“Mariah’s Touch - ReachingOut from the Other Side”
Mariah Park-Boian (1810-1888)
8 June 1999
An unbelievablething happened to me in the Boian Cemetery of Estill County, Kentucky, that hasleft its impact upon me for life. Many will scoff at such an account, but theirskepticism simply doesn’t matter to me. What does matter is that it is the truthand the experience is a spiritual revelation and homecoming that I will takewith me at the end of my natural life, to a meeting with my lord, surrounded inlove by my ancestors, including the woman I now have a special bond with—MariahPark. Mariah is the daughter of my 4th Great Aunt, Rhoda Dillinghamand Solomon Park, the son of my 5th Great Grandfather, EbenezerPark, Sr’s (1747-1839), oldest brother, John Park III (1735-1816) and SusannaElrod of Hampshire Co., VA, WV. WhileSolomon passed and is buried between Romney and Capon Bridge, West Virginia,home of my Revolutionary Park Ancestors—Rhoda Dillingham returned to EstillCounty, where she later re-married Ebenezer Wilson (1793-1876). I call Rhoda Dillingham-Park the GrandMatriarch of the Park and Cobb Families of Kentucky as I am related to herthrough no less than 13 marriages, beginning with her and later her childrenand grandchildren. On our InauguralExpedition to Kentucky, I had a chance to visit the graves of Mariah Park(1810-1888) and her husband, William Boian, Sr. (1805-1893) located in thepasture on the scenic Boian Farm behind Mariah’s homestead, which still standstoday off of Wisemantown-Dug Hill Rd. close to Irvine, KY. Ironically, Mariah Park is also the 3rdGreat Grandmother of Technical Sergeant, Marc Gumm, who was assigned with me atPope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, NC in the 3rd Aerial PortSquadron during the period 1997-2001, while I was still on active duty with theUnited States Air Force. So, as I stoodnext to Mariah’s grave on what had been a rather warm and humid day of 8 June1999, I glanced westward in the hazy sky, at the sun, which was now beginningto descend. What would happen just seconds later would transcend any normalhuman experience…but then, there is much that has been quite unnatural since Iembarked on the enriched journey that is my family’s history.
I glanced down atMariah’s small, white tombstone, weathered with some black blemishes, and Iwhispered the following: “Marc (Gumm),your 3rd Great Grandson, says hello and sends his love”. I then reached out and placed my hand softlyon the top right corner of her marker. At the instant I touched Mariah’stombstone, I received something between a shock, vibration, and the sensationof a very real human touch, only unexplainably, I felt the delicate fingers“underneath” my skin, rather than on my skin. Surprised, I pulled my hand quickly away and when I looked at my arm indisbelief, I noticed my Casio digital watch had stopped dead with all numerals,including seconds frozen in place. As Iexclaimed that my watch had stopped, I also noticed the numbers begin to fadeaway until the watch face was completely blank. The watch battery was only a few short weeks old, but it couldnot withstand the feeling that I now refer to as “Mariah’s Touch”.
In the Summer of 2001, I reluctantly revealedthis occurrence to Ermon Edward, the husband of the late Eva Dean Boian, directdescendant of Mariah Park, who still lives in the Boian Homestead. My main purpose was to eliminate thepossibility of the existence of any nearby electrical source that could producea current that would shock my watch into submission. In a matter of fact manner, Ermon stated that there was no suchsource anywhere near the cemetery, which sat remotely in the pasture by itself,including electric fences (there are no cattle or electric fences on the BoianFarm). My mother asked me how I interpreted the occurrence and I told her thatthe feeling that I had from Mariah was that “Time is of absolutely noimportance in the next life”. Ilater told her that it was also a reminder that “While the body dies, thespirit (Mariah’s) lives forever”.
Ironically, whileon our 2001 Kentucky Expedition, my family tried unsuccessfully to reach me onmy world-wide pager, despite several attempts. When I spoke with my motherlater that day by phone from Irvine’s Oak Tree Hotel, she asked me if Ireceived the page. Looking down at the pager on my belt, I realized that mypager was not on and when I depressed the power button, I was surprised when itfailed to respond.
Now, I had coldchills….I knew that I had put a fresh battery in it just prior to departing myhome in North Carolina days earlier. I also knew that they typically lasted 6months or more. I was silent; my motherasked if I was still there. My mindcontinued to reel from a new shock. Therealization of where I had just come from--the Boian Farm. And I had touched Mariah’s stone and onceagain, she made me realize how the importance of our natural life pales incomparison to the divine place where she most certainly resides.
But that’s notall--incredibly, more than 7 months later on the morning of 22 January 2000, asthe watch sat upon my desk, it started again--the numerals reappearing fromnowhere—a reincarnation of sorts! Eventhe time was correct, right down to the “world-clock second”. But the fact thatsurprised me most of all—it was Mariah’s 190th Birthday! And as Iwrite this in November of 2002, the 2-year battery has now exceeded its lifeexpectancy by over 2 years.
So, I have a new,unmistakable feeling now….this watch is never going to stop. I’m sure of it. It will never need another battery. Because the touch that was Mariah, like her spirit, will lastforever.
William “Doug” Park
(4 May 1959- )