The Remains of a Clock: Alabama Haunted House Story
Alabama haunted house story, written by Irran Butler.
I don’t believe in ghosts. I am, however, a witness to something that defies my reasoning when it comes to that sort of thing. When I was eighteen years old, a friend and I decided to venture out to an old house that was said to be haunted. Neither of us really expected we would find anything, but we figured it would be a good story to tell others, after embellishments were added of course. So, off we went in search of whatever we might find.
Following the directions we had received from another ghost hunter friend of ours, we located the house quite easily. It sat half hidden by kudzu at the end of a short narrow driveway that was itself almost covered by that same eager vine. We parked just feet from the front porch and retrieved our flashlights from the back seat, preparing to enter the decaying remains of a rather small house. Whenever I have given any thought to a haunted house, I have always assumed it to be a rambling structure with plenty of rooms for resident ghosts and ample opportunity to get lost within it’s gloomy, dark and dusty bowels. This particular house was far removed from such. It was your run-of-the-mill four-room farm dwelling… not fancy, but sturdy even in it’s neglected state. There were few panes of glass in the windows and the front door was missing. I could stand in front of the house and see through the front door, all the way out the back door; a distance of less than thirty feet. It didn’t seem large enough for a ghost to inhabit comfortably.
Twilight was just settling over us as we entered the abandoned dwelling. This gave us ample ambient light to see within the four tiny rooms. The living room and the kitchen shared a back-to-back fireplace, which I thought to be unusual. I had never seen this arrangement before and I had been in dozens of old abandoned houses on ghost hunts throughout my high school years. The living room side had a mantle over the fireplace, which still gave rest to several aged items including the remains of an old windup clock. We’ve all seen clocks like this at our grandparent’s house; sitting there with it’s pendulum swing back and forth… with it’s constant and creepy ticking. … I remember my parents saying that they enjoyed hearing that creepy monotonous sound, but I never really acquired a taste for it myself, in fact I found it very unsettling.
Having toured the four rooms, we decided to step outside and wait for darkness to envelope us, thus making it more likely that we would see a ghost… at least that was our thinking. We talked for some time about ghosts and what exactly we were looking for at this particular place. At that moment we suddenly realized that our other friend had not told us what it was that we were supposed to encounter. As we talked on, darkness overtook us. About then, we experienced one of those odd moments of near complete silence that we have all experienced, when everyone stops talking and any other sounds stop suddenly, generally highlighting that one person saying something that he didn’t especially want everyone to hear. You know what I mean. At that moment, I very definitely heard the ticking of a clock. Both my friend and I turned and looked back at the front door of the house… then at each other. We had both heard the same sound. I spoke up, “Did you hear that?”. I knew what it sounded like, but every cell in my brain was telling me that it was not possible for the clock we had just seen to make the sound we had just heard… and were still hearing. We both expressed our amazement, but that quickly changed to skepticism. There had to be an explanation for the sound. I stuck my watch to my ear… that wasn’t it. The sound was completely different.
We then turned our attention to the car. Everybody knows that a hot car engine makes a ticking sound as it cools off. After we carefully investigated the car, it was very obvious to us that the ticking was coming from inside the house. Only a few feet from the open front doorway, we could hear the ticking very clearly. We shined our flashlights on the door of the house and knew we had to go back in there if we wanted to know for sure the source of the ticking. I first walked back and forth in the yard shining my light on the walls of the living room trying to see the mantle where the clock sat. I could see part of it but not the part where the clock was. The ticking persisted.
My friend said, “Well, let’s do it.” And we stepped up on the porch. The sound of our footsteps on the planks in the porch floor momentarily drowned out the ticking. We both stopped at the doorway and peeked around the facing into the room. The ticking stopped. Shining our lights on the mantle, we saw the remains of the clock… it was completely nonfunctional and was definitely not ticking. It could not possibly be the source of the sound we had heard. We both expressed how weird this was and decided to walk through the other rooms, just to be sure we hadn’t missed something the first time. There were a few pieces of broken down furniture and miscellaneous debris, but absolutely nothing that resembled a clock, other than the one on the mantle.
We walked out the doorway and stepped off the porch. Our footsteps, in the gravel, as we walked to the car were the only sounds we noticed, until we stopped just before getting in. There it was again… that creepy ticking. I can think of nothing else that makes the same sound as one of those old windup clocks. This was, without doubt that exact sound. Shaking our heads we got in and as we turned the car around to leave, we both heard a single ringing sound of a windup clock striking the half-hour. If the only clock we had seen was not capable of ticking, it certainly would not be able to strike the half-hour. I looked at my watch and it was nine-thirty on the dot.
We had a bona-fide paranormal experience to pass on to our friends and families and could hardly wait to do just that. Over the next few days we spread our story freely and were really quite surprised at the dull impression it seemed to make on everyone that we told it to. I guess that a haunted clock just doesn’t pack the punch that a flaming headless woman in a blood-soaked white gown appearing in front of you does. I’ve never seen such a woman, but… I have heard the clock.
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2 Responses to “The Remains of a Clock: Alabama Haunted House Story”
hmm.. A tickling clock
A nice cooked up story for the menu.
A nice subtle experience. Thank you.