An Uninvited Guest

In Going Home Again, I talk about my childhood and the nomadic lives my family led for many years. By the time I graduated from high school, we had lived in at least fourteen different houses. Each was memorable in its own way, but the one that really made an impression was a little place in Lake Worth, Texas, where we lived during my seventh grade school year.

The place was nothing special. It was pretty much the standard size for a small family in those days. As I remember it, it looked a lot like it does in the picture above, which was taken in August 2021. In fact, it looked a lot like most of the houses we’d rented over the years. There was a difference, however.

The place was haunted. Okay, maybe not haunted in the movie sense, but there was definitely something strange about it. In some ways, it had the same weird noises and what have you as other frame houses in those days. There were the normal creaking floorboards, howling windows during a storm, and other phenomena people look for in a “haunted” house. Still, there were two things no one could ever explain.

When my brother and I slept in our mom and dad’s room, the first occurred. Dad worked odd hours and lots of nights in those days. Sometimes, we’d sleep with Mom when he was working late or overnight. That was always a cozy situation, as king-sized beds were not very common in our neck of the woods. Mom and my brother slept normally. Their heads near the headboard and feet toward the end of the bed.

I would sleep between them with my head at the foot of the bed. I slept face down, with my head hanging over the end of the mattress a lot of the time. As I was sleeping in this position, I would often be awakened by the feeling of someone’s hot breath on the back of my neck.

At first, I thought it was my brother pranking me, but he would have needed to be extremely stealthy or a ghost to move so quickly and quietly he could fool me and not wake our mom. Also, it could not have been a heating system or fan causing it, as this was in the 1950s. Central heat and air were not available.

Of course, we wrote the whole thing off as some sort of freak circumstance. Still, my brother and I started sleeping in our own beds, and things settled down to the normal eerie noises a 1950s frame home might make in the night. Then I had a visitor.

Dad was working late. Mom and my brother were in their beds, and I was sitting up trying to stay awake until Dad came home. I was in the living room watching what passed for late-night television in those days. Somewhere in the evening, but before the television stations signed off, the front door swung open.

I about came out my pajamas, not just the chair. I checked the door when I came into the room to watch television. It was closed tightly, though I did leave it unlocked, expecting my dad. However, no car pulled up in front of the house or in the driveway. No one knocked on the door or tapped the window to let me know they were coming in. The door just opened about halfway and stopped.

I looked at it for a moment waiting for Dad or someone to stick their head in and ask if they’d scared me. Instead, the door just remained open. There was no wind sound or anything else to explain why it opened.

Being the smart-aleck I was raised to be, I finally let my breath out in a huff and said, “Well! You could at least close the door!” Immediately, the door swung shut.

I jumped up. Went to the door, and it was firmly closed. Again there was no wind, no giggling friend with a string tied around a doorknob, or anything else. There was simply a door that apparently opened on its own and closed when I told it to.

To this day, I have not come up with a plausible explanation for that phenomenon.

© – 2022

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About S. Eric Jackson

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4 Responses to An Uninvited Guest

  1. Phil, got a bit distracted by winding up in the hospital for three days. Beginning to play catch-up now as i was not in any shape to write for those three days. Some strange sort of muscle pull or nerve problem in my lower back that just about incapacitated me for three and a half days. Having to do some low grade rehab now while the docs keep an eye on it. The good news was none of the scans or lab work showed anything serious involved or hiding out.

    North Texas is such a small world, even for those of us that mover around. I moved Denton after graduating from Arlington Heights a few years before you would have graduated. Moved back to Fort Worth after I met a Pachal girl who graduated the same year I did. Our folks knew each other and we had some mutual friends, but we’d never met. Take care!

  2. Phil Strawn says:

    Yep, it was a haunted house. Be glad the spook was friendly. My grandmothers farm house in Santa Anna was haunted. She made no excuses about the arrangement, but told us the “haint” was mostly friendly, but mischievous. I heard so many outrageous stories about the ghost from my uncles that to this day my cousins and I have no idea why it was haunted. Lake Worth was a bit rural back in those days. Any experiences on Jacksboro Highway?

    • We spent a lot of time around the lake over the years. Only lived in Lake Worth during my 7th-grade year. Later ate some great meals at different places along the highway, but no fun times at any of the joints out there. Moved over near Carswell for the 8th-grade. I was a west side guy from then on, cruising Camp Bowie and just hanging out.

      • Phil Strawn says:

        I remeber Camp Bowie cruising. I lived on Ryan Ave just off Berry, and if we would have stayed in FW, I would have attended Paschal High. I moved to Plano in 63 and stayed there for 40 plus years. Born and raised in FW as were most of my family.

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