I worked at a local tire store during the last part of my senior year in high school and while I attended Angelina College. One of my co-workers there was a man about my age who was from the northern part of the county. We became good friends and would hang around together after work. He knew as lots of people, and was always willing to visit with friends. The rules of the store were somewhat relaxed then, and lots of customers and visitors would come out to the shop and talk to us while we worked on the cars. If the insurance people ever knew how many people were in the shop, they would freak. This did make our jobs more fun, and I got to hear a lot of stories, and I enjoyed that.
One day a fellow was in talking to my co-worker, and they were talking about a house in the Clawson area that was supposed to be haunted. I got to hear all about the legend behind the house. A man had murdered his wife and kids while they slept. Now, so the legend went, the wife would walk around the house looking for her children, and for the man that had murdered her. I heard about how various people, all friends of friends, that had witnessed these mysterious happenings first hand. I ate it up; this was a folk story at it’s best. Both my friend and the people he talked to swore that these things really happened, and that house was haunted. Every community has a haunted house, but few are real.
One fall evening, my friend and I were driving around the country after work, as was our custom. We were off our usual path, but that happened often. My friend was driving, so we went where he wanted to go. As we passed a dirt road that cut off the county road we were on my friend told me that was the road to the haunted house that the people had been talking about earlier, and he wanted to know if I wanted to see it. It was nighttime, and I wasn’t in the mood to check out a haunted house at night. He eased down the road, but kept trying to get me to agree to go back to that place. " If you want to check the place out with me around, we will have to go during day time," I told him.
"If we go during the day, we won’t see any ghosts," he replied, "they only come out at night. Usually late night, the time of the murder, is when you will see them." "Why do I want to see a ghost, especially one with a chip on her shoulder?" I asked. "She may mistake me for her husband and things could really get ugly." That answer was not good enough, and my friend continued to put peer pressure on me. "Are you chicken?" he asked. "No, I am not chicken, just cautious." Finally, he started to wear me down. "I will only go under these conditions," I was now bargaining for conditions. "First, we go back to my car a get a good flashlight." My friend carried a little light in his truck that could barely light itself; I had a powerful light back at my car. I had "borrowed" this light from my father, and it could light up a whole house. "Second, we leave when I say we leave. If things start to get wild I am gone." My friend agreed to both conditions and we went back to town to get Dad’s flashlight.
The drive to town and back only added to the excitement. I got to hear all the gory details of the murder once more, and heard the legends of the woman’s ghost. I need to explain that I am not a courageous person by nature. In fact I can be quite timid. I do not like to purposely put myself in dangerous situations, I do that enough by accident. For me to go ghost hunting at night was a huge departure from my normal behavior. I don’t know if it was the excitement, the curiosity, or the peer pressure, but this was not something I did often.
We arrived at the dirt road and drove toward the house. There was a full moon that night and the entire area was illuminated. The thrill was getting greater, and soon I could see the outline of an old farmstead in the moonlight. There was a locked gate and a "no trespassing" sign on a fence surrounding the old place, but it would take more than that to keep us from checking the place out. As I approached the old house I began to examine the area. The place had been abandoned for some time, the bushes around the house were wild and untrimmed, there were no lights around the place and the grass had turned to weeds. The house itself was an old wood frame house, and like many other country houses at the time had a long porch that covered the entire front of the structure. As we climbed up the steps to the porch I noticed that several of the floorboards of the porch had rotted away, and the ones that remained seemed very unsteady under our feet. We noticed that the front windows had been boarded up and then we saw that the front door was padlocked shut.
"Let’s go check the backdoor," my friend whispered. "Let’s not," I thought, "let’s go back to the truck and leave." I thought it, but I didn’t say it. I don’t know if I was too scared to talk or if I was afraid that my friend would not live up to the conditions I had negotiated, but whatever the reason I simply followed him around to the back. The back of the house didn’t have a porch, and it didn’t have a back door that we could see. It did have un-boarded windows that seemed to stretch from the floor to the ceiling, like other houses built before air-conditioning. We came to one that had most of the windowpanes broken out and decided to enter the house there. The glass had been knocked out from the house onto the ground, but I did not think that was odd at the time. He found an old wash tub and set it below the window to help us step into the house.
