Welcome to SC Ghosts!

Here at the Springfield's Casa, we love to entertain company and the best way to entertain guests is to tell stories! Ghost stories! Real, honest, no joke ghost stories!

So, come in, kick back and allow your unbelief to be left at the door, for when you enter here you enter for your own enjoyment.

Oh. If the phone rings .. take a message. It may be really long distance.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Not In My Room You Don’t! (Nellie's Viewpoint)

Nellie was the last sister living in the old farm house on Fish Trap Road.  Her brother, Lewis Henderson had bought the house for his spinster sisters many years before. 
She had been afflicted with polio when she was a small child and had been crippled ever since.  For most of her life she had been able to get around with canes or a walker, but over the past few years she found herself needing more and more help in daily living.
Her niece, Clara, had been taking care of her for the last couple of years (until the time of her death), first with having Nellie live with her in Travelers Rest and then living with Nellie here in the old house.  Clara had not left her alone, of course.  Her sons, Harold and Ben, along with their fiancées, Sonya and Wendy respectively, still lived in the house and watched after her and saw to all her needs.  They were wonderful young people .. but.  

It was difficult getting older and more dependent.  Clara had been sweet and was, truth be told, Nellie’s favorite niece, but depending on someone tended to change things.  When Clara was young she would come and visit and would sit next to her, hanging on every word of the stories that Nellie would tell of past times and the family.  It was nothing for the two of them to sit for hours in this way, sometimes way into the night.  Now, well, the boys were great and their fiancées were treasures, but it just wasn’t the same.  Oh well.
It was nice being home and hearing others in the house besides the voices of lost loved ones echoing through the emptiness.  This still happened at times, in the darker moments of the night or when the kids went out to run errands.  

She would hear things.  Noises, voices, bumps in the night.  She tried not to tell the others since, when she had, they had given her the “Are you okay?” look.  She even had ‘visits’ from some, such as her sister Beatrice who would come to her in her dreams at times.  That was nice.  Nicer by far than when Doris stopped by.  She was as bitter now as she was when she was still living.  Maybe worse.  Always griping about ‘outsiders’ living in their home.  Didn’t seem to matter that the two boys were her great-nephews or that the reason they were there was to help Nellie.  No, Doris was always about being in control and making all the decisions after Lewis died.

Of course she knew that she was not the only one to experience these ‘visits’.  She had overheard Ben telling about how all the cabinet doors and drawers in the bedroom he shared with Wendy were opened each morning when he woke.  This had been Lewis’ old room and Nellie had no doubt that it was her brother’s sense of humor to shake up his great nephew a little.

Another thing that happened, though, concerned Nellie more than Lewis’s sense of humor.
Wendy had gone to explore the upstairs that had been unoccupied since Doris had passed.
After rummaging through the wardrobes, dressers and trunks that still inhabited the two rooms, Wendy had begun to feel uneasy, almost as if someone were standing just out of sight, watching and not being very happy with what she was seeing.

After a few minutes of trying to ignore this spine crawling feeling and having found a notebook full of poetry, Wendy decided to postpone any further explorations till she had someone to keep her company.  

As she moved to the top of the stairs, her mind was on the dresses, shoes and other things she had found in the bedroom.  She certainly was not expecting what happened next.  With one hand on the rail next to the stairs, the other gripping the notebook and her right foot in the process of finding the first step, she felt two hands in the middle of her back.  Two small, feminine hands placed quite deliberately and with force.  Then a shove that all but sent Wendy head over heels, tumbling toward certain injury, if not death, down the stairs.  Only the reflex of tightening her grip on the handrail saved her from this. 
As it was, Wendy suffered a wrenched shoulder as well as two very sore spots on her back that coincided exactly with the placement of the hands upon her.

