Well Haunted House
By Leo Doucet
I had never been there but one or two of the older fellows had, and they described the place in detail.The house on the property was empty, supposedly because it was haunted and no one wanted to live in it. The location was five miles from home along the CN Railroad branch line that runs from Dalhousie to the Junction. In those days a five mile walk was nothing . We would often walk that far in the woods that was on the edge of town in order to hunt squirrels with slingshots.
By noon the sun had come out and a while later we prepared to go. Now carrying a quantity of apples that distance on ones back is a chore. An empty feed sack or potato bag filled with apples is too heavy, but an empty pillow case is just the thing. Mom never understood why my pillow case at times could get so dirty. We all felt a little apprehensive about this mission because while we did not really believe the house was haunted we couldnít take the chance that it wasnít. We all had a plan in case some spooky thing was heard or seen. We talked and laughed along the way and it did not take long to cover the distance along the tracks.
We turned onto a narrow dirt road that crossed the tracks and about one hundred yards further on we arrived at the orchard. The apple trees were on the left side of the road and on the other side there stood the haunted house. We looked the place over carefully. It was quickly seen why the place was empty. Someone had started to build a new house but had not been able to complete it. The house had two floors with only the wood siding on and the roof completed. all the window openings were cut out but the windows had never been installed. There was a front and back door which were unlocked and partly open.
Not taking chances we cautiously approached the building. Some went in through the front door while others went in through the back. Inside there was a stairway leading to the second floor. Some partitions were in place and there were several piles of wood neatly stacked against the walls. The second floor was much the same, none of the walls or ceilings were covered. This floor also had building wood stacked along the walls but about six feet from the outside walls there was stacked all of the hardwood flooring for the entire house. These piles were about four feet high and piled a foot or so apart to allow, I suppose for drying.
The weathering of the wood on the outside of the house indicated there had not been any building activity for a long, long time. We knew that if anyone came along some of us might be trapped in the house so we prepared ourselves by placing some boards on top of the rafters and used the wood stacked along the walls to climb to this hiding place. We also decided that come what may,we would remain quiet in our hiding place where we would not be seen. We could however, to some degree, see outside through the window epenings.
We played around the house for a while making all kinds of noise and pretending we were the ghosts. Then someone shouted that a car was coming and everyone shot up the walls and onto the boards on the rafters. The car stopped at the front door of the house and we could hear some people talking. It was hard to avoid making noise and anytime anyone moved he was threatened with disaster by one of the older boys. I was very scared and lay on my stomach looking down through the cracks between the boards. It so happened that I was almost over the stairwell and could see the front door. After what seemed like a long time we heard the car door close then a man stepped inside the house. I could see him clearly. He looked around then went back to the door and asked the others to come in. Two girls in their early twenties cautiously entered. The man was telling them there was absolutely nothing to fear, it was broad daylight and there was no one here.
The tension above the rafters was reaching the breaking point. We nervously looked at each other while the oldest had one finger over his lips and was making gestures with his closed fist the meaning of which was unmistakable. One of the girls asked what was upstairs. The man said Nothing, then started up the stairs. That was the breaking point. Edgar Benoit jumped or fell from his perch and landed on the stacked hardwood flooring which upset the piles making a tremendous noise. Then almost everyone jumped down, adding to the bedlam and raced for the nearest window opening at the back of the house. Fright begets fright. Screams of terror were heard from downstair.Some of the younger boys were crying and screaming at the top of their voices. I was too scared to move but I did see the man with the girls screaming, making for the front door, I donít remember who got out first but in seconds they were in the car and on their way, over the tracks and out of sight.
We all went down to the first floor and after making sure there was no one around went outside. Of course each recounted how brave he had been. Some said that when Edgar jumped they thought it was the signal for all to get out as fast as possible. We all laughed the nervous laugh of the guilty and still talking about it we went about nervously filling our containers. We went back to the house and sat on the steps going over the event while eating some apples. Then someone pointed to where the car had been parked and in the tramped down grass we could see a ladies green shoe. After a while we left the place and arriving at the tracks we placed the shoe in between the rails. In the likely event they came back they would easily find it.
We knew the house was not haunted but Iím pretty sure the party in the car would have a different opinion. Dalhousie is a small town but not one of us could identify the car or its occupants. I would dearly love to hear the lady that lost her shoe tell her version of this true story.