Friday, June 17, 2011

my haunted farm house?

I live alone, and that usually that doesn't bother me. I like it. But living alone in an 1860's farmhouse can sometimes be creepy. I am a fairly superstitions person, and a lover of all things myth. I own more books on folklore than I do on dogs. It's in my blood, too. I hail from a Gypsy/Slovak bloodline. As a kid I devoured ghost stories. My brother is a professional Horror Movie Critic.

My mother is the same way. When I was buying the house, my parents came with me to check it out, during the tour my mom leaned over to the realtor and asked, "Is this place haunted?" She was serious as a heart attack. To her, it was as practical a question as how old the roof was. He assured us he never heard about ghosts in the house. Pass.

Regardless, buying an old house means you inherit a lot of history, a lot of stories. One thing that bothers me in the room I use as my office, upstairs. Too small to be a bedroom, but too large to be a closet: I made this room my writing space. Just enough space for my grandfather's old desk, a drafting table, and a dog bed. The window from this room looks over the pasture too, so inspiration is a 18--degree turn away. But what creeps me out about this room is this: there's a boarded-up hole in the wall, poorly replastered, and a lock on the outside of the door....

So no, I have not opened the hole, and I have no idea why it was made to shut from the outside. I don't want to know.

One night I got the scare of my life. I was outside on the sheep hill, up by the sheds. It was too dark to do anything without a flashlight, so I was using a headlamp (tip from you guys) and grateful for my two, free hands to lug hay flakes. From that stately vantage point I can look down on my farmhouse and see second-story windows with ease, look right into them. While I was up there placing some fresh bedding in the sheep's keep, and the beam from my headlamp was panning around the small structure.

The headlamp made all the sheep's eyes turn into that eerie green animals eyes shine in the dark. I thought it was cool, adorable almost, to see those ghostly eyes and hear a loud BAAAHHH coming from them. Nothing that baas is scary to me. Nice try.

So I was feeling pretty content up there, and I liked moving the bright light from my head all over the place, like a little agrarian ray gun. Until I looked back towards the house. Up in the second story office, a 6-foot tall figure of a man, all black, was standing there staring at me. When you are a single woman in an old house, this is unsettling, at best. I tuned my beam to it, and the eyes glowed back. Holyshitholyshitholyshit I panicked to myself, grabbing a hold of Sal for some sort of stability. The man kept staring, and like a drunk, waved his upper torso back and forth, leaning into the windowsill. Was my place haunted? Whatever was in that window, it wasn't human. It was solid, but slinking, and easily six-feet or taller. I watched it slowly tilt its head, the eyes glowing as they turned at a 45-degree angle. I almost peed.

Then the ghost barked.

It was Gibson. He wanted to keep an execetutive eye on me watching his sheep. So he ran up the stairs to the office, jumped up so his feet were on the windowsill and his paws were on the sash, and balanced himself there like a creepy-ass acrobat. Without any lights on, save for a dim hall light, his upright position on two legs and black coat easily made him appear to be a dark, 6-foot-tall person. I felt like a moron, but laughed all the way down the hill.


Blogger Michele said...

Holy snap! You had my heart going there for a second, because a)I live in a 103 year old house, and b)I lived a lot of years by myself so I know your feeling of contentment most of the time but the odd creepiness. Luv that dog of yours! All of them in fact, but thanks for the scare, Gibson!

June 17, 2011 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Joleen said...

This will be perfect for ghost story telling around the camp fire this summer!

June 17, 2011 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Nice one Jenna! I actually lived in a bona fide haunted house. It was interesting to say the least and I really didn't know the half of it because I was very young at the time. My mom filled me in when I got older and oh man what a freak show that place was. I had the chance to stay there as an adult and I swear I felt someone lie down in bed with me. It was a waterbed so there was no denying the movement. I sadly live in a pretty newly built house, but my husband is gone all the time. I get freaked out at times alone, but I have 3 dogs to warn me of anything unsavory so I put my trust in them...but better watch out...they could be playing a joke on me. Stay safe Jenna!

