Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween 2014 - Gothic South Tales

On All Hallows Eve,
Don't look Up, or Within. . .



Abandoned House, USA, WC-PD*

The house in this reminiscing isn't the one above, but was built in the mid-1870s or sometimes after the Civil War in the US. I lived there at one time, when the paint was fresh, and repairs were kept up. Grandmother saw to it with her four young sons. 

Thanks, all you elders of the southern clans, emigrated from Scotland, for continuing the practice of trying to scare each other with tall tales (or were they?). . .The stories that make me think of ghosts and spirits who wander in the night, but seldom in the day. They secret themselves in closets I avoid opening, walk across deserted verandahs and sit in the porch swings after everyone has gone to bed. The tales told by our grandparents on hot summer nights rocking on the front porch were eagerly listened to by the wee children sitting nearby, tired from play.

There are currents that emanate from certain parts of the old house I remember. Some places in that house felt like portals to another realm. The landing is one of the strong places, the under-stairs closet is another, and that one back room with the window always locked. I can't go into the room next to the under-stairs closet. The belongings of a dear member of the family were stored in that room before my family moved into a different house. Spirits that pass unsettled tend to hang around locations familiar to them.

But back to the landing and the stairs. There was a family story about a man, one of the previous owners, who hung himself in the landing halfway up to the second floor. He was devastated by the death of his beloved brother, killed by a rogue lightning strike. He was the last of their family. No other relatives, if there were any, ever came to check into his demise.

Why do I think of these things when I must pass by that very place? I duck my head so I won't imagine the body swinging there, the shoe grazing my shoulder. I dare not look up, the light is too dim. 

At the time of the supposed hanging, a beam ran along the upper ceiling, fifteen feet above the landing, but there was no evidence of how he managed it.  His body was found dangling a couple of days later when a neighbor came to check why the house was so quiet and dark. The police crawled all over the place, but could find no evidence of foul play.

What's worse, it's Halloween and that's when the veils thin between this world and the other realms, when spirits become able to visit those they left behind. I hear my cat's meow and pick her up and cuddle her. That helps somewhat, but she seems apprehensive too. I'm sure cats sense those from the other side. I close the curtains and the blinds, so I won't see anything in the windows and I don't look at mirrors on this night, especially in this house.

All Hallows' Eve is not remembered at it once was, but it still owns power. This house structure still stands, but it's been renovated, so most wouldn't recognize it. But, I can tell and it's over the same plot of ground.  I wonder if the new owners have cleansed the spirits from the place, or if they can. . .

Partly based on true events, partly not.  I won't say which. . .

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How about you? Visited any haunted houses? Or remembered stories told by our parents and grandparents? Do you have a costume for Halloween? What was your favorite costume?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here, and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! .

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For more ghostly tales, see The Rainforest Writing Blog for the monthly challenge of WEP, aka Write...Edit...Publish.

Last year's Halloween offering - http://dghudson.blogspot.ca/2013_10_01_archive.html

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*WC-PD NOTE:
http://abnf.co/Ohio.htm Photo credit, free use image, used to set the mood. Not the actual house, as the real place on which this story is based has been renovated extensively and has a new owner.

For a Canadian flavor in haunting, peruse this list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_reportedly_haunted_locations_in_Canada

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28 comments:

  1. Creepy! My imagination always goes into overdrive, which is great for writing but not so good when I get freaked out easily in real life. :P

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    1. I bet there are some creepy places in Wales, too, LG, with all the centuries it has seen. . . As a kid if I watched a scary movie, I'd dream about it.

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  2. That photo is beyond creepy. I grew up in an old house and my dad used to joke about the original owner, Willie Jones, haunting the house. Any time something weird happened he would chuckle and blame it on Willie. I had the sense of a benign presence but it seemed much younger. I came to find out many years later that I had the bedroom that Willie's son, Chester, had when he grew up there. When we moved into this house, my dog Pepper seemed terrified and even now will look up at the corner of the ceiling/wall in the livingroom. I used to hear what sounded like footsteps above me (there's no 2nd floor). My stepdaughter was over one and said, 'do you hear that?' I said, 'I do. I have convinced myself that it's the house settling.' I haven't heard them in awhile.

