Don’t Go Into That House!

by Diannia Baty

When I was a young girl there was a house down the street from us that was supposedly haunted. It was empty and overgrown with vegetation. It had a fence and a rusty gate that wasn’t locked but closed. It would not take much to push it open. This house fascinated me. It both thrilled and frightened me at the same time. I lived in an older neighborhood right outside New Orleans.

There were many times I would stand at the gate and stare at the house. I asked my mother about the house and she didn’t know much and all she would say is something bad happened there and it was haunted scolded me with the words, “don’t ever go in the house.”

She would not tell me what had happened even though I begged her to. She would just say that I didn’t need to know.

 Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am very curious and will track down a mystery and fill in all the details on a subject I can.

I was drawn to that house. It was built in the late 1800’s and all the paint was peeling off. This two story rambling was complete with columns on the porch and cracked windows. It was a decaying southern beauty that once was something to behold when it was lived in. Even in its present sad state it was something to behold. There was an overturned rocking chair on the porch that was broken. I often wondered who had rocked in that chair.

Since I was a young girl of four or five, I had experiences and knew things no normal child should know. I believe that God granted me this gift so I could be of service to people as I got older but also so I would have a sense of his presence. I knew I was different but for many years I viewed my psychic abilities as a curse rather than a gift.

Fifty years ago things were far different than they are now. If it wasn’t mainstream then it was viewed as odd, weird and something to steer clear from. It is easy to fear something you don’t understand or have any knowledge of. Also my mother often admonished me to keep quiet about my abilities because people would not understand. For years I tried to ignore or block my gift but was highly unsuccessful. It was a part of me as surely as my arms or legs are attached to my physical body. It was attached to my spirit and my consciousness.

One day I decided that enough was enough and that I was going to explore this house. Even if I got caught and was punished for it, it seemed a small price to pay to satisfy my curiosity. My siblings would often dare each other to go in this house but they were easily frightened and nothing could have convinced them to go past that gate. I waited until after dinner. Everyone was watching television and deeply engrossed in a movie. I knew that my absence would not be noticed for a while.

I stood at the gate of this neglected once beautiful home and pushed it open and just like I was in an old movie. It creaked so loud that it startled me. I could see that it had not been opened in quite some time as there were vines growing on it that broke when I opened it.

It was mid summer and there would be plenty of light for a little while. The mosquitoes were buzzing around like they often do on a hot humid summer day and I walked slowly toward the porch as I swatted at them. I walked up the massive stone steps and stood in front of the door and discovered a padlock on it. There had to be another way in.

I peered into the windows which were covered with some curtains that were ragged and torn and what little I could see was shrouded in shadows. I went around back and there were the remnants of what was once a beautiful garden that someone had put a lot of time and effort into. There were grandfather oaks covered in Spanish moss and a few statues here and there of angels and cherubs.

I could smell honeysuckle very strong and a gardenia bush that was loaded with blossoms was sending out a heady aroma. Some rose bushes, several crepe myrtle trees and a wisteria vine that covered one of the trees completed this wonderful scene. There was a huge old stone bench turned green with algae under one of the trees. I walked around the garden contemplating picking a few of the flowers that were growing there after I explored the house. In the early evening light it was so peaceful and ethereal on the grounds of this place.

The house was my next stop. I explored a back door and it was locked and then I went to a side door that led to what was once the library. It was unlocked. There were floor to ceiling built in bookshelves with just a few old musty books that were decayed and swollen with moisture. I saw rat droppings and spider webs and it gave me pause but I kept going.

The outside light was dimming but I was too caught up in my adventure to notice. I heard music coming from somewhere and I walked to the other side of the staircase which was in the middle of the grand foyer. I followed the sound of the music and walked into a room that was open. That is when I saw her. There was an old woman sitting in a chair holding a decorative tin box. It was the kind of tin container mom put her delicious fruit cakes in. She was looking right at me and for some reason I felt no fear. I asked her if she was a ghost. She didn’t answer but I knew she was. I didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out.

She had white hair to her shoulders and it was straight and curled slightly under. She had thick bangs and was wearing a long skirt that went all the way to the floor and a white long sleeved blouse. I kept hearing the faint strains of piano keys being touched and played with. I couldn’t make out a tune. It was like someone was practicing and was unsure of what they were doing.