June 17, 2011 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Sharon Delman said...

My spine actually tingled while I read this. Maybe there's a book of ghost stories from the farm in your future!

June 17, 2011 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...


June 17, 2011 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Joie said...

Totally felt your fear - a familiar sensation for me, as I'm still a titch afraid of the dark. As a kid I forced my family to refer to ghosts as "GTs" because just the word ghost would send me into paroxysms of fear. Reading this was as good a cardio workout as a lunchtime walk; my heart's pumping for sure!

June 17, 2011 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger Robbie Knight said...

Best. Post. EVER.

June 17, 2011 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger Patsy from Illinois said...

Tee hee. Good boy Gibs. I bet it did give you a fright. I would have to find out what is in that wall. I wouldn't be able to stand it. And the local library might have some articles or info on who lived in the house since it was built and if anything unusual happened there. The deaths wouldn't bother me but alot of other stuff might. And I would have to find out why the lock is on the outside of the door. Someone in that town knows.

June 17, 2011 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

I love the phrase "creepy-ass acrobat." Made me laugh. :-)

June 17, 2011 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Oooooh, I have goosebumps. I love a good ghost story. We live in a 121 year old house now and the house I grew up in was old and haunted (with nice ghosts:)

June 17, 2011 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger KristenAnn said...

You're good, girl - just about scared the pants off of me! And then I laughed at myself, too, which was probably the effect you wanted to share with all of us. Good job. :)

June 17, 2011 at 2:47 PM  
Blogger bellananda said...

yeeesh, lady -- *i* almost peed!


June 17, 2011 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

Gibson the Goblin! That will be a campfire story for years to come! I'm new to your blog, Jenna. I am really enjoying it and admire your adventurous spirit!

June 17, 2011 at 2:53 PM  
Blogger Siberian said...

I cannot imagine a life without dogs :)

June 17, 2011 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

That is a really good story! I dont have a fear of ghosts though. Real alive people are sometimes scary enough for me. We did have a cat that died though a few years ago and sometimes you can feel her jumping up on the bed to sleep with us. Now that's comforting to me to know that she loved us enough to come back and visit. I agree with one of the previous posters though, get yourself a metal detector. I think you'll find some really neat stuff on that land. If you knew where the outhouse used to be that's a great place to find old bottles and dishes.

June 17, 2011 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger sunflower said...

Blimey! you terrified me then made me laugh til my coffee came down my nose!
As someone post. Ever.

Thanks for a great giggle on a rainy afternoon!

June 17, 2011 at 3:14 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

Wonderful story! The upstairs room that locks from the outside reminds me of the story Jane Eyre.

Good job, Gibson!

June 17, 2011 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger Sherrill said...

I was getting scared, right up to the "it barked."

Awesome tale!

June 17, 2011 at 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's odd, or maybe it's just a desire to live someplace with some real history in it, but I've always kind of fancied living somewhere that was haunted. I think the friendly kind of haunting would be preferable, though - not sure my overactive imagination could handle it otherwise.

June 17, 2011 at 4:11 PM  
Blogger HotFlashHomestead said...

Your office -- and the space with the plastered-up hole -- may have been used to store liquor back when it was not legal. If the hole is big enough for a person to squeeze through, perhaps you were a stop on the underground railroad! No matter what it all leads to, it might be very rewarding to do some investigating inside the house as well as with your local historical society. Who knows what might turn up?

June 17, 2011 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Cathe said...

Very good post, had me scared for a moment. My first time reading this blog! Look forward to more good stories and you are amazing person.

