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The old hermit of Knob Noster

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, MO. -- Gather around dear friends, as I tell you a tale filled with suspicion, murder and mad mobs. I’ll warn you dear reader, ultimately it’s up to you to decide what might be the truth and what might be an old Missouri myth.

There are some who say it all happened on a stormy night in the small town of Knob Noster Missouri, with an eerie fog blanketing the town and cold rain chilling even the heartiest to their bones. Today, the citizens of Knob Noster say when a storm barrels through the small town, a bright yellow lantern can still be seen glowing in the dark moving up a hill… my dear reader, that lantern is where our story stems from.

Many, many years ago, on the top of a hill overlooking the town, lived what can only be described as a crotchety old hermit. With only his slave at his beck and call, he guarded his privacy like he guarded his dilapidated house. The mean old hermit made his slave do everything for him, from cooking to cleaning all so he could avoid the townspeople of Knob Noster.

You must remember, dear reader, that at this time in the world slaves were treated poorly, but despite this, the townsfolk grew fond of the slave. Slowly, they began to welcome the sight of him as he went about his chores for his reclusive master. Then one day, nothing…the slave had vanished, and in his place, the townsfolk were faced with the hermit as he purchased the things he needed.

The hermit treated everyone with disdain and, none too quick I tell you, the townspeople began vicious rumors that the old hermit had murdered his slave and his next victim could be any one of them.

They refused to die by the hermit's hands and with a righteous vengeance in their hearts, and pitchforks in hand, they stormed the hill demanding the old man tell them where the slave was. Their threats did little to the old man’s hardened heart and he brushed them away with a flick of his hand.

Several days passed after the slave’s mysterious disappearance until one night the eerie fog engulfed the town. Lanterns were lit as the rain pelted the homely shutters. As the legend goes, during the storm a citizen of Knob Noster was desperately trying to get home when he saw a bright lantern atop the hill. Straining his eyes to see who carried such a bright lantern, and before he could make out the culprit, lighting struck and thunder nearly burst his eardrums. The man couldn’t tell which was worse, the flash of the lightning or the blood curdling scream lingering in the air after the thunder rolled past.

A blood curdling scream you ask? According to the story, the day after the storm finished drenching the town of Knob Noster, the old hermit’s body was found on the exact same hill, in the exact same spot where the lightning struck…his face was frozen in complete and total fear.

Now, it’s up to you to decide if the story of the old hermit who died on the hill and still haunts the small town is true or a tall tale. But I can tell you this, the next time a storm rolls through Knob Noster and there is a lantern moving with nobody holding it, it won’t be my scream you hear.