It’s spooky when two of my worlds collide

My passion is writing. My vocation is advertising. My hobby is ghost hunting.

Two of those worlds collided this week when I got the opportunity to write a story about a haunting in Iowa Park for the newspaper. I hope it’s not my last to write, either.

It’s difficult in a town this size to talk about something that could cause people, for whatever reason, to make fun of you or think you are a hole short of a donut. I get that.

Since I talk a big game about my love of  ghost hunting, I figure I should probably tell a story in appreciation of what Deanna Yeakley was willing to share with me for the story I wrote this week.

Every year, five of my most insane friends and I leave town for a ‘girls’ weekend. No boys or children are invited or allowed, only the five of us doing what we call “our thing.”

Sometimes, we go to Medicine Park in Oklahoma and sit around in our underwear with no makeup for three days, and sometimes we go ghost hunting.

And by “ghost hunting” I mean we go to Jefferson, Texas and see if the bars and antique stores are haunted.

Jefferson, located just 30 miles from the Louisiana border, is billed as Texas’ Most Haunted Town. That made our ears perk up, so we go there often. We have stayed in a hotel that is on the legendary list of the town’s most haunted, The Jefferson Hotel, several times.

This hotel is the setting for the story I’m going to tell.

The Jefferson Hotel is small with only about 24 rooms, I believe. It also houses a fabulous Italian restaurant, Lamache’s.  Our room was at the back of the ground floor of the hotel and was large, with two beds and a rollaway, because what’s a girl’s weekend for if not to laugh into the wee hours of the morning.

Part of the camping gear for our trips is a cooler on wheels, which we roll into the room. This particular trip, it held adult beverages as well as a large bag of limes that were not for an impromptu Key Lime Pie bake off.

One night, we went to Lamache’s for dinner just down the hallway, at about 5 in the afternoon. Maids had been in and gone for the day by then, and the only staff there was front desk, right next to the restaurant.

We returned to our room a little after six and sat on the beds, resting before the night’s real adventures would begin.

Two of the girls sat on one of the beds and both of them felt something “lumpy” beneath  their bums.

After unmaking the entire bed, our bag of limes was found spread out under the fitted sheet.

Feeling brave, we collected our limes and went out for the night. When we returned to the room, I couldn’t sleep and I could hear something scratching the other side of the wall at my headboard. I figured that person couldn’t sleep either, so I turned on the TV real low and sat right in front of it at the foot of the bed. Everyone else was asleep.

At some point, my bladder yelled “UNCLE” and I went to the bathroom alone, only to return less than a minute later and find a purse was sitting right where I had been sitting.

I finally went back to bed, and when I woke up, rose potpourri had been sprinkled around my bed, although there was none in the room. It was a weird night, y’all.

I told the story to the front desk clerk the next morning, and found out that nobody was in the room behind us because it was the kitchen for Lamache’s, and no one was in there in the middle of the night.

I’m not crazy much, and I’m definitely more skeptical than I am gullible. And I have no idea how all of that happened, but it did.

I’d love to tell your story in the paper if you want to tell it. Let me know….

 

For those who wish to read it, I’ve included the story about the haunted house in Iowa Park below. Enjoy!

 

Iowa Park woman recalls decade in haunted house

by Kari Lynn Collins

Many things are spoken of in hushed tones in small towns like Iowa Park.

Was there really a full-blown saloon in Iowa Park before prohibition? Yes, there was.

Did Iowa Park used to be home to a house of ill repute? All indications are that this is true, as well.

Then there are the things that cannot be so easily proven, because usually the only proof is someone’s word.

Like ghosts, for instance.

For years rumors have gone around Iowa Park about the places whose residents departed this world many years ago, and yet they remain. The beautiful Tom Burnett Memorial Library that was once the mansion of oil man Tom Burnett; the Iowa Park Junior High (W.F. George Middle School) campus, a church or two and several houses in Iowa Park have been spoken of privately for years.

Most people who have experienced things that cannot be explained are hesitant to talk about them for fear people will think they are crazy, or – maybe even worse – spot on.

Deanna Yeakley is one person in Iowa Park who is willing to tell the story of a home she lived in for 10 haunted years.

“When this happened, I went to the shop and talked about it. I didn’t care if they thought I was crazy. I was scared,” said Deanna, owner of Family Hair Styles and a firm believer that a house she and her husband, Alton, lived in for more than 10 years was most definitely haunted.

The house in the center of town is a beautiful home, and showed up on deed records in Iowa Park in 1950. Dr. Gordon Clark, well known physician in Iowa Park, was listed as the original owner.

When Alton and Deanna bought the home in 2000, they were certain it would be their forever home. By 2010, Deanna said she could not take it anymore.

The first inkling that the occupants of the house outnumbered Alton, Deanna and Deanna’s two sons Kendall and Clayton, came after living there three months. Footsteps.

Alton heard them first, then Deanna, then the kids.

Deanna said she regularly heard footsteps coming toward her, then stopping in a doorway, and only when she was alone. Finally, she asked Alton if she ever heard the same thing, and he had but played it off as noises an old house makes.

“It (the footsteps) was always coming toward you and and would stop in the doorway. If I ignored it, it would do it again,” Deanna said. “It was like it wanted to make sure you noticed it.”

Eventually, things escalated.

Alton stepped into the shower one night and said he felt a burning on the inside of his thigh . Deanna looked at the area that was about the size of a quarter, which appeared to have a “circle of pin pricks” on it with blood coming out of them.

She said over the 10 years they lived there, this type thing happened to Alton five times and patterns of needle pricks would appear around his ankles, on his thighs and back and behind his knee.

The years were full of moments that had become predictable, but many still had the ability to scare and confound them both.

One day Deanna had come home for lunch and was by herself when she heard glass breaking.

