The Scent of Honeysuckle: Alabama Ghost Story
Creepy Alabama ghost story of a house haunted by a strange girl, and the ghostly scent of Southern honeysuckle. Written by Irran Butler.
Anyone who lives in the South is familiar with the scent of honeysuckle. It blooms in May and stays around until the weather gets so hot the blooms drop off. It fills the air with its sweet lingering fragrance and is welcomed by every nose.
The story I’m about to tell is strange and I have no ordinary explanation for the facts to which I will swear here and now. I have never believed in ghosts but always enjoyed going on ghost hunts with my friends from high school. We still occasionally go on a hunt even though we are several years out of high school. It’s still fun and we have a great time.
One night in early summer, a few years ago, my girlfriend, another couple and I were in route to a location that was reported to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl who died of a bee sting, some fifty years before. Admittedly, dying of a bee sting seems strange enough, but the rest of this story is even stranger.
We arrived at the abandoned house where the ghost was supposed to reside. The house was at that time located in the middle of a thirty-acre pasture adjacent to an old roadbed, which had been the main thoroughfare connecting this area of the county with the main county road leading to town. It was obvious that many things had changed over the years, but the remains of what used to be, were there to see, if one took the time to look. I don’t profess to be anything like psychically tuned, but a feeling of sadness was easy to perceive.
The story that brought us to this place, as told by the couple that was with us, goes like this:
The young girl who lived there loved the smell of honeysuckle and would pick a bouquet every day and bring it to the house where her mother would place it in a vase. One day the mother had put the honeysuckle in the vase and placed it on a table in the living room. The young girl was gently brushing her nose against the blooms and was stung by a bee hidden among the flowers. Unknown to either of them, the little girl was allergic to bee stings. She suffered briefly and died that same day. She is rumored to be buried very near the house in a small family graveyard. The story is that, when the honeysuckle is in bloom, the ghost of the little girl can be seen standing in the door of the house. Imagining the ghost of a young girl standing in the doorway of an old ramshackle house is disturbingly creepy, but subsequent events of that evening were even more so and differed substantially from the original story.
There was some joking about the story and naturally us guys began pretending to see things and tried to scare the girls with our fake sightings. The first thing we seriously noticed was the obvious outline of three grave markers silhouetted against the open pasture by the bright blue-silver moonlight. That actually reset the mood for the occasion; it wasn’t quite so funny after that. We noted that the old house was in poor condition as we walked around it looking through the windows and doors, none of which retained even a single pane of glass. One of the girls remarked that front of the house looked like a face with the windows resembling dark eyes on either side of the open door, which could be taken to be an open mouth. Once you noticed it, it was an eerie sight.
This old house was one of those that had never seen a drop of paint and was topped by a rusty tin roof. The chimney at one end of the house was made of fieldstone stacked with great care and it’s builders had used no mortar, typical of old farmhouses in this area. The house sat on a gently sloping hillside with the front of the house facing downhill toward the road. The front door was at a height of about two feet from the ground as the house rested on pillars of stacked fieldstones. Blackberry briars guarded the doorways effectively deterring any attempt to enter. The house didn’t have a front porch and the steps at the front door had collapsed years ago. We stood discussing the fact that we were just outside what we believed to be the living room where the bee had stung the little girl. After a brief time, one of the girls mentioned that she had smelled the scent of honeysuckle and, of course, we all began to sniff the air. Sure enough, we all smelled it. It got very quiet, with only the far away sound of a whippoorwill and then, from inside the house, there was the very definite sound of footsteps. Clearly the footsteps were coming toward the front door. We all backed away several steps as a knee-jerk reaction to a sound that wasn’t supposed to be there.
We stared in disbelief as the moonlight illuminated the figure of a grown woman in a long dress and a light colored apron standing at the front door. She was holding what appeared to be a vase of flowers. The moonlight was bright enough that we could see the expression on her face was that of a very unhappy woman. The girls both screamed and I came pretty close myself. The figure paid no attention to the screams of the girls or our presence at her front door. We watched as the woman threw the vase out into the yard. I saw the vase flying through the very bright moonlight and expected to hear the crash when it broke against the rocky ground. That sound never occurred and before my eyes the woman faded into the thick, warm, night air. With numbed amazement, I looked back at the spot where the vase should have landed and could see nothing that resembled it. I must admit that the hair was standing on the back of my neck and a weird paralysis in my legs held me fast in place. At this point after the woman had disappeared, the heavy scent of honeysuckle filled the air again. We all looked at each other and I am sure we were all thinking the same thing. The girls echoed it in unison, “Let’s go.” I am sure the four of us completely agreed with that sentiment, thus we moved toward where the car was parked, with some haste.
The car was parked about two hundred yards away on the side of a dirt road, but that walk (actually, more of a run) seemed much, much longer. We spooked a few cows in our hurried flight and quickly let ourselves through the pasture gate, to where the car waited. In the car, we had a loud and vigorous discussion about what had just happened as we hurriedly drove away. We all agreed that what we had seen had to be the little girl’s mother throwing out the flowers, which concealed the bee, which had killed her little girl. The woman’s apparition had every right to appear unhappy and it was very evident that her spirit remained unquiet and had been so for all the years since the girl’s death. She had likely reenacted this same futile act of throwing out the flowers, countless times… every year… when the honeysuckle is in bloom.
Now, every time I smell honeysuckle I relive that night when I looked into the face of a very real troubled spirit that was trapped in a fruitless cycle between the peace of the grave and the torment of living with the loss a child. …May she, one day, find peace.
From the Author:
“This story was set in Northeast Alabama (Etowah County). The house survived until about 2002. It has since been removed and the pasture where it was has been subdivided. No new houses have been built at this time.
The house was real, but my story… not so much. My friends and I did go there and my description of it and the general area are reasonably accurate, but we didn’t see a ghost or hear footsteps. The original story of the little girl’s ghost appearing in the doorway came from a story told many years ago by a relative who has since passed away… I decided to add a twist to it. To my knowledge, any version of this story has never been published, as I believe it was strictly a local yarn.
I have friends who swear to their encounters being very real, setting them apart from me, as I remain a nonbeliever in this sort of thing. I’ve tried and I want to believe because I do really enjoy the stories… and the thought of lingering spirits from the past hold a special place in my heart/mind, but it just hasn’t happened for me… yet.”
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5 Responses to “The Scent of Honeysuckle: Alabama Ghost Story”
Great story, really enjoyed it! It would awesome to have this produced and recorded as an audio file maybe a few sfx to pepper it up.
Kept me on my toes and I could almost smell the scent of Honeysuckles. Great story!
Great story Irran. I could actually smell honeysuckle and could envision that field as some I have known around here.
I have a new favorite story on this site. This tale was awesome.
i wish i could be there myself to see it and i hope that the mom of the little girl finds some peace someday soon i hope