Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for Haunted House

When I was growing up our family took the usual annual vacation to either the beach or the mountains.  But we also got to go camping sometimes just for the weekend.  These camping trips were so much fun!  We would go to the mountains and just have a nice relaxing weekend of camping.  One weekend we went to a campground in a town where friends of our parents lived.  It was only an hour or two away and one other family, the Cauthens and their 3 boys, came with us with their camper.  My parents friends had one son and a daughter much younger than any of us.  Basically, it was going to be a weekend of boys what with my three brothers as well.  But this wasn’t a terrible thing as I was a tomboy.  When we got to the campground it was practically deserted --as it was the off season—with only 3 campers in the whole place.  Not a problem since there were plenty of us to have fun and go exploring.  Once we were set up, our freaking hilarious wonderfully enlightening parents began spinning a tale of a haunted house on the campground road.  Of course, being kids, we were completely enthralled with the story and insisted that we go and take a look.  Funny that no one remembers the story now. But we all remember visiting the house.

Once we hit just the right spot in the dirt road, we saw the old house looming ahead on the left.  There has never been a better haunted looking house in a Hollywood movie.  This place was two stories high with a widow’s walk on top.  The siding was old and gray looking with some slats hanging down at an angle from the rusty old nails that could no longer hold them in place.  There were steps leading up to a porch that spanned the front of the house.  Several of the boards curved up at the edge of the steps and the porch and there were holes where the wood had given up and rotted away.  There was a porch swing hanging at one end of the porch and it creaked, just a little, in the breeze.  Most of the windows had been broken, leaving half panes of jagged glass and, those that were intact, were covered in a film of dust and age.  Through the windows, we could see old, tattered curtains hanging limp.  The walkway leading up to the wide steps was no longer level and was cracked in places with weeds growing up through them.  The front yard was overgrown with weeds and dead bushes and was surrounded by an old, gray picket fence that swayed in places and had more leaning slats than straight up and down ones.  To enter the walkway leading to the house, we had to pick the gate, that was hanging by only one rusted hinge, up and place it to one side.  Several old trees that had already shed most of their leaves were on either side of the house reaching out with their spindly arms.  It was coming on dusk; there was a slight breeze; and not a sound was heard other than the ever so slight creaking of the porch swing and the occasional rustling of dead leaves.

There were seven of us kids altogether and we decided that perhaps going up to the door and going inside that house was not the best idea we’d ever had.  We discussed this in quiet whispers all the while keeping our eyes sharply focused on the house.  Finally, my brave brother, Tony, said- in his best 11-year-old manly voice, “I’m not scared.  I’ll go in.”  The rest of us stood statue still in a bit of shock at hearing his words and Tony had an expression on his face that clearly indicated he, too, was wondering who the hell said that.  Mere seconds passed as my courageous brother realized that it was indeed his voice and that now, because of his big fat mouth impulsive bravery, he was going to have to go into the haunted house.  His steps were shaky and slow as he proceeded up the worn path to the first step.  He slowly and carefully placed one foot up on the step and looked back.  We were all still standing there with wide eyes and opened mouths.  Tony walked up each step with uncertainty and paused to look back again when he stood, nervously, on the porch.  We had not moved a muscle.  Tony took small, careful, baby steps all the way to the front door and stopped.  He gingerly reached out his hand to open the old door.  At that very moment that insignificant breeze that had caused only slight movement of the porch swing and a gentle (albeit creepy) rustling of the leaves became a wind.  And that wind was strong enough to blow the curtain hanging at the broken windows. that ran vertically beside the front door, out just far enough to brush my brother’s arm.  

My fearless brother
To this day I do not think that my fearless brother’s feet touched any part of that house or the earth as he spun around and took off!  He was beside us and then past us within a millisecond and there was dust behind him as he flew down the dirt road.  The expression on his face illustrated scared shitless terrified quite well with the eyes bugging out and the extreme paleness of his color.  As soon as we realized what had happened (and it took a few seconds), we laughed hysterically- half from my brother’s reaction to the curtain and half from sheer relief.  Of course we had to go off after him because he was running in the opposite direction of our campsites.  Along the way we met our parents’ friends who were driving out to visit- complete with Tony on the hood of their car.      

