Recalling a Scary Experience
By Jeff Salter
Rather fittingly (as we approach Halloween), our topic this week is “Who was your creepiest neighbor?”
Rather than belabor you with my own tales of childhood’s creepy personalities, I’ve invited Stephy Smith to be my Guest Fox and regale you with HER spooky story.
When I first contacted Stephy about this booking, she wrote back: “The story you are about to read is a true story. The names have been changed, not to protect the innocent but because they are all too long. LOL. I used our middle names. I own this house in the story. We did not know about this neighbor until this night.”
After you read this story, tell me if any of you feel brave enough to spend the night in Stephy’s barn.
By Stephy Smith
Gray clouds covered the moonless sky. A chill moistened the air. Jo, her son Dean, and his girlfriend LeeAnn, stopped in front of the two-story dilapidated house. The structure was built in the 1800s.
Jo glanced at the old barn. A shiver ran down her spine. Then she turned to the other occupants of the car and they were staring at the red building with the big white X crossing the door of the hayloft. She grabbed her camera and drew in a deep breath.
“Y’all ready?” Her whisper gained the attention of her partners.
“As I’ll ever be.” Dean hesitated before he spoke.
“I want to go home.” LeeAnn’s voice quivered.
The three exited the car. Jo snapped a few pictures of the house before she turned her gaze back to the old barn. The complete and sinister silence cut through the area. A shudder raced up and down her spine. The pounding of her heart echoed in her ears.
Dean led the way with LeeAnn grasping to the belt loop of his jeans. Jo clenched onto LeeAnn’s. In single file, they veered off the path to the front door. All three kept glancing over at the barn.
Finally, after walking past an old tree, Dean drew in an audible breath; he headed to the path they had avoided. Each slow and deliberate step took them closer to the house, even though they didn’t seem to be able to concentrate on anything except the old barn.
They crossed the threshold and all three let out a sigh. “Something is in the barn.” Dean said.
“I could feel it to.” Jo whispered.
A small amount of tension to the front door lessened. They continued through the house listening for bumps, thumps or any kind of noise out of the ordinary. Alarm spread through Jo when a loud thud from up the stairs echoed. She glanced at the ceiling, which was caving in from years of neglect.
“Wanna go up there?” Dean turned to Jo.
“No. We would fall through. I don’t want to have to make a hospital run tonight. Let’s just play it safe.” Jo snapped a few pictures leading up the staircase.
“Who suggested we come on a ghost hunt? I’m ready to leave … but I don’t want to have to go back outside where that barn is.” LeeAnn had held her tongue for a long while.
The noises were minimal. No one heard a voice, but they could all detect spirits in the house. After a while, they headed to the front door.
“Ready?” Dean pointed to the open exit.
“Let’s do it.” Jo shivered again.
Slowly, Dean stepped onto the porch and glanced over at the barn. He was followed by LeeAnn and then Jo. At the bottom of the steps, they paused before heading to the barn. The air turned colder. Jo ducked as a swoosh of icy air circled around her. They neared the open door and entered.
To the left was a solid wall, to the right a dark alleyway led to milking stalls. In front of the pens was another passage leading to the wooden ladder to the hayloft. The wind picked up. A loud bang from a loose board sent goose bumps over Jo’s skin.
Dean and Jo stood next to the ladder while LeeAnn inspected the head gates on the opposite side of the ladder.
“Stop it Dean, that’s not funny.” LeeAnn swatted at her hair.
“Wasn’t me.” Dean whispered.
Jo shined her flashlight up to the dark opening of the hayloft. She drew in a deep breath and nodded to Dean. “I’m going up.”
Her hands shook as she grasped each wooden rung. At the top, she peered into the darkness. Her chest tightened as she pulled herself to a stand on the wooden floor.
A dark apparition crouched in a back corner rushed her! Its golden eyes glowed in the dark. “Get. Out.” Its foggy breath hit her in the face.
“Who are you?” Jo shuddered beneath the talon-like fingers.
“Name’s Garvin. You are not welcome here.” With a menacing shove, Jo landed near the ladder.
“Run to the car! We’re outta here.” Jo called over her shoulder.
