Mount Sunflower, Jacob’s Well

(Frank) Today on Around Kansas we start with a story about Mount Sunflower, located in Wallace County, it’s the highest point in Kansas. Next it’s the legend of Jacob’s Well, a story you’ll want to watch when you’re not alone! Then we hear from Ron Wilson, our Poet Lariat, with a poem about horse Training. We’ll end with a look back at the horror film “Carnival of Souls”.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Frank Chaffin) Well I’m Frank. (Deb Goodrich) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. (Deb) And I just flew in from western Kansas just for this episode. (Frank) [Laughs] And I just rode in. (Deb) You sure did. I saw that pile of bones out on the parking lot. (Frank) [Laughs] Yes, the witch and the ghost rider. (Deb) Well, Happy Halloween everybody. We were going to dress up, but we didn’t have time, did we? To put costumes on, so here we are. (Frank) And just imagine, at night this all becomes flame. (Deb) Or not. [Laughter] Or just don’t imagine it. [Laughter] We don’t want to squeal, want to frighten small kids. (Frank) You brought your transportation. (Deb) Is that not a great broom honestly? That’s just the best broom ever. I love it. Hey, I got some bad news. (Frank) Uh, oh. (Deb) I know. Stan out at Norton broke his foot. I know, that’s sad. But the good news is, while he was mending from his broken foot, his wife Carolyn had Around Kansas on every morning. (Frank) Well, there you go. (Deb) That’s the good news. He got addicted to Around Kansas, but then of course, Stan mended, he had to go back to work. That’s the bad news. (Frank) Well, he can watch it online. (Deb) Well he asked Carolyn – this is the good news – you’re right, online- (Frank) Sorry! (Deb) – the modern TiVo, he’s like, “Now, you have to TiVo Around Kansas every morning.” Now that he’s out and working – before – really, that’s how hard a worker Stan is, he’s a farmer; he’s out working before we come on. All these people that complain that we come on too early, Stan is already out in the field in Norton, people.” Thank you Stan, we appreciate you watching. (Frank) Okay. (Deb) What are you doing this weekend? (Frank) This weekend? Oh, let’s see- (Deb) Do you have trick-or-treaters at your house? (Frank) Yes. Well a few, we used to have a bunch, but I think they all grew up and then we haven’t had any more young children to move into the neighborhood, but hopefully some will come in. (Deb) Are you going to dress up for Halloween at home? (Frank) No. I used to do a Frankenstein mask but the kids were really freaked. I stopped doing that. (Deb) [Laughs] Well, out on the wind-swept prairie, I may just fly around, if I don’t pay real close attention. We have the broom outside, I may be airborne before it’s over. I found one of those, Michael is going to have to look for this, one of those made up stories, I guess it was made up, about all the witches who were arrested for flying over Kansas [laughs] and how they were violating air space, and all that good stuff. (Frank) Deb come on; do the line, “I’m going to get you and your little dog.” (Deb) I’m going to get you and your little dog too, my pretty. (Frank) There you go. (Deb) How was that? (Frank) That was good. We’ll be back. [Laughter]