That evening Wendy told Ben about her experience and he explained that the room she had been in had belonged to Aunt Doris.  Wendy stated that, “If she didn’t want me in the room, all she had to do was say so.  Then I would have probably broken my own neck trying to get out from there.  She wouldn’t have had to push me down the stairs!”
Nellie contemplated what she heard.  Next time Doris visited, she would need to ask her about it.  It was one thing to scare someone now and then, quite another to try to hurt them.  Specially if they were family.  Yes, she would definitely have to ask her about it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Friend Comes to Visit?

The Hendersons gathered on the porch of their rented two story farmhouse on that hot, late summer afternoon as was their want. It was much cooler here than in the house, what with the slight breeze coming through the oaks and shake from the same. It was a habit passed down from many generations and a good one at that. It not only helped with the heat, but gave everyone a reason to get together and discuss the farm, work, pleasure or just the weather.  Today they also shared a bushel of corn that needed shucking. A pile of discarded shucks lay between them on the floor of the porch waiting to be taken to the hog pen.

Jack, the youngest of the men, looked up from his ear of corn and noticed a movement down in the cow lane leading up to the barn from the back pasture.

"We expecting company?" he asked to no one in particular.

"Not that I know of," said Ben, Mary's husband.

"Well, I thought I saw old man Johnson coming across the pasture. Least it looked like him from here." Mr. Johnson was an older gentleman that lived on the farm that backed up to the Henderson's. He would drop by once in a while to visit or borrow some flour or sugar. Any excuse to have someone to talk to. His wife of 56 years had died last spring and he got awfully lonely by himself, with his two girls grown and gone.
The pasture was in full view as was the front and back of the barn, from where they were sitting. The cow lane was a fenced funnel, if you will, into which the cows were herded into the barn, twice a day for milking. Though, truth be known, they no longer had to physically herd the cows, they just wandered in at meal time by themselves. The most you had to do was whistle a couple of times and here they came.

If someone approached from the back pasture, they would naturally have to go through the barn to get to the house. And the only time they would be out of sight was during their passage through the barn.
"Well, wonder where he is?" Ben asked to no one in particular. Mr Johnson, if that was who it was, had entered the back of the barn, but had not emerged from the front. Since there were no doors on the other side he should have come out by now.

"Well, nothing to do but go see what happened" said Jack. "Hope he's okay. Hate to have something happen to him, he is getting old and he's not been himself since his wife passed.
"Well," said Ma Henderson, "you boys go fetch him on in. Supper's almost ready and we've plenty for one more." It was well known in the community that the Hendersons never turned away company from the table, no matter what was on the stove. And it was always something good. All the Henderson women were good cooks.

Jack and Ben sauntered, in no hurry, down the drive to the barn. They really weren't concerned about Mr. Johnson getting hurt. He probably just stopped to relieve himself out of sight of the house.

As they approached, Jack noticed that the barn sounded awefully quiet. Matter of fact, there seemed to be no sound coming from the baarn or the grounds surrounding it. The air seemed heavy, too. Like a storm was bearing down. He looked up, not a cloud in the sky.

But not a sound! The chickens were even quiet. No sound of the rooster raising a ruckus or even the hens singing. Strange.

Ben noticed all this as well. He really didn't like the barn, not since the experience he'd had last winter when he had come out to milk. ('Morning at the Barn') But Jack and the rest of the family knew nothing about that and he wasn't about to tell them now.

"Mr. Johnson?" Jack called as they entered the front of the barn."Mr. Johnson, can you hear us?"

They moved from the glaring light of the midafternoon sun into the dim, cool gloom of the hallway. You could smell the musky fragrance of the hay that lay on the hard clay floor, mixed with cow manure that, by spring, would yeild some great fertilizer for the garden and the flower beds.

They continued into down the hall, looking into each stall they passed, beginning to be concerned. After all, Mr. Johnson wasn't young and people did die from heart attacks and such.

They opened the tack room and Ben searched it. This was his favorite area, since it held all the hanes and harnesses used with the mule. Traces were hung on the wall along with girths and headstalls. The collars had their own section since they needed to be cleaned and oiled more often than the rest. The smell of leather permeated every inch of the room.

