The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book about Rock River by Claude D’Aguilar, son of Rock River and RRF Board of Directors members.
Toll De Bell Man, Toll De Bell
Duppyman had gotten his name because he was one of the rare breed in Rock River, who was not afraid of ghosts, he walked the streets so late at night that he was like the ghosts themselves. He was not really a member of the Mount Zion Baptist Church but living close to the church, he volunteered to ring the church bell for services and to toll the bell whenever anyone died in the district. He now lived alone, because his wife had died a long time before and his children were grown and had moved on.
As he got older, he got shakier, so Maas Ernest, a church member who lived close by was asked to help with the bell whenever Duppyman was unable to go. One Saturday night, a few boys, with very little to do, were on their way home from a party, when they decided to cause a little trouble so they set off down the road shouting at the top of their lungs,
“Duppyman dead oh, Duppyman dead, Duppyman dead oh Duppyman dead!”
This they repeated all along the road until they got home. Almost everyone living close to the road heard this and believed, including Maas Earnest. The only person who did not hear may have been Duppyman, who was sound asleep when all this was going on.
Sunday morning early, Maas Earnest after hearing the news overnight, decided to toll the bell for Duppyman. It was still dark when he got to the church. On reaching there, he headed for the bell tower only to see somebody a little ahead of him emerging from the dark headed for the same bell tower. The person got to the bell before him and as Maas Earnest got there, he was caught by surprise. He stood there wide eyed, tongue tied and transfixed to the spot at what he saw, right there before him the dead 'Duppyman' was about to ring the church bell, as the “ghost” raised his hands, grabbed hold of the rope and pulled, Maas Ernest did not hear the sound of the bell. He fainted.
A week kneed Maas Earnest just crumpled on the spot at the sight of what he thought was the ghost of Duppyman coming back to do his duty. Poor Maas Earnest had to be revived with the help of some smelling salt and Bayrum from a neighbor’s house. Needless to say, he was not amused when he realized that it was all a hoax and Duppyman was still alive.