This was *my* halloween costume. I wore it EVERY year. When I outgrew this one I wore my sisters.

Before I even start…yes, I know that I spelled Indie wrong. It’s a spin on Indie and Indiana Jones. Which is hilarious because not only was Indy an adventurer but an archaeologist. Guess, what Lori went to college for? Yep, Anthropology. While I don’t consider myself an adventurer and I definitely don’t consider Mr. Jones an archaeologist. I did have my fair share of spooky happenings as a kid though. Mainly because I was a mischievous child with bad friends. Basically, if you told us to stay away from anything the first thing we were doing when your back was turned was going into it. We frequented graveyards and actually spent a fair amount of time playing in them. Gasp….

As I got older my fascination with the spooky and strange hasn’t lessened. I recall a few particular events of my childhood that I am going to tell you about. I’ll try to keep them interesting.  As a child we always went to my Aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. She lives in the super small town of Sandyville, Ia. Down the road from her house was the town graveyard, and after Thanksgiving, Christmas and even Easter dinner you could usually find my sister, myself and our friends that we brought with us, in it. I recall one time when we were going to show a friend our favorite headstone. It read:

“Pause my children as you pass by, for as you are now so once was I, So as I am now, so you will be, prepare for death and follow me’. Unknown author and unknown name on stone.

Even though it was broad daylight we could always make ourselves freaked out. We were after all children of a horror geek (my mom let us watch scary movies). This was shortly after Pet Sematary came out so we kept repeating lines from that movie. “Sometimes, dead is better” and getting in each others faces asking if “You ok, Lewis.”  and my all time favorite “Raaacchhheelll”. We quickly got to the graveyard we rounded the bushes and entered. Not wanting to ruin our adventure we didn’t go straight to the headstone but explored. As we are walking I see flashes of something brown inbetween the headstones. I figure it must be a newly dug grave. We slowly make  our way to the opposite side of the cemetary and round an extra tall stone when we all see it. A large body is laying across a grave. It has a bullet wound and is covered in blood. After much screaming and dramatics, the bravest aka the youngest (me) was tasked to go investigate the dead body. I pick up a stick and poke it. Losing my nerve I take off back to my Aunt’s house with the crew in tow. We enter the house in chaos, yelling and shouting about the gruesome sight we had just witnessed. We begged them to go look and do something. But being adults they just didn’t see any reason to go get the body. Afterall what good would it be. Who knew how long it had been sitting there. Surely the meet was no longer fresh. I am sure by now you have figured out that the dead body was that of a deer. Not really a haunting story but nevertheless that image still haunts me to this day.

Our next foray into the world of spook came not that much later. Our parents best friends and their children had moved into an old farm stead out on Green Hill (which is home to one of two of Knoxville’s local graveyards). We had never been out to this house yet and were excited to have the woods and a large yard to play in. It was a warm summer evening and we were ready to be up to no good. Upon pulling into the gravel drive we were delighted to see a large barn, chicken coop, and confinement. All in pretty good shape and thankfully (although this would not have been a concern to us as children) free of meth labs. (In Iowa in this day and age there is no way I would let my child go exploring in any abandoned barns…not just because of structural integrity but who knows what has been going on in those things.) I digress. As soon as we exit the car, we are expressly forbidden to enter said goldmines of trouble making. Because the house is rented and the landlord doesn’t want us in there.

Of course, this just makes our impending conquest of them all that much sweeter. We play outside for a while with their children as our parents shoot the breeze. Waiting, ever patiently, for them to retire to the house for some Old Milwakuee’s and a game of, as we called it, Poop on Your Neighbor. I am sure they played more than that game but honestly when I was younger than ten anything with a cuss word in it was awesome.

In no time at all the parents enter in the house with one last warning. “Do Not go into those barns”. “Uh huh”. “Yep” No ma’am”. They should have known we were up to no good by  how agreeable we were being. After, the coast was clear, we entered the chicken coop first. Finding it pretty bland and boring we exit and go to the gem. The cream of the crop a huge giant barn. With horse stalls and a hay lift. In no time at all we are inside and exploring. Opening stalls and just running amuck. We soon find the corridor with a door at the end. My sister, being the oldest and tallest is the first to discover it is a room. The room contains a couch, an endtable, and a writing desk. On the end table is a book and a pair of  women’s sunglasses. On the desk a lamp and some paper. All covered with dust. All old fashioned and all left exactly as they were who knows how long ago. Now in the mind of  children who have seen too many scary movies…our gears start whirl. Why is this stuff here? Why was it just abandoned like this? Where is this woman, and who was she? Why did the owner not want us in there? “Oh my god he killed her. This barn is haunted.” Suddenly we hear our names being called. It had started getting dark out. The room had a window that let in a little bit of the twilight in but the hall of stalls was not very well lit. In a drafty old barn in a dark hallway. Having discovered the mysterious room. And being already freaked out about being in trouble. Our panic goes into overdrive. Every creak in the hall is her, every draft of wind is a breath on our face. We run pressed up against the stalls. As we are nearing the end we all look up for some reason. Right above our heads is a tuft of brown hair sticking out of the stall door. Could it be hers? Was this the site of her murder and her husband forgot to clean all the evidence. We scream and bolt as quickly as we can out of the barn. We run into the open arms of our parents. We run straight into a round of spankings. Not only were we scared out of our minds but we were in BIG trouble. To this day this is still one of my fondest memories of growing up. I really wish to go back to that old farm someday and see if” the mystery ladies” book is still there waiting for her to pick it back up. Got any spooky stories that you want to share! I love a good real life ghost tale!

My recommendations for this week: Rhiannon Fraters’: Last Bastion of the Living and Ransom Riggs’: Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Lori's Indie Reviews

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween!!!! Me and my big sissy circa 1993. Hard to believe those cute faces could get into any trouble. Huh?