|Mrs. Keever's house|
The couple had decided they wanted to get away from the crowds and temptations of the big city of Dallas and raise their son, Kevin, in a calmer, quieter place. They had been looking for several months when they found the house on Knox Street in Ennis, a small city about 35 miles from Dallas. Sitting on a large, nicely landscaped lot, it was one of the larger homes in the neighborhood. Painted gray with white trim and forest green shutters, John and Donna both fell in love with it.
The house had sat vacant for several years, but the real estate company had kept it well maintained. The asking price had steadily dropped and the couple couldn't figure out why such a nice home had not yet sold. Before deciding to make an offer, they visited the house several times and for some reason, on each visit Donna became nauseated and had a feeling of unease, but she thought it was just nerves over contemplating purchasing a house that would strain their budget. They also found it strange that the real estate agent who showed the property would never go inside the house, but would wait in his car or stand on the sidewalk by the street. He always told them to take their time and look around. John and Donna chalked it up to just the real estate's odd personality.
The house was built in 1920 by master carpenters hired by Mr. J. E. Keever, a well respected businessman who owned the local mortuary and funeral home. Every detail of the home was custom made. All of the cherry wood cabinets, doors and trim were hand-made on site. There were three bedrooms upstairs and a sleeping porch downstairs. There was a large living room, formal dinning room, and a library with built-in bookcases, but the real gem of the downstairs was the very large kitchen. This room was actually a kitchen, walk-in pantry, breakfast room, sun room and laundry room all in one. Donna loved it and this more than anything else made her want the house for her and her family.
After several weeks of thinking about it, John and Donna made a low-ball offer for the house. To their surprise, the offer was quickly accepted. Right after they had signed all of the paperwork finalizing the sale, the salesman muttered, "Welcome to Amityville." That movie had been released a short time before and everyone knew what it was about. John asked the salesman, "What do you mean? What are you talking about?" He replied, "You'll soon find out." He then agreed however, for the first time, to enter the house with them to do the final walk-through.
After a few minutes of standing in the living room, the salesman said, "I believe she likes you." Donna asked, "who is 'she'?" Again, his answer was a cryptic, "You'll soon find out." He then told them that his wife and a lot of other people refused to go into the house, but he had a feeling John and Donna would be acceptable to her. They couldn't get him to explain further what he was talking about or exactly who "she" was, but the walk-through showed the house to be in good working order so as quickly as they could they ushered him out of the door and their new home. It wasn't hard as the strange man seemed ready to bolt at any moment anyway.
Within a few days of moving in and getting things out of boxes and in their proper place, strange things began to happen which led John and Donna to believe the house was occupied by a spirit. At odd hours, there would be unexplained banging noises from the kitchen and upon inspection, various cabinet doors would be found standing open. A previous owner had painted over the cherry wood cabinets with an ugly yellow latex paint. When John and Donna began the work of removing the paint and restoring the wood to its original luster, something they had planned to do when they bought it, the strange banging and opening of cabinet doors ceased.
The lights on the front porch then began to turn on and off by themselves. Upon close investigation, it was discovered that what the couple assumed were cheap black and fake stained-glass lamps were actually solid rose-brass lamps with expensive leaded glass stained windows. Someone had simply spray painted the brass black. They began the task of removing the spray paint and then had the brass refinished. They then had gleaming porch lights at the front door with no problem of turning off and on by themselves.
After doing a lot of investigation and talking to neighbors and other townspeople, John and Donna came to the conclusion they did indeed have a spirit living with them and that spirit was none other than the proud and possessive Mrs. Keever, former mistress of the house. They came to the conclusion she simply wanted her home to be as beautiful as it once was and did not approve of the changes that had been done to it over the years. Donna said she felt like they had been guided, compelled even, in each task they took to restore the home to its former beauty.
Mrs. Keever had loved to entertain and show off her fine house which had been the scene of frequent social occasions and open houses. John and Donna frequently smelled roses as they walked around their home even though there were no roses blooming during the winter and there was nothing to account for the smell. Donna hated room fragrance and refused to allow it in the home, but she discovered roses were Mrs. Keever's favorite flower and she always wore tea rose perfume.
Donna and John had a number of family members and friends that would come and stay with them for the weekend, sleeping in the downstairs sleeping porch. Often guests would ask Donna if she had come downstairs the previous night after they had gone to bed and walked around checking all the doors to ensure they were locked. They said they had seen the dark shadow of someone walking around and had heard footsteps. They also heard what sounded like doorknobs being jiggled as if someone were checking to make sure they were securely locked. When she told them it was "just Mrs. Keever checking to make sure everything was ok," they wouldn't believe it really wasn't her.
When they first moved into the home, their son Kevin was just 4 years old. He was the only one whom Mrs. Keever interacted with and purposely showed herself. Within the first few days, Kevin told his mom that a lady in white had come to his room to visit him during the night. John and Donna figured it was just a child's imagination, but over the next several years as Kevin continued to report "the woman in white" visiting him during the night and even telling of conversations she had with him, John and Donna began to believe him. Kevin was never frightened of the apparition and Donna figured Mrs. Keever, the mother of two sons herself, was simply happy to have a little boy in the house again.
Occasionally running into unexplained cold spots while walking around the house and hearing footsteps and noises at all hours didn't bother Donna all that much, but there was one place in the house that made her extremely uncomfortable. The area beneath the stairs was a small storage room which always smelled musty and moldy. It contained a number of boxes, but Donna couldn't bring herself to go in to open them and find out what they contained. Even John said he didn't feel right going in there and Donna became physically sick every time she forced herself to get even a few inches inside. She felt an overwhelming sense that she was trespassing. The door to the room would sometimes fling itself open and when this happened, they both could sense something very unsettling had come out. A new locking latch was put on the door, but the door still managed to come open. John even stacked heavy bricks in front of the door, but every couple of months, they would return home or wake up to find the bricks knocked over, the latch unhooked and the door open.
Several years after moving into the house, Donna became good friends with a young woman named Rebecca who was studying for her master's degree in theology at Texas Christian University's seminary in Fort Worth in preparation for going into the ministry. Part of the program required work as a pastor each weekend and Rebecca found a small church in Ennis to preach at each Sunday. To save the expense of a hotel, Donna invited Rebecca to stay with the family. The very first night she spent in the guest sleeping porch, a bloodcurdling scream was heard throughout the house. John and Donna rushed downstairs to find their guest sitting upright in bed with a terrified look on her face. John asked her what was wrong, but Rebecca answered, "Who screamed? It wasn't me!" After looking around the house and not finding anything wrong, they all went back to bed. The scream was not heard again that night or any other, but Rebecca reported in the morning that she hadn't been able to sleep all night as she kept hearing footsteps and seeing a dark human-like shadow walking back and forth across the room. She also reported becoming almost sick from the overwhelming smell of roses. Rebecca had no idea of what was happening since Donna had never told her about the strange things that went on in their house and she was not from the area so she had never heard the rumors and stories.
Rebecca got in touch with a Reverend D. Smart who was an Episcopal priest in Ennis. She told him of the terror filled night in John and Donna's house and asked him to perform a "house blessing." Reverend Smart had heard the stories about a spirit in that house so it wasn't hard to convince him of the need. Several days later, he brought his holy water, incense and a cross to bless the house which would hopefully release the spirit to go on to the next level.
|Current owners say they do not believe the house |
is haunted and enjoy living there.