Bogleech.com's 2013 Horror Write-off:
" Eagle Ford Sewage Pond Incident "
Submitted by Luke Jones
Sewage Pond Causes Local Residents Concern
By Carlie Provost
Originally printed April 3, 2014
A pond on the outskirts of Bald Knob is causing problems for a group of locals.
Stacy Hutchinson, a Bald Knob resident, brought the matter to the attention of the Bald Knob City Council during the council's normal meeting on April 2.
Interrupting Mayor Doyle Wallace near the end of the meeting, Hutchinson, accompanied by a group of friends and neighbors, stood up and said she was tired of the town ignoring the "problems with that sewage pond." "I've called your office 20 times this week and no one's come out to look at it," Hutchinson said. "I don't know what's getting dumped in there but it's got to stop." Wallace said he wasn't familiar with the pond.
Hutchinson said the pond was formerly an empty ditch behind her home. Last week, she said, it filled slowly with water from an unknown source. The ditch borders the properties of several residents of the Eagle Ford neighborhood off of Booth Road.
Another resident of the neighborhood, Scot Reilly, said the stink from the pond could be detected inside his house and was getting worse every day.
Reilly described the water as "pitch black and oily to the touch." he said she could see "white things like crawdads" swimming just under the surface. Mayor Wallace said he had no comment on the matter until it had been investigated further.
None of the neighborhood residents present at the meeting knew where the pond's contents came from. No trucks were seen dumping the fluid and no exposed pipes were present in the ditch.
"My son's great at fishing," Hutchinson told the Times Record. "He tried to catch one of those crawdad things, but after two hours the water ate away his fishing line. Now you tell me what's going on in that pond. I think it's the gas companies."
Exxon-Mobil, which owns a transcontinental gas and oil pipeline running near the Eagle Ford neighborhood, did not respond to repeat calls for comment.
"Sewage-Man" Revealed to be Missing Student By Carlie Provost CProvost@BKRecord.com Originally printed June 30, 2014
The body of the drifter nicknamed "Sewage Man" has been identified as Kurt Norman, a Bald Knob High School student reported missing more than a week ago.
According to White County Coroner David Powell, the body could only be identified by its teeth. Elements such as fingerprints, facial features and general body shape had all been altered beyond recognition.
"It's Kurt, no doubt about it," Powell said. "But no one could identify him, not even his own mother. I've never seen anything like this before."
Norman, 15, was reported missing on June 18. Sally Jones, his mother, reported to the Bald Knob Police Department that Norman did not return home from school on June 17 and that none of his classmates knew where he had gone.
Phone calls made to Jones' residence were not returned. On June 28, Norman was spotted walking towards Bald Knob along Highway 67-167. Bald Knob police were called after Norman entered the McDonald's near Exit 55.
Norman was reported to be "a tall man, dripping wet, wearing rags."
He was also reported to smell of sewage and was covered in leaves and dirt. Some restaurant patrons said Norman was muttering to himself unintelligibly. Manager Hiren Patel said that Norman, after walking through the door, stood near the checkout line and began staring at customers. After about 10 minutes of this behavior, Patel called the police. However, Norman left the restaurant before the police arrived and began walking toward the nearby high school.
"He didn't seem to know right from left," Principal Roy Downey told the Times Record. "Given that, I don't know how he managed to enter the school during class. It's a wonder that none of our resource officers noticed him, and I assure you we're looking into it."
Norman, still dripping wet, entered a classroom and began speaking in what were described as slow, slurred syllables.
"Now that I think of it, he did sound a bit like Kurt," said Madison Derrick, a freshman at Bald Knob High. "But none of us were thinking about that because of what he did next."
Derrick said when Norman spoke, a black liquid began flowing from his mouth and eyes, some of which spurted onto classmates.
Bald Knob police soon arrived at the school and arrested Norman. He did not offer any resistance. Residents and classmates quickly gave Norman the nickname of "sewage man."
A police report filed June 28 describes Norman as 6'3'', hairless, with unusually pale skin and an abnormal face shape and length.
Derrick described Norman, before his disappearance, as around 5'4" with dark skin and a ponytail. Norman spent about four hours in a BKPD jail cell before dying, after which he began decomposing rapidly. Powell, the corner, had no explanation for what could have caused such a rapid transformation in Norman's body. Some residents have been drawing connections between Norman and Eagle Ford Pond.
"I don't think it was really Kurt," said Becky Simms, a cashier at Bulldog Diner. Simms witnessed Norman walking along the highway. "I think that thing was born in the pond and crawled out of it. I think it killed Kurt and tried to copy him."
"Kurt was a bit of a wanderer," said John Quigley, another classmate of Norman's. "He talked about that pond a lot and about how he thought he could figure out what it was."