He looked under and behind everything in the room, but no old man.
"Jack, you see anything?"

"Nope, nothing. But I know I saw him come in here. And there wasn't anywhere for him to go without someone seeing him."

"Think maybe we should check the loft?" Ben asked.

"Might as well, though I doubt he would go up there. No reason to."

They scrambled up the ladder to the loft where they stored the winter's supply of hay. When the cold hit, the grass would die and the cows and mule had to have something to eat.

The two young men searched high and low. They left no bale of hay unturned, so to speak. But could find no sign that the old man had been there.

"Well," Jack said, "he ain't in the barn. Danged if I know where he went, but he's not here."

Last but not least, they went to the rear entrance to see if, maybe, he had fallen or something before he actually got into the barn. Here they found footprints in the soft manure leading in, but none going out!

They got back to the house just as Ma and the girls were setting supper on the table and advised them of their unsuccessful search. No one had any answers and, after much discussion around the table, the subject was dropped for talk of chores that must be done prior to winter coming on. The mystery was put aside. Untill the next day, when word came of the passing of Mr. Johnson. Seems he had died in his sleep the night before. Strange thing was, there was dried cow manure on his boots. That was strange, since it seems that he had been bedridden for nearly a week according to his niece who had come to stay for a few days. And she had cleaned his boots two days before.


Monday, November 15, 2010

After The Game

'Not a bad game', Clara thought as she got off the bus at Fish Trap Rd. 'Not our best, but not the worst, either.
Clara was on the Slater High School Girl's Basketball team and she had just participated in an away game against Easley. Clara was a guard, first string. That really wasn't huge since they didn't have that many girls who had gone out for the team.

She did have one claim to fame, though. She held the record for fouling out. She had not even made it through the first quarter of the game before she was asked to leave the floor. Amazing. Not the biggest girl in the game, but man she could scrap!

She had gotten permission from her school (with a slip from her mother) to get off the bus at her aunts' house on the way back from the game. She liked visiting her aunts. They weren't married and Doris was fairly close to her age. Someone she could talk to.

The bus stopped at the corner and she hopped off to walk down the road the hundred yards to the two story farm house.

The house was seriously old, but pretty. It was white and always seemed so welcoming. Her uncle, Lewis, had purchased the home for his sisters with the money he made in the Air Force. He was a bachelor and had decided to make the military his career. He was really neat and he treated his sisters well.

Clara reached the house and went to the back door. If you were family, you never went to the front, that was saved for salesmen and the preacher.

Upon climbing the steep back steps, she went in without knocking. Again, she was family. The door opened onto the back porch with another letting into the kitchen.

“Hello”, she called as she entered. “Hello?” There was no answer and her voice seemed to echo into the emptiness.

'Hmmm .. must be gone to the store', she thought. No problem. She could walk the mile down to the local general store and ride back with them. Anyhow, she would like to get a 'coke'. It was rare that she had the opportunity and the money at the same time for this little luxury and this store was famous for having the bottles so cold that ice formed on the inside!

After the walk, she was even more ready for the drink and looked forward to riding instead of walking back. She paid no attention to cars in the lot as she entered the cool interior of the store. It was dark and cool with a huge ceiling fan slowly turning from the open rafters. She called out to the owner behind the counter as she made her way to the 'coke' cooler in the back. She had reached in, grabbed a bottle, opened it and was intent on taking that first chilling sip when she realized that her aunts were nowhere to be seen. “Sir, have you seen the Hendersons this afternoon?” she asked the owner as she paid for the drink and added a pack of 'Nabs' to her purchase.

“Not since about three. They drove by headed towards town.”

“Well,” she replied, “if you don't mind, I'll wait outside and catch them as they come back. I would really rather ride than walk back to the house.”

“You're more than welcome to wait, long as you want. I don't close til about 8.”

“Thanks” she said as she went and parked herself on one of the worn out chairs still standing sentinel out front.

