The Haunted House
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The Haunted House

By L.J. Ehrlich,

Follett High School,

Class of 1953



            The year was 1952.   The Follett High School was having a high school wiener roast east of Follett on the Gigger Ranch.   At that time there were about 60 or 70 in the entire high school and most all were there.  In addition we had several high school teachers as sponsors.  The exact location of our picnic was at the south base of a 75-100 foot cliff.  This is same cliff that I drove my 1936 Chevy off of a couple of years earlier.  But then that’s another story!

            To the north of the spot where we had the wiener roast was an old two story house with many many rooms, a wrap around front porch, a balcony, a tall roof, fireplace, chimney and all.   No one had lived there for many years.  It was deserted, run down and said to be haunted.  There were actually some secret passages upstairs from closet to closet.  I had previously traveled through the secret passages in the day time.  The place was spooky.   Whenever I watched the TV show “The Munsters” I would think of the Gigger house as they looked a lot alike on the outside. 

            It was just after dark, there was a big bonfire and we all had finished roasting wieners, marshmallows, etc.    The entire high school was now in smaller groups, (I called them clicks).   A few girls bunched up and were giggling over the boys.  Another bunch of boys grouped close by and so on.   There were probably 5-6 clicks huddled around talking about anything and everything, just having fun.

            That is where this story begins.    There happened to be 3-4 girls looking for fun and excitement who were making plans to go though the Gigger Haunted House.   The house was maybe 400 yards to the north and would only take several minutes to walk.   They were excited.

            Unknown to the 3-4 girls were 4-5 boys who overheard the girls making their plans to go to the haunted house.   The 4-5 boys decided they would run ahead of the girls and really give them a good scare.

            Now unknown to the 4-5 boys was myself and 2 others, (Dubby, and Squirt.)  We immediately took off running for the haunted house.   Running through the night over sagebrush, limbs, and other debris was somewhat difficult, but we made it in record time, anticipating the fun we would have ahead of us.

            Now I had been in the haunted house before in the day time, but never at night.   I sort of knew about the first big room directly off the front porch. It was a living room and I remembered it had a closet on the east wall.   I slowly creeped across the room with my groping hands outstretched in front of me till I reached the wall, then I felt my way down the wall till I found an old door, it was the closet!   I opened the door and slowly got in.   Wow!  It was small, only about 2 feet by 4 feet.   I don’t know where Dub and Squirt hid as it was everyone for themselves.

            Boy it was dark!  It was darker than dark.  It was black dark.  I remember holding my hand about 1 inch in front of my nose and I couldn’t see a thing!    I was sweaty and out of breath and trying to get my second wind before the other boys got there. 

            I hadn’t been in the closet more than 30 seconds when I heard the approaching voices of the boys coming closer to the house.   They were laughing and stumbling in the dark.   They were saying things like “Where do I hide?” “Where you gonna hide?” and stuff like that.

            To my surprise the closet door opened and one of the boys got in the closet with me.   I immediately scooted back into the corner as much as I could because I knew there wasn’t going to be room for both of us in that closet!    I was still breathing hard and trying hard to hold my breath so he wouldn’t hear me.   He was breathing hard too and doing a little snort-giggling at the same time.   My lungs were about to burst, I decided I needed to tell him I was in the closet too.    By the sound of his breathing and laughing I knew he was only about 1 foot or less directly in front of me.   I had to make my move.

            Not wanting to scare the living day lights out of him I quickly decided I would reach out and tap him on the shoulder and at the same time identify myself and tell him I was with him in the closet.

            I reached out to tap him on the shoulder but my hand missed his shoulder and my sweaty hand caught him on the side of his cheek.

            Now I believe this for a fact.   Somewhere in the universe there is a distance record held by this person for “a screaming broad jump from a standing position”.   In fact he screamed so loud and leaped forward and took off so fast I never had a chance to say anything!   His rapid exit and loud scream sort of startled me too until I realized what I had done.   Then I laughed so hard I got weak and had to sit down in the closet while I laughed.

            His unrehearsed believable screams and other loud sounds he made while exiting the premises sounded an alarm that was very convincing to the others and they too started screaming and running at top speed back to the picnic grounds.   You might describe it  like a night stampede headed back to camp.    In a matter of just a few moments I was all alone in the haunted house, the rest were back at the wiener roast site, some were already in their vehicles heading back to town.

            I never told that person who got in the closet with me that it was me.   He might have beaten me to death.   As of today he still doesn’t know or have a clue.   I hope he never finds out.  If you know him, please don’t tell him.   I pray he never reads this story.

            As corny as this story is, it is true. 


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