"The council's been awful quiet about the pond ever since Stacy showed off those chewed-up fishing poles," said Paul Reams, pastor of Central Baptist Church, referring to Stacy Hutchinson, a resident who raised complaints about the pond in April. "But everyone knows it stinks to high heaven, and I mean that figuratively and literally. My congregation tells me things that would curdle your blood. Flocks of birds dying in midair over the water. Whole dogs, mummified, washing up on the shore. Things crawling out of peoples' ears at midnight. Howling from the water. Strange urges. It's the end times, son, at least for this town. But what does old Simon say about the pond? 'It's just pollution from the oil pipes.' That's crock and he knows it."
Issues with the pond have been brought repeatedly before the Bald Knob City Council since April, but no definite causes have been identified. Simon Barrow, head of the Bald Knob Water Department, said he's aware of the complaints and that the department was on the move.
"We're looking into a possible connection with the pond," Barrow said. "We're bringing in some toxicologists. And listen. People like to exaggerate. It's not uncommon to find dead animals near ponds, and no one's called us about things in ears or whatnot. The pond is weird, I'll give you that, and I don't know what happened to Kurt Norman. But it's just a case of some smelly wastewater."
Neighborhood Disappears into Sinkhole, 3 Dead By Carlie Provist CProvost@BKRecord.com Originally printed Aug. 5, 2014
At least three are dead after what is now known as the Eagle Ford Sewage Pond suddenly grew to roughly the size of a football field, swallowing surrounding streets and several houses.
According to Yancey Yarnell, a resident of the Eagle Ford neighborhood, the pond began expanding about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, pulling rows of trees into the syrupy water. By 8 a.m., six nearby houses were almost entirely underwater.
Confirmed dead include Stacy Hutchinson, 48, a Bald Knob resident who originally brought up the pond issue to the city council. Her body was discovered face-down on her lawn by a neighbor as several nearby Eagle Ford residences were being evacuated.
According to eyewitnesses, Hutchinson's body was mutilated and showed signs of having been recently immersed in the pond.
"She was covered in that oily water," neighbor Henry Odom told the Times Record. "And I could hardly bare to look at that face. The eyes were gone. There were big holes on the sides of her head where there should have been ears. It was like something had hollowed out her cranium."
This morning two others, including Deputy Sheriff Brent Nichols and another not yet identified, were found in similar conditions washed up on the shore of the pond. A handful of Bald Knob residents have been reported missing following the incident.
Mayor Doyle Wallace was unavailable for comment by press time but said a statement was forthcoming. As of press time Wednesday, the sinkhole was still expanding. A general evacuation order has been issued by the city for residents living in Eagle Ford.
Simon Barrow, head of the Bald Knob Water Department, said toxicologists from the Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health in North Little Rock were still performing tests on the pond water. "All I can say now is if you live near the pond, pack up your stuff and try to move somewhere else until this blows over," Barrow said. "Sinkholes aren't to be trifled with. It's bad enough to lose your house but please don't lose your life, too."
White County Dead Report, Aug. 7, 2014
Below is a list of White County residents confirmed dead Aug. 7. As previously advised, under no circumstances should the Eagle Ford sinkhole be approached and any sightings of "sewage men" should be reported immediately to the White County Sheriff's Department. Visit BKRecord.com for a full list of confirmed dead. Alvin, George Alvin, Samantha Barrow, Simon Cammack, Morgan Coolidge, Traya Faber, Roosevelt Faber, Diamond Faber, Julius Folger, William Gray, Ronald Gray, Melissa Jones, Phillip Jones, Gary Jones, Cale Keller, Kent Odom, Henry Provost, Carlie Yarnell, Leslie Yarnell, Charles
Letter to the Editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Sept. 9, 2015, from Rebecca Lodhi of Memphis
I enjoyed the cover story on what happened in Bald Knob last year. It was amazing that you were able to track down some relatives of the people who survived that whole thing, and some officials who would actually talk.
For the record, I never thought Exxon-Mobil had anything to do with it.
But there's one thing I had to mention. I'm an amateur chemist and I have a bit of problem with insatiable curiosity.
So I admit it: I sneaked onto the site of the Eagle Ford Sinkhole.
No lie, it was probably the scariest experience in my life. It was hard enough to find a fence not garnished with razor wire, and then once I was in, everyone I saw was carrying an assault rifle. In the woods, I saw a tank with its barrel melted. That's the truth.
People had told me the black water could do anything from dissolve your skin to chase you up a tree. They told me it would turn me into a zombie.
But I didn't see any zombies and the water didn't try to eat my face. Still, I almost pissed myself while I collected a sample of the stuff. It really does smell as bad as they say, like crude oil and sulfur and rotting squash. I put it in a bottle and let it sit that way all the way back to Memphis.
Surprisingly, I survived the trip and managed to do some tests on the water.
Here's what I think. The guys from CTEH didn't release everything they knew. We know there's weird stuff in the water, like they said. Acidic stuff and other stuff I couldn't identify.
But here's the thing they never told you, and I hope you print this. I don't know what's filling the sinkhole that used to be Bald Knob, but, judging by the way it squealed and jumped away from a hot wire, it's not water. It's never been water.