Subj: The firehouse ghost
From: (James Gerald Kinsey)
Date: 3/26/96 Time: 5:06:57 pm

A few years back I worked as a firefighter in the town of Hannibal, Mo. (boyhood home of Mark Twain). There were three firestations in town. Two of them were built in the 1960's and one of them dated back to the previous century. The market Street station, or "old number two" had originally been designed for horse drawn fire apparatus and had a long and colorful history. At one time the firefighters that worked there had had to live close enough to it to hear the bell when it rang so they could respond. At one time during the depression there was only one shift so the firemen were there 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They were allowed to go home occasionally for necessary visits I guess.

One particularly notable fireman was named "Shad". He spanned the era between the horsedrawn and the motorized fire equipment. When I hired on there were even a few guys around who had worked with him. The fire Dept. was Shad's life and his home. He had no residence and lived at the firestation even when he didn't have to. An old fire chief told me about the time they were coming back from a winter house fire and he noticed that there was ice frozen on Shad's face. He said "Shad aren't you cold?" Shad just said "Nah." Men must have been tougher back then.

When I hired on and got to work out of the old station people told me that Shad still came in every night and went to bed. Since firemen tend to kid a lot I let it go in one ear and out the other. One night not long after I started there Another firemen and I were sittin in the upstairs living area wathcing television when the door at the bottom of the stairs banged and footsteps came up the stairs. We turned around looked at the stairs to see who was coming but the footsteps stopped. We looked at each other and both got up at the same time and walked over and looked down the steps. Nothing. It finally got to the point that whenever there was a noise without anything to explain it we would just shrug it off and say "It's just Shad." One night Shad came up the stairs to go to bed after we were already in bed. He was so loud that I thought maybe it was a living person. I crept out of bed and peeked out into the living area. Just as I looked around the door sill a mop fell over and hit the floor with a bang. I leaped back into my bed, covered up my head and did a "cowardly lion mantra". You know the one I mean. "I do believe in ghosts! I do believe in ghosts!" The old station has been decommisioned now but if you ever get to Hannibal, Mo. Go to the downtown firestation and ask if there is anyone there who knows about "Shad" you may hear some interesting stories.

What starts with "F" and ends with "UCK"? Why "FIRETRUCK" of course.

James Gerald Kinsey