Behind our farm is a large field that lies fallow in the winter and is planted with corn and hay in the growing season.  The edges of it are grown up in weeds and wild flowers.  The land slants uphill and meets tree- covered hills at the top of this wide swathe of land.  Nearer to the base of the field, just on the other side of our property, is a derelict 19th century barn where stray cats, possums, raccoons, birds, foxes, and sometimes coyotes hangout.  A red-tailed hawk patrols overhead and it’s a good place to see birds.  Tall, seemingly random trees enclose the site where the house once stood. This first picture was taken in the spring when it’s a fairly benign place to be.  Not so much on an eerie fall evening.
The farmhouse burned down in the 70′s and nearly consumed the old drunk who lived there with it, but he was rescued and stayed with my husband’s family for a time.  The foundation of the house, an old cellar, and outbuilding remain.  Everything’s overgrown and covered in vines.  The place has an abandoned look and a decidedly creepy feeling about it.  To the point where last fall my art major daughter Elise, my teen age niece Elizabeth, and I (at my suggestion) decided to venture across our side of the land to the old barn and take some pictures at dusk.  Why not, we thought, feeling adventurous.
We brought a flashlight, our intent being to stay until dark and have Elise take more pics with her camera of–we weren’t sure what–orbs maybe, before venturing home.  Some people believe sites with strong paranormal activity produce orbs that show up in photographs while not necessarily visible to the naked eye.  There was just one problem with this plan.  We’re chicken hearts.
Apparently the old man who lived at that farm until his death  (several decades ago) stored newspapers in the barn.  We chanced upon a small fragment of newspaper lying in the grass with the words The Devil printed on it.  That rather took us aback.  We looked more closely and discovered this snippet came from an ancient review of the horror movieThe Exorcist.   But why did only that eerie snippet remain?  Is that all it was, just a coincidence, or a warning?  Who knows, we didn’t hang around to discover.  Later, the coyotes came out and we were doubly glad to have headed on home.
Do I think there’s something strange about that place?  Yes, but I’m not bold enough to do any ghost hunting.  I don’t know how those who do have the nerve.

*Pics by daughter Elise


  1. Melinda // January 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM  


    Great post....I love ghosts...I wish I was a "Ghost Whisperer" so I could help the ghosts to cross over...I would want to hear and see them....

    Love you bunches,

  2. Autumn Jordon // January 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM  

    Do I believe there are spirits walking among us? I do. I wonder what this old man is protecting. The home and land he cherished and the memories it contained. Or a buried treasure, which he gave his life to protect. Or a secret that could destroy someone still living, someone he loves.

    Material for a great story. Awesome post!

  3. Beth Trissel // January 21, 2012 at 10:40 AM  

    Thanks Melinda. Much appreciated. Bunches of love and hugs back at you. Maybe you can become a ghost whisperer. I have no idea.

  4. Beth Trissel // January 21, 2012 at 10:40 AM  

    Thanks Autumn. I suspect a story may come from it.

  5. Barbara Edwards // January 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM  

    sounds spooky. Been in places like that and also left with a shiver. Do I believe? Maybe

  6. Nightingale // January 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM  

    OOH shivery Beth. You live in such a beautiful place. Compliment your daughter Elise on the photos.

  7. Paisley Kirkpatrick // January 21, 2012 at 1:14 PM  

    You are so good with the words, Beth. I always get drawn into your posts. It seems to me you live in a fantastic place to give you ideas for your stories and posts. I am so glad you ventured home and didn't stick around to see what that newspaper was trying to tell you.

    Our town of Placerville has ghosts. We had one in the art gallery where I worked for five years. The building was there during the gold rush and is built over a creek. Our ghost loved to move paintings, steal wastebaskets and pull name tags off the walls.

    Please be careful when you take more adventures. :)

  8. Patrice // January 21, 2012 at 2:15 PM  

    Interesting, Beth. What a beautiful place you live in, but for me, I would only visit the old barn during the day. I'm a chicken heart.

  9. Julie Robinson // January 21, 2012 at 3:37 PM  

    Loved the adventure. What great memories for your daughter and niece.

    I don't believe in the creepiness of places or ghosts, but the real creepiness of physical danger, like snakes, wild animals, rotting wood (in this case), and some people. I do believe in signs from God. So, I believe that the spirit of the old man was warning you to stay away because of the danger that lurked inside.

  10. Judy // January 21, 2012 at 4:12 PM  

    Beth, I'm like you! I believe in ghosts but am too chicken to want to actually see one!! There's a good story in that barn, though...

  11. Beth Trissel // January 21, 2012 at 4:34 PM  

    Thanks guys. You are so right, no going back after dusk.

  12. Pamela Varnado // January 21, 2012 at 5:06 PM  

    Cre-e-e-e-py. As far as believing in spirits, I do, but I wouldn't want to make contact with them or see one. My nervous system couldn't handle that contact. Good thing God won't give me more than I can handle.

  13. Maeve // January 21, 2012 at 5:14 PM  

    I definitely believe in ghosts. I grew up with several benevolent "spirits" who had a fondness for turning on radios, ceiling lights and televisions in the wee hours of the night. As long as the spirits mean no harm, they're welcome to stay. If they decide to get hateful, then it's time to get some salt and white sage and send them toward the light. ;-)

  14. Calisa Rhose // January 21, 2012 at 6:59 PM  

    I love ghost chasing, or whispering. Great post, Beth. Your daughter takes nice photos. And is that an 'orb' in the picture?

  15. Mary Marvella // January 21, 2012 at 9:43 PM  

    Interesting post and awesome pictures, shiver-worthy. I'll leave the ghost hunting to others. I make up mine. At least I think I do.

  16. Beth Trissel // January 22, 2012 at 7:18 AM  

    Thanks, and Calisa, I don't think it's an orb...but went back to take another look.

  17. Julie LaLonde Robinson // January 22, 2012 at 12:42 PM  

    I had wondered if it was an orb too. What did you find?

  18. Mary Ricksen // January 22, 2012 at 3:31 PM  

    I am a chicken. No way would I go!

  19. Beth Trissel // January 23, 2012 at 10:02 AM  

    The jury's out on this one guys. We'd have to bring in the professional ghost hunters.

  20. Josie // January 23, 2012 at 1:44 PM  

    Yikes, Beth. What a fascinating story, and how scary. I'd stay far away from that place if I were you.