Wanting to get to the bottom of this little mystery, I packed up my notepad and my camera and back to Pawnee I went. I was hoping to gain a little more insight to my previous adventure...
The staff greeted me, remembering me and my experience. Once again, just as before, I felt very welcome and comfortable. Into the mansion I went, both with an open mind and an open heart. I wasn't sure what I would or would not see, but I was determined to enjoy whatever happened to me there.
I turned on my camera and clicked away. No funny, floaty, filmy lights in my camera's view finder. I did feel a bit strange, but I think that is understandable. I noticed all the pretty items on display - the paintings, the china, the Tiffany lamps. Once again, I was taking it all in. I made my way up the staircase. The eyes of the Indian in the painting followed me, but his eyes follow everyone. Most eyes in painting do that anyway.
At the top of the stairs, I turned to the toy room. There was the old train set Pawnee Bill and May's son played with behind the red rope. Sitting behind the train set and slightly off to the side was a little boy. Plain as day. I guessed him to be about six years old, give or take. He was wearing blue jeans and a light cotton shirt. I could see the dirt on his bare feet.
I know there shouldn't have been a little boy playing back there. No is allowed past the red rope. I closed my eyes tightly and opened them slowly. I looked again, more closely this time. He was still there.
Feeling foolish, I waved at him. He waved back at me, grinning ear to ear. Not just any wave, though. He waved at me as if he was thrilled to see me. Maybe he was waving at me because he was thrilled to be seen. I knelt down on one knee and waved again. He waved also, more enthusiastically than he did the first time.
I took the picture of the playroom. He sat there smiling, more interested in his toys than with me. I made my way down the stairs and then outside. I was leaving with more questions than answers.
Back in the museum, I told the staff what I had seen. They smiled and nodded. I was told I was the only adult they knew of that had seen the little boy.
I told the staff good-bye, drove through the Pasture Exhibit, and then started back home. The first time I left the museum, I didn't have any regrets. I was leaving with regrets this time.
All the way home and even now, several hours later, I regret not talking to the little boy. I don't think he would have spoken to me, but there are things I would like for him to know.
I would love for him to know how nice it was for me to see him. It was lovely to see him playing and being happy.
I also think he needs to know that the lady who walks through his home all the time is there to help care for his home and all the things in it. She is sharing his life and the lives of his parents with people who might never understand their importance if not for her.
I would also like for him to know that all the people who visits him home will not bother him or his things. They are there to learn about what life was like "way back then." I want him to feel secure in the thought that those who work at the museum will do everything they can to make sure that the mansion, all its contents and the ranch are well taken care of.
Yes, I wanted to have a conversation with a little boy that no one else saw. And, yes again, I don't believe what I saw him.
I guess I am going to have to roll with this one. I still don't believe in ghosts. I know the mansion isn't haunted and that evilness is not all around. I also know I saw a little boy playing where a little boy was not suppose to be. I know in my heart of hearts, down in my soul - deep in my bones - he waved at me.
Somethings just aren't meant to be understood. My adventures at the Pawnee Bill Ranch and Museum will have to fall into that category. Truth be told, I don't really want to understand it. I just want to live with the fact that I saw what I saw. No one has to believe me. I don't even have to believe me.
I hope to go back and visit again. Should I see the little boy again, I will stop and talk to him. Maybe tell him he should play outside a little, watch the buffalo do whatever it is that buffalo do and go in the museum to see all the things that his Momma and Daddy held so dear. Of course, make friends with the folks who work there. I am sure they will love him as much as they love the ranch and museum.
Happy Oklahoma traveling,
Emma Riley Sutton