Friday, October 29, 2010

day 51: i went on the first leg of an if not haunted at least very creepy car ride

A towering memorial to the citizens of Rosedale, Kansas, who "answered their country's call and served under arms for the triumph of right over might in the world war," according to the inscription, the Rosedale Memorial Arch is also apparently a romantic hideout. 

When I pulled into the small, secluded parking lot, I found a middle-aged couple making out on the hood of a car, the woman's legs wrapped around the man's waist. After I parked, they quickly parted, and they were gone less than a minute later.

The arch was the first stop on a haunted car ride pioneered by Susan, my amazing former Johnson County Community College Writing Center co-worker. It was easy to see why she picked it: a plaque beneath the arch lists the Rosedale veterans who gave their lives in World War I, the first conflict in which biological warfare became a thing (mustard gas at the Battle of Ypres). 

Standing in front of the arch, which was dedicated in 1924, was more baffling than anything - I have lived in Kansas City for seven years, and I've only ever seen the memorial from a distance from the highway, and I never knew its purpose. Finally encountering it up close felt like a whispered reminder of a forgotten era.

Next the tour took me through Rosedale Park, where my friend E. and I wandered aimlessly on Cinco de Mayo circa 2002 and were pursued by two much-older men who followed us out of the parking lot and down the street, all the while honking and signaling at us to pull over. We had to run a red light to get the fuck away from them.

Unofficially known as "monkey brix," the second scary stop was in the yard of a small Kansas City, Kansas, home. It was practically legendary among those who had been on the tour - "ask Susan about the place with the monkey skulls," they'd say cryptically. And though it had been boarded over due to vandalism (another fine example of a few assholes ruining it for everyone), a couple of stone monkey heads still managed to peek over the top of the wooden fence. From what I could gather, it was a man-sized wall composed entirely of leering monkey heads.

Haunted? Maybe, maybe not. Disturbing and unsettling? Fuck yeah. But I'm still searching for a ghost. 

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