Flight For Life
When confronted by a stranger threatening her, Zaidee Rogers flees her home to escape the murderous hands of the man she witnessed kill her brother. Posing as Flora Reese, a schoolteacher by profession, she meets Joseph Solomon.
Joseph Solomon can’t get the gorgeous redhead out of his mind. His gut instinct tells him she’s running from something. Joseph comes up with an idea to draw out Flora’s enemies.
Will his plan of her death work to bring the killers down? Can he teach Zaidee to trust and start a new life … in his arms?
Stephy Smith grew up in the Northwest Texas Panhandle and still lives within a few miles of her childhood home. She owns her own ranch and takes care of her mother. She shares her home with three dogs and a chinchilla. Other than writing, she loves to read, garden, ride horses, paint and do just about any kind of arts and crafts. Her love for history, museums, historical markers and sites along roadsides, old houses and walking through cemeteries tempts her creative imagination. Where there’s history there’s mystery and ghosts! She writes young adult, sweet historical romance and contemporary western romance. You can find her other novellas at Astraea Press, Barnes and Nobel, Amazon.
Buy link: http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:mode=product&product=13213821
Who do YOU think Garvin was?
Have YOU had any spooky experiences with a creepy neighbor?
It was really brave to go up into the loft. I doubt I’d have done it. As for who or what Garvin was, I don’t know. A murderer?
I would NEVER have ventured into the loft, alone, in darkness. I POSSIBLY may have investigated, with several hardy friends, in broad daylight, armed with a baseball bat (at the very least).
Thanks for visiting, Sherry.
Well, folks, I’m late to arrive this morning — because the critters kept me awake last night (which is another story) — but I’m delighted to welcome Stephy as my guest today.
I hope she brings many visitors to read her spooky tale.
Thank you Jeff for having me here. I’m also running late this morning.
we both prob. need extra coffee today, Stephy.
Good morning Sherry. I really don’t know who the spirit in the barn is. I do know a man who died in the house. I’m sure it wasn’t him though.
have you had any OTHER contacts [or sightings] with that spook, Stephy?
Yes and no. My youngest son didn’t believe us so he wanted to go check it out. We didn’t go in the barn, but we went in the house. We heard thumps and bumps. Then he wanted to leave. Again, that barn pulled our attention away from the mild ghosts in the house.
Ooohhh…love a great ghost story. And this one’s got my attention, Stephy!
Would I go into the barn? You bet. Would I climb into the loft? Yep. Would I spend the night after being shoved by a talking spirit. Um….probably pass.
I would certainly do loads of research after an encounter like that, though. I’m a sucker for the paranormal. And history. I think I’d love to hang out with you. 😀
Though I’ve had family members claim they have seen ghosts, I’ve been able to discount everything that has happened to me. 😦
Thank you for stopping by! The barn has a very powerful pull to it. And it doesn’t feel like a nice one. I have seen an apparition in the house of the man I knew. I took pics and caught a few orbs while we were in the house. Didn’t take any in the barn because all of the settings on my camera changed…on there own!
Hoped you’d stop in today, Jenn. You’re a braver soul than I am if you’d have any further doings with this spook.
After my next-door neighbor OD’ed on pain killers and alcohol (he was on disability from work), his ghost started haunting my then 3-year-old. Her room was the closest to his house. Not a good scene!
Enjoyed the read, and thanks for sharing!
Louisa, that’s terrifying. But if you could separate your maternal subjectivity, it could also make a really great scary novel!
Well, now that I said that, maybe the novel would be even better with that maternal subjectivity.
I agree Jeff!
Oh that is scary Louisa. How would you handle a situation like that? Motherly instinct to protect your child?