The minutes Clara had expected to wait turned into an hour and the sun was beginning to set. It looked as if she had no choice but to trek the mile back and she best get on it if she wanted to reach the aunt's house before dark. With that she struck out down the road.

Having reached the house, she went straight on in, turning on lights as she went. Since this was a Friday, she had no school tomorrow and, hence, no homework. What to do, what to do.

She decided to do what any red blooded American girl would do in her situation, she took what was left of her 'coke', made herself comfortable on the couch in the sitting room and opened her latest comic book.

Now the sitting room was situated directly off the kitchen with the rest of the house available through the two doors opening onto the formal dining room. From there you found the hallway (with staircase to the left), two bedrooms off to the right and the front door and porch. The front bedroom on the right was no longer used. It had been Aunt Annie's prior to her death. It was still just as she left it. Weird.

Anyway. Clara had read about half the comic when she heard someone coming up the front hall. Thinking that one of the aunts had come through the front, she quickly rolled off the couch and moved to a spot just behind the nearest door. She was going to scare whoever came through!

She heard the steady tread as it progressed up the hall and stopped just the other side. She waited for the door to open .. nothing. Waited a bit more in case the aunt was having to shift grocery bags in her arms. Nothing.

Not knowing what else to do and tired of waiting, Clara flung open the door, jumped through and shouted … Well, she started to shout, “BOOO!” but it never got past her lips, for on the other side of the door was, nothing. Not an aunt, not an intruder, not anybody, not anything.

She was sure that she had heard someone and that the footsteps had stopped at the door she just jumped through. But, come to think of it, she had not heard anyone come through the front or even heard the slamming of the screen on the porch.

All of a sudden, this wasn't fun anymore and the house that had always been so welcoming wasn't.

With this in mind, Clara hastily gathered her book and made a dash for the back door.

She waited, sitting on the front steps even though it was dark outside. The dark, however, was more inviting than whatever was inside.

Within fifteen minutes the aunt's car pulled into the drive and she followed it to the back of the house. Hugs were given and received and Aunt Beatrice explained that they had gone to the grocery and forgotten that she was supposed to spend the weekend with them. Noticing that Clara was unusually quiet, Beatrice asked what was the matter.

Clara was still quite shook-up from her experience and so it took a while to tell the story of what she had gone through. Still, it took less time to tell than it had to live it. She helped take the groceries into the kitchen. She didn't notice the looks that she got from the aunts as she finished her story.

Nellie had made her way into the sitting room to her chair by the heater when she called Clara to her side. She had suffered from polio as a child and was only able to go out with the assistance of her sisters and walking sticks, so the trip to the grocery had worn her out.

After Clara had taken her seat, Nellie asked, “Was this the first time you heard the footsteps in the hall? Why, its not unusual for us to hear those footsteps as well as other sounds every so often. Nothing going to hurt you. Its all family.

Nellie went on to explain that ever since Annie had died, there had occasionally been heard footsteps coming from the front room and progressing up the hall to the sitting room door, where they would end with no one ever coming through. It was believed that it was she who walked the hallway.

Annie had died in that room (it was her bedroom at the time) as well as having been 'laid out' the day before her funeral in that same room. There were stories about that wake, as well!

After this explanation Clara really didn't feel any better. Matter of fact, the weekend seemed to draw on and on as she was constantly listening closely for any sound that might seem out of the ordinary. From that point on, when she visited the aunts, she made sure they were home and that she was never alone in the house, again.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Introducing the Lady

The Lady (Just an introduction)

Such a beautiful, old house. Built in 1897, the cape cod style home captivated me from the start. The first time I saw it I told my daughter, “It feels just like Grandma and Granddad's house.” After we purchased it I realized it now was .. Grandma and Granddad's house!

The first clue we had that something was different about this house was when we noticed the scent of cornbread and beans being cooked. Which was fine, except that we weren't doing any of the cooking! We had entered the front door and were stopped about three feet in, where we were pleasantly surprised with the aroma. Cool!

