Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House

I went home for a visit back in July of this year and heard the sad tale of a house that played a big part in the lives of a lot of my family. It’s not a large house or one that’s architecturally noteworthy. It’s just a regular old house built in 1910 in my little hometown of Morristown, Indiana. We’ve always called it “the green house” because it was a deep pea green for probably 30-40 years or longer, but someone in the last 30 panted the old shingle siding white.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.comJulie, my cousin and one of my best buddies from birth onward, came over to Mom’s to see me and told us the green house had been condemned. She had grown up there with her dad, mom, and brother, and a lot of my early childhood up until I was a teenager was spent in that house, too, staying all night and playing with my cousins. At the time, I had no clue the house was haunted, but the stories I’ve heard since freak me out, even though nothing untoward happened back then that I recall. Julie, is still scared to this day, and I never knew. She probably thought if I knew back then, I would never have stayed all night with her.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

Very cool gingerbread I’d hate to see destroyed if the house is razed.

The little we know of the house’s early history is C. & M. Carmony sold the house to Grandpa and Grandma in the early 1950s. I don’t know who built the house or owned it before the Carmonys. After my grandparents moved out and up the road with my mother, uncles, and aunt, they rented it to a preacher and his family – Mom remembers two daughters named Treva and Trilby Sommers. I don’t know how long they stayed, but by the mid-1960s, Uncle Bobby and Aunt ‘Nita moved in. I’m not sure if Julie was already born at that time or after, but a couple of years later, Steven was born.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

Once screened and a swing hung on the right and faced the left side of the porch. This is not the original door or windows.

We three cousins had the best of times playing in and around that house. The front porch was screened and held a 2-seater swing, the wide concrete front steps perfect for playing any number of games upon. They seemed so huge in my memory, and that’s just the way it goes as an adult visiting a childhood place – it’s all so small now. The backyard was wide open with a concrete sidewalk splitting it down the middle from the back door to the back alley.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.comFast forward to July 2013, after an early supper out one evening, my mother, husband, and I stopped at the house so I could take pictures. The front door was unlocked so I cautiously let myself in and mom followed. I don’t know what happened to make the last occupiers totally abandon all of their possessions and just walk away, but to say I was shocked at the condition of the house is an understatement. Pictures of the children still hung on the walls – who leaves those kinds of important mementos behind? The place wasn’t piled with refuse, but with just worthless stuff. Things that might mean something to the people who had lived there.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

This was the original living room. There was a half-wall behind the couch that had glass doors and shelves. Uncle Bobby put up the wall and closed this half of the front room in, turning it into a bedroom for Julie. Someone has since opened the room back up.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

Through the curtains covering the opening is the original dining room. The door at the back leads to the master bedroom. The arched opening to the right leads to the kitchen.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

This is the original dining room, used as a living room during Uncle Bobby and Aunt ‘Nita’s years living here.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

The front “master” bedroom. Two doors into the room – one from the original dining room and one from the kitchen. Mom was most creeped out by this room on our visit and it was creepy. There was writing all over the plastic tacked up on the walls.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

This is the closet under the stairs. Look left to the kitchen opening, right to the original living room/front door, behind to the dining room. I was afraid to stick my head in the door to see what was inside to the left.

This was the original living/family room. There once was a half wall with glass doors and shelves here. Uncle Bobby closed it in and put a wall up to make a bedroom for Julie here. The dining room was then converted to the living room.

The kitchen was very puzzling. The sink was gone and a stove just shoved up against the area where the sink used to be. How could anyone live like this? Yes, there are two refrigerators.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

The entrance to the bathroom used to be on the flat north wall to the left of the door to the upstairs. Someone took precious space from the very small kitchen to enlarge the bathroom, but the sink, tub, and toilet were all where they’d always been.

One time, when Uncle Bobby was remodeling the bathroom, he found a beautiful old mantle clock sitting on a 2×4 brace in the wall behind the plaster. How crazy is that?! We all remember the discovery, but Aunt ‘Nita can’t remember what happened to the clock.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

For some reason, the tub fixtures have been moved to the opposite end. That had to have been a lot of work. Toilet and sink are in the same positions they always were.

I really wanted to go upstairs – the steps looked sound and sturdy, but it was rather scary when we were children – the door that was no longer on it was always shut back then. Now that I think about it, that was a rather strange thing. Mom used to sleep up there with my great-grandmother and she said she was always afraid of the northwest closet up there. When my Uncle Bobby, Julie’s dad, and his family moved in, he built a cool model train set-up that encompassed the whole perimeter of the one giant room. I discovered he was the one who cut out a wide window opening in what was a closet that had two doors at each end. There was another closet in that one room. It was an odd design that didn’t make much sense. On the north wall were two tall windows and on the south wall two small square windows up too high to be used. I had never noticed those windows from the outside or the inside in all the years I was there.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

Amazingly, the pink paint that was on the walls from my earliest recollection over 40 years ago is still there. I believe the steps look the same, too.