I always tell people I’m a ghost story hunter, not a ghost hunter (witness my published book, Spooky Creepy North Dakota. However, I did have to go TO those spots to photograph them, although I tried to avoid going in! I would not go into that barn, but I might go into the house. I’m not psychic, but I am “sensitive” to the paranormal. A psychic “gene” or something runs through my paternal grandmother’s family, and several of my cousins on that side are psychic or sensitive. When I say sensitive, I mean I know if “something’ paranormal is present (and have since puberty), and I can pick up on the emotions of it. If it is evil or unfriendly, I know. If it is lost, or staying to care for a place, I know, even if I don’t see it. And my own house is haunted, although I don’t usually advertise it. I believe the ghost of the woman who lived here the longest has moved on (I tried to help her; the first time I saw her I thought she was a real person standing in my bedroom; it was only after she disappeared that I realized the doors were locked and the deadbolts were locked, and my large dog would have barked at a person, even an elderly woman. After that she was slightly transparent, and often moved things. When I figured out who she was, and why she was there, I spent about two months talking to the air telling her to move on, and that it was safe and better to move on.Haven’t seen her since. But then, had to rip up the basement floor to put in a sump pump and have had some horrible experiences since then. I stay because this is MY house, and also I can’t afford to move! Activity kicks up, then wanes for a while, then just when I think it’s gone, it starts up. I’ve been shoved, pushed down the stairs, hit in the face, and had my arm grabbed so hard that the bruises lasted over 2 weeks. You can imagine how difficult that was to explain to my doctor when he thought I was being abused by a person! But I don’t seek out haunted places, nor do I try to get EVPs and such-like. Why? Because that’s asking for trouble. You might get something you weren’t expecting, and it might stay too. Leave it alone, I say!
Gosh, Lori, you are a much braver person than I would be under those circumstances. I used to hear footsteps and doors opening/closing in the small house we lived in for some 26 yrs. But, like you, we couldn’t afford to move.
Your book about ghosts in ND sounds VERY interesting. Hope it’s selling well.
Thanks for visiting today!
Thank you Lori for stopping by. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Your story is very fascinating. We tried not to stir this thing up! Now, even just driving by the place in the day it gives off a creepy, evil feeling.
Thanks, Stephy and Jeff! It’s not selling as well as I’d hoped, being stuck in two niches (with publisher who doesn’t do any marketing) but I loved finding the story. I don’t know if I’m brave or crazy! Maybe you’ll see me on Paranormal Witness some day! I’m happy if the former owner did find peace, but I do wish whatever is in the basement would go away!
Lori — Stuck in two (or even more) niches certainly does cause consternation to agents and the Big Six publishers, but I think readers really ENJOY ‘stretching’ a bit.
And I’ve found a wonderful publisher which reads submissions for content … rather than pigeon-holeing.
Re my publisher — they came to me, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have written it (although I admit it was fun! I have a contract for a similar book for South Dakota). The contract isn’t great, but the books are easy to write. The publisher doesn’t negotiate at all; they have a contract, take it or leave it. I wanted to be published by a “real” publisher, and now I am! But now I’m workiing on scary fiction instead, and hoping I can find a publisher, one of the Big 6 or an Indie; I’m not all that particular, as long as the royalty is more than 2.5% of net (not 25%, no, 2.5 % — that’s my typical royalty on Spooky Creepy! LOL! My 6-month royalty checks might buy dinner for 2 with no beverage or dessert!) But I think my fiction will get out there, one way or another! Thanks for Stephy’s story; I love it!
Gee, Lori,I’m sorry.I did not see your story.Then you DO have to worry more about the spiritual than the living.
I have been attacked myself, although this is the first time I have said so publicly.I, too, am sensitive to many supernatural/paranormal activities or spiritual matters, but it isn’t consistent. I would give you advice to try holy water or blessed salt; I hear just water and salt mixed and sprayed will help, especially with used furniture and, (God forbid), if you have antique or old mirrors. Sometimes you never know what will help or what will aggravate. I wish you and those around you PEACE.
I have used Holy Water, and it works for a while to keep things calm. It’s not working so much right now, but things are mostly in the basement. I have a line of sea salt (not blessed, but it seems to work) along the top stair, to keep whatever may be down there, down. And aside from my (BLOCKED) closet door slamming open the other night, it seems to be working. I think it’s time to smudge again. I have some antique/vintage furniture, but it came from my grandparents, and they bought it new. I find it rather protective, if anything. I have not put up a single mirror in the house, but there is a long mirror when you walk in the front door (it’s too your left as you come in) and I try not to look at it because I see “others” in it. (I really hate mirrors; they can be portals. Do I sound crazy? To anyone who has had an exeperience, probably not, but to skeptics, I’m sure I do!). I’ve seen things in mirrors in some of the haunted places in SD that I visited too. Creepy. I’ve used a smudge stick in the basement, in case whatever was awakened by creating the sump pump hole and puttting it in is Native American. I sleep with my Bible and a cross around my neck! If I could figure out how to get that mirror off that door without breaking it, I would do it, In a heartbeat! Thank you, Tonette!