Of course, as with any Southern cook worth her apron, this wasn't her only dish. We were to be privileged with the smell of other truly wonderful meals. Too bad her talent did not include actually putting this food on our table!
We nicknamed the provider of these pleasures of the senses, the Lady.

The Lady never appeared to us a  full blown apparition though she made her presence felt in many other ways.

Now, at certain times the scent of cigars would waft from the sitting room  (just inside and to the left of the front door) as if the gentlemen had retired for their after dinner brandy and cigars.

This was our introduction to 'The Lady' in our house. We didn't know that we would come to know her much better over time.

The Lady and the Hunley

My wife, Lisa and I took a day trip to Charleston, SC to view the Civil War submarine, C.S.S. Hunley. It had been recently moved to an area where you could tour and see the ship and listen to lectures concerning its construction and short history.

While there we decided to purchase a print titled 'the Blue Light'. This depicted the Hunley as she should have been after her ill-fated mission. It showed a mariner holding a signal light denoting “mission accomplished”.

When we returned home I felt that the perfect place for this print was centered above the antique upright piano in the sitting room. Since the walls in this room are still covered in thick plaster instead of modern sheetrock I drilled a hole and inserted a hollow wall anchor to hang the picture from.

After carefully centering and leveling the frame I stepped back to admire my handiwork. “How does that look?” I asked my wife.

“I think it is perfect”, she replied.

We retired to the den at the back of the house content that we had just added to our wonderful home.

The next morning my wife came into the kitchen and asked, “Where is the Hunley?”

Taken by surprise I said, “Let me guess, in the sitting room?” Well I thought I was witty!

“No, and I can't find it,” she said.

Look, I'm no genius, but even I know that if you put something somewhere and you don't move it, then it should still be there the next morning.

That is what I thought, anyway. What I discovered was that it was not only NOT where I had hung it, but in its place was a hole that may have been made by forcefully pulling a hollow wall anchor out of the plaster!

Okay, I didn't do it, my wife didn't do it and no one else was there... so … oh never mind! Didn't even want to think about it!

So where was my picture? I gauged that if the picture had just fallen from the hanger, it would have bounce off the top of the piano, shattered the glass and wound up on the floor. One problem, no picture. No shattered frame and glass. No shards on the floor. Hmmm!

It was as if the print had been ripped from the wall and taken away! No, I did not believe someone had broken in during the night, ripped my picture from the wall and escaped from the house the same way they had gotten in. And all without myself, my wife or the 5 dogs that we have, hearing or seeing anything. So, where was it?

After searching everywhere else, I peeked behind the piano. This piano was built in the 1850's and is super heavy. I sits only two inches from the wall, so I already knew that the picture could not be there. But it was!

Sitting very nicely behind the piano, leaned up against the wall, face out and with no shattered glass, scratched frame or even scuffed finish, was the print that I was so fond of. We never did find the anchor!

I leaned the picture up on a table and left it there, un-hung and undisturbed for several months.

Not a bad little tale of unforeseen spookiness. I guess things would have been fine if I had just left well enough alone and the picture on the table … riiiight.

The Hunley .. Again

The picture of the Hunley had been residing on an antique plant stand for several months when I decided that the Lady must have just been having a bad day when she ripped it from the wall. I was also sure that I would not allow something unseen to dictate where I hung my pictures or in any other way influence my decorating decision in my own home.

With this in mind I politely got my trusty hammer, a small picture hanging hook (the kind with the small nail that doesn't leave too big a hole when you eventually pull it out) along with the print and proceeded to have my way in the sitting room.

Okay, all I really did was put the hook a few inches above the hole left by the anchor and hang the picture in such a way as to cover the evidence that I had been too lazy to fix the hole.

Our youngest daughter, Rachel and her husband, Randall were over and they steadied the chair that was standing in for the small step stool that I couldn't seem to find. After carefully and artfully hanging the Hunley back above the piano and stepping back to ascertain its being level, we retired to the den for some well earned iced tea.