 She motioned for me to come a little closer. She just kept looking at me waiting for me to comply. I was a little fearful because she didn’t look like what I expected a ghost to look like. She was so real to me. I came closer and she opened the box and it was full of beads and she lifted a handful of them up and told me they were her Mardi Gras beads.

They did not look like the plastic beads they throw today. They appeared to be glass and had so many pretty designs on them. She said she loved them and liked to wear them. She told me her name was Sadie and in a flash she was gone. A normal child would have been out of there in a shot but I was upset that she didn’t stay longer and that is when I noticed that it was very cold in that room. It was a Louisiana summer and hot outside.

I walked around a little longer exploring the rooms a bit that were empty for the most part but soon I had to go because there was very little light left and I didn’t want to be missed at home. Serious physical punishment would be the end result if I got caught. The house was definitely haunted but what had happened there had not been revealed to me.

A few weeks later I decided to go again a bit earlier in the day. This time I looked in cabinets and closets for some childish treasure. There was almost nothing there until I checked a closet in one of the upstairs rooms. There was a shelf way up high and no way to get to it.

I remembered that I had seen a rickety old stool in the garden out back and went to retrieve it. I took a chance when I stood on it but I am glad I did. There in the back of this shelf was the old tin box that Sadie had been holding. I could not believe my eyes. It was covered with dust. I held it in my hands and slowly pried it open and there were the beads. I was amazed, excited and overcome with emotion.

Now, What do I do? Do I take them home and tell my mother where I found them and about Sadie or do I just take the box home and say nothing? As I was pondering my dilemma I felt a presence in the room and it was Sadie standing a few feet away smiling at me. Once again it was cold in the room. She said two words, “take it.” Then she was gone.

The city condemned the property shortly after my last trip there and a story about the house came out in the newspaper. There were some citizens who were trying to save this old historic piece of property. It seems that in its heyday a wealthy family lived there and there were many parties and balls The family fell  to misfortune through a number of tragic deaths. The last one was Sadie.

She was one of the original descendents of the family. She had no heirs and the property passed to the city. It seemed she lived in the house alone for many years, a recluse, and saw very few people. She had lost one son to a fall from a horse and another was killed when his gun went off while cleaning it.

The story goes that her husband left her, they reconciled and on the day he came back he had a fatal heart attack. One day she went out back in the garden and hung herself from a tree. I had that box of beads for many years and told my mother I had found them which was partially true. I just never told her where.

I have often thought of Sadie and wondered if she finally went into the light. The house is no longer there but Sadie’s memory lives on through me. I have often thought about that rickety old stool I used to explore the shelf in the closet and since it was under a tree it might have been used when Sadie hung herself. I had felt her sadness and felt how alone she felt.

As a young girl this experience taught me that there is life after death. Our spirit lives on and never passes away. It is eternal. Since then I have had many experiences like this. One thing I know is, scoff if you will, but we are eternal. For most people I don’t recommend an experience like this to prove it. There is nothing to fear.

If I had been older I would have known what to do to help Sadie go into the light and to this day I think about her. I know she is finally at peace as I asked God if she was and the answer was yes and that she was finally with the family that she grieved so much over when she was alive.

 My point to telling you this story is to give you hope regarding the hereafter and a sense of what it can be like for someone who is left all alone in their golden years. It can be a very dark place to be. If you know someone like this offer a blessing and a prayer for them and see if you can somehow reach out to them in any way.

Someone once told me that they would rather be broke than lonely. I think that sums it up. We are supposed to be here for each other. Find someone to lift up today and honor the divinity that created you. After all, God is always there for you!

 This is a true story and happened to me when I was about ten years old. Since then I have experienced a lot of different things but nothing compares to Sadie. I was asked what happened to the beads and through the years I have given a strand or two away. I passed on Sadie’s legacy to others and I still have the box and one strand of beads.

It took many years for me to fully come out of the closet with my gift. My experience with Sadie was a catalyst that pushed me forward. Now, I embrace it. I know that it was something I am supposed to share.

Whatever your gifts or talents are know that they should be shared. Pick up that sketch pad. Plant that garden. Sing that song. Tell your story. Play that piano! Write that novel! You never know what doors will open for you until you try. God has been with me every step of the way guiding me and I fully trust that guidance. website


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