This occurrence took place in small town Alabama back in the late 1970’s. I was
visiting my grandparents for the summer, as I often did as a boy. My sister also spent
part of her summers there and attended summer school where she made plenty of
friends and a few enemies due to the fact she was an attractive teenager and guys
sometimes paid more attention to her than to their own girlfriends.

  On this particular night, a hot and humid Alabama night, her friend from Atlanta was visiting us. My sister’s accounts of how many girls she made jealous always
ended with both of them laughing about it. But on this special occasion, late at
night, my sister decided to change the subject to an eerie one. She was good at
that, especially because she loved reading books on the occult and sharing what she
read with others.

  The three of us sat in a circle, listening to her in the calm, hot evening. An electric fan humming on the floor was the only sound in the room besides my sister's voice. The TV was turned off and we kept only one lamp on because we knew it was time for ghost stories.
My grandparents were asleep and my mother was heading to bed, catching a few words
my sister spoke about the paranormal and told us she thought it was nonsense, making us giggle, then called it a night.

  After we refocused our attention on ghost story telling, my sister began describing to us a few scenarios of how creepy it would be if we were caught up in them, such as being alone in a house where a chandelier started moving in a circular motion on its own and hearing a spectral voice emitting from it, calling out your name in repetition. Undoubtedly, it was creepy to think about. There was something about my sister’s voice that would give me shivers late at night, more than any other voice I ever heard. It almost sounded as if an actual chain-rattling ghost was telling the tale, imagine that. So, her voice greatly magnified the creepy effect of any ghostly encounter she offered.

  She obviously had my full attention by now. I was scared, but I also wanted to
hear more, like so many of us do in these situations. She decided to bring up a
spooky old house that was located just down an arched road from us. It was actually
a house victimized by a fire a number of years prior. I remember her guiding me and
a few others inside the house one day and me scraping my leg when it fell through a
splintered hole while climbing the staircase. It was a minor scrape, fortunately. To
me, this house was a lot less scary in the daytime. Just a lot of scorched walls and
brittle wood. On the front door, someone spray-painted “Haunted House” in red as a
joke, but those words made me quite nervous every time I passed by the crumbling
structure on my bicycle, only imagining what occurred at night inside the building.
Visions of disembodied heads floating around the place were enough to get me
peddling faster, towards home. It was no joke to me.

Anyway, after the chandelier talk, she told us a story about these ghosts which she
said gathered around the house at midnight on certain occasions, chanting eerie
words in a cult-like tone. Chants that sounded like diabolic moans. She said there
were thirteen of these ghosts who continued this ritual until the break of dawn, when they completely disappeared. Just
as mysterious in their vanishing as their materialization at midnight.

  Of course, my sister’s story made my spine tingle as I’m sure it did her friend, even more than her uncanny chandelier description. But it was getting pretty late and we were pretty tired, so we all decided to turn in after this haunting tale, hoping to shake off the chills it gave us. My sister and her friend had the sofa with a fold-out bed in the living room, while I retired to a bed in my mother’s room.

  The bedroom window was only a few feet away from me and was left open so cooler air would flow in, only a window
screen protected us from the elements outside. Moonlight beamed in and a slight breeze rustled the curtains on both sides occasionally. As I slipped into my twin-sized bed, I was exhausted from the adventurous day, but still quite uneasy after listening to the ghost story revolving around the old house down the road. Nonetheless, I did fall sleep until something awoke me, eerie moaning sounds outside the open window! They sounded exactly like what I imagined the moans my sister described earlier would be, only more sobering because they were actually occurring and not too distant from me. As I recall, the moans were constant, waving in and out, and they seemed to emit from that  "abandoned" house down the road. But occasionally, one of the moaning voices wandered away from its origins and moved closer to the open window, closer to me, then would eventually rejoin the others further out. Almost like one of the ghosts was checking me out for awhile, knowing how afraid I was, feeding off my fear like a vicious dog.

  My eyes were closed at this time and I pictured a textbook ghost hovering outside the window, lifeless eyes and torn
clothing, just waiting to get at me when the time was right.
I was petrified in fear, praying these dreadful things from beyond would go away. I could only lay there in my bed, hearing my
mother snore occasionally, her not being aware of these odd sounds in the least. The only protection I had was the screen and a white sheet I had over me in the warm, moonlit room. I never saw anything outside, but then, I hardly kept my eyes open long enough to notice. The macabre visions of midnight ghosts wandering about frightened me enough as it was.

  Perhaps I was so scared, I passed out, because the next thing I remember is
waking after dawn, feeling blessed in the comfort of daylight. The phantom moans
were completely gone, I never heard them again and my sister never repeated the
ghostly tale, but I still had chills down my spine every time I rode my bicycle on that
road, by that old “Haunted House” on hot summer afternoons. I never rode by there at night, for obvious reasons.
"Sometimes, seeing is believing, and sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see." - The Conductor
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