Monday, March 23, 2009

Free Floyd Collins

I recently started a new job downtown. It's closer to where my husband works. Because of this, we've found a new parking spot in a lot roughly halfway between our buildings. I mention this because people who know us don't know where we've been parking the past few weeks, and because this new job came about at a time when it was really hard to dismiss the timing as anything short of a miracle.

Fast forward to this evening, when I met my husband at his car. He was about to back out when he spotted something fluttering on his windshield. My heart sank, as I thought it was a ticket, and began wondering what the heck we did wrong. It was actually this piece of paper, which looks like receipt paper, with the words "Free Floyd Collins" written on it and stuck under the wiper.

My first instinct was to take out my iPhone and look up name. I got a chill as the Google search results appeared. The words "Cave City" caught my eye first.

You see, we've been planning a weekend trip to Mammoth Cave with another couple. Earlier that day, as I was eating lunch, I decided to look at the Mammoth Cave site and make sure all the attractions were open the weekend we'd be headed there. Cave City is where it is located.

Floyd Collins was a caver who met his fate trying to find a connection between Sand Cave and the more popular Mammoth Cave system. He was trapped in the cave, a media circus and crowd gathered above, and he was eventually found dead--according to legend his body was found with a cave cricket resting on his nose. He was originally buried in the cave when it was determined removing him was too risky; he was moved several times until he was eventually interred under a tombstone that reads "Greatest Cave Explorer Ever Known." In addition, he was given proper burial on March 24th, 1989. Today is the 23rd, so I guess you could say it was the last day he was trapped in the cave.

I have to admit I was slightly freaked out when I read all of this. A random note that refers to a folk hero from a region I had just looked up hours before. In a parking lot no one knows we park in.

Now, there are a variety of explanations for this note. One, someone noticed our state park stickers on the back window and thought we'd get the reference (apparantly the phrase is often seen on bumper stickers and t-shirts in Cave City). Two, it's referring to something else--maybe a prisoner--but what reason would they have for putting it on our car? I couldn't find a reference to a case involving someone of that name in Cincinnati. Another possible explanation is that they have the wrong car and this is a crazy coincidence. All I know is I will be visiting several Floyd Collins sites when I go to the area next month.

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