June 17, 2011 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

i would SOOOOOOO open that hole!!!! i love that kind of stuff!

we had an OLD cat named Cat (i know, i know) that would get stuck in the corner at the top of the stairs. he would sit there and meow with his head in the corner until we would yell "we're here Cat, come Cat" and he would follow our voices till he found his way down the stairs.

when he finally passed, we would be sitting in the living room and here meowing from the top of the stairs from time to time.. we would call "we're here Cat, come Cat" and the meowing would stop. it only lasted for a year or so and it happened a couple times a month. i swayer it is true, other people besides my family herd it too.

it never worried us. my mom always said that the dead cant hurt you, only the living can.

June 17, 2011 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger Cathe said...

Very good post, had me going there for a moment. First time reader here and look forward to many more good posts. Thank you for a good scare!!!

June 17, 2011 at 5:35 PM  
Blogger Amy McPherson Sirk said...

Great post. I'd say leave that hole boarded up! I've lived in a lot of houses in my life, a couple haunted. I don't know if this house is haunted or not but I get the feeling that the house likes me.

June 17, 2011 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger dk said...

Jenna - you almost had me believing in ghosts. Then you made me laugh when you called Gibson names! You just have to love a dog who is going to guard you at all times.

June 17, 2011 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger Robbie Grey said...

The best ghost story I've come across in a good long while.

June 17, 2011 at 6:36 PM  
Blogger KellyV (Kelly the Fifth) said...

Definitely what Zelda said. I was thinking liquor cabinet, but the Underground Railroad was active in your area. Yours would have been a very new house, though. Hmmm? A great ghost story Miss Jenna.

June 17, 2011 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger small farm girl said...

I know how you felt! We lived in a 150 year old house. We found out that the lady who lived there killed her own children in THAT HOUSE! If I had seen "someone" standing in the window, it would have been very hard for me to go back in. Even though I knew it was Gibson. lol

June 17, 2011 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Very awesome ghost story!

June 17, 2011 at 7:09 PM  
Blogger asddfkjd said...

Coming from Appalachian stock, I can be easily spooked (after years of hearing about the "knocking spirits" that inhabited my great-uncle's home and the levitating bed that threw men out of it that grandfather witnessed as a child) and this story my hair stand on end and was thinking, "How did she ever go back in that house?" Laughed out loud when it was Gibson.

June 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger jenomnibus said...

You got me! Well done. I agree with your other readers about finding out more about the history of your house. It could be very interesting...

June 17, 2011 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

How big is the hole and far off the the floor? Does it go in the direction of the chimney? Stove pipe, fire place?

June 17, 2011 at 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to admit; I'd have been totally spooked and just might not have believed it was my dog. I live alone, too. I've often had to talk myself down from the crazy places my wild imagination takes me. No ghosts here, though.

I'm glad to have discovered your blog! (on Ben's)


June 17, 2011 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger KnitItBlack said...

What a great story! I'm super-sensitive to ghosties and spirits and whatnot, so you REALLY had me going! I've lived in places with friendly hauntings and in places with not-so-friendly ones, but my own fears certainly make everything seem scarier.

June 17, 2011 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger goatldi said...

You should investigate all that is suspicious. Get some Sage (local to your area is best) dried of course and light it to smoldering while walking your property and letting those afoot know that you are thankful for what they have done but it is now their time to leave.

Worked here, good luck. And Gibson may have just been the front guy.

June 17, 2011 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Well told story. Had me going, too. I have such a vivid imagination, I could never live on my own. Our last house had a cigarette smoking ghost in it, I swear. You'd be lying in bed at night and all of a sudden it smelled like someone lit up, with no smokers anywhere near. I always told him not to burn the house down. He usually stayed a few minutes, then made his way down the stairs...

June 17, 2011 at 9:14 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I was getting shivers reading this, and wondering how you were going to handle living there! That Gibson!

June 17, 2011 at 9:24 PM  
Blogger Lynnanne said...

great story!!! "Then the ghost barked." too funny!!

June 17, 2011 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger sheila said...

This made my evening. I'm still laughing. Good one Gibson! I love Border Collies, they have to keep track of everyone or they just aren't happy.

