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Three Generations Of A Haunting


I'm not sure where to even start, really. My story is really my family's story, starting with my great-grandparents and ending when my mother, stepfather, and I moved out of the house where everything happened. I suppose the best place to start, is with the beginning, some time in the 40's.

My great-grandfather was originally from TN, as was my great-grandmother, but he was in the navy during WWII and was stationed at several different posts. Chicago, Hawaii, and if I recall correctly a short stint in California. It wasn't until he was released from service that he and my great-grandmother bought the house they raised us all in. I'll disclose their first names only, because I'm not terribly creative and they sound made up anyway. Etheredge and Opal were young, and they wanted a house with bedrooms for children, and a large yard.

What they found was a three bedroom home for a steal, with a back yard facing an alley and no garage or driveway. Opal was fine with that, up until she passed of old age in 2002 she'd never driven a day, but Ethredge was adamant they have a driveway. In the end, Opal won out and they put in a inground pool. The pool lasted all of six months, and any time it was brought up, Opal would get furious, and end the conversation. It was one of many things they never wanted spoken of.

They were incredibly religious, Southern Baptists to the core, and they wanted it reflected in their home. Their bedroom had door into the hallway, but to insure that there was no undue temptation past the making of a child, Ethredge knocked out part of the bedroom wall, so it opened freely into the kitchen. I firmly believe this was what started my family's nightmare. Soon after the wall was removed, Opal gave birth to their only child, Ethredge Jr, forever known simply as Junior.

Opal announced they would never have another child immediately, and Junior was given what was always referred to as the "back bedroom".The name made no sense to any of us, as it was next to the front door, but that's what it was, so no one fought Opal on it's name.

When he was roughly a year old, Opal's sister, Polly, moved in with her husband. Here is where the family lore, as we call it, really gets going. There is a rather large split in the family, or there was, as a good deal of the people involved have since passed away, about what exactly happened to my Uncle, who's name I never learned.

He died in Opal and Etheredge's bedroom. Now, this was the late forties, no later than 47 if my math is right, so the police work was very open and shut. The coroner, and a good deal of the family, say he had a heart attack. Opal and Polly, who had been home with him at the time of his passing, vehemently denied this, going so far as to start at least one fist fight with a distant cousin.

Opal, until her dying days, would say he drowned. She talked about him building a fire in the front bedroom, putting his head up to make sure the chimney wasn't blocked, and then coughing up what look like lake water. She insists they laid him down on her bed to get him out of the room, and by the time she had 911 on the phone, he'd drowned. Polly corroborated the story, saying he was fine, then choking on water like his head had been dunked.

It was still ruled a heart attack. After his funeral, Polly moved out and never set foot in the house again. Ethredge boarded up the fireplaces, one in each bedroom, and then in a move he never explained to anyone, he painted over all three mirrors set in the mantle pieces. As a child, I remember vividly getting the snot knocked out of me for scratching the paint off. It was repainted that night, and we never spoke of it again. Painted mirrors, however, were not the only oddity of the house. After Junior grew up and moved out with his wife, my grandmother who never had much to do with the house, another bit of renovation took place. The two children's bedrooms were connected by a knocked out wall, in the same way that the master bedroom was opened to the living room. This made things escalate.

In the 60's, Junior and his wife, my grandmother, went through a nasty divorce, and in the shuffle my mother and my aunt came to live with Opal and Ethredge. Rose was roughly six, and Mary was around ten, and they were assigned bedrooms, and asked to help Ethredge lower the ceiling. They found the rafters burned, as though there was an intense fire. After checking, they found there had been a house there that had burned down, but their home had never caught fire. Nonetheless, the attic was sealed off.

It took six months, roughly, for Rose and Mary to be woken up in the night. Knocking on the walls, cold air from the closets, something scratching in the fireplace, and perfume permeating the entire house when Opal never wore such things. The worst came in the form of dreams of some unseen thing at the end o the hallway.

