Sunday, November 15, 2009

THE HAUNTED SUMMER--a blast from the past story

On one of the numerous yahoogroups lists I'm one we've been discussing ghosts and other things that go bump in the night.  That reminded me of the summer of 1973 when I stayed in a haunted house for a short while.  Here is the true story of all that happened.  Jan who says believe it or not in OK


Summer 1973

First of all let me say this was not like the Haunting of Hill house, no evil snarling ghosts jumping out and making me wet my pants. But an evil presence for certain.

Hot Springs, AR 1973 summertime

My dh, Gary, had only worked for a short while for a local architectural drafting firm and had not earned any vacation time. So when his company won a contract in Hot Springs, AR his boss rented a wonderful two story house right on the lake. It was with the lake side of the house being all glass, so you could look out over the water at any time. The styling was very modern in architecture. There was a small mother in law/guest house on the property as well.

Bill, the boss, made an offer to Gary that we felt we couldn't refuse. "If Jan will cook for all of us she and the baby can come and stay. You three can have the guest house and full use of all the facilities and the pontoon boat." We jumped on it! I mean wouldn't you? You have to cook anyway, what's a few more men to feed.

So we packed our summer wardrobe tightly and strapped the duffle bag and suit cases to the luggage rack of the car, then off we went.

The trip went quickly and we were in high spirits until...we arrived. One look at the house and my radar went up. No it wasn't a gothic looking typical spooky mansion, it was thoroughly modern, and beautiful. But my senses were doing a heebee jeebee dance.

For those of you who don't know, ole CJ here, that's what I call myself, is one of those folks that kind of knows when things are going to happen. Nothing I can control, sometimes the radar is off. More often than not, though, it is dead on. I've been so dead on so many times that friends and relatives take heed when I warn them not to travel or go certain places. That is why my son was in OK and not NY on 9/11 I talked him out of moving there in June because of a feeling. Nuff said.

Gary immediately noticed a change in my buoyant mood to a pensive one. "What's wrong?"

"It's a man's house and it's not happy."

"Should we leave?" "No, I think we can handle it, it's aware I know though."

I chose to go through the back/kitchen door into the main house while we were there, not once did I go through the front door. It felt too ominous to get near that front door. I found out months later that Bill's mother-in-law had refused to even go in the house because of the tree to the right and next to the front door. She said it was a bad luck omen and she wouldn't enter the house at all. Bill had blown it off as a Hawaiian, which she was, superstition.

The house was a man's house in every sense of the word, you could feel it in every pore of its being. Just looking at the layout inside was a big clue too. For all those cooks out there let me describe the kitchen I was to work in.

You brought the groceries in through a little hallway, after a few feet there was a small doorless room to your right. This is where the freezer and the storage racks for breads and such were. You continued on down the hall to the kitchen area. A kitchen that was laid out so nonsensical you needed roller skates to cook and clean in it. It was huge, with no rhyme or reason to its layout. Dishwasher several feet from any cabinets to put dishes in, sink about 20 steps from the dishwasher, water cooler for drinking/cooking water all the way at the opposite end of the kitchen stove top and one end, oven at the other, trash compactor in another room. You get the idea. I again remarked about the house being a man's house.

Bill thought I meant a man designed the kitchen and he said, "Yes, but he was told to do it that way." By whom?” I ask. Bill didn't know. Later on I think I figured out it was the not so benevolent ghost.

Small things began to happen right away, IT was not happy I was there. Things disappeared, only to show up in places I hadn't been. Okay, maybe it's an ornery poltergeist, I can deal with this. It wasn't just me, Bill, Gary and the other workers all had things "walk off". Bill and Mike stayed in the house full time, Gary, Sammi and I slept in the guest house. Something that may have been what kept us from getting the brunt of it. Bill and Mike weren't so lucky.

From the very first it was nothing to find dead birds every morning laying all around the glass front of the house. We figured they just flew into the glass and broke their necks, except Bill said he hadn't noticed it happening before we got there. As you all know I love birds of all sorts. So was it a freak of nature, or...?

The big living area where they had all the drafting boards set up faced the lake. This is where we all spent most of our time in the beginning. Often in the evenings we would hear speed boats racing very close to the shore, but when we looked out we saw nothing, no boat lights nothing. The sounds of the boats disappeared as quickly as they developed. We decided it was a trick of sound over the water.

The home had a lovely library, fully stocked including ALL of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy mysteries Did I mention Bill had rented this place fully furnished? I think I know why...

It had two walls of shelves, a wall of windows and a fireplace set in a beautiful paneled wall. I decided while there I would re read all the Nancy Drews and Hardy Boys just for fun. I had been taking them out to the guest house and reading out there, but one night we decided to read in the library instead. It was late when we went to bed. I kept feeling like something was watching us. Gary said I'd read too many mysteries.

