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Monologue by Charles M. Tuttle, Jr.

Tuttle, Charles M. Jr.
Thorson, Dan
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with People and Places; Childhood Adventures; Stories and Storytellers
Charles M. Tuttle, Jr. tells supernatural stories and explains some physical concepts.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Dan Thorson interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
CT (Charles Tuttle): Okay some kind of story, um hmm. [Pause] Well my family has a couple a ghost stories that we, that we tell. Uh, most of them are centered around a, a table that we owned and this was when, um, I was around, either between six had to have been around six, uh, due to the fact of one incidence in particular that occurred, um, um, 'cause I had a pretty bad accident on a bicycle. Um, but my mother likes antiques, so she had been to an antique shop and bought a small little end table of some kind and actually set up against the wall. So it really wasn't, it was just kind of like a hallway table that she could put flowers or, you know, some kind of other things, candlesticks on. And she actually had it, uh, sitting beneath a mirror. And whenever you would walk by it, it would sort of bump up against the wall and for the longest time we were thinking okay it's just the floor when you walk by you know the floor shakes and it bumps the wall. Um, but the only problem was nothing, nothing else ever did it, so you had to jump up and down and nothing would really vibrate but this table would just, would just kind of beat against the wall. Um, and just some of the things that occurred while we had it, uh, my mother had some crystal, crystal, uh, candlestick holders, um, and they were sitting on the dining room table and, uh, her and my oldest sister, uh, were in the kitchen talking when they heard something fall. Uh, so they walked in the living room and looked all around, looked all around and couldn't find anything but then they looked on the kitchen table and they'd see that these two crystal candlestick holders had split basically, perfectly in half. And the candles weren't lit, um, so it wasn't like any kind of heat issue from the candle causing it to expand and crack. It just split. Um, so my mom just kind of wrote it off as maybe they just broke somehow. Um, and then we used to have this ashtray in the shape of a fish and one night some friends of mine uh, were sitting in the living room and the thing just slid off the table uh no one was close enough to push it. This fish just went sliding off the table so we were all like, kind of uh, disconcerted by that fact. But, you know, we were just sitting there maybe someone had did it playing a joke and no one was going tell anyone they did it because it was working too well, that we were all so considerably freaked out by the whole situation that they weren't going to ruin it by saying, "Hey, I pushed it." Um, and as well we had a, um, birdcage holder which was a pole that had a big spring in the middle so it kind of wedged itself between the ceiling and the floor. I, we were having a little get together cause my parents would occasionally have friends over, uh, and we'd cook out and everything else. And we were all sitting in the kitchen and all of a sudden the parakeet that we had had come flying into the kitchen, uh, and everyone of course tried to figure out, "OK. Who let the parakeet out?" Uh, but then when we walked into the living room that pole was laying on the ground and the birdcage was broken open but no one heard anything. None of us heard the thing fall to the ground and it's not like it was a considerably loud in the house as well. This thing was just was laying on the ground and no one could explain it. Um, but one of the biggest incidents was when I was seven, for my seventh birthday, I received a bike for my birthday from my parents and this was before, right before school in the morning and so I was all desperate to ride my new bike so I took it out for a ride. Um, and probably wasn't out riding for more than fifteen minutes before I had a pretty severe accident. Um, all I remember was riding down the sidewalk and the next thing I remember was looking up and seeing this little kid like three or four years old, and the next memory I had after that was waking up in the intensive care unit at, um, at the hospital. Apparently what had happened was the front wheel had slipped off the side of the sidewalk, uh, caused the handlebars to twist which threw me forward and I hit a handrail that was going down some steps. Uh, and I slid down the handrail and hit my head on the concrete. Uh, when I had collided with the handrail though, it had pushed my liver into my spine, almost ripping it completely in half. It was probably only attached, from what the doctor said, uh, by about an inch of, you know, tissue, uh, from my liver. But for the most part my liver was completely almost ripped in half. Um, and my father had, uh, had uh, rushed down and threw me in the car took me to the hospital, uh, where they were doing all the tests and everything else and I only know this because my father told me. Um, but my older brother had been, had moved