With Halloween quickly approaching, scary stories seem to emerge out of the dark. Suddenly, all of those bumps in the night are worth checking out, and everyone seems that much more aware of their surroundings. Cable channels start to focus on scary movies such as Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street. Both movies were responsible for myself never sleeping in the dark as a child. Even as adults, those indescribable events that we write off as our mind playing tricks on us, tend to lead to sleepless nights on occasion. Sometimes, actual events that we know happened stay hushed in order to protect ourselves from the looney bin. Our oilfield men are no different, they may be tough as nails, but even certain events can leave a grown man shaking in his steel toes.
Stories of haunted rigs generally stay quiet, except for Halloween and when a new worm is being introduced. The oilfield rarely stops for anyone or any reason, let alone a supposed ghost or supernatural haunting. The corporate benefactors would laugh at the thought of closing a multi million dollar rig down in order to appease a man seeing things in the dark. Work continues, and those things that go bump in the night have to take a back burner to the drilling or production process.
One of my favorite stories, I happened across was on a supernatural thread, via the internet. It was about an oil well, location unknown, where supposed ghost’s of an elderly couple and several children roam the location, sometimes appearing to be working as farmers or cleaning a house that was obsolete. Although most of the roughnecks witnessed the visions, the ghosts were never discussed. The apparent spirits were never harmful or aggressive, so men just continued their jobs, doing their best to ignore them. One rig hand finally told his wife which led to some research, and found that in the early 1900′s a home was burned to the ground, killing husband, wife, and several children in the exact location of the well. It is said that the well is still in operation, and the spirits still visit every night as if they are still alive in their own time.
I have read about spirits of farmers working the Bakken fields surrounding the rigs, and of child ghosts playing hide and seek on locations. I have read interesting stories of skin walkers praying on wells located near Fort Duschene, Utah, and heard of rig hands seeing illusions of row boats with iridescent beings floating across the ocean waves on the outer coasts of Louisiana. One man swears he witnessed a ghost pirate ship haunting the rig as if it were going to invade, like something out of the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean.
More then likely, roughnecks across the globe have encountered something out of the ordinary when out on location. If you consider how often the earth is disturbed with drilling and fracturing, you have to wonder what we are disturbing on a daily basis. Native Americans, of many tribes, consider the ground to be a sacred home of the dead, both for humans and animals. Many also believe, that every time the ground is disturbed, so is a sleeping soul. Fact or Fiction? no one really knows, yet the stories have made for good conversation, interesting Halloween stories, and oil rig entertainment from time to time.