(Frank) We’re back. Do you think people are really going to take us serious today? (Deb) Do you think they ever really ever take us seriously? (Frank) Well, no. (Deb) Like it really matters, yes. (Frank) We stepped over line this week I think. (Deb) Yes, well, we’ve been over the line for a while. Speaking of witches, Margaret Hamilton, who played the witch on the Wizard of Oz, I remember reading about her little boy, he was a child at the time movie came out. She wouldn’t let him see it because she was afraid it would scare him. When you see your mom looking like that, of course you’d be scared. Well, he went to a birthday party where they showed the Wizard of Oz, and this poor boy sees his mother melt at the end of the movie, so he was traumatized. Isn’t that sad? God bless him. He’s probably still in therapy today, I don’t know. We should check in on him. We were out, we did a segment on this, a week or two ago, the dedication of the Land and Sky Scenic Byway, and that’s the newest scenic byway, and it’s the gorgeous scenery out in far northwestern Kansas and the agriculture. We were out at Mount Sunflower, and this was one of the cool…it was really cold, we just about froze out there. After the sun went down, I’m telling you what Frank, it got cold, but it was a crystal clear night. It was incredible. Just a beautiful night. Our friend Brenda Culbertson was out there directing the star gazing, and I hope this is an event we can do again sometime, because more and more people should go out to Mount Sunflower and just look at the stars. (Frank) Well, out there of course without city lights and all that, you can really see the stars. (Deb) And from horizon to horizon. Now that I live out at Oakley, I feel like I live in the sky, because you walk out at night, and there are stars like there. They’re not just up there, they’re over there, and it’s like, whoa. First couple of nights it really scared me, then I got the broom and I was okay. (Frank) Yes. And the UFOs, you can see those clearly. (Deb) Yes. Really, they wave sometimes too. Let’s take a look. At 4,039 feet above sea level, Mount Sunflower is higher than any point in Pennsylvania or Ohio. From a low point along the Verdigris River in southeastern Kansas, the land rises to the west until it reaches the high point of the Continental Divide, now in Colorado, but once upon a time the western border of the Kansas Territory. Once we lopped off that piece, our summit was the high plains of Wallace County, in a rancher’s pasture. Since the summit is actually a gently sloping bit of ground, it wasn’t obvious that it was the high point in all of Kansas until the state’s centennial in 1961. Officials decided it was time to find the exact spot and came out to the Harold Ranch and declared, This is it! On a clear day, you can see Colorado from here. Heck, on any given day you throw a rock into Colorado from here. It’s just right over there. Ed and Cindy Harold welcomed dozens of folks to their place in October as one of the events in the dedication of the Land and Sky Scenic Byway. As the sun sank over Colorado, and semis in the middle of harvest raised the dust on the gravel roads surrounding Mt. Sunflower, the learned astronomer Brenda Culbertson led the group in gazing at the stars. As folks wrapped in coats and blankets followed her laser pointer to the heavens, she described the Northern Crown, to many of the Native Americans a circle of great chiefs talking about people on earth and the plans they had for those people. She described the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters; to Natives dancing children who danced until they ascended to the sky. Their grandmothers tried to reach them but they were too far away and they said, We’ll try again next time you come around. Brenda pointed to the Big Dipper, Ursa Major — the Big Bear. In Native cultures, these are braves carrying the stretcher of a fallen warrior. Behind the stretcher walks the chief, then the chief’s wife and her little dog, then the medicine man. It is an honor, she said, to carry this warrior around the heavens. It was a perfect, crystal clear, starry, starry night on Mt. Sunflower. We could see past Colorado. We could see forever. Ad Astra, Ad Astra.

