life, thoughts

The Neighborhood Fort

… continued from Neighborhood Secrets.

moss wmThe creepy, run down house two doors down was finally painted and the yard cleaned up. The new renters seem fine, so we put the mess from the previous occupants behind us. The dust had only been settled for a couple of weeks, when odd things began to happen with a house around the corner. On a peaceful morning stroll with my dog (Max), I noticed what appeared to be a motley-looking child’s play-fort built in the front yard. I didn’t know who lived there, but figured some family with grade school kids.

<This is not the same house, but the same eerie Spanish moss hung low in the yard with the fort.

The following morning Max and I made our way toward that same house again. This time, in addition to the fort, there were a myriad of items placed intricately on the driveway into shapes … almost like crop circles. I squinted from across the way, but couldn’t pinpoint exactly what items were used for this unusual work of art on a driveway. Plus, the house looked empty.

The third morning we walked past the house, the fort had disappeared, but the crop circles remained in the driveway. Along with Spanish moss, items from junkyards dangled from the large trees, and an older man sat on a beach chair in the front yard. He appeared in desperate need of a bath and grooming. Wearing disheveled, dirty clothes with a knotted beard and ratty hair, he whittled away at something. A small, mangy dog sniffed the ground around his chair.

That night I asked my husband if he’d noticed anything funny about the house around the corner. The words barely left my mouth and he was describing the same things I had seen. We thought maybe the man was a vagrant using the vacant grounds as his home. But, we  live in a deed restricted community, and there are sectioned off subdivisions behind cement walls. How did this guy find that particular house among thousands?

Several weeks went by, and each day, different shaped crop circles popped up in the driveway. The man sometimes whittled in his chair, or he paced around the house talking to himself. Weird scribbles appeared on the garage door as if drawn with crayon. Sometimes, he left the front door and garage doors wide open, which meant he had access to the house. Several piles of junk began to grow on the garage floor.

One day a hand written sign pasted onto the mailbox said, STOLEN DOG. MUST RETURN NOW. The next day the sign was gone, and I saw the dog sniffing around again. It’s not surprising for an unleashed dog to wander off.

I called our Homeowners Association to report these odd occurrences, and they told me they were aware of the situation.

“We’re working on getting him removed. In the mean time, make sure not to walk your dog past there anymore, and tell your other neighbors to stay clear of that house.”

That was not about to happen. Most of us neighbors passed there to exit the subdivision. Click here to read the rest of this story.


26 thoughts on “The Neighborhood Fort”

  1. Okay, now that is just crazy! I have to wonder if you’re writing fiction here? Or is this really what’s happening in your neighborhood? And the warning you received to avoid that property seems a little ominous. Why aren’t they working harder to take care of this situation?

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    1. Ahh, a fellow Midwestern girl who gets it. Now you see the other reason (besides the nonstop humidity) why I’m not a fan of living in this state. You get your occasional crazy person up there, but here, they’re everywhere you turn. That hoarder lived there for 20 years before they finally were able to get her out (I’ve been here for 25 years). It may be a state by state thing, I don’t know, but from what I understand, they can’t evict someone as simply as one might think, at least where I live.


    2. When I said “hoarder,” I meant the woman from my other blog post. This one about the crazy crop circle man has obviously not yet come to a conclusion on my blog, but it will.


  2. Florida seemed like a universe full of individual universes to me: There were the generation after generation original Florida Cracker families; the retirees; people from all over the America – from the Caribbean and all; tourists; tourists who stayed and became permanent, the rich, the poor. There are super chic towns, old forgotten country towns, beach towns, golf courses, cattle ranches, orchards, rock quarries . . . on and on. Developments after developments. And the inevitable, ubiquitous Spanish Moss. Another ‘funny’ thing I noticed one time: I was binge watching a crime show about fugitives who escaped from justice (“I almost got away with it,” I think), and it seemed like in every single show, the fugitives fled to Florida! …that is, unless they were already in Florida.

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    1. You are sooo right about Florida being such an eclectic state. People are from everywhere. We’ve often joked that the motto should be changed from “the sunshine state” to “the freak show state.” Another common thing is to see a beautiful mansion right next door to a breaking down shack. Maybe that crop-circle guy was a schizophrenic fugitive. 😛

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  3. Hmm, your subdivision wasn’t built on a Native American burial ground was it? Something tells me you could have a field day with ideas if you wrote horror or paranormal! I’m curious to read what happened next!

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    1. Well, what happened wasn’t nearly as exciting as a Native American burial ground or anything paranormal. But, the situation was definitely abnormal. I can read that your creative juices are flowing on this one. Great ideas. You’re welcome to give it a go. 🙂


    1. Yep, this neighborhood is one “people are strange” story after another, and it doesn’t end with this guy. 😛 Thanks for reading, Jill. So you know, I think the rest of the story will be posted on Tuesday.

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    1. Yes, I’m sure the G.O. and you could’ve come up with some good stories. I wrote in my short story anthology about the house 2 doors down with weird people where I grew up, but this neighborhood beats that and then some. Heh. Thanks for reading about it, EllaDee.


  4. I was for sure the guy legitimately owned the house! My experience is there are many eccentric retirees that don’t care what the neighbors think. I view this much of your story as a happy ending. If the HOA can get him out, that would be a fairytale ending!

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    1. Well, the story is not quite over. You’ll soon find out if he owned it or not. I’d never seen him around before, but I did used to see a big pick-up truck in the driveway. That was gone. I had some adjusting to do when I moved to Florida. Such a diverse range of people can live in one neighborhood, from beautifully cared for large homes, to a smaller shack right next door. Go figure. Thanks for reading about my freaky neighborhood, Rilla.

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    1. Living in Florida took a lot of adjusting. There is such a diverse range of people living in same neighborhoods. You can have a mansion next to a shack, a well-manicured lawn next to the two crazies I’ve described on this blog. Thanks for reading about my freaky neighborhood, Carrie.

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