We are getting ever so closer to Halloween! There is that feeling in the air...the veil continues to thin. As we continue on with our daily work of harvesting crops and preparing for the winter ahead, we cannot help but think about the stories and experiences in Sleepy Hollow...............
Just on the back part of the farm, there is a neighboring property that is also of considerable size. My husband and his family know every inch of that place as well as they have often hunted on it and helped the owners with farm work as well. Although it has long since fallen down and been hauled away, the original farmhouse and springhouse once stood just across the property line. There was nothing extraordinary or fancy about the old house; it was just the typical utilitatian structure built by many farmers of the period. It was plain and white with a modest covered porch on the front and the springhouse stood about fifty yards off to the side. Now I never got to see the old place, but my husband and his family remember it very vividly.
Of course this particular story takes place during the fall as well; during hunting season again to be exact. It was about mid-day, but in this area of the property the surrounding woods are quite thick. This tends to block out much of the sunlight even on the brightest of days. Since this part of the property is some distance from the house, the men had gathered at this spot to have a bite to eat. They had carried jerky, cheese, and crackers that day so they settled in to talk about the the morning's hunt and what they planned for that afternoon. They were sitting about fifty to sixty yards from this old farmhouse and not really paying much attention to it at that point. At least not until they heard a banging sound coming from that direction.
Now there was no breeze at that moment and not much of anything or anyone around except my inlaws and a few songbirds among the trees. They did not think much about the banging sound in the beginning, at least not until it became annoying. As they began to watch the old house, the ricketty old screen door would periodically open and bang shut just as if someone were passing through it. Now this would not be something that anyone would give much thought to normally. You could just attribute it to the wind and move on. Only as I had mentioned earlier, there was no wind. The men just watched the activity for a few minutes before they decided to walk down and take a look at what could be causing it. There was always the possibility that some kids could be playing a prank.
As they watched the mist form, they all were trying to figure out exactly what they were seeing. It began to spread towards the steps and then, as if it was carefully choosing its path, took one step at a time and momentarily stopped at the bottom. Keep in mind that this mist never dissipated or attempted to form into anything. It slowly made its way towards the old springhouse. It was a solid mist, about two feet from the ground to its top, but not really having a shape. It seemed to move with purpose and finally reached the springhouse. The old springhouse door was still in place and although the wood was rotted and the hinged were rusted, it seemed to open effortlessly. The mist continued on inside. After several minutes, the mist re-emerged and the old door closed just as easily as it had opened. The mist retraced its path back towards the old house. My husband said one of his brothers dropped something that made a loud thud and the mist momentarily stopped as if it had acknowledged the sound and the men.
At the sight of this, they became a little nervous. The mist began to move towards the house again after what seemed like an eternity. It made its way back up the steps, across the porch and to the door. The door carefully swung open and then closed and the mist promptly disappeared. Of course the men stood there momentarily wondering what they had just seen and not wanting to admit to anything. Of course, being the type of people they are, the brothers and their father decided to walk down and have a look at the old place and those doors. The oldest brother walked up and reached for the old screen door. As he opened it, the weathered old wood fell apart and the door fell off the hinges. This startled them because they had just witnessed it being flung open and slammed shut countless times. He carefully leaned it back up against the door frame and they walked towards the springhouse.
They tell this story every once in a while. And I have to admit, whenever we have been back in that area I always get a strange feeling. Maybe the family that had once been there were just carrying on their daily activities even in to the afterlife.
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