(Deb) Welcome back folks. We’ve got some really cool paranormal stories. I have to tell you, when I first moved to Kansas in 1992, I was in the bookstore in Topeka, and I was going to Washburn University, so I’m checking out the psychology section. I was taking a couple of classes, and right next to me there was a gentleman in the paranormal section. He’s like, “Well, have you read this book?” and no, I hadn’t read any of those books. And he proceeds to tell me that he was on his way to a conference of people who had been abducted by aliens. Apparently there were several folks from around the community that were going to carpool and go to this conference. I guess he perceived that I was a little doubtful, so he pulled up his pant leg and showed me the probe marks on his leg, which looked dangerously like a rattlesnake bite to me [Laughter] harkening back to a show a couple of weeks ago. He had definitely been bitten by something, but that was interesting. I had never met anyone before who had been abducted by aliens until I moved to Kansas. But they were going to Omaha, so apparently there’s a bunch of folks up in Nebraska too that have been abducted. Do you know anybody who’s been abducted? (Frank) No. (Deb) I bet you do, you just haven’t talked about it. (Frank) Really? (Deb) Yes. Really, like see you on that chopper, they are going to want you bad, I know. Or me flying around on this broomstick, we’ll probably mix. They’re lighting up experiment tables for us right now, Frank? (Frank) [Laughs] Yes. (Deb) We’ve got a cool story from out in western Kansas, another really cool ghost story. We’ve got lots of friends and of course Beth Cooper who’s written, Beth Cooper Meyer, who has written some really cool stuff, and I used to help Beth do some investigation on ghost tours and – (Frank) Pre-eminent ghost hunter. (Deb) Yes, a lot of fun. We’ve found quite a few hauntings around the state; it’s a lot of fun. But this one is also pretty scenic, out in Clark County, Kansas. I bet most folks back here don’t even know where Clark County is, do they? Did you know before you did this story? (Frank) No. [laughter] (Deb) You got to get out more Frank. Now that you got that chopper and these great threads. When you get on the road, people are going to get out of your way buddy. I’m telling you, they will. (Frank) Especially when I catch fire. (Deb) Exactly. When they see the flames come out. Yes, they’re going to move over. Let’s hear Frank’s scary tale. (Frank) Jacob’s Well is in Clark County, shy of 40 miles south of Dodge City. A pool about 30 yards across and 18 feet deep, actually a sinkhole, it was believed for years to be bottomless. The Wichita Eagle published this report on October 22, 2011. We think it will still bring a chill to your bones. At St. Jacobs Well near Ashland, legend has it that a horse and rider were drowned in the horseshoe well that lies at the bottom of a high canyon. On October 27, 1924, the Dodge City Globe reported a “Daddy Walters” had heard the shrieks of both man and animal. “It wuz about one o’clock on a moonlit summer night and I wuz kinder wakeful, so I came out here fer a breath o’air and a peaceful piper ‘er two. Welt I got the air all right but not the pipe, fer jest as I was fill-in’ her with terbaccer, I seen a man on a horse, a-standin’up on the’ridge around the pool,” Daddy Walters was quoted as saying. “I kept a watchin’ him, kinder curiouslike, cause it wuz purly late fer a man to be a-ridin around in these parts at that time,” Daddy Walters continued. “I suppose he had come there to water his horse and shore enough, he disappeared down th’ rim and I knowed he wuz aridin’down to the pool at the bottom.” “…I hadn’t heered no sounds until I wuz jest a-lightin’ my pipe, when suddenly I heered the most blood- curlingest sound ever made on this here earth. It nigh froze me stiff, though I knowed right away it wuz the sound made by a dying horse. Heve you ever heered a dying animule?” “…I grabbed my old nag out o’ the stable and tore down there as fast as I could but wuz too late. When I looked over the rim o’that pond o’Satan, thar warn’t a dad-blasted ripple on the whole thing and nary a sign o’man or beast.”

(Ron Wilson) Cowboys love to train animals; sometimes the animals can train us. This poem is entitled Horse Training. On a hot summer morning, I walked out to train a young horse we were teaching to ride in the ring. The flies really buzzing in the hot morning sun, as I walked to the barn with my two little sons. One said, Dad, you see those two horses right there, standing together like they were a pair. They get close together, and that’s how they graze, but their heads are facing in opposite ways. So the head of the one is by the tail of the other. Why do they do that? he asked me and his brother. I said, You’re a mighty observant young man. And I’ll answer your question the best that I can. You see there’s lots of flies around this cow lot, they’re a natural pest that we’ve always got. The horse uses its tail to shoo off those flies, like I do with my hand if the need should arise. But the tail is too short to reach that horse’s head, so they’ve learned they can partner with another horse instead. They can stand close together, one’s head by the others tail. Then they can shoo the flies off each other without fail, so that’s why the horses stand together that way. Now go in the barn and get ‘em some hay. While the boys did their chores I stopped and I thought, There’s a message for me in that lesson I taught. If horses can learn to cooperate too, there is no limit to what we as people can do. There’s some things a person can’t do as just one, when we work together so much more can get done. If we partner together which is really my druthers, we’ll share the rewards as we serve each other. It’s a mutual benefit that we can treasure, if like all those horses we all stand together. It was time to begin that pony’s training lessons, but I looked at my kids and thanked God for my blessings. At supper that night my wife says to me, How’d that training go for the new pony? I said, It went well but not in the usual way. My kids and my horses taught me a lot today. Happy Trails.

