Mythical Monday: The Spooky House by Mae Clair

Happy Labor Day, everyone! It’s a holiday and the three day weekend has me feeling lazy.

I cheated with today’s Mythical Monday because I originally ran this post on June 6, 2012, before I’d begun my weekly feature. Since only four people saw it (and it was a Wednesday), I figure I’m safe in posting it again. 🙂 I hope you enjoy!

The Spooky House

There’s one in every neighborhood. When I was six, the spooky house was two doors down, part of the urban tree-lined street where my family made their home. A brooding three-story structure of gray stone with a sprawling covered front porch, white columns, and side bump-outs, it oozed mystery. The adults might have been oblivious, but all the neighborhood kids knew it was haunted.

No one actually lived there. It had been converted for business offices with a huge parking lot in the rear that butted against an alley. The lot was sectioned off with lengths of heavy chain strung between squat cement pilings. We’d see people come and go, swallowed up inside, but there were never many cars in the lot, Naturally, we were suspicious.

My friends and I were convinced a coven of witches met there, and that if you ventured too close to the sides where the shadows were thickest, you’d be sucked up into a coffin tucked beneath the eaves. No one would ever know what happened to you because an evil twin, capable of fooling everyone, took your place.

bigstock-Ghost-At-The-Window-tint--23502128The house also had a resident ghost who lived on the second floor. We knew this because the south facing room had a trio of beautiful stained glass windows and that was the perfect place for a ghost to languish.  Our phantom was female. She was a melancholy soul who’d been separated from her true love and imprisoned by the witches because they were jealous. She spent her time listening to an old-fashioned music box, weeping for her lost love, and looking romantically tragic in a flowing white dress. It’s amazing what six-year-olds can envision, especially when inspired by Dark Shadows and Quentin Collins!

Once when we were swinging on the metal chains in the parking lot (kids do dumb things when adults aren’t around), one of the neighborhood boys fell and cracked his head on the asphalt. It was a traumatic experience with a lot of screaming, crying and blood splatter. I remember following the trail of blood down the alley and across a connecting street to his house a day later. The evidence stayed there a long time before the rain washed away the grisly reminder.  Although Chester recovered, we were sure the witches had caused his fall, angry that we’d discovered their secrets. I don’t think he ever swung on the chains again. I’m not sure I did either.

Not long after that, my family moved to the suburbs where I made new friends and found a new house to invent stories about. Why is it that old homes twine so ideally with the paranormal?

What about you?  Was there a spooky house in your neighborhood that still resonates in your memory? I’d love to hear about it!

16 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: The Spooky House by Mae Clair

    • When adults tell tales too, you just know there has to be something spooky about the place. Sheri, it must have been so etching living shofar from everything. What experiences you must have had!

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  1. The imaginations of childhood! I remember them soooo well. We too had a haunted house down the street. This gorgeous old house stood abandoned for the seven years I lived there and a few times we were even brave enough to visit the dark, spooky basement… (shudder…chills) However, we didn’t venture long down there because the angry ghost always chased us off the property… 😉 Great post Mae! Thanks for invoking the memories!

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    • You were brave indeed venturing into the basement. I’m not sure I would have done that in our spooky house. Aren’t childhood memories great? It’s interesting as kids who grew into writers, we were creating stories even then.

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  2. I don’t remember spooky houses from childhood but when I wrote a story a couple of years ago for a blog site I used the house three doors down from me. It was occupied but no one ever saw the residents and the windows were always dark and covered. who lived in this seemingly “normal” house.
    Another home several blocks away always has beautiful gardens. We used to see the mother all covered up even on the hotest days working in the garden. Now her daughter does it but the garden is not quite as well kept

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    • Hi, Sue. I can see why you chose the house you did for your story. The other one definitely has potential too. The gardens and the mother/ daughter attendants offer great possibilities.

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    • I love old houses, Emma. I even found another spooky house when we moved…I’ll have to do a post on that one of these days. I’ve never outgrown my love for old homes. I’m fortunate that my day job has provided the opportunity to visit historic homes over the years.

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  3. It’s not cheating when you own up to it first. LOL. We had a spooky house on the rural road our bus traveled on as kids. It was left to ruin and loads of ghostly stories abounded about it. I passed that derelict house every day for ten years and never missed catching a glance at it. It always gave me the chills, because no one would demolish it. Today it would be considered a safety hazard and hauled down. It just sat there, all alone in the middle of a field. There was never an entrance to it, which made it appear even more sinister.

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    • Ooo, what a great story, Joanne. A spooky house like that would give me goose bumps and have story wheels spinning in my head for certain. Derelict houses just FEEL different, like they exude something. I always wonder what they must have been like in their “day.”

      Completely weird too that the house you mentioned didn’t have an entrance to it. I’m cueing the spooky music now, LOL! 🙂

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  4. Mae, your story brings me back to my childhood. We didn’t have a spooky house, unless you count the neighbors two doors down who always yelled at us for running across their lawn. We did have an imaginary Aunt Agatha who was really mean, always making us clean the tree house and stuff.

    I must have been quite young, too young to walk around the block by myself, but we had the fence blow down in the backyard between us and the house directly behind. It stayed that way for a couple weeks and we got to know their dog. What’s strange and reminds of your story is that I dreamed (when I was little) that I went around the block and the house was a big huge scary mansion and there was a hedge that separated our backyard from their yard and we were playing badminton and the birdie went over the hedge and the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz were back there. Scare-eee! I still remember that dream.

    Don’t know if that makes sense but that’s the thoughts your story conjured!

    Mary E. Merrell

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    • Mary, I was imagining all sorts of things when I reached the part about the birdie flying over the hedge, but I didn’t expect the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. Wow, isn’t it weird how our imaginations work? There are a few dreams that stand out for me from childhood too, which tells me they really made an impact. Like your flying monkey dream, LOL.

      Thanks for sharing such cool memories! 🙂

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  5. Great stories of the house, Mae. I can just see it in my mind. Growing up, we didn’t have a spooky house as much as evil lurked there. All the kids gave it wide berth when walking home from school.

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