A very long time ago in the Summer of 1966-67, we were visiting with my grandparents, and other family members that came in from Louisiana. My Uncle Eddy, and Aunt Rosemary came with six of their twelve kids for an overnight visit. We were there for a weekend hiatus also.
Of the six of the cousins, only two were about my age. Eddy Jr. Was just a year younger, while the eldest, Rosemary, was my age, twelve. We often would enjoy taking long walks along the beautiful country roads. My grandparents lived in a fairly rural region with lots of farms, and plenty of room between the houses. The nearest neighbor was half a mile away. So, those conditions afforded families relative privacy. It was very nice out there.
We wanted to go to a particular ice-cream parlor called Twin-Kiss, and we wanted to enjoy the walk there. Our parents forked out the money. A quarter each. Can you believe a dime, or a quarter for a decent sized ice-cream cone back then? It's true! Off on our much anticipated journey we went. It was a bit of a hike along a long paved road just outside of Ellwood City, PA., but it was pretty clear of traffic most of the time, and we'd pet the horses, or cows grazing along the sides of the fences as we went.
There was a very old abandoned mansion along the side, and set back a couple hundred yards from the road. It sat right across the street from a Dairy Farm.
We were always told by the local kids that that mansion was haunted. Of course, 'that' made us wonder. Wonder lead to curiosity. Curiosity lead to almost getting shot by a farmer. Allow me to explain.
We were on our way back from the ice-cream parlor, and had devoured our ice-cream cones. We were coming up on the mansion. I'm sure that, in it's heyday, it was a very beautiful building to behold. Rather like a smaller version of Tara from Gone With the Wind, if you can picture that. It was solid white, had four floors, a cellar, and was surrounded on all sides by a veranda-like porch with the main entrance in the middle of the porch. Very charming. However, the porch looked like it was about to collapse if anyone put their weight on it. Not wanting to take chances we managed to find an old laundry tub, turned it upside down, and stood on it to peer inside the house on the first floor.
From the little we could see it must've been very grand in it's time. We noticed some old Victorian furniture with the fancy upholstery, and intricate carvings on the arms, and legs. There was a lot of other furniture that was covered with sheets that were almost blackened from the dust, and grime on them. It was getting near dusk, and the outside light was diminishing slightly. While we were gazing in through the window, we heard a loud noise coming from the floor above. Possibly one, or two floors up. It sounded like someone pushing chairs out of the way, or dragging them along the floor. It alarmed us, and we jumped off of the wash tub, and started running away from the house. For some reason we all stopped, and turned around to see who, or what it was. We wanted to assure ourselves that whomever wasn't pursuing us. Really, that was rather stupid of us. We just should've kept running, but, like I said, curiosity took over.
As we stood there we noticed a bright light moving on the third floor of the mansion. It was moving like someone carrying a lantern, but we didn't see anyone 'carrying' it. Just the light. We were observing through the many broken windows. While we were just standing there, we were all very startled by a farmer coming up behind us with a shot-gun (Just to scare us. I don't believe he would've shot a bunch of kids.). However, he 'did' get our attention, to put it mildly. He yelled at us, and told us that his family 'owned' the mansion/property, and that we were trespassing. We apologized-extremely humbly, I might add-and informed him that there 'was' somebody that was already trespassing, and walking around in the upstairs of the house. We told him that we could see whomever it was carrying a lantern on the upper floor. He got a bit irate, and told us we must've been imagining things because the last member of his family died in there well over fifty-some years ago, and it's been empty ever since. He said there's no electricity on in there either. My two other cousins, and myself protested that 'we' were too old to be imagining things-one eleven year old, and two twelve year olds-right. We proclaimed that we 'all' saw it, and were watching it when he came up behind us. We must've been watching for about five minutes when he arrived.
He lowered his gun, much to 'our' relief. He said, rather sternly, that it was time for clarification. He went ahead of us, and asked us to follow him. He managed to 'walk' up on the front porch. Considering his size we didn't see how he felt sure it wasn't going to crumble under him, but he did. He told us it was alright to come up, and look inside. We, very gingerly, mounted the wooden steps, and peered inside on his urging. What we saw just knocked us off our feet. Yes, there was a huge set of stairs with a fancy banister going up, but the floors were gone. Rotted away. No one could walk up there because there 'weren't any' floors to walk on. Not to mention the stairs were partially rotted away as well.
We all went pale. He asked us if we were satisfied. We nodded our heads, apologized, and he escorted us out. He told us to go home, and not to trespass on his property in the future. He even apologized for alarming us with the gun. The gun was the last thing on our minds as we trekked back home to grandma and grandpa's. We were all discussing it rather excitedly, and 'trying' to make some sense out of what we saw.
However, we were stumped as to what happened. We all agreed not to mention it to our parents. Besides, who would believe a bunch of kids? That was 'our' logic at the time. We, secretly, talked about it for the remainder of the visit. Just 'what' did we witness? As for the owners of the property, and the mansion, they have erected an electric fence around the property behind which their dairy cows graze. On that fence is a big metal sign with a warning 'no trespassing'. To this day, that incident still has some of us scratching our heads. I welcome any, and all comments!