Hallowe’en.

erikjohnsonhires-adapt-1900-1

The name of the first one was Sadie.

That would have been sometime during the Civil War, probably around 1863. There was a story that some Confederate troops on their way back from Vicksburg had taken the family hostage. When Sadie’s parents heard the news of some stragglers heading towards their home, her father had made them all take shelter in the cellar. It was said that the ‘Feds took the family hostage to ensure their own safe passage back to the South. Now here’s where it gets kind of weird. When they caught the runaways, they had the mother, father and son James in their custody. The troops swore that there was no one else down there in the cellar. Maybe Sadie escaped, maybe she was killed, maybe she’s still down there.

The second one was known as Robert.

Just before the USA joined the Great War in Europe, there was a family called Collins who had lived in the house since the 1880s. The son – called Robert – when he was about 6 or 7 first went down to the cellar to play. When his mother asked him one day who he was talking to, he gave the reply: ‘why, I’m talking to my friend, Sadie.’ His mother put it down to his imaginary pal. Robert’s father joined up with the American army and headed to France to help on the war front. Robert was so upset that he sat at nights looking from his bedroom window, and waiting on his father to return. One cold winter’s evening Robert went down to the cellar to talk to Sadie and was never seen again. The story in the town was that, Robert, being heart-broken, had runaway to see his father.

In the late 1950’s, a father and his twin boys had rented the house for several months. The place had gained a name locally as being spooky and no one had lived in it since the thirties.

The twin boys, Gregor and Eugene, had taken to playing English soccer in the basement. They had painted goals at either end and would spend hours down there. One night when their father went down to tell them it was time for bed, all he found was a ball, and an empty room. Someone had scrawled on the wall in red – ‘Sadie loves Gregor’.

The father was blamed for their disappearance. It was known that he liked to drink and sometimes had a temper on him. The local folks said it was possible that the father had killed his boys. He was executed, February 1st, 1959 still claiming his innocence.

In 1977, a homeless man by the name of Seth, took shelter in the house. It had been derelict for several years by that time. Seth happened to pass another night at Seymour’s Farm, some ways down the track and mentioned to the farmer about the night he spent up at the house on the hill.

“Couldn’t get to sleep,“ he said. “’cause of them pesky kids.”

When the farmer said that no one local went there anymore, Seth was having none of it, and assured the man that local children were using the house to play in.

Around the new millennium, the house was bought by a family that had come from out West. The mother and father both worked for a big new pharmaceutical plant that had come to town. They had seen nothing that they liked in town and decided to buy the old shack on the hill and turn it into a family home. It took them all of 8 months to get the place the way they liked. In that time, they lived in a mobile home on-site.

Sometimes at night, and while the house was still being rebuilt, their middle daughter, Angel, who still pined for her home back West, would take a walk around the new home. The night before she disappeared she told her elder sister that she was 100% sure she had heard a racoon or something in the basement of the new house. When she went down, there was nothing much to show except for a few scratches on the wall. The following evening, Angel went for her usual evening walk and never returned.

Given the fact that they were sitting pretty comfortable money-wise, the family expected a ransom note or something similar to materialise – it never did. Heartbroken, and without their Angel, they moved back West for good.

So this Hallowe’en, me and some of the kids from town have decided to throw a party up at the house. We’re all going as folks from the past. One girl is going as Sadie, me and my brother are going as Eugene and Gregor. One or two of the girls are going as Angel.

I just thought I’d let you know.

I’ll also let you know how we get on.

 

bobby stevenson 2016

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