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Lying in State

History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern IllinoisFrom History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois by Bruce Cline.

I felt that familiar uneasiness in my stomach. The woman had just told me her father had laid in rest beneath those double windows. Those double windows where one of the encounters had occurred. I was a teen working at a local restaurant, and we were recounting ghost stories during a slow time. I discussed the house I had lived in until I was nearly 10 years old, only to find there may have been a very good reason for the stories.

Yes, I was young, but I remember some things about the house. I didn’t like being in the house alone, it didn’t feel right. I’m sensitive, suppose I was from birth, and that house triggered those odd feelings I get. In the basement, there was an old coal room, where coal was stored after being loaded through the coal shoot until it was needed for heating. The house had long been converted to natural gas, and the room was then used for storage. I didn’t like that room. Even with the light on, I would not go in that room. I remember standing at the doorway when Mom would be getting a box or some old toy we wanted, but I would not go in. I did not like that room.

I’ve heard many stories over the years about that house. My dad worked at a quarry, and came home covered in lime dust. He always came in the back door, heading straight down the basement stairs to the small shower stall to clean up before supper. One evening, Mom, my sister, and I weren’t home when he arrived. During his shower, he distinctly heard footsteps in the kitchen above, and he leaned out of the shower, calling for Mom, thinking we were home. No answer; because we weren’t there. When we did get home, I remember Dad telling Mom the story and was visibly shaken. Apparently, this wasn’t the only occurrence. Other instances included him hearing a ball roll down the basement steps and land, only to find there was no ball.

The story that shook me when the woman told me about her father’s wake involved one of my older brothers. While visiting one summer, he was asleep on a pallet on the floor under those double windows (we only had two bedrooms; one for my parents, the other for my little sister and I). He was awakened during the night to footsteps coming across the living room floor; very loud and distinct footsteps that stopped right at his head. When he looked up, no one was there. He covered his head with the sheet and slept fitfully the rest of the night. Slept fitfully under the double window where the woman’s father had laid in state many years before.

I have been told these are only a couple of stories of the many unusual and unexplainable events in that house. We moved when I was in the fourth grade. Once after we had moved, Mom was talking to our former neighbor who informed her that immediately after we moved, the ghost moved to their house. They had never experienced anything in their house before, and suddenly, they heard footsteps and had other weird occurrences. My mom recently spoke with the current resident of our former neighbor’s house who confirmed the ghost is still there.

Copyright Bruce L. Cline, 2014. You do not have permission to copy this post.

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