(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)
T-minus 3 hours and counting. I best get this down while the gettin’ is good. As I type, Winter has decided it isn’t finished toying with me yet. The snow is keeping me from Best Buy and my friends, but I won’t let it stop me from writing! When part of your job descriptions includes tending to the property, Winter becomes a very sketchy season (leaving me homebound often). At least the shoveling is a good workout.
Working out is what this post was originally meant to be about, but I think I will touch on that later. I was thinking of my post HAUNTINGS the other night, and thought it sucked I didn’t have time to add another story. So, I thought this would be a good spot to interject it.
The Black Tower
The earlier stories I gave about paranormal activity all took place in the Stanchfield House I lived in. When you live out in the country, with properties covering vast acres of land, you tend to find a handful of nifty places to explore. Some fun and exciting, others dangerous and scary. For example, the next house down from us had been abandoned for who knows how long. My brother, friends, and I would venture around that property often.
The first time there, we were hesitant to go inside. When looking in the windows we could see a mattress and leftover cans/wrappers of food and drink, in an otherwise gutted room. Naturally we took this as a clear indication someone was possibly inhabiting the house. When reporting back, we were told it best to stay away from the property — trespassing and all — but that it was empty.
Telling a child to stay away from something they are fascinated by is like leaving a cupcake in front of a starving kid and telling them not to eat it while you then go about your business elsewhere; leaving the two of them alone. Someone always dies. Not really, but in this case the house was like our cupcake.
When we built up the courage, we returned to the property, entered the house, and scanned the property. There was plenty to see. The house itself was completely empty with exception of those items, but the land — grossly unattended — held some gems. There as a silo, a shack, and I had stumbled upon a bomb shelter. That is what we determined it likely was (I guess to this day I don’t know). The entrance was caved in some, but we investigated. Actually, I sent my little brother in to investigate first. In case there was a bear, or something, in there.
Everything checked out and I eventually dubbed it: The Black Tower. Now, this may have been a Wheel of Time reference. I just know it didn’t make sense, being it was an underground shelter. No one cared, though. All our friends (my friends) loved it! It became our secret hideout. One day me and some friends even managed to shove a couch — one we drove past that someone was getting rid of for free and we thought: that’s perfect! — down into the bowels of that shelter. That took a few hours involving digging out the entrance more. Once we got it in there, though, we celebrated with some ice-cold be... Kool-Aid... We celebrated with Kool-Aid.
To be honest, I wouldn’t go into The Black Tower alone. The entire property gave me the creeps. I think had we hung around there more we would have eventually encountered something menacing. Eventually, the house and shed/shacks were burned down, but The Black Tower remained. I imagine it is still there today.
While nothing paranormal happened there, it's those kinds of discoveries that fueled our adventures even further. In doing so, I came to find a location I found even creepier. In fact, with the occurrences and feelings I described at my Stanchfield House, this place gave off that same “evil” negative vibe.
The Hand House
So, our explorations expanded well beyond any close proximity of our house. One Summer, while walking down our dirt road we saw a driveway, but it was overgrown in between the tracks. Know what I mean? We decided to follow it (I believe I was again with my brother... this lack of memory is killing me). We happened upon another abandoned house. This one was larger than our neighboring one, and it looked a lot scarier. This may have been amplified because it was set back in the woods.
What I can’t recall (I’d have to ask my brother in hopes he was the one with me at the time) is if we entered the house at all. It was during the day, and — as you well know — that kind of thing really plays a huge role on determining such choices. What I do remember (skipping ahead a few months into Winter) is when some friends and I decided it would be fun to visit the house in the middle of the night. We believed it could be haunted and wanted to find out. There was a large group planned for this outing, but only two friends had arrived while the others said they wouldn’t be able to make it over until a lot later in the evening.
The three of us decided to do what any normal courageous trio in our position would do: we went alone. We geared up, grabbed a flashlight, and began the long trek to this new abandoned house. Along the way, we would hide in the ditch if seeing any incoming vehicles (for some reason this was a fun game we always played, whether in town or out in the country. It probably looked very suspicious). Once reaching our destination we began to transverse the unplowed driveway.