June 17, 2011 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

I have lived in a haunted house (it was haunted with a good ghost!), so things like this don't usually bother me....however, I would not tempt fate and open that hole....keep it closed up! Just my two cents!

June 17, 2011 at 11:05 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Alright, well I have one for you. I keep my horses at my parents house. One night my sister and I were putting the gang to bed and at the same time we heard a deep, hungry growl. We stopped dead in our tracks. I ran to the barn for a flashlight and we tried to locate the noise. Off in the pasture closest to the barn we saw two glowing eyes and a pair of floppy ears. Holy shit!Coyote, wolf? Not sure but went to the intercome and asked my father to come out with the rifle.... Well let's just say that golden rod won't be bothering my horses anymore! And as far as the rumble, well trucks echoing off the highway at night sounds very close to a growl. Hmmmmmm

June 17, 2011 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger Bluebelle Quilts said...

Too funny. My rescue mutt (part some sort of herding dog) keeps us in sight at all times. I'll wake up in the middle of the night to find him sitting on the bed with his gaze focused intently on me. We call it "the power of the stare." It is rather eerie at times.

June 17, 2011 at 11:34 PM  
Blogger Monique said...

Ok I LOVE THIS POST. Thanks, Jenna for a great one!

June 17, 2011 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger Monique said...

And yes, we had a kitchen ghost in our old house. For months my husband and I were secretly irritated with one another for leaving the cabinets all open an inch so we would have to keep closing them over and over. Turns out neither one of us was leaving them open. The kitchen ghost would open every cabinet in the kitchen about 2" from time to time. We later learned the prior owner had passed in the house and was an avid baker :)

June 17, 2011 at 11:43 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

oh My God Great Story!!!

June 18, 2011 at 1:43 AM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

Ye Gods woman, I'm glad it's daylight here, reading that, but it got my spookometer going!

We live in a haunted house. When our middle daughter was a teenager, there was a LOT of activity, now it's quietened down, I'm glad to say. Someone DID blow a candle out right in my face recently, just as I was going to bed. You know that sharp smell which scolds your nostrils. Not a smell you can ever IMAGINE.

We have doors with clasps on the outside so someone could be locked in. We think it dates from a farming family living here in the 1880s as they're on the 1881 census as having two older siblings who were put down as "idiots". How sad . . .

June 18, 2011 at 1:46 AM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

How spooky BB!! I was just about to say my friend has an ancient place with rooms with locks on the outside where she thinks they used to secure the mentally impaired of the family! As you said before they would have been a farming family,lots of work to do every day and they would have needed to do whatever it took to keep those family members *safe* and from wandering off.

Jenna I laughed so much at your story!!!
My cottage is a coverted stable and cartshed.We often smell delicious (wierd because I abhore smoking) fragrant tobacco, and ale.Even dad who is very no nonsence often goes into his room and exclaims I dont believe it! and calls me in to sniff!!
There is a cat as well that jumps on the smalls when they are sleeping.
GTM x x

June 18, 2011 at 5:15 AM  
Blogger mmgreenough said...

As I read, I'm thinking oh dear God HOW does she still live in this house after seeing THAT???? So glad I am not the only one to let my imagination & eyes fool me! And I am glad it was just Gibson!!!!!

Your house is SOOOOO very pretty in that picture, cute too. I LOVE it!

June 18, 2011 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger admin said...

Whoa…. Those old houses hold lots of memories that I’m convinced escape into the present sometimes. Glad this time it was Gibson for sure, but you had me going. I’m still thinking you need to maybe turn that door knob around though!

Have a habit to believe in things of the mystic and solidified this even more via a farmhouse a few years back; luckily my unseen roommate was not a malevolent one, so he kind of became another member of the household for a while—long story short my dogs can’t turn on lights or open window and doors besides, and I later found out from the locals that they all knew the place was frequented by a former resident—a crop duster who had an untimely accident in the 50’s.

