People who are born with a
“veil” over their face are often sensitive to phenomena that elude the
rest of us. My mother, Eva King, was such a person. I know she possessed
psychic sensitivity to some degree. I was present when she
apprehended—someway, somehow, without knowledge through normal cognitive
channels—the sudden and unexpected death of her father.
I had heard her speak of other unusual experiences. One that
particularly intrigued me concerned what in all likelihood was a haunted
house that she, my father, and older brother and sister occupied many
years before I was born. Here is the way she told it to me:
“Some people don’t believe in ghosts. Neither did your father when we
first moved into the old farmhouse in Monroe County, West Virginia. It
was a quiet, lovely place. The house was made of logs, and was
comfortable enough. It was really a nice place to live. Or so we thought
when we first moved in! For things started happening soon afterward that
changed our minds—eerie, frightening things. Your father was unaware of
them at first, but he too decided later that the place was strange and
“One evening, your brother and sister and I were sitting in the yard
near the front porch. We were cracking hickory nuts on a large, flat
rock. Your father was away at work. Suddenly, all three of us heard
voices. They were coming from an upstairs room in the house. I knew no
one was in the house, yet the voices were plainly audible. There were
two, a man’s and a woman’s.
“Another time we heard an alarm clock ringing upstairs. I knew we had
put no alarm clock in any of the rooms up there, which we did not
occupy, but I went up to investigate. Sure enough, no clock was found.
But the ringing had been just as clear as those unexplained voices
“Like many such houses, the cellar was reached by steps leading down
from the porch. There was a peculiar sound associated with the cellar
that both disturbed and puzzled us. It was the sound of someone pulling
a big box down the steps to the cellar. We would go and look—no box,
nobody! This occurred several times.
“Then we started seeing things as well. What it was that the children
and I saw one warm dark evening I’ll never know. We were playing ‘bear,’
and I was the bear. We ran back and forth over the yard, and around the
house, having a lot of fun. The children would squeal with fright when I
growled and chased them. The front porch was long, as was the custom
with such old farmhouses. As the dusk grew deeper, I saw something move
down at the far end of the porch. For the life of me, it looked just
like a great black bear. Whatever it was, the thing raised up and put
its front paws on the porch. Something had decided to play ‘bear’ with
“Scared half out of our wits, the children and I ran inside, through the
back door. We fastened all the windows and doors. We heard nothing those
long hours that we cowered inside, waiting for your father to come home.
Eventually, he did. There was never any sign of a bear, nor did anyone
ever see such an animal in that vicinity. I often wondered what the
thing had been, and if we had been playing ‘wolf’ instead of ‘bear,’
would it have assumed a different shape?
“Then something happened to your brother one night that really gave me a
fright. He was sleeping at the foot of the bed. Suddenly, he called out
that something was on him, mashing him. He couldn’t breathe. I got up
and turned on the light. He was crying, badly frightened, and gasping
for breath. I let him sleep next to me the rest of the night. And I left
the light burning.
“This could have been explained away as a nightmare, or a child’s
imagination, had it not been for all the other unusual happenings.
“We should have moved away then, but we stayed on. Houses and jobs
weren’t easy to find.
“The strange happenings continued. Your father and I had gathered a lot
of apples. We intended to peel them and make apple butter. We piled the
apples in one of the far vacant rooms. It was a big house, and we only
used part of it. One cloudy, lonely day we decided to make the apple
butter—or at least begin peeling the apples. I went to the room for a
load of apples to take up to the kitchen. As I went out of the room, it
seemed as if someone was walking behind me. It gave me a creepy
sensation. I made three trips for apples, and each time there was the
same feeling. It made me shaky. I told your father. He scoffed at me,
and said there was nothing to fear, just my nerves.
“‘I’m not going back in that room for any more apples,’ I said. ‘If you
want more, you’ll have to get them yourself.’
“He did. When he returned, he had a curious expression on his face. ‘You
were right,’ he said. ‘I got the same feeling. Exactly as if there was
someone walking behind me!’ We knew then for certain that more than our
imaginations was involved. All of us, including the children, were aware
of the disturbing influences in that old country farmhouse.
“Considering the history of the old house, there was good reason for it
to be haunted. We found out later that one former resident had jumped
from the portico and killed himself, another had died suddenly in his
chair, and a third had hanged himself in the barn. Perhaps something had
driven them to such measures. I don’t know. I only knew that we had had
“We moved. The next house we lived in did not have such sounds and