Yesterday I found out the CRAZIEST thing I have ever learned in my life. I had thought that the Groundhog Mountain tower was an old military establishment to warn of invading armies/states. This couldn't be farther from the truth! It turns out, that the United Methodist Church in Alabama had, centuries prior, discovered a new enemy of the church, something so disastrous, so evil, that it could have possibly destroyed the church as they knew it! That thing? that evil being? what was it you ask?.. it was none other than SANTA himself! Santa is not only bad because he was basically a really friendly Jesus(he sees you when you're sleeping, the worst punishment is a bag of coal... etc), but a growing number of church members started to believe that Santa might be the second coming of the Messiah! Any proof of such a preposterous thing would turn the entire world upside down!
To combat this, the Methodist Church sprung into action, and I mean BIG TIME! They built watch towers ALL over the southeast(like the ones pictured) in hopes of 'proving people wrong'. The images I've created below and above are a representation of what a watchtower would have looked like on Christmas Eve, when Public Enemy #1 was supposedly making his 'deliveries'. Armed with high caliber rifles and spotlights; preachers, clergymen, and lay ministers alike all looked to the sky, skipping time away from family on Christmas Eve to combat this true terror.
While the Methodist Church did not 'formally' recognize Santa Clause, they did have some interesting information passed out in little booklets to all who would attend the yearly 'hunts'. Some bullet points included:
"Armed members of the church are FORBIDDEN from targeting Reindeer. Only Santa is to be targeted."
"Should a reindeer be killed on 'accident', and the reindeer is NOT Rudolph, 5 more reindeer will need to be killed before the sled no longer has the ability to fly. Should Rudolph be killed, the sled will lose course and fall from the sky, regardless of how many other reindeer are still alive. "
" Should the sled be brought down with Santa still alive, contact your local "Santa Contingency Ops Committee'. "
"Should the sled be brought down with Santa dead, contact your local 'Santa Success Ops Committee'"
"Should the sled be brought down with Santa not found nearby, contact your local 'Crazy Obese man in woods Propaganda Ops Committee'" (The Methodist Church has lots of committees)
"All living reindeer are to be donated to zoos no less than 400 miles away from scene."
Again, these are just bullet points that were put into a booklet, the Church never formally recognized Santa.
But on a very cold morning of December 26th in 1994, a group of Methodist preachers were seen leaving a wooded area near Groundhog Mountain in Virginia. They were said to have looked dirty, carrying hunting rifles and shovels. Apparently they were continually congratulating each other as they left. Not but a few weeks after this happened, in early 1995, the Methodist Church Abandoned all watchtowers in a secret deal with National Park Service. This allowed the park service to own and maintain all of the watch towers that the Methodists had built. The church called it a 'gift' to the state. Interesting, don't you think?
Ever since hearing about this crazy story, I have been attending First United Methodist Church in Galax VA. Hopefully if I shake enough hands, and fake enough smiles, someone, someday will let me in on what REALLY happened that cold December day.