17. A Woman And A Cat
My sister used to claim she saw a lady in a black dress in our stairway when she was little, and my uncle who got divorced and moved in with us said he used feel like a cat was in the room with him. He claimed he felt a cat jump on the bed at night and knock things off the window sill.
Well, when my dad was redoing the drywall in the stairway he found an old black and white picture of a lady in a black dress with a cat on her lap.
18. The Farmer’s House
Back in high school, around the end of my junior year I believe, it became popular to go on these adventurous endeavors to “haunted” places. Literally a group of about thirty of us would carpool to some abandoned house one weekend, or to some secluded forest the next, spending the days at school in between searching for more places like this in the area. Anyhow, we had this cavalier nature about us when it came to potential hauntings.
At some point, a friend of mine who was several years older than me told me about how he and his friends would do similar things when they were young. His childhood home backed up to a huge farm and he and his friends would spend their days fishing or hanging out on this farm, so they were quite familiar with it. The owner, apparently a very religious man (a priest or pastor maybe), had owned the farm and a small house on the property. The story went that the owner had been locked up for murder and died in prison, leaving the farm to whomever and it wasn’t kept up. However, upon hearing the news of this man’s demise, my friend told me that he and his friends had decided to go into this house. I guess the windows had been busted out and they opened a door and walked in. He described them fooling around and trying to scare one another. But, he had decided to walk up the stairs and upon his reaching the second floor he saw a coffin in the main, open room. The way he had explained it to me was that he didn’t know what it was immediately and sort of sauntered over to check it out only to have the sudden flash of realization that this was a coffin in an abandoned house. I suppose he and his friends made a quick retreat from the house. Of course, he told this part of the story much better, peppering in more details about the man who owned the property that gave the story that mythical, supernatural sort of feel. I remember being frightened by his delivery and sincerity, though it is quite likely he had rehearsed it before for occasions like that.
This story had taken place fifteen years or so previous to him telling me. I told one of my adventurous cohorts the story and we thought it would be a good idea to investigate it. I knew where this person had lived, so we assumed we could simply walk behind his house, find the farm, then find the house. We had a grand plan to bring the whole group out on the weekend, but we weren’t sure if we were being strung on a lie, or if this place was still there if it were true. Anyhow, after football practice one weekday, he and I drove out to the street my friend lived on. There was definitely a farm behind his and his entire streets’ homes. We decided to go ahead and sneak through someone’s yard and onto the farm to see if the house was there. Once we made it through the manicured, suburban yard and through the brush separating the farm, we were knee deep in an overgrown field. We sort of hacked our way through a bit, and sure enough as we made it to the edge of a hill the house was only a hundred or so yards away. We had made it that far so we decided to go in and investigate. As we approached this house, there was a huge, black bird perched on its roof. Once we were within twenty feet of the house, the bird flew away from the house and perched upon a tree adjacent to the house. Being a bit nervous, we began questioning why the bird had made such an odd move, but thought better of making a big deal about it. Now, this house is the prototypical haunted house. It had that quant, historic look to it, with the broken windows, eerie shadows, and sort of ominous stature one associates with a haunted house. There was even a grave marker in the front yard. So, again, we were increasingly nervous as we approached this house. The door was jammed shut, but the window had been completely removed, so we played rock-paper-scissor for who would climb through first. I had the luxury of going in second, but did so quickly as being on the porch by myself was just as unsettling. The inside of the house had literally not been touched. Besides weather damage, most everything was intact. There were pictures, and decorations still up, with a bit of furniture remaining. We eventually became comfortable with being inside and began to snoop around. Of course, we were fearful of trekking upstairs, afraid to find something we didn’t want to find. Alas, we squeamishly crept up the stairs only to find an empty space. At this point, we became at ease with walking around the house, laughing off the “ghost story” mystique. As we looked through the main floor again, I noticed that there was a tiny door in the kitchen. It was about knee high.
Undaunted, we flung it open only to reveal a dark, stone stairwell that a person would literally have to crawl down. Its presence alone was terrifying, for some reason, but it had a landing about halfway down, with the stairs turning a different direction and out of our sight. However, perched on the landing and partly concealed by the walls to the other part of the stairwell was a large, rectangular, wooden box: a coffin. Now, my friend and I weren’t exactly small people, so I would imagine the sight of us pale faced, with a cartoonish hair-on-neck shocked expression trying to both squeeze out of a window at the same time would have been quite comical. Not to mention the both of us in a dead sprint heading away from this house through waist high weeds. I still laugh thinking about both of us running like that. Anyhow, we turned to look back about halfway to the end of the farm just in time to see that massive, black bird fly back from the tree and onto the house. We probably made double-time from that point on.