Spooky October 5 – The Hainted House

Blind Pig & The Acorn's Spooky October 

This Spooky October entry comes from Dave Tabler over at Appalachian History.

This is the story of the hainted house down by Mrs. Grundy’s house.

Well children, I’ll begin the evening of the quilting bee. When John and me was first married, the married women of the neighborhood all belonged to a club called the Quilting Bee. They met the first week after we’s married and invited me to join the club.

Well, I went to the Quilting Bee and all met at Mrs. Shutt’s, Aunt Mary as everybody called her. She lived in the house that is called the Hainted House now. This was one winter evening and Aunt Mary had a great big fire in the fireplace. We was sitting around the fire piecing quilt tops as fast as fingers could fly. The talk was flying thick and fast as fingers, or faster.

Then Granny Tucker began to talk about secrets. Granny Tucker said, “No one ever kept a secret all their lives without telling hit,” and she said if one person ever knowed anything that nobody else knowed that they always told one other person, at least, before they died.

Well, Aunt Mary rose and said, “I don’t believe this, for I have kept a secret all of sixty-five year without telling hit.”
We hushed and listened to her. Everybody knowed she was wanting to say something special.

“This,” Aunt Mary went on to say, “is my secret. All you kind people remember my good husband Tom, and have wondered why he left me to make a living alone. The fact is he never left me at all. He is still here—right in this house. Fact is Tom is in this very room.”

At this the women looked nervousness around. Aunt Mary never cracked a smile. She waited a second and then went on. “No, don’t look, for you can’t see him. He hain’t alive. He is dead, for I killed him with my own hands sixty-five year ago. I have kept my secret for sixty-five year, and if it wa’n’t for you—“ pointing at Granny Tucker, “I wouldn’t have never told it. Oh, well, it makes mighty little difference anyway. I may as well tell you the rest of it.

“Tom come in one night—the very night he disappeared—and told me he was tired of living here and wanted to move west. I didn’t want to go, and then Tom told me he had a good bit of money saved. I didn’t know he had. Well, he said it amounted to about a thousand dollars in all. I was already mad, and I became very angry when he told me this. I decided, with the place and that money, I could do without Tom purty well, and before Tom knowed what I was doing I grabbed the poker and hit him over the head. He fell, and I bent over and found he was dead

Tom had been working on the fireplace and I put him in the opening that was there, and I finished the fireplace, a little at a time. Some of you know I went to my sister’s and stayed after I told that Tom had left me, and by slipping back and fixing a little at a time I soon had Tom sealed in. He is there now. If you don’t believe me, you can open the fireplace and see for yourselves.”

The tale broke up the Quilting Bee, and the women went home and sent their husbands back to find if what Aunt Mary told was true. Part of the men dug out around the fireplace and tore it down, and sure enough, there was a man’s bones behind the jamb rock. The law come to take Aunt Mary away but when they begun to look for her they found she was gone. Finally, they found her dead in the attic. She died the night she told her secret.

People tell now that you can hear Aunt Mary and Tom fussing about midnight if you will go and stand outside the house. No one will live there now. It is believed that the house is hainted.

"The Hainted House," from South from Hell-fer-Sartin: Kentucky Mountain Folk Tales, compiled by Leonard W. Roberts, Univ of Ky Press, Lexington, KY, 1955

I'm glad Dave found the old haint story-it reminds me of The Ballad of Frankie Silver-although in my opinion Frankie didn't come out of her mess as well as Aunt Mary did.

Tipper

p.s. Many of you asked if I had a bottle tree-I don't but I'd like to have one. Malcolm-a native Appalachian who now resides in Thailand sent me a photo of his bottle tree-

Why have a Bottle Tree

he said the locals think the bottle tree is strange-I think it's neat that he has taken the custom with him to his new homeland.
 

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Stacey
    October 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    That is a great story. I can understand how something like that just might happen.

  • Reply
    Mary
    October 25, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Tipper,
    This is a great story for this time of year. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Marie
    October 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Had a ball reading this to my middle daughter. Don’t call CPS on me. . . .
    I remember a haunted house in NC in my youth, want to say it was the governor’s mansion but that doesn’t seem right.

  • Reply
    Fencepost
    October 24, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Great story, Dave. That is a true campfire story.
    And I think it’s great that Malcolm adds some of his Appalachian heritage to his home so far away.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    October 24, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Tipper: That was a neat spooky story for halloween.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 24, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Sounds to me like she had a pretty good idea, if she could have just kept her mouth shut. lol!

  • Reply
    CheE
    October 23, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Wow, what a great story…I read it as if I cud hear hur readin it!
    Forgive my attempt at sounding like the hillbilly I am in person 🙂
    I am about to read your bottle tree post, and am wondering how it all got started, and what it means…

  • Reply
    Janet
    October 23, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    That was a spooky tale. It had me reading til the end.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    October 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Tipper,
    This is a great story and I enjoyed reading it very much. Thanks for posting it. I hope everyone has a super Halloween.

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    October 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    love this story. The book is excellent too; my copy is quite dog-eared.
    I have a bottle tree! You can see it on my blog at http://grannysu.blogspot.com/search/label/blue%20bottle%20bush

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    October 23, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I enjoyed how it was written in the language Granny Tucker spoke! The tale reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat, although as you mention, Tipper, it has a tamer ending!
    A thrilling piece, indeed! :))

  • Reply
    Mary
    October 22, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Neat story! Kinda creepy to read so late at night!

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    October 22, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    Good story and very well told.
    I know many of Tipper’s readers enjoy reading Richard Chase’s “The Jack Tales” which contains stories set in Appalachia, especially around the Beech Mountain, Avery County area. One of the best halloween (Witch) stories I know is told as “Sop Doll” in Chase’s book. One can question the use or overuse of mountain idiom and vernacular by Chase and how much he embellished stories he said he was told by Beech Mountain people but I don’t think anyone can deny the fun found in reading The Jack Tales, especially at Halloween time.

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    October 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    What a good story. But Granny Tucker was right. Aunt Mary told her secret before she died and didn’t carry it with her…
    The first time I saw a bottle tree was at an artist’s friends home. She had collected or saved the blue bottles that some kind of drink came in and put them on the branches of a scabby little old tree in her garden that was dead but had an interesting shape. To everyone’s surprise after showing no sign of life for two years the tree started to form leaf buds so she took off all the bottles and the tree leaves came on and it was still growing when she sold the place a couple of years ago.

  • Reply
    Sheila
    October 22, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    This was an excellent story. Can you imagine keeping a secret that long? I couldn’t a done it. Please tell Granny thanks for mr.

  • Reply
    olecrowsnest_nan
    October 22, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks for the great ghost story! My daughter and I really enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Farm Chick Paula
    October 22, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    That’s freaky! I wonder if Aunt Mary knew she was going to die that night?

  • Reply
    Rick
    October 22, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    All of these spooky stories you been sharing with us all would go real good while sitting around a campfire at night sipping cider.

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    October 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Cool story!

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