She searched around and found nothing broken on the floor in the direction the noise came from. In the hallway, a hallway that always gave Deanna the creeps, she found that a picture hanging on the wall had the glass shattered like someone had punched it. “Two weeks before, we had found it on the floor. It wasn’t broken,” Deanna said

About two years before they finally moved, Deanna said she was standing in the dining room one night and when she turned to look in the office, she saw a man standing in the middle of the room eight to ten feet away. She said he was thin, had graying hair and wore old-timey round silver glasses. She noted he was not a tall man then saw the the man she was looking at had no legs …  she could just see him from his chest up. She screamed.

“He was looking right at me, with a very serious look on his face,” Deanna offered.

After that, a friend of hers found a photo with several people, including Dr. Clark, pictured, and Deanna said she picked out Dr. Clark as the man in her office without hesitation.

“When I saw him that night I heard the words, ‘Here we are,’”Deanna said. “Kind of like, ‘you’ve been trying to ignore us but here we are.”

Deanna’s sons had their own experiences, one of which led to the couple finally selling the house.

Clayton woke up in the middle of the night to see a little boy, about eight years old, sitting in a massage chair in his room, his swinging legs too short to reach the ground. Although the closet light and TV were on (he slept with those on every night) When he turned on the his bedside lamp, the boy disappeared. When he turned the light back off, the boy came back.

Kendall called Deanna one day while she was at work and asked if Alton was supposed to come home. Kendall had heard the door open and screen door slam shut followed by footsteps in the house. Nobody else was in the house.

Deanna said she and Kendall were able to sense when something was about to happen. In Deanna’s case, her heart would race and she could hear a high-pitched sound. Sometimes, she said, she could feel a presence. Kendall says he heard the high-pitched noise previous to an incident.

One night while she and Alton were in bed, she woke up with that “feeling.” She said she saw a blue light radiating from the corner of the room that expanded to the ceiling. “It lasted a long time, like 20 seconds,” Deanna said, “and the next night, the same thing happen in the hallway right outside the doorway.”

A few days later, Alton was the one who saw the blue light.

Deanna laughingly said she loves a midnight snack, and when she would get one she always made Alton go with her and go first. He stopped unexpectedly at the dining room and looked at the ceiling without saying a word for about 15 seconds. It took  him 30 minutes to tell Deanna that the ceiling was engulfed with blue light.

Another afternoon, Deanna was home cleaning the upstairs bathroom. She heard the familiar footsteps up to the bathroom door and they stopped. When she turned around to see who it was, she said all she could see was a hazy mist in the doorway. She ignored it, and continued scrubbing the tub and it happened again. When she turned and saw the same mist, she said, “Get out of here and leave me alone!” It went away. “It left, and you could feel the difference.”

Over the years, TVs turned on by themselves. Random things went missing for months, only to turn up in plain sight, or in a place no one would have put them.

A two-year-old who was at their home with her parents once walked into the living room, looked in the corner and told Deanna, “There’s a ghost in here.”

After living in the house five years, Deanna and Alton enlisted a minister to pray over and through the house. “They (the ghosts) stayed gone five months.”

Then, one night while she and Alton were in bed watching TV and reading, Deanna said she and Alton both saw what she described as a ‘sheer, beige sheet cloud’ that fell over the bed. “I thought, ‘They’re back,’” and they were.

The house, according to those who live in the area, is known for not being lived in very long by the same family.

The breaking point, Deanna said, came when Clayton was leaving for school one day and she noticed a deep scratch in his neck. “Only it wasn’t a ‘scratch’, it was a deep gouge,” Deanna noted. She asked him about it and he said he guessed he did it in his sleep then went on to tell her It had happened on his legs, too, in his sleep and he had started sleeping in sweatpants.

That was it.

Within the year, Deanna and Alton had moved into their new forever home, one that was newly-built with no haunted history.

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Homecoming of a different sort

 

I had a homecoming of sorts last weekend that was almost 50 years in the making.

Tyler Duggins, a great friend of my son’s from Iowa Park High School and his roommate at Texas Tech went and got himself hitched last Saturday in Plainview, Texas, and I was lucky enough to be invited.

Along with my son and Tyler, I also got to see several of their friends from high school who have since scattered across the state and country. It was a beautiful wedding and a great time.

But that isn’t the homecoming I’m talking about.

Plainview also happens to be my birthplace. My family left Plainview when I was two years old, and until Saturday I had never been back.

My plan was that in addition to the wedding, I would find the house my parents built in the early-1960’s, which was also my first home.

I’ve heard many stories about this house in Plainview, and  I’m the only one in the family who has no memory of it, except what I’ve seen in pictures.

And from their stories, it was a magical time, presumably because I was born. They haven’t actually told me that, but that’s what I’m going with.

My original plan was to find the house, snap a couple of covert shots of the front and leave.

Dressed for the wedding, I pulled up in front of the house, stopped across the street and called my mother. I described the brick on the house and closest intersection, and she confirmed it was the house.

It was at that point that I became an expert level stalker.

I noticed the front yard was neatly manicured with an American flag. I fell in love with it.

Plainviewpic

My first home.

Then I noticed a police car parked in front of the house next door, and it occurred to me if I took secret pictures it might look suspicious.

So I did something that later horrified my husband and daughter – I walked up to the house to introduce myself to the owner. I suck at a lot of things, but talking to strangers is not one of them. And, I thank God I was not wrong or I might be captive in a hidden basement in Plainview instead of typing this.

As I tip-toed in heels through a muddy path at the side gate, the owner, Mr. Garcia, looked up from his work bench and didn’t even look startled that a woman he had never seen before was walking uninvited into his back yard. In fact, he said, “watch your step.” like people in their Sunday best wander into his back yard all. the. time.

He and his wife, