of David Lang
- Altered Dimensions
- David Lang
- Tall Tale Theories
There are some who believe that there may be additional dimensions
not accounted for in our commonly accepted system of three dimensions (four
dimensions if you count time). If there are indeed dimensions we
have yet to discover or understand, is it possible to slip through one
of these dimensions? If a person did pass through to this unknown
dimension, what would become of them?
Here is the story of David Lang. Many believe this story to be
a fake, probably due to the many variations that exist of the
tale. But here it is, in its entirety, so
you can decide for
On September 23, 1880, David Lang was crossing a field near his home
in Sumner County, Tennessee. His wife and two children were watching
their father walk across the field. Davids brother-in-law and a local
attorney were approaching the home in a horse-drawn
buggy. Suddenly, Mrs. Lang
sprang from her seat screaming in terror and the two approaching
visitors gasped in disbelief. David Lang had just vanished before their
The disappearance of David Lang caused quite a stir in the local
community. At the spot where David disappeared there was a 15 foot
circle. The circle continued to mark the spot where
the vanishing took place for years
afterwards. Nothing would grow there and animals and insects avoided it.
Once, the children ventured into the center of the circle and claimed to
hear their fathers voice echoing from another dimension.
Tall Tale Theories
Several theories abound as to what really happened
to David Lang. Most
interesting are theories that the whole incident is a fable, passed down
from generation to generation, until it grew into the tale we know
today. Most of the fable theories are probably based upon earlier
articles in FATE and Fortean Times.
Some believe that a similar incident occurred in July 1854 at a
plantation near Selma, Alabama. A man named Orion Williamson
disappeared in a manner similar to David Lang (dead grass circles,
voices from nowhere, etc.). American writer Ambrose Bierce investigated
this and did a story called 'The Difficulty of Crossing a Field'
describing the incident in great detail (the story was printed in
Bierce's book - Can Such Things Be in 1909?).
The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (1909) - One
morning in July, 1854, a planter named Williamson, living six miles
from Selma, Alabama, was sitting with his wife and a child on the
veranda of his dwelling. Immediately in front of the house was a lawn,
perhaps fifty yards in extent between the house and public road, or,
as it was called, the 'pike.' Beyond this road lay a close-cropped
pasture of some ten acres, level and without a tree, rock, or any
natural or artificial object on its surface. At the time there was not
even a domestic animal in the field. In another field, beyond the
pasture, a dozen slaves were at work under an overseer.
Throwing away the stump of a cigar, the planter
rose, saying: 'I forgot to tell Andrew about those horses.' Andrew was
the overseer. Williamson strolled
leisurely down the gravel walk, plucking a flower as he went, passed
across the road and into the pasture, pausing a moment as he closed
the gate leading into it, to greet a passing neighbor, Armour Wren,
who lived on an adjoining plantation...
Mr. Wren had sold to Mr. Williamson some horses,
which were to have been sent for that day, but for some reason not now
remembered, it would be inconvenient to deliver them until the morrow.
The coachman was directed to drive back, and as the vehicle turned
Williamson was seen by all three, walking leisurely across the
pasture. At that moment one of the coach horses stumbled and came near
falling. It had no more than fairly recovered itself when James Wren
cried: 'Why, father, what has become of Mr. Williamson?'
Mr. Wren's strange account of the matter, given
under oath in the course of legal proceedings relating to the
Williamson estate, here follows:
'My son's exclamation caused me to look toward the
spot where I had seen the deceased [sic] an instant before, but he was
not there, nor was he anywhere visible. I cannot say that at the
moment I was greatly startled, or realized the gravity of the
occurrence, though I thought it singular. My son, however, was greatly
astonished and kept repeating his question in different forms until we
arrived at the gate. My black boy Sam was similarly affected, even in
a greater degree, but I reckon more by my son's manner than by
anything he had himself observed. [This sentence in the testimony was
stricken out.] As we got out of the carriage at the gate of the field,
and while Sam was hanging [sic] the team to the fence, Mrs.
Williamson, with her child in her arms and followed by several
servants, came running down the walk in great excitement, crying: 'He
is gone, he is gone! O God! what an awful thing!' and many other such
exclamations, which I do not distinctly recollect. I got from them the
impression that they related to something more than the mere
disappearance of her husband, even if that had occurred before her
eyes. Her manner was wild, but not more so, I think, than was natural
under the circumstances. I have no reason to think she had at that
time lost her mind. I have never since seen nor heard of Mr.
This testimony, as might have been expected, was
corroborated in almost every particular by the only other eye-witness
(if that is a proper term) -- the lad James. Mrs. Williamson had lost
her reason and the servants were, of course, not competent to testify.
The boy James Wren had declared at first that he saw the
disappearance, but there is nothing of this in his testimony given in
court. None of the field hands working in the field to which
Williamson was going had seen him at all, and the most rigorous search
of the entire plantation and adjoining country failed to supply a
clew. The most monstrous and grotesque fictions, originating with the
blacks, were current in that part of the State for many years, and
probably are to this day; but what has been here related is all that
is certainly known of the matter. The courts decided that Williamson
was dead, and his estate was distributed according to law.
The similarities between the traditional David Lang legend and the
Orion Williamson are certainly striking and indeed the stories appear to
be almost identical. Was the David Lang tale simply a legend based
upon a true account that occurred many years earlier?
Researcher Robert Nash believes that a traveling salesman named Joe
Mulhatten was stranded in Gallatin, Tennessee in December, 1889 and had
a little too much time on his hands. Mulhatten was known to
compete in 'liar' contests to see who could come up with the best tall
tale. Being familiar with the Orion Williamson incident, he wrote
an updated account changing the name, location, etc. to come up with the
modern day David Lang legend. The only problem with this theory is
that many David Lang researchers believe that Mulhatten himself is a
fabrication. They believe that Mulhatten is a legend based upon a
very real traveling salesmen in the 1880's, known also for his tall
tales, named Joseph M. Mulholland ('Mulhatten' or 'Mulholland'?).
One and the same? Both tall tales? Did either one really
exist? If this is beginning to sound like a elaborate but
confusing mess then you'll starting to glean understanding of the
dilemma facing modern day Lang researchers.
Truth or legend? Wherever Mr. Lang was, whatever dimension he
now existed in, there was one more supposed contact from that place that
took place 30 years later. Shortly after the death of her mother, Sarah,
the youngest of David Langs two children, received a letter written
in her fathers handwriting. "Together now. Together now and
(1) Cliff Werner - email 02/25/01
(2) Among the Missing, by Jay Robert Nash, Simon and Schuster, 1978
(3) Can Such Things Be, Ambrose Bierce, 1909
(4) Fate Magazine
Myth of Fact?
|Many believe the
story of the Disappearance of David Lang is simply a myth.
We here at the Altered Dimensions realm have received several
emails attesting to this fact.
author of "Small Shaky Planet" dropped us a line and pointed out
that Fate Magazine, who once printed a story on the disappearance of
David Lang, subsequently printed an apology after digging deeper
into the matter and being unable to verify several of the key facts
about the case.