At this point in Winter there had been heavy snowfall, and the weather — being so cold — made it hard so you could essentially walk on it. You may sink in here or there, but overall it wasn’t too bad. As I said, it was set back into the woods; silent and ominous. Once it came into view, the closer we got the more afraid I became. That overbearing feeling of malevolence. The doorless entryway its gaping mouth welcoming us inside. The night was crisp, the moon sailed high, what better snack than three Vanilla Ice lovin’ punks given their pseudo courage a try?
Then we were upon it. Face to face, the entryway just feet ahead. One of my friends stopped and began to have second thoughts. I was definitely on board with that! It wasn’t too late to turn back, besides it was a really decrepit house and could be too dangerous in the dark. But our other friend... he wasn’t having any of it. He was more of the skeptic type and he had just come all the way out to this house; he was going in.
So, he took the lead and we lined up behind him and began to advance towards the house. Then the flashlight began to flicker some. We paused, waiting, and it stopped. Nervous laughs were shared and the advance began anew. Three feet from the entrance... Two... The flashlight began flickering again. At this point, my friend and I were good to go, but the other was persistent. He slapped the flashlight and it regained its full strength.
One foot away, nothing but our footfalls scrunching in the snow betraying the silence. The voice in my head telling me: this is a bad idea. We came to the doorway and our friend scanned the inside with the light. Obviously there was nothing, but it was an excuse to pause again. Then he took a step past the threshold, the light began to flicker again, and we all stopped cold. He slapped it like before and it seemed it was going to work, but then it went dead.
We were alone in the entrance to this house in the moonlit night. And that was all it took, because then we were running. All of us, skeptic included.
Unfortunately for me I have always been a bit more heavier set. Regardless of having decent leg strength from biking everywhere, I was still behind the others. I would be the first to die. Worse? That hard snow you could walk on? It must not have a fat boy running protection clause, because each step left me knee-deep in snow.
Another thing I learned that night, is when you are falling knee-deep into hard snow... it cracks. Not sure how best to explain this, but it seems to literally crack like a crevice tearing open during an earthquake or something. With each pounding step, the snow would crack and release a deep crackling sound that filled the dead of night (along with maybe our screams, but we won't talk about that). It sounded like you were being chased. I was going to fucken die by god knows what.
Dear non-existent diary, I hate Twinkies. They have killed me.
To be honest, all I could think of was getting the hell out of dodge. Eventually we made it back to the main road and booked it even farther, until we could no longer run. Half way back to my place we laughed about it all. How we were a bunch of chicken-shits. A car was spotted and we barreled into the ditch, once again enjoying ourselves.
Once in the ditch the flashlight suddenly turned on and we all just stared at it. If it wasn’t my ex step-father’s I would have been fine just leaving it there in the ditch for eternity.
Our other friends showed up and we told them about everything that had happened, so we planned to venture there again the next day; during the day. They tried hard to convince us to go back that evening, but our courage was tapped out.
When we went back in the daylight to investigate, we discovered handprints all along the walls leading up the staircase to the second story. These were little kids handprints and it gives me the chills just thinking about it. I assume they were made with paint, but who knows. I try not to think about it.
This is why I dubbed it: The Hand House
The name stuck ever since.
It was a lot less scary during the day and with ten people, but I never went back at night again. Back again, period, for that matter. Some of my friends did after watching The Blair Witch Project in which a similar house (with similar handprints) was featured. They brought some of our female friends out there to scare the hell out of them after the movie. Mission accomplished.
I waited a while before watching the movie. A few years actually. The scene still gets to me, because of how similar it is to that house (which I heard was eventually burned down sometime after I moved out of the Stanchfield House). I can’t help but wonder what the history of the house was. Can’t help but wonder what we may have experienced had we decided to stay that night in complete darkness.
I can’t help but wonder why the fuck I never stopped eating Twinkies.
Here is a clip featuring the house in The Blair Witch Project. By now, if having interest, I’m sure you’ve seen it. If not, this is towards the end of the movie and if you’ve no interest in spoilers just avoid:
Please... there will be no questions at this time... Thank you :)