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    1. Funny thing, JoJo, Blogger didn't like my previous comments or our ghosty houses didn't. . . I'm glad others hear these sorts of things, too! Thanks for adding your own experience.

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  3. Brilliant. I am quite convinced that some places hold energy from days gone. Often negative, but sometimes the opposite. There are some places that I have walked into (indoors and out) which seem to welcome me... And some which do the complete opposite.

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    1. I know. What creates that energy, that is the question. . .

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  4. That's frightening. I don't like to be scared. I've never felt that I was in the presence of anything haunted.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Perhaps some people are more sensitive to that feeling, who knows? It's not something I'd recommend, I'm sure it's why I have anxiety at times now . . . but only in certain places.

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  5. Ooh, that's very creepy. And I don't know if I'd find solace in cuddling with my cat, especially on Halloween. She's all black, and she's left-handed (pawed?). Isn't that sheer bad luck?

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    1. I've had a black cat too, but they don't usually turn on their owners (after all we feed them). I wonder how you can tell its left-pawed? However, I don't like black cats crossing my path when I'm driving. . .

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    2. I just noticed that when she tries to bat/grab/attack something, she always uses her left paw. And if I offer her a treat, she'll grab it with her left. Never fails, even if I try to put it on her right side; she'll just turn her body and use the left. Seems that cats, like us, are often one hand (paw?) dominant. My childhood cat, meanwhile, always grabbed/batted things with her right. I know, I'm weird for noticing these things, but if fascinates me.

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    3. Noticing those kinds of things is just curiosity, not weird. However, this is the first left-pawed cat I've heard of, so I think it's very interesting.

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    4. Most of our cats have been right pawed but one of them was completely ambi-pawed. And very, very skilful. He always accepted treats in his left paw though.

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    5. I like that word - ambi-pawed. . .

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  6. Wow what a creepy story. Love this kind of stuff. And honestly the pic alone totally gives me the creeps.
    I have a feeling the new owners of the house haven't been able to get rid of the spirits.

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    1. My daughter and I googled the address to check and the design format is the same, but I do wonder if they did away with that landing or changed it. If not, you're probably right.

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  7. I don't know if I could live in a house that had past "issues." I have such an imagination and every creak and noise would be multiplied many times in my head, but I think we like to be frightened, why I am not sure.

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    1. Some people like to be frightened, not me. I don't even like watching scary movies. But this is a Halloween post. . .

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  8. I've been in a couple houses I'm sure were haunted. But they didn;t look like a traditional dilapitated haunted house. People lived in them and the houses were in nice neighborhoods. But they were haunted, nonetheless.

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    1. I understand, Stephen, as one of the older art galleries in a Vancouver municipality has a reputation of being haunted. It may have been a residence at one time. There was a village on that site during the colonial era.

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  9. The house looks alive. Reminds me of my trip to one of the haunted houses here in our country.

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    1. I'm sure every country has them but some don't like to talk about them. Best not to check them out alone, take a friend.

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  10. Very nice. I grew up in a demon-possessed house, if that counts. But that's a story for another time...

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    1. Of course, but was it the human or spiritual demon sort? Hope to one day read it, Milo!

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  11. I have visited haunted places without knowing it. Gives me the chills just thinking about it, so I won't talk about it here. :)

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  12. I do not care for the creepy, scary or gory sides of Halloween. (Some might ask, what else is there?) I like cute jack-o-lanterns, black cats, etc. for decoration and themed parties. I love dressing up in fun and playful costumes. And I like trick-or-treating.

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    1. I understand, Julie, but there is a dark side to Halloween as well. It's not my favorite holiday, but I acknowledge it, since its roots are ancient.

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