Lori, Let’s talk.I sent you ar friend request on Facebook.
I would worry more about a live person than a ghost, although, there ARE bad spirits, etc. and you don’t want to get involved on their turf…so to speak,(I mean, they aren’t of THIS turf…what was I saying again?)
I have had so many strange incidences in my life that even though I was writing a food and entertainment book,(which has become my other blog), my husband wanted me to do a book on my experiences…not really enough for a book,but I should probably put them down.
Glad you’re safe,Stephy; nice of you to visit with us.
(Does this make your female guests ‘Foxes’,Jeff,or ‘Honorary Hounds’?)
LOL, Tonette. I doubt many of my Guest Foxes would want to be honorary hounds.
LOL. Thank you Tonette for dropping by. I know exactly what you mean about turf and I could tell it wasn’t willing to share.
I really enjoyed chatting today Jeff. I will continue to check back from time to time for any late comers. I hope everyone has a happy Halloween. Remember to watch for the little spooks and goblins in your neighborhood or crossing the street. (Tosses cyber candy, oh and chocolate for you all.)
It’s been my pleasure to have you here, Stephy. But don’t forget to check back Fri. morning because we do typically get a few late arrivals … and they’ll prob. have questions about your spooky experience.
I’ll be here!
Wow- now that’s a scary story! I have a ton of friends that believe in ghosts and such. One night Jenn and I traipsed around a cemetery hoping to catch a glimpse of a spirit- but no such luck. It was fun lurking around tombstones at midnight! Don’t ask why- it involves a ghost hunter who was off her meds!
I do believe in evil. It is as real as goodness and love. I don’t delve into that world because I’m a bit afraid something might follow me home. And that’s not a joke.
I understand exactly what you mean, Stacey. I don’t do any dabbling either. No ouija boards for me. I won’t even watch movies that deal with things concerning evil spirits.
However, I did go up in our nearby graveyard — a cemetery starrted in 1863 by my wife’s ancestors — late at night sev. times. Once was a memorial service for a newly buried uncle of hers. Another time was with some young ghost-hunters with one of the regional KY paranormal societies. Their devices registered some interesting things and one of their photos showed something which none of us had seen when/where it was taken. But i figured those would be friendly spirits if we did contact any — my wife’s great grandmother and sev. other kin.
Welcome Stacey, glad you joined us. I have been to a few cemetery’s at night. I didn’t ever see anything out of the ordinary at them. I agree, provoking something evil could land someone in a lot of trouble in a hurry!
Oh Jeff, the older the cemetery the better! I have been to one out in the country not far from my house. Most of the stones are weather beaten and crumbled. It seems like a pretty peaceful place… but I haven’t been there at night either.
Yes, Stephy. This cemetery is quite peaceful, even at night. Of course, I don’t go there ALONE at night.
And at least once when we were there in the small hours, we heard a group of coyotes yipping … not very far away.
Stephy, since it’s such a spooky story,I will be glad to leave you up well through the witching hour and put mine up Friday morning.Thanks for bringing in all the ‘traffic’; hope you had a good time.
I loved it Tonette! That would be great! Maybe we can pull in more traffic for the sight. I will keep monitoring and responding to comments.
Good, Stephy; but if you have a promo up or if they click on Jeff’s, it will probably go straight to you, anyway. Our past posts can always be accessed. However,I am just getting mine set up to post later in the morning.
I love scary stories; living them, not so much! But re cemeteries; most spirits stay where they live or where they died, some place they were attached to when they lived. Very few cemeteries are actally haunted, we’re just creeped out by them because they remind us of our mortality, and we think of all the remains there. If a grave is unmarked, though, then the spirit might remain just to get attention. Also, there are often residual hauntings by people who visited a certain grave or grave repeatedly. There’s one in St. Patrick’s cemetery in Dickinson, ND. It’s a nun who lost 6 of her “sisters” within about two weeks from a mystery illness; she recovered and visited their graves daily until about 7 years later she died; the doctors there thought it was from long-term effects of the encephalitis-like illness. I haven’t seen her, but have talked to people who have. She’s in my book too. (The hospital in Dickinson is really haunted, too — also in the book!)
