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Papaw’s Haunted House

Kenny Stallard

     In the early 1950’s, there stood on a knoll overlooking Reservoir Road a deserted house.  This house stood approximately where Eastman Credit Union building now stands in the Meadowview area.  The house was a red brick two-story farmhouse such as was typically built in the area in the latter part of the 19th century on more affluent farms.

     The building gave the impression of having been empty for quite a while.  No panes were present in the dark gaping window frames.  If doors were still present, they were swung open to the elements.  The tin roof was showing evidence of the neglect, rusty patches and streaks from ridge to eave.

     It was of this house Papaw told the following story.  It seems a few years after he had moved to Kingsport, one morning in the restaurant on Broad Street, just behind Kingsport Drug Store, after having served the breakfast crowd, he was having a cup of coffee with a few of the lingering customers that had just completed their night shifts at the Brickyard or cement factory when the subject of haunted houses came up.  This was when many grown men believed in ghost and some even swore they had seen them.  Some of the men swore the old house on Reservoir Road was haunted.  They told of hearing strange noises in the night when passing the house.

     After a spirited discussion on the existence or non-existence of said ghost, several of the group made up a collection of five dollars, to be paid to the person brave enough to spend the night in the old house.  The night was to be spent on the upper floor, in a bedroom where an old bed staid stood with a straw tick.

     Another period of spirited discussion followed on ghost lore and after several of the group turned down the opportunity to win the five dollar prize, Papaw accepted the dare and a date was set for when he would spend the night in the old house.

     On the date of the dare, some of the group accompanied Papaw out to see him into the house just as dusk was deepening into night.  There being no electricity in the area, one of the men had a carbide lamp of the type used by miners.  The lamp was lit and the owner of the lamp escorted Papaw into the house and up stairs to the agreed on bedroom.  Papaw was to pass the night in this room, using the bed with the straw tick to sleep, if he could.

     After the man with the carbide lamp left, Papaw found his way to the old bed by the weak light of a waning moon and lay down.  Covering himself with a quilt brought from home, he was soon asleep.

     Some time later, he was awakened to a dark room by a movement of the straw tick below his feet.  There followed a ‘thump-thump-thump’, as if someone was stomping on the floor.  The thumping quit and there was a rising of the straw tick near his feet.  The room having been in total darkness, Papaw could not tell if there was anything presents to have been seen if light existed.  Lying awake in anticipitation of what might follow, Papaw finally drifted off to sleep.  He was determined to win the five dollar prize.

     The sequence of the rising straw tick, ‘thump-thump-thump’ and rising straw tick repeated itself two or three more times during the night.  Finally a faint light could be seen creeping through the glass-less window.

     Papaw roused himself from a fretful sleep.  He could now make his way downstairs and outside to await the returning escort to accompany him back into town to claim his prize.

     Just before he left the room, he determined to make an inspection of the room to see if he could solve the puzzle of the rising straw tick and the ‘thump-thump-thump’. 

     As he turned from the doorway and looked back at the bed, a corner of the straw mattress rose and an old blue-tick hound crawled out from under the bed.  Settling on his haunches, the old hound began a vigorous scratching behind an ear, the joint of his leg making a loud ‘thump-thump-thump’ on the floor.

     A happy Papaw continued on down the stairs to meet his escorts and collect his prize.

 

Home ] Grits ] New Pants ] Snow ] Legion Pool ] Skunkin D-B ] Sweet & Pungent ] Zesto ] [ Papaw's Haunted House ] Lunch Counters ] Preacher Cy ] Parade ] Cowboys ] Baseball and Bill ] The Movies ] Cloakrooms ] Turn Your Radio ON ] Moving To Kingsport ] The Carnival ] Lynn Garden Elementary ] Record Shop ] Hot Dogs ] Neighborhood Stores ] Garden Theater ] The Mud Puddle ] Biscuits and Gravy ] Tarzan's Woods ] 2-Cent Deposit ] Wash Day ] Troy ] Depots ] Watermelons ] Popeye Club ] Buddy Club ] Ridin' The Bus ] The Kiss ] Alaska-2008 ] Sculpture-2008 ] Sculpture-2009 ] Downtown ] Veteran's Memorial ] LV Transfer ] Lyleville Cemetery ]