I was not about to go in first, for obvious reasons, so my friend took my big flashlight and climbed in first, and I followed. The room must have been a boy’s bedroom; the walls were covered with posters of Roy Rogers and B movie cowboy heroes. It had not been decorated for sometime. There was no furniture in the room, only some old papers and trash. There was a smell in the air, not just mold and mildew, but a rancid, sick smell. I followed my friend to the door. It was slightly opened when he got to it, but because of the settling of the house, we had to really struggle to get it open much further. We finally opened it enough for us to fit through and entered a hall. The bedroom had an odor, the hall stunk. The smell was sickening, and both of us had to hold hands over our noses to continue.
My friend pointed the light down left end of the hall. There were no windows in this part of the house so it was totally dark except for the beam of the flashlight. As we crept slowly down the hall the floorboards made an eery squeak each time we moved our feet. We could make out a large box at the end of the hall, and the entire end of the hall was covered in old clothes and refuse. We tip toed closer and closer to the box to see what was in it. Then a flash of white shot up from the box with a loud shriek. I fled. I ran through the door (literally,) into the bedroom and dove out the window in a mater of seconds. While flying in the air I remembered that here was glass on the ground and tried to hit with my legs and arms covered so that I would not get cut too bad. I hit and rolled away, which was a good thing because my friend was flying though the air behind me. We were speechless, we immediately sprang to our feet and ran toward the truck, and we could not say a word or look behind us. We did not stop until we got to the gate. It was at the gate when I realized that my friend no longer was carrying Dad’s flashlight.
"Where is the light!" I shouted. " It’s back in the house! Let’s get out of here before whatever that was comes out to get us!" my friend exclaimed. I could not leave. I didn’t know what was in the house or what would happen if that thing caught me, but I did know what would happen if Dad found out that I had stolen his flashlight and then lost it. I had to go get it. I am not a brave person, but I respected my father and knew what he would do. It did not occur to me that there was a third option, go to the store and buy another light. I summoned all my courage and walked back towards the house. "Are you crazy?" my friend yelled, "We’re just lucky we are still alive!" I heard him but did not listen.
I climbed back through the window into the boy’s bedroom. I could see where I was going because of the moonlight. I heard a noise behind me; I turned around to see my friend climbing through the window behind me. We didn’t say a word; we just nodded at each other. I walked through the door into the hall. I could see the beam of the flashlight as it lay on the floor, pointed towards me. I calmly walked down the hall, my legs shaking and knees knocking. I bent over to pick up the light, and heard a noise in front of me. I slowly pointed the flashlight towards the big box at the end of the hall. Then I saw it. A big white feral house cat was sitting on the top of the box. It meowed at me and then I saw something else; she had kittens, lots of kittens. I took a huge sigh of relief, and the smell of cat feces almost knocked me out. I turned to leave and saw my friend; he also was starring in disbelief. We calmly walked away, climbed out the window and retreated to the truck, but with the flashlight gripped firmly in my hand.
We didn’t say much on the way back to town, which was odd. Both of us loved to talk. When we got to my car my friend said goodbye and drove away. The next day neither of us brought up our adventure from the night before, and still haven’t discussed it much today. I don’t know if we were ashamed of being so frightened, or if we aren’t really sure what we saw that night. The first time I saw the big white shape it seemed to be at least ten feet tall, and the shriek that I heard was not the call of a house cat. Could there have really been a ghost in that house that night? Something in that haunted house sure scared me. Ghosts, ghouls, goblins, or spooks, they all scare me more than ever now. I don’t have to ride a roller coaster or watch a scary movie to get my blood pumping; all I have to do is to remember.