Tears of Regret
Anna Marie Kimball
Jan 12, 1846 – Aug 23, 1855
A statue of the child was carved and presented as a gift by a local stone mason, Jackson Hulet, on the anniversary of Anna Marie’s death. The statue’s face depicted that of Anna Marie almost to perfection. It was the face that had been ingrained into Jackson’s mind on the morn that Anna Marie buried both her parents along with her younger brother, all who had died of scarlet fever. Jackson, having promised a sick Benjamin Kimball that he would look after his daughter, Anna Marie, had offered to give her a home with him and his family, but she had refused and instead he found her trying to accomplish the labors of a grown man and woman combined.
It was after a series of late night Indian raids when the body of nine year old Anna Marie was found. She had been beaten, raped, partially scalped and her tongue had been cut out. She had seemingly fought back, a rifle with empty shells littered the ground and amongst the signs of violent confrontation a blood trail accompanied the horse tracks back into the hills. The raid Anna Marie had been killed in had been the fiercest, and the ones that followed almost seemed relieving. Mostly children were either killed or stolen and sold across the border to the Mexican brothel owners.
Raids came and went for about six months before finally settling down and allowing life to go back to its slower pace.
Horrified and feeling the weight of his promise to her father, Jackson took it upon himself to make something that could grace Anna Marie’s grave—maybe as way of apologizing.
It was written in journals by Jackson’s wife and children that they would often times overhear their Pa talking to Anna Marie—telling her he was so sorry—begging her to find the courage to wake up and promise to forgive him. Mrs. Hulet noted that oftentimes she and the children walked past and heard his raking sobs from behind the walls of his workshop.
Jackson poured his heart and soul into making the remarkable statue. Within the few weeks that followed its placement at the head of her grave, Jackson was found dead, hanging from a beam in his workshop.
The newspaper clippings, journal entries, and letters found that followed the statue’s placement have told of many strange and odd encounters with the paranormal near the location of her grave. Most often recorded stories include sightings that on the sunniest of days, Anna’s statue would be shedding tears. It later became known that the statue only shed tears whenever a child was buried.
No one knew how or why she cried. Recently, the statue was brought to the attention of The Ghost Hunters, who came to see what kind of encounters they would experience. It was perfect timing on their behalf that during the week they were visiting, one of the locals had a child who died and had to be buried in the same cemetery where Anna Marie’s statue stood. Having taken the time earlier in the day to scan her, they were surprised to find her crying when there could be no working mechanics found within to cause her to shed the tears that she did.
A local Native American, when interviewed, told a story about an old relative who had been partial to the raids in this particular area:
With a promise of over 200 children to send to Mexico within a few moon cycles, they had been stealing as many children as they possibly could. One girl child, an obvious target, confounded him, because when he tried to take her, an invisible wall seemingly kept her at a safe distance from him.
My encounter with the paranormal at the location of Anna Marie Kimball’s grave was a tad more chilling—and I know chilling…
I deal with the Paranormal on a regular basis, I’m a medium, or psychic if you prefer. I enjoy traveling, and coincidentally enough I always travel to places that I seem to be prompted to go to. This visit was going to be no different than any of the others… or so I thought.
Stepping out of the car when I first arrived in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, I wondered out loud to myself, “Why here?”
The first few days the locals stared at me, giving me the “who are you and what the hell do you want” look as I ate in their diners and drank in their bars trying to get a feel for the area.
It was after a tip from a waitress on the fourth day that I found my car pulling into the cemetery under what seemed like its own free will. Getting out of my car, I was instantly rooted to the spot. Appearing before me were children dancing and playing with each other like leaves floating in the wind. I smiled as I watched them play tag and wrestle with each other, and listened to their infectious giggles.
One small girl began to beckon to me – I always find it unsettling when they acknowledge my existence– in all honesty, it scares the crap out of me. She was dressed in attire from the mid-nineteenth century, with honey-colored locks that hung in curls around her shoulders, as if it had recently been taken out of braids.
More curious than not, I began to follow her, weaving around the various headstones—some dating as early as the 1820s. She led me directly to an exact replica of herself only made out of stone. I could tell she wanted me to touch it, but my hands wouldn’t budge.
She became insistent that I follow her again, and leading me in another direction she took me directly to a weathered headstone that was almost unreadable. Taking my time, I was able to decipher the name as Jackson Hulet. Turning towards her with a questioning look in my eye I found she was no longer there. Turning back to the headstone, I discovered—to my amazement—that the inscription that I had just spent time reading had completely disappeared. Heavily laden with thoughts and questions, I meandered back towards my car on the other side of the cemetery.
The next two days were spent sifting through newspaper articles looking for information on both Anna Marie Kimball and Jackson Hulet. I came across an article dated over a hundred years ago mentioning an unnamed headstone/statue that cried. I also uncovered one dated more recently that included a partial interview with one of the ghost hunters and their take on the statue I had been taken to. I took a copy of the featured episode of Ghost Hunters and watched it in its entirety twice while at the library.
I was haunted with more questions as the day drew towards an end. Sleep deprived, I found myself at the location of the statue early the next morning. No children greeted me. I slowly forced my hand forward, inches seemed to take hours to cross until finally my fingertips brushed the child’s face. A flood of memories filled my mind.
I watched memories of the child, Anna Marie, as she buried her family, as she worked dutifully in and around her home trying to make things work, then I watched and experienced her graphic death. Suddenly the images shifted. I was no longer looking through the eyes of a child at a harsh and cruel world, but through the eyes of a man who was carving stone.
Horror filled my mind as I heard his confession over and over again to the stone, begging for forgiveness he felt he didn’t deserve. I watched as he and another man shook hands with the old Mexican from across the border, and the Indian chief from the other side of the hills. The next image was of him telling the other man, “Kimball, I will always make sure to look after Anna Marie, just the same as if she were my own.”
The final scene burned into my eyes was that of a funeral where a small coffin was being carefully lowered into the earth.
Clearing my mind I saw the girl reflected in the light before me. With tears, I watched her wave then fade away into nothing.
I wiped a tear from the statue’s cheek and walking away, I thought I heard, like a whisper on the wind, Thank you for listening, I just wanted someone to know the truth…
© Coraline J. Thompson 2010
Coraline J. Thompson, is a writing mother of two. Find more of her work online at Striking Writes.