Monster Hunting: C is for Char Man
Updated: Sep 25
January 18th, 2018
Sometimes in this job, the cases find you. I was driving through flyover country (hey, packing as much weird stuff as a hunter does kinda rules out flying) heading from my last case in Des Moines. I’d read about a low intensity haunting out in California, the kind of ghost that scares off tenants, but isn’t harmful. Figured the nice weather would do me good.
While rolling through Omaha, I heard some talking head relating how someone’d spontaneously combusted recently. Right in their car.
Whole thing burned in fact.
Since I was here, I figured I’d might as well give it some attention. What’s the worst that happens? I lose a few days chasing a white rabbit down a hole? Not like this place is the worst spot to be stuck.
January 19th, 2018
To be a hunter, you need to be willing to do illegal things.
Stuff like sneaking into the police impound lot after being turned away from the totally legitimate business of insurance investigation. Normally I’d come back with a stack of fake paperwork to legitimize my presence, but I didn’t feel like wasting the paper and ink when I could flip up a hoodie and hop the fence.
This pit-stop is far from a waste of time. My EMF reader went off the charts when I got to the car. I’m glad I had it plugged into my earphones instead of through its speaker. Definitely dealing with something up my alley. Time to look into fires and cars. Déjà vu is tickling my brain.
January 21st, 2018
Got a solid lead on what I’m looking at. Out in California there was this urban legend called Char Man. Legend goes that someone died in a fire. Sometimes it was a wife while the horrifically burned husband clawed at the cabin door, sometimes it was a car fire and the occupant escaped just in time to flee into the woods near a bridge and never be seen again. In one story I found, the originating victim was subjected to being burned alive in his car by a rival street gang.
Did I mention this story cropped up in the 1940’s? Well, like with most good legends, it circulated by word of mouth enough that no one really knows exactly how it started. But what did remain was a challenge perpetrated by stupid kids: go out to Char Man’s bridge and call out to him and challenge him in some way. Then stay long enough to see the orange firelight and catch whiffs of his charred body before fleeing.
Not everyone escapes his appearance and those who don’t end up little more than burnt husks.
Very similar to the spontaneous combustion story that’d initially grabbed my attention. It might be a stretch, especially since entities like this don’t tend to travel far from their home turf, but I think it worth looking into. Especially since Char Man’s bridge has gone silent, confirmed by a buddy out in California, recently. Maybe another hunter got this thing.
Maybe it moved.
January 22nd, 2018
I’m leaning toward moved. Buddy out in California did some digging into car fires (how would it move if it were a cabin or other domicile?) and he turned up one from 1968 that involved minimal damage to the vehicle itself, a ’67 Chevy Impala. The true story was that after a race, the driver of the Impala was dragged from his vehicle and burned alive. He’d tried to get back into his car while ablaze, but failed to do so. It happened near Char Man’s bridge and this spectre has haunted the place ever since.
I can hear you, future friend or fellow hunter, but ghosts don’t stick around if you burn the remains (the salt is an extra precaution and purifying step) and that’s mostly true. Trust me, they’re my bread and butter, but you’re forgetting about tethers. And it would seem this guy was so obsessed with his car that it was enough to tie him to this mortal plane.
Here’s the real kicker that ties this up neatly in a bow: that Impala? It recently changed hands and was shipped out to this area. A mere two miles from where the latest “spontaneous combustion” event happened. It’s wonderful what you can do when you have a friend who can track VINs.
January 23rd, 2018
Grumpy old cuss won’t part with his car.
January 24th, 2018
Whoever is reading this, I hope you’re not law enforcement given the number of times I’ve broken the law with this case. If you are law enforcement and you’ve read this far into my journal, take what you’ve read and use it to fight the non-human monsters out there.
Stole a car and stashed it out west. I know it wouldn’t matter at this point, but I didn’t want to run it across the state line and turn something local into a federal crime. Now to figure out how to beat this thing.
Typically, it’d mean salting and burning the tether, or the car in this case, and I don’t know if you’ve tried this before, but burning a car isn’t precisely easy. Especially when Char Man keeps popping up without my provoking him. A fist full of salt keeps him at bay, as it does with most spirits, but it doesn’t precisely banish the reek of burnt flesh.
Whoever said that human meat smells like pork obviously hasn’t over-roasted their meal. It’ll take three weeks to get the smell out of my nose.
January 26th, 2018
I can’t believe that worked.
I should back up a step and elaborate. So, burning the car and releasing the spirit wasn’t truly an option. Next best thing? Trapping it. But where to get that much salt, right?
I’m in Nebraska. In the middle of winter (a mild winter, but winter none-the-less) and there’s road salt up here. I only feel a little bad having borrowed a state truck with a bed of salt. Drove it to the car and after a few hours of shoveling and I’d made a thin inner ring of salt. I dug a foot deep moat and laid a second ring of salt in a tarp to keep it from washing immediately away.
Char Man glared at me from behind the wheel most of the time I worked. I’ll drop the truck off under some bridge where it can be found tomorrow.
I’m overdue for some rest.
January 31st, 2018
On the road again. Only true crime here was the damage to that car, but it had to be done.
Keeping people safe dictated it and what I do in the dark keeps people safe in the light.
California’ll be nice. I’m done with the cold.