HALLUCINATIONSA TALK WITH A HUNTER ABOUT
THE SUPPOSED APPARITION OF TWO DEER
By S. C. Turnbo
Concerning hallucinations resulting from a defective mind which sometimes occurred to a hunter is not so strange as it would appear to be when we consider the diseases of the spinal column and the brain are subject to. Here is an account that reads more like fiction than truth but the man who told it to me said that it was an actual fact. Though while I believe it was only hallucinations that the man claimed to be real objects yet I believe he was honest in his statements and that he truly believed that what he seen was a reality. Here is the story. Annanias Poplin, who is a very old man now and who at this writing lives on Mountain Creek in the N.W. corner of Baxter County, Ark., said that in 1841 while he lived on Beaver Creek 6 miles above where it flows into the Osage River in Wright County, Mo., and 4 miles northwest of Mountain Grove he went out on a camp hunt and killed several deer while out. One night a heavy rain softened the ground and on the following day I went out hunting as usual. I was accompanied by a regular hunting dog and my rifle was an excellent one. It was late when I left camp. It seemed as though deer was scarce that day for I could not find any until in the afternoon when I noticed two deer coming slowly toward me. I got behind a tree and made the dog lie down at my feet and waited until the animals had walked up in close rifle range when I shot at one of the deer which stopped and stood still. The other one wheeled about and ran back the way it come a few paces, then stopped and turned around and come back to where the other one was standing and smelled all over it. As soon as I had reloaded my gun I shot at it also. At the report of the gun the deer jumped over a space of several feet, stopped and contracted itself into a knot then relaxed its body and both deer started back in a slow walk the way they had come. I was much surprised at my awkward shots. After I had reloaded my rifle again I took the dog and followed along behind the deer and when I got in view of them I tried to encourage the dog to catch one of them, but to my utter dismay he did not pay the least attention to them. This was strange indeed for he always before proved to be an excellent hunting dog. I soon got up close to the deer for the two animals made no efforts to run but walked along before me at a leisure gait. Sometimes I and the dog was only 10 feet behind them. I shot at these deer 13 times as I followed along behind them without seeming to touch either one. My bullets by this time were exhausted. The sun had gone down below the western horizon and I was several miles from camp and I left the deer to go their way and I turned and retraced my steps back to my camp. It was after nightfall when I arrived there and it was late before I ate my supper and later still before I went to sleep. I lay awake a long time thinking how strange them two deer acted. They were so gentle. I could not hit one with a bullet nor persuade the dog to take hold of one of them. They certainly bore a charmed life. When the dawn of morning appeared I was up preparing my morning lunch and soon after I had partook of it and fed my dog it was daylight. Then I moulded more bullets and when the great luminary of the day was just peeping over the hills I stored the new bullets in my shot pouch and reloading my rifle with one of the bullets I took my dog and gun and started on the hunt of the two strange deer again. When I reached the spot where I first shot at them the evening before I was puzzled at not finding any deer tracks. I followed the trail of myself and dog where we had followed the deer without discovering any trails that the deer should have made. The tracks I made with my moccasins and the tracks of the dog were plainly visible where the ground was soft I went on as far as I did the previous evening without seeing a deer or the sign of a deer and I thought it was time to call a halt and turned back to-ward camp again and when I got there I evacuated that spot and never did go back there nor where I seen the apparition of them deer anymore. You can laugh at me if you want to but I seen them two deer as plain as any deer I ever saw and I have seen hundreds of them in southern Missouri," said Mr. Poplin.
Springfield-Greene County Library