As our Sunday afternoon progressed we wandered in and out of the house on various errands. After one such outing Randall entered the den looking a bit perplexed. “Jerry, did you move the picture?” were the words that still send shivers down my spine.

“No, why? Don't tell me its gone again.” I had just gotten over the first incident of whatever entity that roamed our halls taking it upon itself to rip the print out of a perfectly good plaster wall.

“Well,” he said, “Its not where we left it.”

My wife and I along with Rachel and Randall made a hasty advance to the sitting room where, sure enough, there was a bare spot where the print of the Hunley should have been. I was, however, pleased to note that there was no new hole in the wall but that the hook was still in its place.

Wait a minute, the hook was still in its place. That meant that whoever, or whatever removed the Hunley had to have lifted it straight up off the hook instead of just pulling on it. For some reason this seemed worse than the previous event.

This time I did not even bother to search the sitting room .. instead I first looked behind the piano and sure enough, there it sat. No scratch, break or scuff of any kind.

I was beaten.

I retrieved the print, tucked it under my arm and retreated to the den where it hangs to this day, a year later, in a wonderful spot just above and to the left of the T.V.

Oh, in the place where I had tried twice, unsuccessfully to hang it in the sitting room, now resides a very innocuous 'Home Interiors' print. Totally unmolested by the Lady, who, truth be known, must have no sense of taste.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Early Morning at the Barn

"I didn't mean to wake you", Ben said to his wife as he got dressed before the sun was even up. "I'm going out to milk the cow before leaving for work."
"That's okay, I'll get your breakfast while you're at the barn. You need to eat." Mary was a young wife and intent on being a good one to her wonderful husband.
Ben finished dressing by donning his heavy coat since this was mid-winter and he couldn't afford to catch a cold. He then headed for the barn where 'Old Bess', the cow was waiting with straining utters and a bucket load of fresh milk.
"Easy girl", he said as he placed the kickers on Bess's hind legs. These were important in order to keep her from kicking the bucket over and spilling the milk just before the process was over. He had already put feed in the trough for her breakfast and now got down to washing her udders and pulling the milk from her in long squirts and splashes into the bucket. This was one chore that he enjoyed. Coming out this early in the morning gave Ben the opportunity to watch the world wake from its slumber and witness the dawning of another day. But it sure was chilly out here.
With the milking done, dawn was just beginning to break, though inside the stall it was still difficult to see in the early morning gloom. He had to feed the mule and check on the chickens before he was done.
Problem was, he felt the need (more so by the minute) to go visit the outhouse! "It sure is a long way out there", he thought. And it certainly was, especially on a cool morning such as this. Plus he would still have to return to the barn and finish his work here after he finished there!
"Oh, bother. Well the cows and the mule use it in here, maybe that's what I'll do .. just this once. Nobody will know." Ant that is exactly what he did.
Once he finished, he was trying to get his overalls pulled up when something jerked them back down!
He glanced around but couldn't see anything, so he decided he must have just lost his grip due to the cold. Again he pulled the pants up ... and something jerked them back down. He looked around once more. The filtered light was getting a bit stronger by the minute in the barn, but he still couldn't see what was doing this. He wasn't close enough to the wall to be hanging on a nail and there was not anything in here, that he could see, to be pulling his pants down! One more time he pulled them up and, once more, something pulled them back down. Difference was, this time he was expecting it and maintained his grip on the pants, held them up and ran from the stall!
Shaken and confused he quickly finished his chores and left the barn determining to always, no matter how cold it was or how late in the morning it might be, always to make the trek to the outhouse from then on.
Ben returned to the house where Mary had put together a breakfast of eggs (scrambled with cheese), toast, blackberry jam (home-made), grits and sausage (from the boar hog they had slaughtered earlier that winter). He ate with enthusiasm and then got ready and left for work without once mentioning his adventure in the early morning at the barn.