Footsteps in the Dark

In the early 1960's after my Grandfather passed away, my Grandma lived with our family for several years and took care of my brother and I while both my parents worked. Grandma would often tell us stories of unusual events that she had witnessed during the years when her children were young and they lived in rural West Virginia. Grandma said that several of the old farmhouses in Jackson County were "visited" but the house my Aunt Laura lived in had a very active presence.

The reputation of that old farmhouse was well known as stories of its haunts,though mostly in jest, had been written about in the local newspapers, and the fact that it had not been lived in for nearly 20 years didn't stop aunt Laura and uncle John from buying the old house as talk of spirits and such never frightened aunt Laura, besides all of her children were grown and on their own now and there would be no little ones to be frightened.

The first few weeks after moving in not much of anything out of the ordinary happened in the house then after about a month things began to happen, lights would come on and go off, windows would be found open, doors that had been locked would be found unlocked and at night whispers and footsteps could sometimes be heard. They didn't bother Aunt Laura who wasn't afraid of much of anything the least of which a few "haunts" Uncle John also passed them off as nothing.

One Friday evening when Grandma and my Mother Clarice, her sister Mary and their cousin Glenda visited Aunt Laura and Uncle John these spirits made themselves known. After supper the girls decided they would all sleep in the big living room of the house so Aunt Laura brought out an old rollaway bed for Clarice and Mary to sleep on. Glenda decided she would pull the big chairs from the other end of the living room over by the rollaway bed and Push them together end to end to make a bed for her. About 11:30 p.m. Grandma and Aunt Laura went to sleep shortly thereafter so did the girls.

Not long after the girls turned out the lights and went to sleep Clarice was awakened by what sounded like someone on the back porch, as she heard the door begin to open she nudged her sister Mary and in a frightened voice whispered "do you hear that", "yes" Mary whispered, it must be Uncle John getting home from work. With that Clarice suddenly felt a calm come over her, "that's right, she thought, Aunt Laura had said Uncle John worked afternoons and normally got home around 1:00 a.m. it must be about his time. As Mary rolled back over Clarice then heard footsteps slowly walking through the kitchen past the dining room and toward the front of the living room.

Suddenly the footsteps stopped and Clarice then heard what she now knew must be Uncle John sit down and take off his work boots and drop them one at a time on the floor by the chair. Then there was no more sound and Clarice thought, "why doesn't uncle John go on to bed, When a cold chill came over her as she remembered there were no chairs at the other end of the living room as Glenda had pushed them together to sleep on. Almost simultaneously Clarice, Mary and Glenda, who must also have been listening, jumped to their feet and ran screaming into Grandma and Aunt Laura's bedrooms.

Within minutes virtually every light in the house was on as the frightened girls told grandma and Aunt Laura what they had heard. While grandma tried to comfort the girls Aunt Laura went through the house to see if anyone was in the house but found nothing. As an angry Aunt Laura was heading back through the living room to the room where Grandma sat with the girls, Uncle John came through the back door and was surprised to see everyone in the dining room and all the lights on. "Why are you all up at this time a night" "it's near two o'clock in the morning". "Something frightened the girls John" my Grandma answered. "It's them Goddamn ghosts" Aunt Laura blurted as she went back toward her bedroom. Uncle John then told Grandma that they had been hearing footsteps pretty regular the past week or so, and it was gettin on Laura's nerves about now.

The rest of the night Grandma slept out in the living room with the girls and no more footsteps were heard. The next morning Clarice and Mary and Glenda were up bright and early, ready to go home, still not comfortable being in the house despite the security the daylight provided. Aunt Laura and Uncle John continued to hear the "footsteps" for several more months and Aunt Laura continued to cuss at them until one day just as suddenly as they began, they ceased.

Aunt Laura and Uncle John continued to live in that old house for another twenty years, but Clarice, Mary and Glenda, even as adults, would never sit foot in that house again. When Grandma first told my brother and I the story we asked her why she thought the spirit simply went away. Grandma was quick to laugh and say "Your Aunt Laura scared them off"