Old Ghosts…

Posted: August 9, 2011 in Horror, inspiration, supernatural suspense
Tags: , , , ,


It sat back about a hundred yards off the dirt road. Back in the edge of the woods.

Nobody had lived there for years and the house showed its decline in the tilt of the front porch. The yard choked with weeds, replete with the invisible footprints of things unseen and best unknown. The jagged glass fangs of its broken window panes and boards pulling away from the outer walls like a barrier barely able to hold what waited inside.

The old house sat its silent vigil, patiently watching the little farming town from the edge of the woods.

A half mile from our house.

They called it the Old Shaw Place and they said it was haunted.

“They” know things.

As kids, we were brave standing there at the end of the path that led to the sagging door. We stood back a respectable distance talking about what we would do if things were different.

“I’d go up there, but…”

“I’d go in right now except…”

“I went in there one night when you weren’t here…”

We lied to each other unchallenged because we all knew the truth. There was something in the house. Something born of a great evil as they say in the better horror novels. Something that wasn’t of this world. Something that would stay put only if we never ventured any closer than the far end of the path.

“They” said people died in the house. Horribly. They didn’t know the details.

And we didn’t ask. Just kept our distance and watched it watching us.

The Old Shaw Place.

It was on a fall day after I was old enough to drive and the halcyon days of youth were still within sight, but slowly fading in my rear view mirror, that I learned the truth. On a whim I drove out to see if the old house was still there. Just me, my first car, and a new-found sense of freedom.

I took the old road down to the side path and stopped. I’d never been any farther than this and the old barrier, invisible, created in the mind of childhood, was still there. Not as strong, but just as real.

I hesitated a moment, looked around, and took my first steps on the path that led to the house.

The Old Shaw Place.

The place where revenants and bloody demons dwelt.

As I came closer, the jagged glass fangs were little more than the remnants of windows shattered by rocks and .22 rifle bullets. The walls no longer strained to hold some supernatural horror. Now they simply struggled to bear their own weight. The yard, no longer the cavorting place of unspeakable Lovecraftian horrors, was just a neglected yard, fat with weeds and the encroaching tendrils of kudzu.

And in that moment I learned the house’s secret.

The ghosts that haunted that house resided, not in wood and glass, but in our minds. They were our creation. We owned them. And as long as we stood at the edge of the path, they owned us.

Thirty-five years later as I write these words I understand that I am not a profound man. But I know one profound thing.

The ghosts that haunt us are most often ghosts of our own creation.

  1. […] Old Ghosts… (thomassmithonline.wordpress.com) […]

  2. William Simkiss says:

    “Thirty-five years later as I write these words I understand that I am not a profound man. But I know one profound thing.

    The ghosts that haunt us are most often ghosts of our own creation.”

    And that’s when the spectral hand touched my shoulder …

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