Stay brave and keep that head lamp on in the dark!

June 18, 2011 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger John Taylor said...


Truly a GREAT story! My kids and I like ghost stories and we all loved yours! I too also liked "creepy ass acrobat" made me laugh out loud!

Grace and Peace,


June 18, 2011 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Robbie Knight said...

I e-mailed Gene and Bryan at Hometown Tales (I'm addicted to that podcast after being inspired by you to give it an ear) and begged Bryan to read this posting on their show. The way Bryan delivers creepy tales, and his comic timing, would do it justice. I also just re-listened to their show on Gypsies, which mentioned you back in the Idaho days. *fingers crossed*...I hope they answer my request on a future show...I was thinking you might not mind.

June 18, 2011 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

"creepy-ass acrobat." was funny, but "holyshitholyshitholyshit" did me in. I laughed so hard over that!!
The bad thing is, when something like that strikes me that funny, it will pop in my head for a day or two and I'll laugh just as hard!!!

June 18, 2011 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

Ok, that was good. My heart was pumping and I knew exactly how you felt as you were standing there thinking it was a man. I've lived alone in several old farmhouses, and my overly-active imagination sometimes ran so far away with me it was hard to come back to reality.

Our house isn't that old...built in '49 but I swear sometimes I hear someone walking up the stairs and I'm home alone. I'm glad the dogs are here though, because it's hard to be scared when they're with ya. :-)

I used to work on a beef farm and would have to go out in the fields at midnight to check for calves. Sometimes I'd see one calving and would wait to make sure everyone was ok. Instead of driving back up to the barns I'd just sleep in the truck in the pasture and I always made sure to lock the doors.....because you never know when the cows are going to carjack you! LOL

June 18, 2011 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Harpy, thank you!!! I LOVE HTT!!!

June 19, 2011 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger Matt_Middleton said...

*LOL* I got chills reading that!

June 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM  
Blogger mferre11 said...

WOW that had my tummy tightening up wondering what you were going to do when you actually had to go into the house. Then had to laugh! But I would sooo be finding out what is behind the hole in the wall. Who knows maybe a treasure or something. (Sometimes I swear I am decended from cats, curiousity thing) Great story

June 20, 2011 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Totally hear you Jenna. Even though I am not into ghost stories and purposely avoid horror movies and anything like it, I do still have an active imagination. When I lived on a farm three years ago and needed to do the chores at 4:30 in the morning before I commuted to work several hours away by ferry, my imagination almost did me in a time or two.

A person can feel very small and alone when the only light in a cold dark world comes from a tiny fading headlamp. It would come as a tremendous relief when my favorite chicken, and the early riser of the gang, would pile on out of the coop at first sight of me and make those soft clucking sounds that let me know I'm not alone at that ungodly hour. There's not much room for fear of ghosts or lurking animals when that sound is present, at least for me. It's such a comfortable sound of contentment. What a beautiful way to start the day.

June 21, 2011 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Susan Moorhead said...

OMGosh, I was really terrified. You tell a good tale! Love the doggy ending. (would that make it a tail?). I think you are very brave to live alone in the country - I am more a city mouse, but I heart the "is it haunted?" question as that would be standard for us - Scottish and Irish backgrounds with ghost sightings on both sides :)

June 21, 2011 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Rule # 1 - Always, always carry a knife. Not a wimpy little whittling knife but a substantial hunting type knife in a accessible belt sheath.

"Chance favors the prepared mind" Einstein

June 22, 2011 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

LOVE this!! I can TOTALLY feel the jolt of adrenaline that probably flooded your system! Glad it was Gibson, but kind of bummed, too, LOL! I love all things paranormal--well, at least in theory. I live in a very old house myself and although my daughter has seen and felt things I never have. I am pretty sure any ghost that lives there already knows that I would probably keep over dead if anything did ever appear to me!

June 22, 2011 at 4:31 PM  

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