(Frank) Having fun on our Halloween Show. (Deb) I’d have more fun with candy. (Frank) We have no candy. (Deb) I know. We went to the door and they just slammed it. Yes, no treats. (Frank) Aren’t you a little old? Well yes. (Deb) Yes, really, aren’t you a little old? (Frank) I’m in my second childhood. Does that count? (Deb) I might be in my third or fourth childhood by now. Or some people just don’t grow up. That could be. That could count for it, too. (Frank) Yes, if you don’t grow up by the time you’re 60 you don’t have to. (Deb) Why bother? That’s exactly right. Why bother? We’ve got a really cool film and Frank and I both know a lot of people in the film industry and have been involved in a lot of entertainment topics or things over the years. Carnival of Souls is one of those classics and you actually had friends who were in that? (Frank) Yes. Well they’re Lawrence actors and all that. Yes they were in this movie. It’s really a strange, strange movie. (Deb) It is a strange movie. I know that they filmed part of it on the old Lecompton Bridge. Not the new bridge over the Kaw River, but the old Lecompton Bridge. Folks who grew up in that area, Perry-Lecompton, recognize a lot of folks in the movie. There were a lot of the locals who were spectators standing on the bridge as they pull the car out. The premise is the girl goes over the bridge into the water. There were a lot of people in that. We’ve got some great film connections in Kansas don’t we? Some really cool stuff. (Frank) There have been a lot of movies made in the State of Kansas. (Deb) We did those, what, 30 segments on the movie Picnic that you did Frank? Something like that. (Frank) It went on and on. It was like, “And now, here’s another segment on Picnic. (Deb) Kim Novak and William Holden, heck, you can go on and on about that. We have a lot of movies other than Picnic that have some really cool Kansas connections. Let’s take a look at this one. Herk Harvey was born in Colorado and attended KU where he studied film, and later taught at the university. Though he made more than 400 films, he is best known for the horror classic, Carnival of Souls. Released in 1962, the film was partially filmed in Lawrence and Lecompton. Harvey died in 1996 and the film database, IMDB.com, has some insightful quotes from the versatile filmmaker. In 1990, he was asked about how he first came up with the idea for Carnival of Souls. I was on location in California shooting an industrial film for Centron, and decided to travel home by car. Driving back I was passing Salt Lake, and I saw for the first time an abandoned amusement park called Saltair. Well, with the sun setting and with the lake in the background, this was the weirdest-looking place I’d ever seen! I stopped the car and walked about a half or three-quarters of a mile to the place, and it was spooky indeed. And I thought, Gee, what a tremendous location because it’s completely isolated from everything and everybody. I came back and talked to John Clifford, who was a writer at Centron and a co-worker, and told him that I needed a horror script that would revolve around Saltair. So basically in talking we came up with some of the general plot, and he wrote the script in a matter of a couple weeks. When asked if he was glad that the horror movie was his claim to fame, he replied: I have to say yes and no. When you work someplace for 35 years making educational and industrial films, and the one feature that you make is really what you’re known for, a film on which you spent a total of maybe five weeks, that to me doesn’t seem right. Some of the things I’m much more proud of, we did in the industrial area. We shot hour-long films in two days, musicals with people like Eddie Albert and Ed Ames and so on. Some of those with skits and original music and all that are really kind of interesting. And I think that many of the other films that we made in the educational and industrial area really had something to say. Yet, as you say, I’m known for Carnival of Souls. Roger Ebert awarded the film 3 stars out of four, stating, Unlike most of today’s horror movies, Carnival of Souls has few special effects, some wavy lines as we pass through various levels of existence, and that’s it. Instead, it depends on crisp black-and-white photography, atmosphere and surprisingly effective acting. Carnival of Souls has a cult following and is a traditional Halloween treat for lots of folks.

(Frank) Well, I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. And this broom is just made for one Frank. (Frank) I know, so off you go. (Deb) Off I go. (Frank) Bye.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

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