About fifty years ago when I was in high school, a friend dropped by my house to tell me about a haunted mansion. My friend,John Johnson, said the house was isolated in a wooded area. It was in the middle of the afternoon, but John said we’d have to hurry because he didn’t want to be there when the sun went down.
We traveled close to thirty miles southeast of Rome, Ga., before John turned off the paved road onto a gravel and dirt driveway. After we had driven about a thousand feet,the oak tree branches on either side of the road grew together to form a tunnel. In the tree tunnel, it felt like it was already getting late in the day. Rotted tree limbs covered the ground and made a crunching noise as John drove slowly over them. We drove through the tree tunnel for several hundred feet, rounded a bend in the road, and the house stood before us.
It was a two-story, brick home with several chimneys. The sun wouldn’t set for several more hours, but the surrounding forest made it seem closer to dusk. The front door didn’t have a doorknob, and half the windows were broken. Off to the right of the house, was a small graveyard that was overgrown with weeds. In it were ten or twelve tombstones that were dated in the 1800’s. Near the middle of the graveyard, stood a pedestal that may have held a statue at one time. I kept glancing at the windows on the second story of the house, because I felt like I was being watched.
We pushed on the front door and entered the house. It was really dark inside. Leaves and twigs covered the floor and made scraping sounds under our feet. The house had a musky odor, and some of the wood had rotted. We heard scurrying noises like rats or squirrels running for cover.
A staircase led up to the second floor. We slowly moved up the stairs, keeping close to the wall where the stairs would be the strongest. The second floor was empty, and the wind whistled down the chimney. Outside, the swaying tree limbs made shadows dance across the walls. When John opened a squeaky closet door, something made a loud noise in the attic above us. We hoped it was a racoon that had gotten spooked. A small opening at the top of the closet was the entrance into the attic. As John slowly raised me up for a quick peek into the attic, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up like dog hackles. I’d seen too many horror movies. I halfway expected something to grab my head and pull me into the attic. It was very dark up there with spider webs everywhere, but I didn’t see any ghosts.
About half an hour later, we left. I was surprised at how bright it was back on the paved road. I never returned to the house. But I can still see the house in my mind, especially late at night as I lay in bed. The thought of it still gives me chills.