As I stood in the kitchen trying to make sense of the changes to that room, I couldn’t understand why someone would take precious space from the kitchen to enlarge the bathroom yet leave all the fixtures in their exact same places. The kitchen sink was gone; a solid counter covered the wall where it used to be. I remember doing dishes a lot at that sink with Julie when we were young.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

The sink used to be centered under these windows. There was no sink base anywhere in this kitchen configuration. The bathroom door used to be straight to the right. A refrigerator now covers the former opening. I think the old wallpaper is cool. Neither Mom or Aunt Nita remember it so it must’ve been under another layer.

The house was clearly in the process of being renovated, but it was apparently by a hoarder of sorts, and done in a haphazard manner. I wish I could find the owner of this property and see what he/she is willing to take for it. I truly hate to see it razed when it’s clearly not too far gone to be rehabbed.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

This is the view from the arched kitchen entry from the dining room toward the back door. The counter to the left wasn’t there before and is covering the door opening into the master bedroom. The cool built-in china cabinet is still intact and would be really pretty stripped and refinished. The door opening just beyond it was to Steven’s bedroom. There’s really nice wood paneling that was installed by Grandpa and Uncle Deedle (or did Mom say Uncle Brownie? One or the other. 🙂 )

There is a makeshift food prep area when you first walk into the kitchen. Apparently, the last occupants were using a hot plate and electric skillets. I guess they washed their dishes in the bathroom sink or bathtub. Notice the bottle of laundry soap? It doesn’t appear to be dirty like everything else.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

How long does it take cans to rust? This food has obviously been abandoned here for quite a few years. Who doesn’t take their food with them when they leave?

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

This used to be the laundry room. I wonder if the owner was going to use this area for part of the kitchen. I believe all of this kitchen/backroom/bathroom remodel was to make room to install a furnace. New ducts and ductwork have been added into the ceilings. I’d restore the kitchen, bath, and laundry and add on a small utility room to the back of the house for the furnace.

Sadly, Utterly Abandoned: The Haunted Green House | lisanneharris.com

Back to the dining room. I found it odd that all the windows in the house have been replaced, except for three. This one facing north and the two small ones upstairs facing south.

Now for the hauntings as told by Aunt Nita:

“The background story to how all the weird, scary stiff began begins with my cousin’s husband, Ron, who was a very strange person. He liked to dig up bodies in graveyards – I have no idea what he was looking for or what he did with whatever he found. I know he used cat parts to bring a dead cat back to life. Seriously. He had a little lab in a shed next to his trailer and in it there were jars with internal organs in them. He used to work for Meade-Johnson, but he couldn’t stand the pressure to invent so he went to work for the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

“He was a transvestite. This wouldn’t be nearly as strange today, but back in the 1970s it was so far out there, you couldn’t help but think it was extremely bizarre. He had been arrested once while in drag.

“Tiny (Nita’s cousin/Ron’s wife) left him one time and came to our house. Ron came to get her in his girl clothes. One time he showed up when only Beth (my mom’s sister and Aunt Nita’s sister-in law) was there and he sat down on the couch beside her and just started talking. He didn’t have on girl clothes, but had his makeup on. I believe he was coming to steal my underwear because he had done that before. He was really weird and he was at our house a lot.

“He and Tiny lived in the trailer park next to Kmart on E. Washington St. behind Pep Boys. He was killed at Sherman & Michigan in Indy on his way to work – a drunk driver ran a red light. The bizarre thing was, when his wife Tiny went home from the hospital after he died, she found a letter he had written to her telling her goodbye and about seeing the men in the white coats standing over him and the coven coming to get him. (Apparently, he looked just like Darren on bewitched, which made it even weirder.) How did he know to write that letter? Another strange thing, he was adopted and his parents would never tell him who his real parents were. Why not when he was an adult?

“Ron and Tiny had two kids, a daughter and son and neither had kids. The son supposedly killed himself, but we think his wife killed him with a shotgun under the chin.

“Well, at the same time all of this was going on we started doing the Ouija board a lot. My sister Judy, who seemed to be a magnet for spirits or hauntings or whatever, would come home every summer. Her daughters Paula and Peggy would touch the Ouija planchette and it would fly across the board. Someone would have to sit on a high stool to hurry up and write what it was spelling. The planchette flew across the room and hit the wall one time.

