Subject: The Harleyville Ghosts
Date: 13 Nov 1996 02:27:48 GMT
This experience happened was I was about 14 years old. I posted a story previously about the child ghosts that appeared in the garden at my uncle’s house. Before moving to that house, my uncle and his family rented an old house in Harleyville, SC. The house was at least 100 years old. I would guess that the house had been build during the 1870s when cotton planting made many of the Southern aristocrats rich. It had been boarded up for about 20 years when the elderly lady that owned it decided to rent it out. She charged a ridiculously low rent for what was essentially a two story mansion in downtown Harleyville.....that composes about six city blocks, it s just a small Southern town. It had been a fine house in it s time, but was in a state of disrepair when my uncle and his family rented it.
They had lived in the house about a month before we visited. Upon stepping foot in the house, I was overwhelmed. It felt like home. Looking back, I realize that the house had been decorated in the 1920s. It had a pine-paneled drawing room, a dumbwaiter, and a long staircase with ivory posts. It looked like a shack from the outside, but was still luxurious inside. We stayed a couple of hours, then left. My uncle insisted I come spend the next weekend with them.
The next Friday, my father dropped me off at my uncle’s house about two o’clock in the afternoon. A few minutes after arriving, my cousins wanted to show me the attic. I had two girl cousins who were about 7 and 12 at the time. My boy cousin was about 9. As we entered, my male cousin said, “You’ll hear a lot of things after we leave here, but don’t pay it no never mind.” I didn’t think bout what he had said at all. Once we entered, I was overwhelmed. The attic was huge. Covering the walls were numerous old pictures. Many of men in Confederate uniforms, most with the old glass oval frames. I ve always been the history fanatic, and just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And, in the corner was a stack of old newspapers from the 1910s and 1920s. I immediately started reading them while my cousins played tag in the huge attic.
About 2 hours later, we decided to go back downstairs. The sun was just beginning to set. We walked out of the attic and shut the door. As soon as the door to the attic was closed, footsteps began a ways from the attic door,then moved toward the door. When they reached the door, the footsteps turned around and moved away from the door. It sounded as if someone were pacing back and forth. I had frozen on the staircase. My cousin said, “Aaron, don t let it spook you. He does that whenever we go in there. He don’t mess with anybody.” Then, my cousin prodded me down the stairs. The footsteps in the attic continued for the next hour. We could hear them on the ground floor. Then, they suddenly stopped.
In a short time, I had regained my senses and was no longer terrified. There is a festival in Harleyville called The See Saw Daze. They have amusement rides, snack stands, a parade, and the standard carnival distractions. We went to the amusement park for a few hours, rode many rides, and had enough cotton candy to do us for a lifetime. I had forgotten about the footsteps, then we went back to the old house.
I will say one thing here. Most of my family was poor. What they didn’t loose during the Confederate War, they lost in the 1930s during the Great Depression and the bloody cotton mill strikes. Given this for a family background, my uncle did not have the money for starting the electricity in the house after they moved in, nor could they afford beds. Thus, we returned to the old house. It was total darkness when we entered. I remembered the footsteps again and was terrified. My uncle told me to calm down. Then, he lighted three kerosene lamps. It must have been 11PM by then. There were no clocks to know for sure. We sat up and talked for another 2 hours, then my uncle told me and my cousins that it was time to go to sleep.
My male cousin and I shared a sleeping bag. We set up shop a few feet from the foot of that grand staircase. About three feet from the foot of the staircase was the front door, with two windows on either side of the door, and no curtains. The moon was full that night, and its light illuminated the entrance room.
We laid in the sleeping bag and dozed off immediately. I don t know what time it was, but I suddenly awakened. For some reason, I looked to the top of the staircase. I saw a white figure gliding slowly down the stairs. There was no distinction as to whether it was male or female. I elbowed my cousin and awakened him. I said, ”Look at that on the stairs.” My cousin looked up, then said, “That’s always there.” He then turned over and went back to sleep. The figure kept gliding down the staircase. It reached the bottom of the stairs and glided to about six inches from where we were laying. Then, it s arm went up, as if pointing, and it disappeared. I laid there petrified until dawn staring at the staircase.
The next morning, my uncle came into the entrance room and said, “You saw it didn’t you? I knew you would.” I said, “Yes, and I want to go home now!” I had to wait a while. My father didn’t come fetch me until late that Saturday afternoon. I never spent another night in that house. It was strange though, I still loved being there, but was terrified simultaneously.
I may never know exactly what happened.....since my uncle passed away 14 years ago. But, about 4 months after moving in the house, my uncle packed his family up and moved out the house all in one day. My mother, his sister, asked him why, he refused to answer. Finally, she asked my aunt, who is the most honest person I’ve ever met, why they moved so quickly. She worked the 2nd shift at a state institution. One night, their children stayed at her parent’s house. She said that she got home from work at 4 AM one morning and found my uncle sitting on the front steps. She could see lights twirling around in the house through the windows and heard moaning and groaning. My uncle said, “We have to leave here now.” He told her that he had been sitting in the drawing room reading a book when he started hearing noises. Then, white, misty forms appeared and started lunging at him. They said, “Get out! Get out!” They then started chasing him. Once he was out of the front door, they left him alone. My uncle and aunt sat outside until dawn. When the sun rose, they gathered up their few belongings, put them in the car, and left the house.
I heard the footsteps and saw the spirit on the stairs. I was scared, but never felt threatened. The beings had an extremely belligerent reaction to my uncle, though. I can only attribute it to something horrible he did in his youth. I will never share what he did, but I feel that the spirits knew it, were repulsed, and drove him out.
I must admit I m still fascinated by that house. I apologize for giving too much detail on it, but I m still overwhelmed by it. I haven t been there in almost 20 years and want to go back. I don t live too far from it now and may actually do it. What really happened there, I might actually learn, but then again maybe not.