When my sisters and I were very young, we loved to go exploring the woods, as kids do. We’d imagine all kinds of things that we could find or see. One day we stumbled upon something that seemed quite unusual, and a bit eerie. Deep in the woods, there was no driveway or road to it that even hinted to any outside access. There was no yard but forest grown up all around it- we found a small, abandoned house.
Right in the middle of a real no where. No civilization for at least a few miles in most directions except for our house, which was a mile away at least. It was very old is all we knew then, but thinking of it now and picturing it as tho it were yesterday, I’d have to say it was built around the turn of the century (1900).
We had first come upon an old, partly buried horse’s harness and some rusted and broken tools ( a shovel and a pick axe) as well. It was what we were checking out when my sister grabbed my other sister and cried out, LOOK! And there, just 20 feet away was this house, like it came out of nowhere. The trees had grown so thick around it that anyone could have easily missed its very existence. Small trees had grown in straight up through the porch and at the door of it in such a way that it criss- crossed the door as tho arms were barring it, entirely blocking anyone from entering it.
But we were very healthy and highly curious kids who had to see what was inside. You could cut the fear within us all with a knife it was so thick, it was just a feeling in the air around that house, a forbidding, warning kind of chill in the air. We still had to see. So we broke away the small trees and weeds and turned the rusted knob of the door hard as we could and with a loud creak and a crack, its objecting frame relented to our endeavours, and begrudgingly opened. (It was not locked.)
Inside, was like time had stood still. Dust and cobwebs covered everything alright, but it looked as tho someone just got up one day, walked out and never returned again, maybe some 60 yrs before that moment we stood there. Old furniture that were without a doubt antiqued, in average condition, placed in every room. It was a very old fashioned lay out to the house. It even had a pot bellied stove in the living room, a bucket of coals nearby and ready for the next fire.
Our attention went to the kitchen, because in it were very very old china dishes put neatly away in the cabinets. These dishes were VERY OLD and had to be quite valuable by todays standards because I remember the markings on the backs of the plates. SO beautiful, the autumn pattern of dimmed colors and designs were immaculate.
All the comforts of home but the inside had roots and small trees growing up even through the very floorboards of the house in some rooms. It had two very small bedrooms and I am not sure if we found a bathroom.
The beds were there, feather beds– one in each room– a double in one room and a single in the other. Clearly hand sewn intricate thick, beautiful quilts, draped each bed, and the full pillows beneath each. All seemed so weird, because all effects were there except there was nothing on the walls, and no evidence anything had ever been hung there, like pictures or decorative things, momentos.
There was one old dresser in one of the bedrooms, a wash basin and pitcher on it and clothes still in the drawers. Some bed clothes like the old men used to wear, looked like an old woman’s gown? But there was also a woman’s dressing gown that she’d have worn to bed. Only those clothes were the kind that were worn in the 1800s, clearly. Other clothes, every day things and under garments, socks as well.
All through the house we went slowly and quietly. Something fearsome clung to us even worse than what we’d felt outside. We all knew what the other ones felt, as individually we wore on our faces and in our eyes. We were not alone, and we were being watched, was the overwhelming imprint but unspoken truth among us.
To speak of it out loud, we all knew we dared not do. We whispered to each other what we’d noticed about this and that.
We felt like intruders through and through. But here was this house, long since abandoned. Only God knew who or how long ago it actually was for the dust and debris blown through the cracks and grown up through the floors– how could we be intruders? We wondered.
My oldest sister, who was 10 at the time, was about to break and run. She was so scared, more scared than even the other two of us. We’d walked through the whole house, and as we did we heard the wind pick up outside. It was blowing harder now, causing the tree branches to scrape and scratch against the house. Whistling noises pitching high as the cold air rushed in from the cracks and began to chill us.
It was mid day and the sun had been shinning outside when we entered, that late Spring day, not a cloud in the sky– literally. But we noticed the house inside was darkening rapidly and my oldest sister said we had to get out of there and now!
We got to the door which had begun to bang against the wall with the wind, not shutting but threatening to, and with us in there. Outside we stumbled, past the door, stepping over and around the small tree branches and debris of forest castings all over the porch– and out to the front of that house.
As we had barely gotten to what was the front yard… a very loud ”BANG!!” resounded behind us as it’s front door slammed shut violently. The wind… yah.. had to be we figured, but we didn’t wait around to find out. We bolted towards the way we came through the woods as a bad storm had come up suddenly… a very strange ‘suddenly’ and the sky was getting pitch black with clouds.
We had a heck of a stretch of forest to get through before we could find a familiar path, the woods thick, dim and dreary most the way and we were plenty scared alright. Another strange thing is; fast as we were going it seemed to take forever to get out of the woods, the cold wind getting colder and blowing at our backs harder by each moment as tho pushing us forward.
By the time we found our way to the nearest path of any recognition, and then made it at last out of the edge of the woods. There was no wind, the sky was clear again, not even one cloud nor one drop of rain had fallen, the ground was dry as we had found it going in.
Later that summer, we grew brave again. And we made up our minds to set off into the woods to seek out the house– just because it was a daring thing to do, I guess.
This time we wouldn’t go in, we planned. However, we wanted to poke around outside of it and see what we could discover. Our imaginations ran wild with curiosity. We had discussed how each of us felt in that house, about being afraid, about feeling we were being watched, not alone there at all, about that door slamming behind us, the storm that came out of such a picture perfect sunny day, then vanished after seeming to push us out and away– all of it. But we were foolish kids who just had to go back.
We made the hike in, marking by memory each significant sign of a unique tree and log and bush as kids learn to do who are used to making their way around in the woods.
We came at last to the place where the old horse harness was partly buried. The old rusted tools right where they were too, all undisturbed. 20 foot away, all was there. The overgrown trees and weeds and the remains of a house that had rotted away into the ground decades before with only the burned out foundation barely visible among the overgrowth! No house standing, no trees growing through its porch, no windows or furniture, china dishes, dresser, feather beds, quilts. It was CHANGED.
Among the almost completely buried by time (and nature) ashes of what did remain, we could see clearly what looked like the remains of a burnt up pot bellied stove, and a burnt up coal bucket toppled over by it situated exactly where we’d seen it, where the living room had been that we knew WE STOOD IN.
How fast do you think we made it home THAT DAY??
My sisters will never speak of this. EVER.
This is a true account.