Chicago birdwatchers love to visit the peaceful lakefront area known as the “Magic Hedge.” This is a winding path that is home to rare and beautiful birds. Another name for this area is Montrose Point. There, Montrose Avenue meets Lake Michigan. After World War II, Montrose Point was far from peaceful. In fact, it was an army base and missile site! American soldiers were stationed at Montrose Point. They guarded the United States against attacks from its enemies, especially the Soviet Union. Hundreds of men were assigned there. Not all of them got along.
Two Fighting Soldiers
One pair of soldiers in particular never seemed to stop fighting. Their names were Pique Nerjee and Hernando Rodrickkez. Pique and Hernando were always arguing.They argued about who would clean the barracks’ bathroom, whose turn it was to keep the midnight watch, whether that day’s lunch had been any good, and so on. Sometimes their arguments became so heated that they ended up in a fist fight.
The other soldiers soon got sick of breaking up their brawls. One Halloween night, Pique and Hernando were going at it as usual over some silly thing. After their argument came to blows, the men in the barracks pulled them apart. Then Hernando started yelling, “I’m going to kill you, Pique!” Pique swallowed hard and stared at Hernando. Though their fights had often been bad, neither man had ever made such a threat. Luckily, Hernando had a Halloween party to attend. He simply shook his fist at Pique and stormed out of the barracks. Pique breathed a sigh of relief.
One Dead Soldier
Later that night, when the soldiers were all asleep, they were suddenly awakened. They heard a strange noise that they couldn’t quite place. When they got up to look around, they found Pique dead in his bed! No one could imagine what might have happened. When the coroner arrived, even he was baffled by Pique’s death. The young soldier had always seemed perfectly healthy. More doctors arrived to examine Pique’s body. Suddenly, someone ran into the barracks screaming Pique’s name. It was Hernando! Hernando’s eyes were as big as dinner plates. He had obviously been terrified by something he’d seen. When he saw Pique’s lifeless body on the bunk, he began sobbing hysterically. He pleaded, “Pique! Pique! Please, Pique!” Pique’s body was finally taken away.
The other men calmed Hernando down, which took a long time. When Hernando was finally quiet, they asked him what had happened on the way back to Montrose Point. Hernando explained that he’d been at the Halloween ball. Everything was fine until, during the middle of a dance, he suddenly felt that something had happened to Pique.
He rushed out of the ballroom and back to the barracks. When he saw that Pique was dead, Hernando was convinced that it was his fault. Hernando thought that he’d somehow wished Pique dead because of their argument earlier that evening.
When the men heard this story, they tried to convince Hernando that he wasn’t to blame. Hernando only got worked up again. He insisted that Pique’s blood was on his hands. Then, without warning, Hernando jumped off the bunk. He ran out of the barracks into the cold November night. He was never seen again.
One Missing Soldier
All night, the soldiers at Montrose Point searched the area for Hernando, but with no luck. Another search during the day also led to nothing. Several weeks passed with no sign of Hernando. Finally, he was declared dead. The army assumed that Hernando had jumped into the freezing waters of Lake Michigan and had drowned. The next year on Halloween night, soldiers on patrol at Montrose Point saw strange figures moving in the Magic Hedge. Then they heard a low, moaning sound, like a voice saying, “Pique! Pique! Please, Pique!”
The soldiers searched the whole area with their rifles ready, but no one was there. By the next Halloween night, the army base at Montrose Point had been closed down. All the soldiers were gone. Two homeless men, however, were sleeping in the ark at Montrose Point. They told police that “vampire bats” had attacked them during the night. The bats had whispered that they wanted to suck their blood! The police assumed that the vampire bats were probably just some rare birds or owls and that the men had dreamed they’d heard voices. Nothing more was reported at Montrose until a few years ago. One Halloween night, sanitation workers were doing some emergency sewer work. They saw a strange light running through the Magic Hedge. When they investigated, they found no one in the area. The workers did report a low, moaning voice, however. It sounded as if it were saying, “Pique! Pique! Please, Pique!”