Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Neighbourhood Haunt

You see misfortune. We saw 'scaaaary'!
There was a haunted house in Milk River.
Haunted.
Really.
Demons lived there.
Witches.
Hags.
You name it. If it was slimy and scary, it had a residence in that house.
We children in the town skipped past on the far side of the street.
Even in broad daylight.
With our ears plugged and talking volubly, so as to drown out any and all noises that might escape that house.
Even so, I'm sure that, on two occasions, I heard screams.
And no, they didn't come from me.
Sheesh.
At one time, Milk River's haunted house had been just another normal, ordinary, rather elderly little home.
Situated about half-way down the block.
A family had lived there.
Mother. Father. Children.
But that was where the 'normal' part ended. At least that is what my friends had informed me.
One night, the mother had asked her little boy to go down into the cellar to look for the family cat.
It was dark in the cellar. He had lighted a match to see more clearly.
And dropped it into a vat of kerosene.
What that was and why a vat of it would be sitting in someone's basement, I didn't know, but it sounded dangerous.
Suffice it to say that my facts really didn't hold well under scrutiny.
But I was four.
Who was scrutinizing?
I was too busy shivering in delight.
Moving on . . .
So the little boy dropped his match into the vat of kerosene.
It lit up like a huge torch.
The kerosene, that is.
He and his family barely got out alive.
No one knows what happened to the cat.
The family then disappeared.
Never to be heard from again.
Ooooooooo!
Actually, none of us really knew what happened to start the fire.
It was just one of those terribly unfortunate things.
The family moved away, maybe to a family member's house to regroup.
But reality wasn't as interesting to us kids as the stories we made up.
Once, a group of us actually sneaked into the house and got as far as the kitchen.
Standing in the center of the room was a partially-charred table, still covered with an equally-burned oilcloth and decorated with a bowl of blackened fruit.
We were horrified.
And ran from the house screaming.
I know, I know, intrepid explorers we weren't.
The house was eventually demolished.
Mainly to keep us kids from scrambling through it like some sort of ride in a carnival.
But even after another house had been erected and another family moved in, it remained the haunted house.
Where the family lived.
Before the fire.
And maybe they're there still.
Making noises and screaming at odd hours.
The four-year-olds in the neighbourhood would know.

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7 comments:

  1. Nothing like a good horror story to set you up for the day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To me, an abandoned house is one of the most melancholy things there is ... but I can see how a four-year-old could find it scary instead!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I lived in the "spy house on the hill." The house everyone wondered about and when I say everyone, I've met people on the beach in Akumal and in an office in Los Angeles who knew of my house! Haunted... ? Absolutely! Think I'll have to blog about his! Thanks, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  4. As a child I lived next door to a witch. We all knew it. Her house wasn't haunted, but she was most definitely a witch.
    The reality I discovered later, that she was sad and lonely, haunts me where her house couldn't.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh my, that scene in the kitchen scared even me. Brrrrrrr! Every neighborhood should have a haunted house.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love it! Once on vacation, my friends and I explored the back yard and house of a couple whose family after their death didn't seem to have touched a thing! It was a world stuck in time and it was divinely creepy and intriguing and fascinating! Thanks for this look back at the stories and creepiness so many of us enjoyed in our childhoods!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm one of those people who don't get spooked by stories like that. I would have explored that house from top to bottom. And had wonderful imaginary games in it.

    ReplyDelete

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