Sunday, April 1, 2018

Demon's Road

There's a remote, lonely dirt road outside of Huntsville, Texas that for years has had the reputation as a place you don't want to be after dark. Even the few people who live on the scattered ranches in the area will tell you they will do without something they need rather than take this road toward town once the sun goes down. The road leads to the old Martha's Chapel Cemetery and is known by everyone as Demon's Road. Even in the bright light of day, there are reason's it has become known by that name. Since there were only horse-drawn wagons traveling on it, there have been tales of disturbing encounters and eerie, hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck-standing-up feelings. 

One of the earliest tales is of the apparition of a young child with glowing eyes riding an early version of a tricycle along the road by the cemetery. He has been encountered numerous times and it is reported as you near him, he simply vanishes into the air. Sometimes though, he will slowly turn his head and his glowing eyes will intensely stare at you as if he is looking into your soul before slowly, almost reluctantly, fading away. 

Demon's Road
In 2001, a man named Bob who lived in Houston heard about Demon's Road and convinced a friend to go with him to see things for themselves. As Bob parked beside the cemetery, he saw that his friend had fallen asleep in the passenger seat. It had been a long drive so not wanting to disturb his sleep and figuring he would join him after he woke up, Bob left to explore the cemetery on his own. As he was walking around reading the epitaphs, he saw something moving on the grave next to where he was standing. As he watched frozen in horror, a hand slowly began coming up through the ground. Within a few seconds, the whole arm was above ground and it began grasping around as if in search of something. The undead hand reached Bob's pant leg and grabbed ahold. Finally able to move, Bob instinctively reached down and grabbed the hand to pull it away from his pants leg, but the hand released its grip on his pants, abruptly latched on to Bob's wrist and began pulling him down! At that time, his friend showed up and began frantically pulling him away. With both of them pulling and jerking backwards, Bob managed to get away from the clutching hand. After running a few yards away to safety, Bob turned to look at his friend only to find he was nowhere to be seen. Confused and mightily frightened, Bob continued to run back to the safety of the car. As he quickly opened the driver's door, he saw his friend slumped over in the passenger seat still asleep. Bob quickly started the car and spun away from the cemetery with dirt flying from his rear tires. As the motor raced and the car swayed from side to side, his friend fell toward him, his eyes open, but unseeing. It was later determined he had died of a heart attack hours earlier, apparently during the drive down Demon's Road toward the cemetery.

Buzzard patiently waiting for a meal of
something dead.
In 2010 a woman reported an encounter her husband and their friends had. While visiting the grave of a long-dead relative, they saw a strange-looking man wandering through the cemetery, but none of them paid much attention to him. Several days later, as the woman stepped into the shower, she turned to close the curtain and much to her surprise, there in the doorway stood the same man they had seen in the cemetery! She screamed and the man abruptly faded away before her eyes.

There have also been numerous claims that a strange, faceless, threatening creature appears out of the woods on either side of the road. The one thing in common with all the reports is that no matter what form the spirits choose to reveal themselves, they have never been reported as anything less than hostile.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Curious Stain at the Bottom of the Stairs

There is a mansion on Highway 14 about two miles west of Marion, Alabama known as Carlisle Hall. The house is rather unusual; a combination of Romanesque arches with a Japanese temple-type hanging copper roof and a Moorish balcony rail, all combined in a Gothic design.

Edwin Carlisle, a prosperous cotton merchant, had the plans drawn up in 1857 and the mansion was built between 1858 and 1859 on his 440 acre plantation. He and his family moved into the house in 1860. After he died in 1873, the house was sold several times to new owners, all of whom only stayed a short time. In the early 1900’s the last owners simply abandoned it and left the area.

Soon afterward, local residents began talking about a blue lantern light that could be seen through the windows of the bedroom originally occupied by Edwin Carlisle. There were also rumors of ghostly footsteps being heard coming down the stairs and what sounded like the swish of petticoats. People thought it must have been Carlisle’s daughter who, toward the end of the Civil War, had fallen in love with a Yankee colonel, one of the Northern occupation troops stationed in the area after the Confederate troops had been driven out. Any time he came calling, the young Miss Carlisle would rush down the stairs to greet him in the parlor. Evidently, she continued to do so long after the war and the lives of the lovers were over.

In the late 1930’s, the home was purchased by a retired naval officer named A. S. Hill. He began to repair the structure, but he never got to spend even one night there as before the work was completed, America entered World War II and Mr. Hill came out of retirement and went off to fight. Sadly, his ship was sunk by an enemy submarine and he didn’t return.

Mr. W. E. Belcher purchased the home next, but he spent all his time traveling and the house fell further into disrepair. Vandals broke in and stole furniture, paintings, books, and anything else of value. They shattered all 56 windows and several leaded Venetian glass masterpieces above the staircase. They ripped the banister apart and chopped into pieces the 6 marble fireplace mantels. They even dug up trees on the property and uprooted plantings in the formerly beautiful flower beds.

When Mr. Belcher returned from one of his trips overseas and saw the condition of the house, he hired a family to live in it. They were to protect the property  and to make repairs as they could while the house was up for sale. Within two weeks though, the caretaker family’s only child, a toddler, was killed when he fell down the stairs splitting his little head open and leaving a bloody stain on the floor where he landed.  After the child was buried, they left after telling a few people about seeing old Mr. Carlisle walking the upstairs hallway at night and seeing his daughter gliding down the same staircase that had killed their beloved son.

After that tragedy, the house was abandoned until the 1950’s when it was rescued by a teacher, Kay Klassen, who bought it just before it was condemned by the authorities and torn down.  She and her parents spent 7 years in restoration and modernization work, including sanding and repairing the wooden floors. During this time, they searched all over the South for period furnishings, mantels, and chandeliers to replace those that had been destroyed. When they were finished, everyone agreed they had managed to bring the old place back to its glory days.

Ms. Klassen said she never saw Mr. Carlisle, his daughter or any unexplained lights. The only thing that couldn’t be explained was a section of the flooring that had a nasty stain. She would wash and sand it until the stain was gone, but within several days, it would return. She finally had to cut the section out and replace the wood. Today, if you look really close, you can see where the replacement is located – at the foot of the stairs right where a dying baby’s cries had been heard years and years ago.