Today I have an exclusive interview with a woman who refuses to go to hell. Susan Alderman, 43, has been told repeatedly by family and neighbors to go to hell, but she is adamant that she won't go. I sat down with her today in her modest ranch house in the mountains of Virginia and have tried to faithfully record our interview.
Susan came into the breakfast room of her well kept home wearing a blue button up blouse and white tan slacks. She had long chestnut brown hair with streaks of gray that made her blue eyes sparkle. She was wearing a simple strand of pearls around her neck and pearl stud earrings. She has a winning smile and a dusky voice.
I asked her how all of this business about not agreeing to go to hell happened and she told me that, she has just one reason for not obliging those who want her there.
It started out in 1953 when she married James Alderman. At the time he was a dashing young man with Hollywood good looks and a bad-boy reputation. She describes him as having hair so black that it almost looked blue in the sunlight. He had deep brown eyes and a seductive mouth. She had been raised by a southern minister and she was looking for any way at all to rebel. She laughs at the recollection of seeing James Alderman and her heart seemed to just stop instead of beating rapidly like everyone describes love at first sight. My heart just stopped, dead, she says. Six months after meeting James, she ran away from home and eloped, breaking her father's heart and becoming the town scandal. “After that,” she says, “things went from bad to worse”. She had just figured that James would quit his bad boy behavior once they were married, but to her chagrin, he didn't. He became a notorious drunk and a womanizer. He impregnated two women in town and “never even apologized” according to Alderman.
She and James would get into fights all the time; screaming and yelling at each other. He would swear he was going to leave her and when she said fine, he'd stay at home just to aggravate her. In 1955, she finally told James Alderman to go to hell and he said he was sure he was headed there anyway. She told him she wished he'd hurry up then, and they began to fight again. For sixteen years Susan told James Alderman to go to hell and he would smile and tell her to join him there every time. That was when she decided “If James Alderman is going to hell, I won't go there. They won't be able to drag me there with wild horses. I won't stay”. Finally James Alderman died. He got terribly drunk one night while they were visiting the Grand Canyon and while standing at the edge of the cavern Susan looked at James and said “I bet you can't fly over this”. James responded with “Oh yes I could”. Susan then told him she didn't believe him and that he'd have to prove it, so in front of twelve witnesses James Alderman jumped off of the edge of the Grand Canyon and landed lifeless in the bottom of it. Susan said she knew she was right. No crime was technically committed and nothing held up in the court of law, so Susan was allowed to go back home and live a new life without James Alderman.
From that day on she never married or lived with a man again. She has maintained a peaceful life in her sprawling Virginia neighborhood, but doesn't always get along with the neighbors and people she meets in general. “There seems to be something about me that turns people off”, she candidly admits, “but when they tell me to go to hell, I let them know right then that that is something I'll never do”.
Susan has prepared as well as she knows how to avoid hell. She became a Christian and a Buddhist and a Muslim and joined the Jewish faith immediately following her husband's death. She's a member of the local Catholic church and the nearby Baptist Faith Ministries. She has also joined the 2nd United Methodist church, the Morman Church, and the Presbyterian Church on 10th street. She has become a Jehovah's witness and is also adept at handling snakes. Her will also adamantly states that she is not to be sent to hell; this is also a recurring Facebook status for her.
Susan Alderman knows she won't live forever, but she “doesn't plan on dying anytime soon either”. She just wants to live her life and when that life is over, she will take on the Devil himself before she will submit to being sent to hell.
I guess the lesson in this for all of us is simply this: Please be careful of who you tell to go to hell. They may already know some people there.