Abandoned farmhouse holds an eerie secret
In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun never shines,
And you shiver when the cold wind blows.
The cold wind blew fiercely on that damp November evening when I decided to put the legend to the test. I like to think that I’m a pretty practical person. I don’t scare easily and I never mind being alone when I’m out scouting for haunted locations. But that evening was differentvery different as I was about to find out.
I had left my SUV parked on the main road, which was not quite a main road but resembled more of a wagon-rutted trail. Following a crude map drawn by a local who seemed slightly loco, I surveyed the path through the overgrown mountain laurel and wished that I had a few more hours left of daylight. I pushed onwards along the trail and into the dark underbrush. As I walked further, I came in to a small clearing and was rewarded by the sight of a two-story farmhouse. It was still standing but empty of windows and leaning a wee bit to one side.
This was the spot. Nearly 70 years to the day, I thought as I walked through the door-less opening. Seven decades ago, the house would have been filled with laughter and a family full of hope and love. It changed quickly on that November night so many years prior. A traveler needing a hot meal and shelter was given a room at the back of the old house for the evening. He left early the next day, his clothing covered in blood and torn to shreds. His confession to the local police later that day left the town terrified and in shock and ready for a hanging. He was hanged by a small mob of people that evening with his execution taking place on a tree at the back of the house where he had committed his crimes.
The entire family had been senselessly murdered by this loner who they took in out of the goodness of their hearts. In the wee hours of early morning, he had crept outside to the stump by the large woodpile and had grabbed up the axe. He killed five members of the family, senselessly and without emotion.
The legend I had heard consisted of visiting the old homestead and sitting in the dark by yourself near the anniversary of the murders. It was said that you could hear or perhaps catch a glimpse of the ghosts that were said to haunt the sad location.
I found the old tree out behind the house and without a doubt, I was sure this was the one. It stood leafless with its large branches reaching out like arms into the night air. I sat down on an old stump nearby and I waited. As I looked into the piney woods, the sun left the evening sky and with its departure, a cold dampness permeated the air. As I pulled my coat closer, the half-moon slipped out from behind a cloud and I could see more easily. Wrapped around the lowest branch of the tree, was a thick and tattered rope. Surely it couldn’t be the rope that hung around the neck of the killer? Before I could stand up and walk towards the tree to examine it more closely, I saw movement in one of the windows. It looked like a person moving quickly as if not to be observed. I was convinced that perhaps I wasn’t the only one, from this life or beyond, that was present.
As I walked quickly back into the laurel thicket to leave, I turned one last time to look back at the house. In the front doorway I saw a small girl dressed in a white dress staring blankly back at me.
I had seen enough for one evening. Jumping back into my SUV, I put it in drive and continued back onto the main road. On my way out of town I had to pass by the small police department and I decided to stop. I wanted to let them know that perhaps there were children playing in the vacant old house. As I told the officer my story of the night’s events, he repeatedly kept shaking his head. You must be mistaken he told me. I had told him about the big old tree and the noose-like rope I had seen. He told me “That hanging tree was cut down many years ago. Nothing remains”.
I’ve never driven back to that old farmhouse that sat in the woods at the edge of that little town. It crosses my mind quite often. I have wondered about the little girl in the white dress, the abandoned house without windows and the ghost tree with the thick bare branches and tattered rope.
I came to the conclusion that some things are best left alone.
Sherri Brake is a paranormal researcher, author and Haunted Heartland Tour owner. You may email her at SherriBrake@gmail.com or visit her website at www.HauntedHistory.net