The next day Bill asked me what we had done in the library. When I said just read he replied "Oh really". Gary and I went back to the library to find a mess and all sorts of hidden panels around the fireplace standing wide open. I cleaned up the mess and said nothing. I was really getting a bad feeling and after that never took the baby into the library again. I would go in and get books, and leave immediately.

Other than cooking and cleaning up afterwards I took to staying in the guest house. Then the smell started, and it grew, and grew. The smell of death, at first we thought a dead mouse, then a stray kitten, a cat, and the smell grew. The guys started pulling up floor boards nothing. The stench was horrible, we moved into the main house.

In the upstairs bedroom I slept fitfully, waking to the sounds of hoof beats coming up the driveway, no down the driveway. I woke Gary, he heard it too. We both went to the window to look, nothing. This happened for a couple more nights, no explanation. Other nights we thought we heard a car wreck. Again, nothing.

One afternoon I was bathing Sam in the upstairs tub and I felt IT. IT was standing behind me. The air had turned very cold. I knew that cold, I knew it from being visited by friends and relatives who had passed on and had came to say good bye. I refused to look at it. No it wasn't the air conditioner, there was no vent in that tiny attic bathroom. Sam and I were not alone.

Trying to be as calm as possible, as to not scare the baby I quickly rinsed her off and wrapped her in a towel. Then I turned to face the empty cold. There was no shape, no vision, just the cold of the long dead. He was between me and the door. I told it to step aside please and I would take my baby and not invade his space any longer if he would. The cold moved to behind me.

Clutching my naked baby I went directly downstairs and out to the suddenly odorless guest house. I told the others what had happened when they came to see why I had left the house so quickly. They retrieved our belongings from the upstairs room. We left the next day, I feared for my baby. I told the others that the spirit did not want them there and they too should leave. They laughed.

On the way home the spirit got one last laugh in on us, as we traveled in the dark we lost one and only one suitcase off of the top of the car. My complete wardrobe for the summer months. Gary and a friend drove nearly all the way back to Hot Springs and never found one sign of it. We filed a report with the highway patrol and they never found it either.

The story doesn't end there, Mike and Bill continued to stay there and the following is what happened to them. I have death premonitions, I can't prevent them, and sometimes I misread them. I did in this case. Shortly after we returned home I was showering and suddenly the shower stall was full of white doves. Not literally, but I generally see or dream white doves and a name and that person passes within two weeks. I heard the name Michael, over and over. My best friend was expecting her first child any minute and she had said if it was a boy she was going to name it Michael. I called Kathy immediately because I knew she had been having some troubles in her pregnancy. Without telling her why I told her that at her check up that afternoon to ask the doctor to be extra thorough. I didn't want to alarm her.

Several days later the phone rang, it was Bill, Mike's wife had found Mike dead of a cerebral hemorrhage in the same upstairs room where I had made the deal with IT. Bill sounded strange, not like Bill at all. He said he was fine and I told him to get out of that house! NOW! He said he had no where to go his wife of nearly 30 years had told him he had changed suddenly and she was afraid of him now. She had filed for divorce. Their only child had started suffering seizures. I again told Bill to get OUT of the house, he said no. Then I called Mike's wife and told her to get out of it too and why. She managed to get Bill out.

Over the next several weeks Bill did research on the house. Mike was not it's first victim. A fact I had already known. All of the victims had been men and all had died suddenly. The first was when the place had been an old farm house. A runaway carriage ride, down the drive way in the middle of the night, hooves pounding on the drive straight into the large oak tree at the end of the drive. Ended the life of what believe was the first gentleman. My hoof beats.

One had lost his life in a speedboat crash at night, right in front of the house… the boat sounds.

The third had died in a horrific car crash, just past the end of the drive. The wreck noises.

Bill later told us he had heard the hoofbeats and car crash noises himself when he and Mike were there alone and they had laughed them off. He also said that after Mike died he had found himself setting up in bed talking to someone at 2:00 every morning, after awhile he realized it was Mike he was talking to. Only Mike was dead, he had died, per the coroner, at 2:00am.

Bill and Mike's wife never went back to the house. They had their things sent to them, afraid of further recriminations from IT. Bankruptcy soon followed for Bill and of course that impacted us with the bouncing of two of our paychecks and the non arrival of the last two.

Slowly, slowly life got back to normal. Bill's life started to turn around almost immediately once he was clear of the house. His finances improved, for which we were grateful and he repaid us in full with a bonus he says I saved his life. His wife and he got back together and their daughter’s seizures disappeared as quickly as they had come. No reason for them was ever found.

Some will say it was all coincidence, and they may be right. But I know several people in this world that will NOT ever go anywhere near that house again. God rest your soul Mike.

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