out of the house my oldest sister was in the Air Force and, um, I mean couldn't have been the Air Force yet. She was actually over at a friend's house. My youngest sister and my mother had come to visit me at the hospital, uh, my father was staying at home. And we had these glass crystal, fake crystal chandeliers hanging in the hallway and this was in October so it wasn't like the air conditioner would be on to be blowing much air though the house. Um, but by father was asleep and had, uh, and woke up to the sound of those chandeliers. Uh, the crystals, they were hitting, banging together almost sounding as if someone was clapping. Uh, and one of the main things that approached him as odd was the fact that there was no air movement in the house. The heat wasn't blowing or anything. And, um, my dog, a French poodle named Abbey, who was blind in both eyes, um, was sleeping in my bed because apparently she could sense something was wrong 'cause I was missing for so long. Um, but my father had walked into my bedroom to comfort, uh, the dog, um, because she was growling. She was staring directly in the center of the hallway growling very, very, uh, viciously, teeth showing, snarling. Um, and at first my father thought because maybe, uh, it was because of him, she was growling at him but when he walked in there she would not take her eyes off the center of the hallway. She was still looking, or uh head aimed anyway because she was blind so she really couldn't have been looking. But her head was aimed directly, uh, in the hallway. Um, staring apparently or sensing something because she was growling at it. Um, and we had a few other odd incidents like that occur. Uh, and my mother had gone to see a psychic, um, [laughs] which we all thought was pretty funny. Um, but in the course of, uh, a, a discussion with the psychic, um, the psychic had pointed out there that something was wrong in the house, um, and she couldn't pinpoint what it was. But some, some spirit that was in the house that was very unhappy, um, did not like where it was did not like what was happening to it, um, and that it was bonded to something in the house. Um, and so she proceeded to ask my mother more and more questions and of course my mom told her, um, and eventually pinpointed that it must be this table that there must be some poltergeist associated with this table. Uh, and given the nature of a bunch of events that occurred, just small things, nothing huge, no one saw any, you know, figures walking around the house. Um, but just all the odd occurrences that were taking place, um, including one of which, uh, my mother had a, a bowl that was hand-painted by her great-grandmother back in the middle-late 1800's, um, had been knocked to the floor and shattered. Um, but no one was in the house when it happened. Um, so it was kind of odd, uh, there was no forced entry in the house, no one broke in. Uh, the dog couldn't have done it because it was just entirely too high, uh, but apparently something like a picture had fallen behind it which pushed it on the floor, and that bowl had meant a lot to my mother personally. Um, but, you know, come to find out that this table was supposedly the center of all the, the odd occurrences that took place, and so my mother took it, sold it, uh, and after that all the events stopped. Uh, and the new table that she bought and put there didn't bang against the wall. I mean no matter how hard you tried standing in front of it, jumping back and forth it, it wouldn't bounce against the wall like the other one was. It was like every time you walked by that table it was sort of like clapping or knocking trying to get your attention. Um, but again when she sold it all those, all those odd occurrences, uh, ended. Um, so that was a pretty, pretty interesting thing to hear and to hear all the tales that my uncles tell me about how apparently my whole lineage of my father's side has had pretty good, uh, ghostly encounters. Um, one of which where my dad's one of nine kids, uh, one sister, eight brothers, um, himself included. Where they would go to a place called Kennel's Beach, which I believe is in North Carolina. Ah, but they used to tell me how it used to smell like sulfur all the time and there was no, no electricity or anything else. And that one night, uh, my Uncle, my Uncle Bill, um, who was like in the middle, um, was in the center of, of the, of that house that they had at Kennel's Beach just swinging wildly with a baseball bat at something. Um, and if you ask him about it, you know, he kind of, he kind of plays it off some but apparently at the time it was a very intense situation because everyone had heard somebody walking around and my Uncle had apparently seen a ghostly figure and was swinging at it. And the rest of the family watched him swinging at this ghostly figure because his, his, you know, actions had awakened, you know, awakened everyone up. Um, but there are other stories too all throughout the family about ghosts so it was pretty interesting to see. Uh, I don't know how much of that is just, you know, good storytelling on behalf of, of my uh, my uh, uncles on my Dad's side. But the one that happened at our house particularly with me, you know, I