"Dad! Dad! Do you believe it? That's the house--the house I wanted you to find for me!" I shouted excitedly. "Well, what do you know? Are you sure about that?" Dad responded somewhat crustily. "Of course I'm sure--look it's right here in the book I'm reading!" I jubilantly said. "Oh, Barry…we don't have time for this nonsense right now. Mr. Stehlie is expecting us and we can't be dilly-dallying!"
"Oh, all right…" I responded undaunted by my parents' apathy. Almost immediately after I'd gotten out of the car, I raced right over to the Cherry Street location and noted that it seemed to be a ground level apartment building consisting of three or four units. On one of the doors towards the north end, it was marked manager. I couldn't wait to reveal the information to whoever answered my knock. Almost right away, a middle-aged woman came to the door and looked puzzled for an instant as I stammered out the news concerning the mysterious cremation.
"Hello, ma'am…my name is Barry Conrad and I came all the way from Fairfield, Ohio with my folks who are visiting our friends across the street." It must have been quite obvious that I was excited about something. Holding a dish she had been drying with a cloth towel, she eyed me up and down and responded, "Pardon me, young man! What is it that you want here?"
"Nothing, ma'am…just didn't know if you'd ever seen this book before!" I proudly held up my copy of Frank Edward's "Stranger Than Science" to her. Looking ever more perplexed, I explained that a woman named Mary Reeser had been burned up in this very same building many years before. "What? You mean someone died here?" the lady said.
"Yes, ma'am…she was somehow burned alive by a strange force that came out of nowhere and her skull was shrunk up and stuff…" I energetically said. "A lady burned up--here? You must be joking. Let me see that book!" The lady seized the book from my hands and as she did so I pointed to the paragraph of the open chapter that revealed the address of the paranormal occurrence. Suddenly, she began to tremble as she silently read several paragraphs of the story and her lips quivered, "Why, why it's true…this happened here! Oh, little boy…why did you knock on my door and tell me about this…why?"
I guess at that moment I realized that it probably would have been better if I hadn't said anything to anybody about the mysterious cremation or the weird synchronicity that somehow brought me to this very door under such incredible circumstances. "I'm sorry ma'am to have gotten you upset and all…I really am sorry but--". The lady abruptly slammed the door in my face and alas another exciting chapter in my lifetime search of the paranormal came to an end.
When I look back on that incident, I have to both chuckle and marvel at this amazing Florida adventure. It was something that truly occurred in an unorthodox fashion that spurred me onwards to investigate this mysterious world that we live in. At the time of the event, I don't think I truly realized its inner significance yet as the years grew, I came to acknowledge this as a coming of manhood in a way that signified an acceptance of the suggestion that perhaps nothing really ever happens by accident. That the world is a wondrous place and apart from the skepticism of a growing secular society, there truly are baffling events and mysteries out there for us to explore. Mysteries of the paranormal that suggest there is far more to life than meets the eye!
The following is a direct transcript of the original chapter entitled "Incredible Cremations" from the book "Stranger Than Science" by the late Frank Edwards: