If I was asked which room of the old home place was the most haunted, without question it would be the old dining room. Although strange and inexplicable things happened in other areas of the house, they didn't leave you with the icy feelings you got from the old dining room. I have already told of one incident; I will now relate the rest of what I remember.
My personal experiences with the room are few because that part of the house was torn down when I was eight or nine years old. I do remember that we younger kids were terrified to even walk past the doorway -WE RAN. We wouldn't go into the dining room unless Mom or Dad was in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, the old dining room was where they would hide our Christmas presents- they knew we wouldn't snoop in there.
I remember the room stayed so cold that we used it as a refrigerator. One day Mom made some Jell-O and put it on the table in the dining room to "set-up". After supper was over, she went to get the Jell-O for dessert and discovered a man's handprint in it- like someone had stood with their hand in it and waited for it to gel, leaving a print. Another time Mom had baked a pie and set it on the dining room table to cool and when she went to put it on the table (I need to point out that we didn't eat in the dining room, we ate in the kitchen) it had been mutilated. It looked like someone took their hands and stirred it around and around.
We didn't use the dining room to eat in; we used it as a refrigerator, storage room and as an extra bedroom. There was many a time that we would be sitting in the kitchen or living room and all hell would break loose in the dining room. It would sound like someone was trying to trash the place. After a few minutes things would get quiet and when you checked the room, it would be a mess - empty honey cans thrown about the room and a lot of stuff that had been put away, strewn about the room.
I can recall how the door would lock by itself. It had an old-fashioned turn type lock; all this consisted of was a short 2x2 piece of wood with a nail in the center- like the latches on an outhouse. I would imagine that the only reason for putting a latch on the door was because it was also used as a bedroom- some measure of privacy while changing clothes. At times when Mom was busy cooking she would send one of us kids to the dining room to fetch something for her. We would go to get it and the door would be locked, she would tell us to just wait a few minutes and go back- we would and when we went back the door would open, easy as pie.
A story my Mom use to tell us about the dining room involved her Dad spending the night, or should I say trying to. This happened in the late thirties or early forties, after Grandma died but before he remarried. My Grandpa [the same one that lived in Prudential] had been out squirrel hunting one evening, having killed him a few decided to go by Mom's and have her cook them for him. She fixed them and added them to what she already had fixed and they all sat down and had supper.
After supper they sat and talked, before they realized, it got dark. Since Grandpa didn't have a light with him, Mom talked him into spending the night. He could sleep in the old dining room. They all got settled in, said their goodnights and blew out the coal oil lamp and proceeded to go to sleep. About a half hour or so later Grandpa hollered at Mom and told her to please come and get the dog out from under his bed. He told her he couldn't sleep with it moaning and bumping around under his bed.
Dad got up, lit the lamp and went to check, while assuring Grandpa that there shouldn't be a dog in the house. They searched high and low and no dog was ever found. Grandpa refused to go back to bed, instead of spending the night; he got his shotgun and walked home in the dark. I reckon he told them that he would rather take his chances walking home in the dark than to spend the night with whatever it was in that room.
This is about all I can remember about the old dining room. I often think about it and wonder what it was that haunted it- I guess we'll never know for sure.