This is the 8th day of the A-Z Blog Challenge for the month of April.  I decided to try this challenge in the hopes of keeping some momentum going; getting my brain to stay warmed-up; and trytrytry to improve my writing--well, really, to find my voice.  Just click the badge on my sidebar to join in the challenge! 



  1. I really enjoyed that story. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I've just added you to my blog roll.. not sure why I didn't earlier.. love your work :-)

  3. I seem to remember a similar story of you and your friends at some building/hall at college and you having a similar reaction there.... hahaha
    No wonder you guys like haunted houses, your parents "taught" you from an early age. :)

  4. This was great! I was right there with your brother as he was running!

  5. Oh, the vivid imagination of a child! I had a similar experience while still quite young and, to this day, I can still smell the musky smell of the haunted house we visited and ran away from in fear :)

  6. My son lives in Charleston and we've had a lot of fun exploring his haunted city with the many ghost tours. Great post; I shall follow.

    I found you from the UBP but am also doing the AtoZ challenge. My letter H looks at Historical Humor. I even have an Empty Nest post for my letter E. Please stop by and enjoy a laugh or two from my humor blog.


  7. Kara- Thank you! And you're welcome!

    Clare- THANKS!

    Betty- Yes, one story when I was a kid; one when I was a drunk college student. But you won't read any with me as a really smart adult. LOL

    B. Betty- It was a hoot!

    Desiree- We used to run away. Now, I stay away. LOL

    Joyce- Lots of ghost stories around here! Lots and lots...LOL I'm going to check out your blog now!

  8. Great story. Sounds like something from my childhood as well. Enjoyed it immensely.

  9. P.S. did you get my previous comment about this post? I appeared to have a glitch when I pressed submit

  10. Okay, I got so engrossed in the story, I jumped as soon as your brother started to run. You write really well. :)

  11. Barb-Can't wait to hear your story! Thank you!

    Annie- Sad day- I did not get a previous comment.

    Alessandra- Thank you so much! You should have seen his face!

  12. That was a nail biter! I did not know what was going to happen, but could imagine the fear in all of you!
    Your poor brother, I am surprised he did not have an accident in his pants!

  13. Shawn-He may have but would NEVER admit it! LOL

  14. haha! I am laughing! Love the visual of fearless brother getting the hell outta there as well as his pic with the caption "My fearless brother". Personally, I don't blame him. I don't care that there were seven of you, you'd never get me in a place like that!

  15. Sandra-Well, you'll notice that I'm certainly NOT the one to go up there. LOL The look on his face....LOL

  16. I used to love those types of adventures. The equivalent now is going out back to the hardly used to utility room reaching for the string to pull to turn on the light bulb. I seem to remember seeing a nut, or a bolt or nail I need to help put something back together. Why it always after dark? Reaching my hand out in the darkness to grab the string but when it hits me on the wrist instead...AHHH!! Freaks me out every time. =)

  17. Kipp- I do similar things like that to myself all the time! You wouldn't believe what I go through if I watch something like Criminal Minds--it's a wonder I haven't had a heart attack!

  18. Tales of camping are always excellent. I love your stories. Keep them coming my friend, keep them coming.
    Take care and have a blessed weekend.

  19. Great story! Great memory for you!

  20. Oh my most definitely had me enthralled from beginning to end. Those camping stories as we sit by the campfire, and having anything haunted mixed in...well, you had me going. Poor Tony. I bet, if you're anything like me, you still 'pick on him' about it all even today and still giggle with the remembering!! Loved this!!!!

    My Sunday's Link:

    In the Shadows of your Mind

    It's always a delight to have you visit with me...thanks for stopping by yesterday while I was out all day. Hope your Sunday treats you well.

  21. OMG I would have run like the wind too! Houses like that scare the crap outta me!

  22. Julie- Thank you!!!

    Denise- Thank you! I enjoyed rehashing the event with my brother!

    Anni-I do and he loves it! We had a great memory visit this week! Thank you!

    lyndy-It was the scariest place I've ever seen in real life! LOL

  23. Just getting around to see everyone's post after a busy weekend. Your posts are always so interesting and full of fun and action. Great stories.


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