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. . .

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! .


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

Last year's Halloween offering -


*WC-PD NOTE: 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: