by: Randy Stockton (C) 2004
Night winds blow across the land as people
are fast asleep
There are things that walk these lonely halls in
the dark so deep
Ghosts and their like are starting to stir
their footfalls I can hear
I catch a glimpse of their phantom forms
so I know they’re near
A chilling shiver runs down my spine as
I stay quiet as a mouse
Oh why, Oh why must I live here within
this haunted house
It is time for a good old Halloween spooky story, and I happen to have a few!
The following tales are true, no embellishment.
These events happened to my parents, my sister and I during the years: 1975-1977
Our family moved from Yorkshire, England to Scotland in 1975.
My parents had bought a run down 16th century cottage that used to be a school, and prior to that, a coaching inn. The cottage needed a lot of work. It was going to take quite a few years to get it into an inhabitable condition before we could move in. For this reason my parents secured a rental property a few miles away while we renovated it, it is from this location that this haunted story begins…
Even though I was only 7-9 years at the time, the incidents that happened in this house are indelibly imprinted on my mind. I witnessed a once in a lifetime experience that was so strange, the memories have stood up to the passage of time, for me, and the rest of my family members. So grab a cup of hot cocoa, or a large glass of wine, curl up with your laptop next to a roaring fire, (or turn up the AC if you are in texas, before lighting the fire!) turn down the lights, and I will begin my recollection in the most evil and sinister voice I can muster…
Fortunately for this eerie story, the name of the house we rented, was as strange as the events that we participated in, inside of it. “Outerlands” was remote, and I mean a remote house situated on the edge of a large, mostly run down estate in the borders of Scotland. Outerlands was a one-story, small farmstead with a back courtyard and a series of empty out-buildings. Surrounded by extensive woodlands, the area incorporated amazing pockets of bygone estate plantings, long neglected. It was truely a fantasy playground as a child growing up, straight out of a movie set. I got to know the terrain, the trails and the woodland inhabitants of the forest.
There were bamboo groves, rickety rope bridges strung over the river, derelict summer houses, and old, old trees. The best thing of all was that there was absolutely no-one else around. In the summer months, we bobbed around on inner-tubes in the slow flowing river pools, getting eaten alive by horse-flies. Our trampolines were massive moss mounds that lived adjacent to a derelict azalia grove.
In the winter we shot pheasants, wood pigeons, and ducks for food. We raised chickens and fought off foxes, minks, stoats and weasels, that were all intent on killing them, (they succeeded numerous times). We were outdoors most of the time, and when we were inside, it felt like we were outside! The house was coooold.
Outerlands was damp, really damp, and absolutely freezing for the six month cold and mostly dark winter season. Every morning I had the 15 minute ritual of purging all my undergarments of damp (steam would in fact emanate) on top of a 3-bar calor gas (propane) portable heater. I would then walk cross-country,
;to school. Ahh the sheer joy! On the way home I used to hop the fence of a local farm and pull up and knaw on a raw turnip, just as a small treat and distraction to the repetitive journey.
“The shear luxury! …
Tell that to kids today, and they won’t believe you”!
“m m must have damp free underwear”! …I digress.
Outerlands was a strange house from day one, it was an uncomfortable place. Even as a child, I knew this. I hate to use an old cliche, but even when playing in the outhouses, there was this feeling that someone was watching, or simply, “around”. It was a basic uncomfortable vibe, like you were not alone even though you knew you were. Anyway I will jump to a disturbing event that was probably the juncture to another two years of “very odd” activity in the house. During that time all my family members witnessed weird things in some form or other, some events were witnessed by multiple family members. A couple of these I will relay:
Odd things happening in the house actually became normal to us, especially the footsteps that would ascend in volume as they went down the corridor to stop at the head of my bed (my feet faced toward a corridor in the end bedroom). I kid you not, these footsteps would occur 2-3 nights a week, like clockwork. At first I used to open my eyes and look, but there was never anyone there, later, I just used to go under the covers and stay there when I would hear them…Hey, I was eight – I would have set up multiple ccd cameras and an elaborate recording system if I was there now!
What we all would have given for “Sapphire and Steel” to help us out! (a great old spooky brit show)
“Steel there is a presence here in Outerlands”
“Take time back Sapphire, do you sense anything odd?”
“I do steel, the activity is centered in the corridoor, the presence is angry about some stolen turnips”.
“Be careful Sapphire.”
It was a dark and stormy night (just kidding) – it was dark though, it usually was.
It was Easter time, my father was working a night shift, so it was my mother, my sister and myself in the house. It was still cold because we had moved from our regular main living room to a smaller, easier to heat room, near the kitchen. It was a small cozy room, we had the propane heater inthere and the tv. We were settled in for the night, watching some TV with our labrador and doberman pinsche dogs lying down after their dinner.
The first very odd thing we actually smelled, it was the smell of toast! yes buttered toast of all things, and the aroma was was strong. My mother looked at my sister and I, and inquired if one of us had used the toaster. Both dogs instantaneously arose with the onset of the smell, looking like dogs on the scrounge. They loved toast.
I can’t remember who checked on the toaster but I do remember that as soon as the door was opened, and we were all in the kitchen, there was absolutely no “toasty” smell in the kitchen at all, none. The aroma was localized, it seemed, to our tiny living room! Too wierd.
We all returned, shut the door and looked at each other in complete disbelief. The toast smell slowly subsided. We were, lets just say, uncomfortable at this point, we talked and laughed about it for a while, then finally resumed our tv watching.
I am not sure of the time lag here, perhaps an hour went by, then without warning, we all heard what can only be described as a tremendous crash in our “Summer” living room down the corridor, like the roof had fallen in. It was extremely loud, we all physically jumped then looked at each other in complete silence. We were now definitely not laughing at all.
At this point we were all scared, really scared. After the initial shock, my mother rallied the dogs, opened the door and said “set em off!” (attack). The dogs barreled down the corridor into the other room.
Not Outerlands, but as close as I Red Rum, Red Rum!
could find to the atmosphere
of the corridor.
The dogs disappeared into the room barking and then shortly came back out of the dark room toward us. We huddled together as a group and then ventured slowly down the hallway. My Mother got to the light switch first, the now illuminated scene shocked us and disturbed us even more than…
Johnny? : “Outerlands sounds like my kinda place, waddya think baby? (screams)
We had a large 5ft by 3ft mounted painting, multiple smaller pictures (on multiple walls), and even Easter cards that my sister and myself had created for our parents, tacked onto the wall.
Every single picture that was in that room was now lying on the floor! and it had happened within the time it would take for a single picture to hit the ground!
We have no explanation to this day for that incident.
On another occasion I was sitting with my father on the couch watching soccer (“Match of the Day” to be precise). All doors were closed shut in the large living room. It was also bitterly cold, so cold in fact that we were both under the same large blanket that covered our heads. We cut over – sized eye holes in it to be able to watch the TV with warm,”toasty” heads. This innovation worked extremely well until someone happens to selfishly move, usually from a time / non-moving induced cramp. At this point you had to go through the irritating venture of relocating your blanket “eye-holes” again, before being able to resume the show. By the time this was usually executed the show had usually ended.
On this occasion our two sets of eyes behind the blanket moved from the tv to the door.
We both distinctively heard footsteps walk up to the door in front and to the right of us, the door that connected to the corridoor then down to the kitchen, were the dogs slept. Then we both simultaneously heard a definitive “scraping and scratching” at the same door.
My father had asked me to make sure the door was shut on the dogs in the kitchen earlier, and he now asked again… I replied that I did, and that it was. We both got up and opened the door, there was nothing to see in the “footstep” corridor. We ventured down the corridoor to the kitchen door, it was shut fast. We quietly opened it, both dogs were sound asleep, one whistling a sea shanti loudly through it’s nose…very odd!
To finish this up, my sister was spat at as she played with some toy horses in her bed.
My father was so convinced that there was someone else in the house he went up in the loft to make sure no-one was “inhabiting it” and sneaking down at night.
We all heard our names called out, from outside the house at night! (this was very disconcerting). We would talk about who’s name or names we had heard the previous night over breakfast! not your typical morning family conversation, over bacon and eggs.
For me, the most scary aspect about Outerlands was undoubtedly the phantom footsteps…I had time to study them. I could hear them start down the corridor and I could audibly track their progression to within three foot of my head lying on a pillow, getting louder the closer they got.
The experiences I had in Outerlands made me a firm believer in ghosts, spirits, imprints, echoes or whatever you want to coin them…I know that whatever they are, we sometimes have access to them. Perhaps an environment can trigger such activities, perhaps an individual, who knows?, but it does make halloween more interesting.
Paella anyone? This jumbo shrimp plant Justicia brandegeeana has put on a great fall show. It grows to 1 m tall (rarely more) with spindly limbs.
And to wash down your Paella, some sangria. I promised I would post Leah’s recipe, so here it is:
One magnum of dry red wine (chilled).
One bottle of dry white sparkling wine or champagne (chilled).
16oz of fresh squeezed orange juice(chilled).
Half a cup of sugar.
2 oranges (sliced thinly).
One lemon sliced.
A handfull of strawberries.
Slice fruit and place in freezer for an hour.
When fruit is ready, disolve the sugar in the orange juice.
Combine juice, wine and champagne / sparkling wine in a large pitcher or bowl.
Stir and add frozen fruit and serve.
Drink, tell embarrassing stories then fall over.
More pinks…Pink Trumpet Vine
Amazing spring looking blooms in the fall.
This was one flighty butterfly, a Large Orange Sulfur Phoebis agarithe. I ran around my yard like a lunatic trying to get a good picture of this introvert. These were the best I could do. It was a great color match with the cigar plant (Cuphea ignea) which was it’s favorite.
This chap’s picture was taken on the inside of our house. Green Lacewing.
Adult Lacewing larvae are also known as aphid lions.
Stay tuned for:
“The first small steps for mankind”
All material © 2008 for east_side_patch. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.