watched
him as he walked,
across empty fields
to where he left his plow,
then suddenly he
vanished completely
as if swallowed up by
the earth somehow.

They ran to the spot
where he last stood,
but there was
no hole to be found
and no trace of him
to show where he'd gone
he was simply
no longer around.

All of the townfolk
came out and dug deep.,
analyzing and

scratching their heads,
but finding no clues to
a man that once was,
but was now neither
living nor dead.

This story is true,
it was widely reported,
though it sounds like
the show Twilight Zone,
it happened way back
before I was a boy,
and his whereabouts
still are unknown.

Perhaps he was summoned
on some weird date with Alice,
or fell prey to the Queen's wicked cry,
screaming "Off With Her Head!"
but fate got him instead,
claiming his body too,
God knows Why.

I think of this man,
sometimes when I walk
across my two acres of  lawn,
then pray on a whim,
that I'll never meet him
in that underground hell
where he's gone.

Author notes


Orion Williamson was a Selma, Alabama farmer who, on a July day in 1854, simply vanished into thin air while walking across his property. What makes this case especially notable is the fact he did so in full view of his wife and son, as well as two other witnesses (neighbor Armour Wren and his son James).
The Wrens, who'd been riding along a road on the other side of the field in a horse and buggy, immediately ran to the spot where Williamson had last been seen, idly swishing the ankle-deep grass with a small stick, but found nothing. Most of the grass was gone from the spot where Williamson had disappeared as well. The news was quickly carried into town, and soon three hundred men formed a massive search party. They combed the field in three rows an arm length apart from each other, but their thorough search yielded no clues. As news of the inexplicable event spread for miles around Selma, hundreds of curious onlookers arrived at the farm to join in the futile search or merely to gawk at the scene. A geologist and a team of experts dug up the field to see if perhaps the ground underneath was unstable or abnormal at all. They found nothing unusual.
Newspaper reporters swarmed to the place, and all their articles said essentially the same thing: "A man has vanished into thin air." The curious were still coming to gape at the field as late as the following spring. Mrs. Williamson allegedly revealed at this point that she and her son had heard the farmer's voice crying out for help from the area where he'd vanished, but the voice gradually grew weaker and faded away after a few weeks.


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