Can You Believe Your Eyes?

It happened on a hot July day back in the early 1990’s.  I was visiting a local museum full of Americana memorabilia.  There weren’t many other people in the museum that day, but I do remember a few wandering around.  The front desk clerk busied herself with counting tickets and waiting on visitors as they entered the front entrance hall.  I had just paid for my ticket as I made my way down a small ramp that leads into another part of the exhibit hall.  I turned back to see where my companion was when suddenly the front door of the museum opened and in walked a tall man (probably 6’1″ or 6’2″).  He was dressed in a ragged Confederate uniform.  I stopped dead still in my tracks and stared at this man as he continued to walk past the front counter where the clerk seemed to be oblivious to his presence.  The man walked with a limp and sort of dragged his right foot (if I remember correctly about which foot it was).  His shoes were absolutely worn out.  There were holes in the sides.  He looked very hot and wiped sweat from his brow onto the sleeve of his shirt.  He stopped at the end of the counter and sat down in a wooden, kitchen chair.  I was mesmerized by this point and could not remove my eyes from him.  Why wasn’t anyone else noticing him besides me?  He didn’t speak to anyone or utter a sound when he came through the door.  But, couldn’t someone else see him?  Who was he?  Was he a part of a reenactment going on near the museum?  As I continued to stare taking in every detail of the man’s attire, he finally looked directly at me and showed his irritation at my staring.  His brow was in a furrow and he quickly looked away.  At that moment, he stood up and I pretended to be looking at an exhibit as he wandered past me.  He walked down the same ramp and just as I turned to follow him, he was gone.  I dashed around the corner of the hall, but he was nowhere to be found.  Where did he go?  I searched all around the exhibit halls and looked for a possible exit that he may have taken.  Nothing.  I was so shocked that I walked back to the front entrance where the scene was just as I had left it.  Chills covered my body until I was forced to rub my neck and stop the tingling creeping up my ears.  What had I just seen?  I finished my tour of the museum and left.  Once outside, I explored the surrounding area and asked people if there was a Civil War reenactment going on.  No one knew of any events in the area.  Years later, I did some research of the area and discovered that the museum is actually located in the middle of a Civil War battlefield.  The Battle of Tupelo was fought on those grounds with heavy Confederate casualties July 14-15, 1864.  Was this soldier re-visiting the place where he had died?  I have been back to that museum many times and have never seen the man again.  I may never know who he was or why he was there, but l will never forget the day that I couldn’t believe my eyes!


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