remember a lot of those things happening, um, with seemingly no explanation whatsoever. Um, but in terms of childhood memories that's probably one of the most unique memories that I have, is all the ghost stories and then as a teacher you know when we talked to, being a science teacher in particular talking to, to students and, you know, cause and effect and looking for rational explanations of everything. To hear some of their stories I always like to share those, uh, with them and, uh, it's just, it's just neat to hear some of the stories that they give back, uh, some of it seeming almost like the UFO phenomena, how much that mythos is ingrained within our, our collective consciousness as a society, uh, you know just to ask them, "What would like to be to see a ghost?" And to see all those shows on TV about ghosts and, you know, about fear and haunted houses, that they can all explain it without ever having, having ever really, uh, experienced it. Um, but these things that happened in my household, you know, seemed very low key but they, they, they happened nonetheless and they were experienced by the family. Um, I just think the part about the psychic though kills me the most. Um, 'cause I think just that whole issue of being able to tell everything, um, is kind of a farce because I can get the kids that I teach to do the same thing by asking them leading questions to get them to an answer. And, or to find out information about them that they otherwise probably wouldn't just outright tell, but by asking certain questions, you can get to certain places and, and pinpoint stuff that may or may not have happened but it may have happened with a fair degree, you know, a high percentage chance that it happened. Um, but overall, uh, that's probably about one of the only true stories that I have. My life for the most part has been fairly low key, uh, other than the fact that as a college student at Appalachian State, um, there's an example I use in my AP physics class, uh, telling them about my, my first, [laughs] first senior year. Uh, I was there for five years getting a degree in physics. Um, but a week before classes started, uh, there was a big, you know, party out at the apartment complex and this one new kid to the college, he hadn't even started his freshman year of college had been drinking to excess [laughs] needless to say. Um, and he started to regurgitate, um, throwing up over the balcony of the, of the third floor apartment. And of course being college and people being, for the most part, inebriated everyone thought it was hilarious and were cheering him on, up until the part where, as regurgitating he had a strong enough spasm where it made him fall over the balcony, uh, railing. So this kid is now falling three store-, you know, three balcony levels. I mean a minimum of you know, God, at least 30, 35 feet to the concrete b-, beneath him. Um, and when he hit the ground it just sounded like a, a garbage bag full of, like, Brunswick stew or something. It just sounded like this moist just hit, some of which probably came from landing in his own vomit. Um, but it was still a gross, gross sound, um, and that was probably the time when I realized that I needed to get a hobby because when I, I watched the kid fall and it was almost in slow motion, and the only thing I can truly remember isn't, "Oh my God this kid's falling," but the fact he's going to hit the ground going 14.4 meters per second, um, which of course was putting practical [laughs] application to my physics knowledge at that point. But afterwards, I was just like, that was sad that the only thing that could pop into my mind wasn't an expletive, wasn't an oh something, but it was 14.4 meters per second. Um, and it's just, I tell my kids the story minus some of the, the parts that of course would be, uh, a little bit, uh well I don't know the word I'm looking for, but you wouldn't want to use the inebriation, the alcohol part but just let them know that he was doing something he shouldn't have done and fell [laughs]. Um, and also you can talk about car collisions as well because the, the, the boy was drunk, um, and that fact probably saved his life. Uh, he broke most of his ribs, knocked the majority of his teeth out, broke both, uh, wrists, uh, was knocked unconscious. Um, but if he'd been sober, he probably would have tried to stiffen his body up, like most people when you see something about to happen your body locks up which would have made him hit the ground and not have really gone with the flow of his body. Um, so it would have been a much harder hit, so to speak, because of him resisting. Um, and that's basically why most times drunk drivers are less injured than people they hit because they're so drunk that they just kind of roll with it, you know, roll with the punches. But the people who get hit are locked-up, their muscles are tight and they don't move so any hit they get is more damaging because of that. Um, and that's the whole thing with the airbags and seat belts too. That slows you down over a slow period of time. Um, but for the most part, you know, um, don't have that many stories, but some of the ones I have at least are moderately interesting. Um, and that's about it really.