Friday, October 31, 2014

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

BELIEVE IT OR NOT
by Lonie B. Adcock 

     There are some things in life that are hard to believe, some odd and peculiar things. One of the strangest happened when I was a young man, when some friends and I decided to go ghost hunting. It was a favorite pastime, Duke, Carlton and I loading up the car on a Saturday night and investigating any place that was reputedly haunted. Add some pretty girls to the mix, to scare and 'protect,' and we had the makings of a really great date.
      One of the girls, on one particular night, told us about a house her grandparents had lived in off the Alabama Highway. She said her grandparents had abandoned the house years before and it was in pretty bad shape, but we were welcome to check the place out if we were careful.
      As was the norm back in the day, my friends and I decided to go look the place over before we actually took our dates. We drove below the 'narrows' and took Highway 100 until we were about halfway to Summerville. Duke pulled in to what once was a yard. I say 'once was' because in places the grass was as high as your head. I did notice a well worn path to the front door and figured we weren't the first people to visit the old place. There wasn't much for young folks to do on a Saturday night back in the Forties, so it didn't really surprise me.
      The old house looked scary even in the daylight so I could imagine what it was going to be like in the dark. I looked at my friends in the car and asked, "Are we going in or just sit here and look at it?"
        Duke opened the door and said, "I'm game. What about you two?"
      We were just leaving the car and walking down the path to the house when another car pulled in behind us. There were two young boys in it. They introduced themselves as Wayne and Bill and asked, "We saw your car and wondered if you were going inside?" We talked about the house and how we were planning to bring our dates back that evening. It wasn't long before the new arrivals asked if they could tag along and bring their girlfriends. We agreed and made plans to meet up around eight o'clock that night.
      After Wayne and Bill had gone, I walked towards the house and onto the porch. To my surprise, I saw the door was missing. To my greater surprise, I could hear a strange hissing sound. I scanned the porch and peeked inside the doorway to make sure it was clear of any animals, and then looked back at Duke and Carlton. They apparently hadn't heard a thing. I cautiously stepped through the door, still looking around for what was making the 'hiss.' The moment I entered, the sound stopped and my attention was drawn to the state of the house. Surprisingly, it was in very good condition, featuring a beautiful set of stairs reminiscent of the type built in the 1800s. I walked over to the old staircase and placed my hand on the wooden rail.
     "Go away."
     I turned to ask my friends why we should go away when I noticed they were standing on the other side of the room. I shrugged it off and reached for the rail again.
     "Go away."
      I snatched my hand away from the smooth curve of the wood and turned on my buddies as they came up behind. "Did you hear that?"
     "Heard what?" they replied in unison.
     I glared at them but soon decided I must have imagined what I heard. We checked out the rest of the house to find it in very good shape; all the floors seemed to be solid anyway. We came to the conclusion it would be safe to bring the girls to after dark. As we were leaving, I again heard, "Stay away."
      Again my buddies seemed clueless.
     I mentioned what I heard on the way back home, but with no idea what it could have been, we put it aside and made plans to meet the girls at the park around seven o'clock. I went home, got me a good book and took a seat on the front porch. I must have fallen asleep because in no time my mother was waking me for supper. I ate quickly when I noticed the time and hurried to meet Duke at the park. It was a short walk, and the girls had already arrived when I got there, so we were soon ready to start the evening.
     Always being someone who could tell a good story, I was elected to explain to the girls about the people who lived at the old house and how they had to move because of the ghost who haunted them. I related some gruesome details about the ghost's deeds and watched the girls' faces. I really didn't have any idea what was in store for us. If I had, I seriously doubt I would have ever taken the girls to that house.
      With the car loaded, we headed for the house on Highway 100. We had a new girl who had never been ghost hunting before. Her name was Sarah. She didn't think too much about ghost hunting but she was a good sport and decided to give it a try.
      We pulled into the yard of the house to find Bill, Wayne and their girlfriends waiting. We got out, talked for a few minutes, and since it was getting dark, decided to go inside. It seemed the crowd elected me to lead the way. I walked up on the porch with the hair standing up on the back of my neck and goose bumps running up and down my arms. I stopped at the door but the rest of the group were so close they actually pushed me inside. I stumbled to the middle of the room and was just about to growl my disapproval when I noticed the frightened looks on their faces.
     My date, Francis, moved over and put her hand on my arm. "Lonie," she said, "I think we had better leave here as soon as possible."
     I nodded in agreement and began moving toward the stairs. I put my hand on the rail and raised a foot to the bottom step. Looking up, I saw something on the upper floor and then out of nowhere heard, "Go away before it's too late."
     A scream came from behind me. I jumped and turned to see Francis standing beside me and one of the girls who had come with Wayne and Bill lying on the floor. I left the stairs to go back and help her to sit; she was trembling all over. It took a few minutes to calm her  down, so I told Wayne to take her back outside. He gathered her up and led her out.
     I announced to the others, "Anyone else who wants to go outside, do so." I turned back to the stairs, determined to figure out what I had seen on the upper landing. I slowly took one step at a time, expecting to hear the voice again. One step, nothing. The second step, nothing. I finally reached the top of the stairs with, as we used to say, Francis in my back pocket.
     The second girl who had come with the new guys was still with us. She moved beside me, pointed to Francis and said, "You two saw it, didn't you."
     I declined to answer and moved down the hallway. I had only been in two other houses that had given me the feeling I got in that house, but I continued despite the nagging feeling we were being watched. We walked through the upper floor, checking out empty rooms and dark corners, before heading back down the stairs. Then a laugh, a spine tingling, blood curdling laugh, rang through the house. I had never in all my life seen anyone run so fast as those who were with me on those stairs; they were through the front door in a second flat.
     I thought I had been left alone until I felt Francis sliding her hand in mine. Good old Francis; the only one who hadn't deserted me. We walked down the stairs, still feeling eyes upon us. The feeling was so strong it stopped me at the bottom of the stairs and urged me to look back. I can't say what it was I saw at the top of those stairs, but it looked like heavy dark smoke with a glowing light in the middle. I tightened my hold on Francis and began backing toward the door. Whatever the halo of light was it began moving in our direction.
     We made it to the front door and I pushed Francis behind me when I saw the dark cloud drift to the bottom of the stairs. We stood there, just staring, frozen in disbelief, until a hissing sound emanated from the thing and it slowly disappeared. The trembling of the hand in mine caught my attention and I glanced back to see that Francis had suddenly gone very pale. "I think it's time we got away from here," I said and turned her towards the door.
      As we headed toward the others, gathered near the car, I noticed the girl who had passed out seemed to be nearly recovered. There were others of the group who still appeared shaken so we talked for a few minutes then loaded up and started back to town. As usual when we finished ghost hunting, we decided to grab a bite to eat. We decided on Roy's, bought some burgers and fries, then went to the big willow tree in the park to eat. Duke and Carlton never mentioned leaving me in the house, but I could tell it weighed heavily on their minds. No one else in the group seemed to want to talk about what had happened either, so we ate in silence before calling it a night.
     I slept late the next morning then wandered back to the park. Most of ghost hunters from the night before were already gathered there. It seemed they all had agreed to never go back to the house on Highway 100 again. Of all the times we had visited a haunted location, this was the first time they said they would never go back.
     I remained quiet and looked at Francis. I knew by the look on her face she was thinking the same thing I was. What if the others had stuck around? What if they had waited just a few more minutes? What if they had seen what we saw?
     We both knew the answers to those questions. If they had, they would never go ghost hunting again.
  

Submitted courtesy of Lonie B. Adcock.