In the early 1970s, I went with a bunch of my friends to check out this house which was rumored to be haunted. The story as I remember, involved an invalid who fell down an elevator shaft inside of the house and it was said that they would materialize as a ghost. It was a three-story house set back into the woods off an isolated road. Some stories said that Emma Swanson was pushed down the shaft by her mother’s lover and that they were never able to clean up the blood that was dripping down the shaft. I am very skeptical, and I knew that these stories were all elaborations, and that people will see what they want to see, so if they go there expecting to see a ghost and they hear floorboards creaking, that will turn into spirits walking through the house. Anyway, it sounded like a fun way to kill some time, so I parked my car a couple of blocks away and we all went to see the mysterious house.
It must have been a nice house at one time, but now it was abandoned and run down. We saw a bunch of beer cans strewn all over the property, so many other kids had been to this house before us. It was dark that night, which made it even more scary and the perfect night for seeing a ghost. We heard that Emma was a thin, young woman with long dark hair in a wheelchair wearing a tattered white nightgown and there were stories about kids running out of the house screaming after she appeared to them. Eddie was goofing around knocking on the walls to make it sound like there was a ghost in the house, but once we realized that it was him, we stopped reacting to his nonsense. We saw the famous elevator shaft, but no dripping blood or ghost, so since there was absolutely nothing going on in this house, we got bored and left.
We walked back to my car, and then this older man shouted at us to stop. He waved a gun at us and told us that he had the right to shoot all of us as he was the caretaker of the abandoned house. I thought he must have been crazy, because who waves a gun at a bunch of innocent teens. He said he wanted all of us to get into his car as he was going to drive us to the police station for trespassing and vandalism. We didn’t destroy any property and we didn’t even think that trespassing in an abandoned hose should be a crime. I tried to talk him into putting the gun down, by saying that we would do anything he asked us to do. I let him know that we didn’t damage anything and that we were only there for around 20 minutes. I also told him that if he didn’t want anyone trespassing on this property, that he should put up a sign to alert people of this. He said that every time he puts up a “No Trespassing” sign, that somebody always rips it down. I told him that we got his warning and that he would never see us again around that abandoned house. A couple weeks later he put up a big neon sign that nobody could miss.
Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #162.