Rose had dreams, at least once a week, where she and two other children were in the back bedroom. They could run across the hallway and be safe in the master bedroom, but they had to be careful to stay unseen by the thing in the hallway. It wasn't until my adulthood that she discovered I had the same dream. We never discussed the house, or it's otherworldly inhabitants, so it shocked us both.

The front door had to be replaced six times over the years, from slamming open, starting when Rose was thirteen. It would hit the wall so hard, the wood would crack. One day, while the girls were at school, at an unspecified time, every window in the house was nailed shut, the countersinks cut, and the seams painted over. No reason was ever given.

Things often vanished and reappeared in bizarre places, cabinets would refuse to stay closed, and the hallway would frighten visitors to the point oftentimes no one would be willing to venture further than the kitchen. By the time I was born, the family had accepted that whatever was happening in the house was simply never to be spoken of.

I lived in the house from the time I was born, in 1989. As a small child, I was utterly terrified of the small closet in the back bedroom, despite my bed resting against it. It always had a chilling breeze from under the door, and I could hear a creaking, slow noise from inside it most nights. Junior had remarried, and I had two aunts close to me in age, so we inevitably became close as children.

The dream I later found I shared with Rose is one of my first memories. We were huddled, waiting to cross the hallway. He couldn't see us, but we had to be so, so careful. One girl crossed. Then a second. Then it was me. They assured me I was safe. He couldn't see me. And I started crossing. He DID see me, and every time I would wake screaming. The most frightening thing about the dream was the utter absence of anything at the other end of the hallway. Whatever we hid from, was completely unseen.

During the day the house was always unwelcoming. The back bedroom was chilling, even in full daylight. The hallway would inexplicably play a radio station from Nashville in the fifties, always the same program. Faint, but present the most in the summer. The covered back porch held a special kind of menace that made me uneasy, and the screen door was often slamming late into the night, despite there being no wind.

Opal died when I was nine. She passed quietly. At the time, I lived alone there with her and Ethridge, and after her passing, it was only the two of us. I took to sleeping on the couch. In the doorway to the hall from the living room, there was something that would stare at me. I never saw anything resembling a figure, but I knew, down to my bones, that there was something in that doorway, and it hated me.

I lived there with him until he passed when I was thirteen, my mother and stepfather having moved in when I was twelve to help me take care of my aging great-grandfather. After his funeral, we were gone in a month, never to return. So much more happened, things I'm unsure if I have the fortitude to talk about. Entities I did see with my own eyes, and even some things I found out about the lands history.

I'm more than happy to answer questions, or give more specific details, I'm just trying to get the bulk of this out before I lose my nerve. I'm thirty this year, and I'm still deeply affected by that house.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Aikia_Gruesome, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1091 posts)
5 years ago (2019-07-05)
Thank you, Augusta. 😊

LuciaJacinta (8 stories) (291 posts)
5 years ago (2019-07-05)
I also liked this story and would like to know more. Somehow I missed it the first time it was published awhile ago.

Wow, never thought of looking up obits like that. Neat.

I agree that its a convoluted tale but still interesting.

There could be a plausible explanation for the coughing up of water. I've heard stories of kids "dry" drowning. It's a type of delayed drowning that happens earlier in the day and a few hours later the water they swallowed earlier drowns them

My thought though there may have been some mental illness on someone's part in the family when you say stuff like the mirrors painted and you came to find the windows nailed shut and etc... Perhaps they were just eccentric or were actually seeing some spirits I don't know. But interesting story. Really would like to hear either way if it's made up or not.
AugustaM (7 stories) (996 posts)
5 years ago (2019-07-05)
Great sleuthing, Biblio! I am sure there is info out there to dig up but I will stay my shovel until we hear back from the OP. I found their account to be very engaging and would love to hear more particularly about the entities that they saw and the history of the land.

Hope to hear from you, Aikia and welcome!
MrsRizzo2429 (4 stories) (93 posts)
5 years ago (2019-06-12)
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it a lot! You wrote it Nicely. That house sounds very scary wow! I hope you will share more when you feel ready:) please keep us posted if anything paranormal happens even outside of that house. All the best. Mrs R
Bibliothecarius (9 stories) (1091 posts)
5 years ago (2019-06-04)
Greetings, Aikia; welcome to YGS.