That’s great stuff, Lori. Do you ever get spooky dreams after all your research?
I did a lot of ‘local’ ghost research for my 1st novel ms. (unpublished so far). It’s a fascinating field.
Oh my, yes! I have always had vivid dreams, and a very few of them are precognitive, but after visiting some of the spots in my book (had to get photographs, not just read about them) I had some pretty scary nightmares.
Stephy, I love old cemeteries too. The ones in ND aren’t all that old, but I’ve seen some in Virginia and Arizona that are much older, and the tombstones are fascinating! I’m sure you got plenty of novel fodder from places used as hospitals for the civil war. I found several things I want to write novels about! So many ideas, so little time!
The thing I like about the cemetery is the artistic tombstones from way back. I have done research (over the internet) on haunted hospitals and nursing home for ideas, since one can’t always rely on it really being true. I use them in my ghost stories which haven’t been published. The hospitals I found were mainly houses or plantations used as field hospitals for the civil war and they have some pretty good stories for fiction writers.
Jeff,cemetery at night? Like I basically said to Stephy, don’t sweat the coyotes!
Stephy and leescott, Shakespeare said it best:”There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” And that goes for all of us.
Some of us encounter more,some less, but no one alive knows everything and from what I can gather, many who are dead don’t always know,or chose not to acknowledge, the reality of their situation. While I have been known to go through graveyards, reading tombstones or admiring the headstones and monuments, (some are fantastic; other quaint, many sad),I am more than a little upset when people go through graveyards, traipsing over graves with no concern or worse, making fun of names. Teachers who take their classes to do rubbings of headstones should have their pupils conduct themselves with a little respect.
I agree completely.
BTW…the places don’t have to be old or the deaths far in the past to have a haunting.
That’s for sure. My former owner ghost had died only 4 years before I moved into the house! And btw, this is a neighborhood where people moved in and stay, but after a year in probate, there were only 2 owners in 3 years, and neither of them spent much time in the house. The owner I bought it from as desperate to sell. Wonder why?!
And yes, gravestones and cemeteries should be respected, haunted or not. I wasn’t trying to provide a truth; mostly my experience,in saying that cemeteries are rarely haunted because the dead don’t generally stay with their remains, but with their attachments in life, sometimes even an object like a piece of furniture or a crystal punch bowl (yes, two more experiences…)
So true Tonette. I like the older stuff because of the history since I mainly write historicals. I also think cemeterys are a place to show respect. Not for the dead so much as for the families or ancestors left behind. At funerals is where I have a really hard time. People walk over graves and lean against the stones. Grrr.
leescott, I know most cemeteries are not haunted, but some are; often where there are crypts.I have heard of ‘Sensitives’ being asked for prayers when walking by.I have prayed for years and then heard that one should protect oneself from ‘residual’ forces by prayer or uplifting thoughts for the souls of those interred…but maybe we are going too far here.(Also, as I had said, there are other spiritual worries there).
Stephy, tell me about it! I was at my pastor’s funeral yesterday and I was one of the last to leave the cemetery…the funeral director had his suit coat thrown over a headstone!
This is a perfect thread for Halloween! Seems like “way back when” we had some kind of spooky neighbor experience, but at present it escapes recall. No matter…I don’t know who “Garvin” might be/have been – and not sure I want to! I would not have the nerve to do any of that exploring. I’ve had enough experiences with Shadow People sightings and other “natural” oddities to last me a long, long time. My house in California had something going on that we could never quite put our finger on, but it just had a residual creepiness. That was one house I didn’t regret leaving!
Thanks for visiting again, Carol. That Calif. house sounds very interesting — I’d like to know more about it.
Also, I hope you remember the other spooky neighbor experience … and will be able to share it with me. I enjoy having my spine tingled.
Hi Carol! Glad you stopped by. I would like to hear more about the shadow people. Sounds interesting!
Since people are still visiting, here’s a blast from the past, my column last Halloween about a costume (& experience) I had some 34 yrs ago.
Hillarious Jeff! I can remember days of being scared spitless when I was a teenager! LOL
Ha. Me, too, Stephy. But I still am amazed that those girls RETURNED!