Week 14: April 5, 2014
Siloam Hauntings on the McKinley farm
I’ve always been fascinated by ghost stories as a young girl, so when I learned of these ghostly happenings in my family I reached out to discover even more.
The house that my mom spoke quite frequently of as haunted, belonged to my great grandparent’s, Lawson and Minnie McKinley; everyone called her Miss Bay but no one remembers why. They lived just outside of Siloam, Ga. on a red dirt-clay road that led toward Slip Rock – the local swimming hole.
As a young girl, living down the road from her grandparents, my mom often walked on that red-dirt dusty road to her grandparents house. The old two-story country farmhouse sat alone in the bend of the road. They never used the second floor, they told the kids a booger lived upstairs to keep them out, but it didn’t keep my mom away and she told me tales of her sneaking up the stairs, but they’d catch her every time. She said she had been determined to see that ‘bugger.’
Mama remembers sitting in the kitchen when all of a sudden the shades would suddenly roll up – and no one even near them. Then at other times while you were in the kitchen, the back door lock would un-thumb-bolt and open – and no one there. She never stayed there at night after hearing about the footsteps creaking up the stairs, and hearing the steps creak as if someone were walking up. They would peak around the corner, but no one was ever seen.
Mama heard often about how they heard noises at night coming from the kitchen, but never experienced them herself as she wouldn’t sleep there. They said it sounded like someone was downstairs fighting and throwing things around. It was told that it was the ghosts of the family that lived there previously – that the husband had often beat his wife in the kitchen.
The haunting stories must have drawn attention, as a local paper in Macon, where one of the sons, Earle McKinley, lived, interviewed him about his fathers house.
Article from Macon, GA paper – written by C. Earle McKinley (son of Lawson McKinley):
The House of Strange Noises: The late afternoon shadows were just beginning to spread across the Greene County field where C. E. McKinley, his parent’s and four siblings were picking cotton. It was autumn, about 70 years ago. “I don’t know exactly what year it was, but I was in my teens,” said McKinley, 85, a retired contractor, now living in Macon. “We were all out in the field working when we heard this sound coming from the house, like somebody took the kitchen table, with all the dishes and pans on it, lifted it up and slammed it back down on the floor.” But just who was this “somebody?” The entire family was in the cotton field.
McKinley said his father told him to go check the house. “I ran up there, but the doors were shut and everything was in place. I went all over the whole house. I didn’t’ see a thing.” Except, that is, little flecks of whitewash from the ceiling that covered the floor and some of the furniture, as though loosened when something heavy had fallen. McKinley looked to see if part of the ceiling had caved in, but it hadn’t.
His mother cleaned up the whitewash debris, but McKinley said that day was not the last time the family heard the mysterious noises. For years afterward, maybe once every three or four months, the family was startled by a loud crashing sound, followed by a sprinkling of whitewash from the ceiling. “Sometimes it’d wake you up in the middle of the night,” McKinley said. “You’d hear this ‘boom’ and then your bed would be covered with whitewash peelings. It scared you, waking up at night with that stuff falling in your face.” But was it a ghost?
“Back then, people used to call things like that a ‘haint,” McKinley said. “I’d hear people say that maybe it was the ghost of so-and-so that used to live there. I never thought much of that. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I don’t have any explanation for what caused it.”
When he was about 19, McKinley said, his family moved to a new house. Another family moved into the old house, and McKinley never heard if the new residents heard the noises. A fire destroyed the house a few years later, ensuring that its secrets were forever safe. “I think about it quite often,” McKinley said. “It’s still a mystery to me.”
I sure wish that old house stood today, as being my mother’s daughter, I’d surely be looking for those ghosts!