First, your narrative was quite engaging, if a little erratic in "narrative flow." There are some problems with dates & details, as lady-glow asserted in her 1st post. That said, I recently wrote a brief obituary for my grandfather; I made 2 errors that had to be changed, but I had been under the impression that it was 100% correct because I'd misunderstood those two details for decades. There is a likelihood that the facts have become distorted, as Caz's suggests, "a bit like Chinese Whispers" (or "The Telephone Game" in American parlance).

I had a very brief look around on-line, where I discovered the obituary for the *daughter* of "the late Opal and Etheridge," in the Jackson Sun newspaper from Tennessee. This obit also mentions her brother who had died at an earlier date. I'll readily admit that Birth & Death records aren't my area of expertise, but I was looking around to validate that Opal and Etheridge had indeed been married and lived in Tennessee. The apparent discrepancy in the number of offspring *may* have something to do with the split in your family, etc.

I think Augusta's better at historical research in State Records than I am; she may be able to offer some advice in finding out more about your ancestry. As for me, I am satisfied that I found some evidence to support the initial data of your experiences.

Caz (342 posts)
5 years ago (2019-06-03)
Hello Aikia and welcome to YGS!
Yes, I too found your story interesting if a bit muddled, but you did kind of warn us when you said "I'm not sure where to even start, really."
It seems to me that these stories have been passed down by word of mouth through the generations and if that's the case, a bit like Chinese Whispers, things can get muddled. Lady-Glow is of course right about 911 and that's a question you're unlikely to be able to answer, so don't worry about it! Nobody is calling you a liar here.
Personally, I'd like to hear about the things you mentioned that you, yourself have experienced, so please do come back and tell us!
RSAChick (115 posts)
5 years ago (2019-06-03)
I enjoyed this story and had no problem following it.
Hope you come back to clear up the inconsistencies regarding your timelines.
BeautInside (3 stories) (326 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-31)
Hi Aikia,

"I lived there with him until he passed when I was thirteen, my mother and stepfather having moved in when I was twelve to help me take care of my aging great-grandfather."
So 2 responsible adults moved in to help a child take care of na elderly great-grandfather? I could take it if your mother and step-father moved in to care for your great-grandfather and a you, a 12 year old at the time, would help them. Not the other way around... Besides the oddness pointed out by Lady-glow and Haven, there's this.
There's a lot of explaining to do in my opinion.

Take care.
Haven (20 stories) (307 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-28)
Hi, Aikia

I agree with Lady-glow. I found your story hard to follow. Maybe it's because you give too many details that do not seem to be relevant to the story. I'm lost as to what you're trying to get at with the drive-way and the pool they had for six months. What was the deal with painting the mirrors?

So, Rose was your aunt and Mary was your mother? How is it that you ended up living alone with your great-grandparents? Did your parents just leave you there?

I'm sorry, I mean no disrespect, but I found your story to be all over the place.
lady-glow (16 stories) (3158 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-28)
I did the unthinkable and finished reading this story to the end... I find it hard to follow and got confused about some of its 'facts'.

"Opal...passed of old age in 2002"

"I lived in the house from the time I was born, in 1989."

"Opal died when I was nine." seems like your math isn't helping to make your story credible.🤔

You and your family were lucky that Social Services didn't deprive your ageing grandparents of your care, being so young it must have been hard for you too juggle such a demanding responsibility with school and being a kid.
lady-glow (16 stories) (3158 posts)
5 years ago (2019-05-27)
O...K...A...Y - I couldn't keep on reading after the following statements:

"this was the late forties, no later than 47 if my math is right"
" and by the time she had 911 on the phone, he'd drowned."

In November 1967, the FCC met with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) to find a means of establishing a universal emergency number that could be implemented quickly. In 1968, AT&T announced that it would establish the digits 9-1-1 (nine-one-one) as the emergency code throughout the United States."


I will appreciate if you clarify the previous part before giving any opinion.

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