“Bobby (my Mom’s brother, Aunt Nita’s husband) was out on the train (he was an engineer on the old B&O). On the stair wall, right before you walked into the kitchen from the dining room there was a short dresser. I was coming out of the back bedroom and saw the drawers opened a little person with a pointed head or pointed hat duck behind the far end of the dresser. I called Grandpa Punk (her father-in-law) who lived just up the street and he came down with his shotgun. He searched everywhere and couldn’t find anyone.” (Now here’s where two other recalled incidences fit in. 1) Julie remembers the kitchen table always being pushed up against the stairway door because Anita was afraid of the same closet Mom was afraid of upstairs, but she never knew Mom was afraid of it, too. Anyway, Julie remembers them testing and trying to figure out if someone could pull the table back up to the door from the inside of the stairway. 2) I remember Julie telling me they found footprints in the snow outside of the dining room windows, but none leading up to it. The footsteps appeared as though someone had climbed out of the window. We think Grandpa found those tracks that night.)

“On another occasion, Bobby and I were using the back bedroom as ours and the front master bedroom for Julie and Steven when they were very little. I had a Vick’s salve jar sitting on my dresser just inside the door. I walked across the kitchen to the tall, skinny oil furnace that sat at the end of the sink counter beside the bathroom door and that Vick’s jar flew across the room and landed on the counter beside me.

“Julie used to sleepwalk. Nowhere but that house. She came out dragging her sleeping bag over her shoulder and asked where the dressing room was. She would get mad if we laughed. One time she woke up to tell us to turn the sink off. Mad again. The last time it happened, she thought there were pine branches on the floor around her bed. She walked out and asked who put the branches beside her bed.

“One time, Beth and I were there alone while Bobby was out on the train again and the kids were at my mom and dad’s. Beth left to go get stuff to stay all night and I was alone at the kitchen table looking at a Sear’s catalog. The bathroom door was open and I had a clear view to the sink. The toothbrushes hanging on the wall holder started swinging back and forth and clicking. They started slow and began to speed up. I started singing a children’s Christian song and they stopped. Beth came back and nothing else happened.

“We used to the do the Ouija board when we’d visit Judy in Virginia. All the kids were asleep upstairs and one of the spirits threatened them. The spirit’s name was Helen – she warned us to watch the children and one of the kids upstairs screamed. We ran upstairs and all the kids were fine. I decided then when we got home to burn the Oija board in the back yard.” (Julie remembers watching her do it.)

“I was always afraid of the upstairs and had this feeling that little people were living in the northwest closet. When I moved out, I left everything that was upstairs there.”

As Aunt Nita was telling her stories, I remembered a time when this sword in a red velvet sheath Uncle Bobby had gotten for Christmas from Mom, Uncle David, and Aunt Beth (for whatever reason) was found on the kitchen table when it should’ve been upstairs. The table was pushed up against the door and no one knew how it got there. I remember being scared at the time, but then completely forgot about it.

I’ve saved the coolest thing for last. When I returned to Florida a few days after the visit to the house I emailed all the pictures to Julie and she forwarded them to Aunt Nita. She called Julie and asked her if she saw the woman in the window. Julie couldn’t on her iPad so she emailed or called me – I can’t remember which. I thought I saw a vague image, but turns out what I thought I saw wasn’t even remotely close to what Aunt Anita was seeing. When I finally saw the face, I couldn’t believe I didn’t immediately spot the woman because now she jumps out at me every time.

Go back to the top first image and click on it. Look at the window to the left. There’s a flash of light and none of us can figure out where it came from. The sun was setting to the right and the street is lined with very old, tall trees so there was no sunshine. The house across the street is offset further to the left and there were no lights on. We talked to the man who lives there before we approached the house. He wasn’t holding a light of any sort. We parked up the street away from the house so it wasn’t a reflection off of any mirrors or chrome. I thought maybe that it was the flash of my camera through the front door reflecting off a ceiling light. Upon further investigation on our second visit to the house, we discovered that window is covered with filthy, closed blinds. The woman’s face is not mine because I’m clearly behind a camera in the front door reflection and it’s not my mom – the woman doesn’t look anything like her.

Can you see her? If not, let me know and I can post a new picture with her face circled.

I was back home in August and a whole troop of us made a visit to the green house. Aunt Nita came but didn’t go in. Mom, Julie, Steven and his wife Lora, Uncle Bobby and his fiance Vickie, and I went in. The upstairs was much smaller than any of us remembered and it was piled high with clothes and boxes. I have no idea how anyone was ever living in this house. Nothing happened, no sounds, no glimpses of any ghostly figures. To be fair, we were very loud and not being very investigator-ly-like. Steven and his daughter’s boyfriend plan to do a real investigation at night in the near future. I hope they catch something, anything.

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