By late morning the sun had made the outdoors supremely inviting.
Catherine had finished her morning chores and now reveled in the fact she could go to her beloved garden. Catherine’s little garden held a plot of vegetables for canning, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots.
Along the southern side of the small house Catherine’s flowers, roses, marigolds and even a few sunflowers were the pride of her efforts.
After an hour or more in her favorite pastime, Catherine now brushed the dirt from her hands and arose from her kneeling position where she had lovingly attended her garden.
While she brushed her hands together she heard the unmistakable sound of a bell in the distance. She knew immediately it would be the postman, Mr. Dunphy, making his rounds on his horse, Champion. The bell around Champion’s neck was Mr. Dunfy’s way of letting the postal patrons on this rural route that his services were nearby.
Catherine eagerly moved to the front of the property and waited at the split-rail fence for Mr. Dunphy. It was 1917 and Catherine was hoping news from her brother in Chicago would be in a post carried by the public servant. It was because her nephew, Roger was in France fighting the Germans for France.
Roger had left the U.S. to join the French in war against the Hun. Her brother would hopefully share some information – information she hoped will tell her that Roger was alive and well in spite of the horrors of war.
It was not long before the mounted Postman appeared atop the small hill approaching Catherine’s home.
“Sorry to disappoint you, Catherine” Mr. Dunphy said apologetically. “Nothing for you today”
In spite of receiving no mail Catherine and Mr. Dunphy visited for a while. Mr. Dunphy shared news about what was happening in the world and in town two miles distant. He served somewhat as the only newspaper for some of the rural folk.
Making goodbyes with Mr. Dunphy, Catherine retreated to the cool interior of her home. A small snack after cleaning up meant she was ready for another favorite practice – sitting in the old rocking chair by the front window and taking time to read verses from her Bible.
Her habit was to have the chair facing away from the window – allowing the afternoon sun to warm her and perhaps enough to allow her a short nap.
After finishing in the kitchen, however, when Catherine entered the parlor she drew back in surprise. She had to think for a moment, “Did I turn that rocking chair to look outside?”
Catherine had always had the rocking chair facing into the parlor. The sunlight provided a natural light for her Bible reading.
But today, the rocking chair faced the outside and this perplexed Catherine. She wondered if she had forgotten and had turned the chair to face the outside.
But, it was getting on in the day and she shrugged off her forgetfulness. She turned the chair the opposite way, took a seat and opened her Bible to Leviticus. A short time after reading Catherine had slipped into a wonderful afternoon slumber.
The next day for Catherine brought more welcoming sunshine. She got to her garden early and after giving it cursory attention, picked a small basket of green beans.
In short order Catherine had donned her bonnet and set off down Marbury Lane to her closest neighbor, Gladys Hutchins. The beans were for Gladys and served as part of a friendly exchange of garden benefits between the two widows.
After a wonderful brunch with her pleasant neighbor Catherine reached home in time for her daily habit of Bible reading and napping.
She entered the small cottage, removed her head covering and went to the parlor. There again, and even with more concern, Catherine was taken aback.
Her rocking chair, always with its back to the window was now facing the window. She wondered now with slight alarm that something might be amiss at her beloved little home.
It was after two more days of the rocking chair being moved that Catherine went to her room with her Bible – kneeling to pray she asked God to take away whatever spirit, well-intentioned or not – that had now come into her life.
It was a June day in 2017 as Kellene Collins steered her Cadillac along Marbury Lane, turning from the asphalt land into the gravel drive of a quaint little cottage.
It was with a little alarm she saw the vehicle of her new renter, Kira Zachary, with the hatchback open and already having some suitcases and boxes loaded inside.
Kellene had just exited her car when Kira came rushing out the front door, her arms holding a packed box.
“Kira,” Kellene implored, “Can we talk about this? I don’t understand?”
Kira pushed the box inside her vehicle and pulled it closed before turning to the Realtor that had set up the rental of a seemingly perfect cottage on the outskirts of Bristol, Indiana.
Visibly upset, she turned to the Realtor.
“I’m sorry, Kellene, but I got a little more than I bargained for in this deal. It was never my intention to rent a house that is haunted.”
“Kira,” Kellene answered, “I have never heard of any of my properties being ‘haunted’!”
Kira was emphatic in her response.
“That old antique rocker that came with this rental seems to have a mind of its own! I like it facing the window so I can catch the sunset every night. Now, five days running I get up in the morning and that rocker is facing away from the window. I can’t explain it and living in a haunted home was never part of the rental agreement!”
“Again, I’m sorry, Kira, but I don’t understand.”
“Please move your car so I can get out” came Kellene’s reply.
Sensing her tenant’s upset Kellene obliged and backed her Caddy out of the drive. Kira started her car, backed out onto the road and quickly moved away along the asphalt hill sloping towards town.
The Realtor pulled back into the drive and entered her rental property. She moved to the small living room and spotted the antique rocker in question. The rocker was positioned with its back to the window. She turned the rocker to face the window as Kira had indicated was her choice of placement.
Kellene stood next to the rocker and gave it a slight push. It rocked slowly for a while and stopped. Kellene would need to find a new tenant
In July of 2017, Kellene accompanied her new tenant, Mr. Masterson, to the cottage on Mulbury Lane. She and the retired school teacher entered the front door to and walked the interior.
Upon reaching the small living room, Kellene was surprised to see the very rocker she had last placed to face the window now faced away from the window.
Keeping her composure, Kellene turned to the teacher.
“Sir, is that rocker there important to you?”
“Not really” came the retiree’s reply. “Actually I’d like to set up a small desk there for my writings.”
“Thank you so much, Mr. Masterson! I have other plans for that old piece of furniture.”
With Mr. Masterson’s help they carried the rocker to Kellene’s Cadillac where the new tenant helped secure the trunk lid atop the rocker.
After turning over the keys to Mr. Masterson, Kellene drove immediately to the Bristol Library.
There she searched anything from newspapers about anyone having lived at that address in the past.
It was in a July, 1917 edition of the Bristol Banner she found the story of a widow, Catherine Claymoor, having committed suicide at the property by hanging herself from a tree at the rear of the house.
Kellene quietly closed the old book holding the newspaper story from 100 years ago. She went home and with her husband’s help, moved the rocker to her basement and - just before turning off the basement light - gave the rocker a hard stare.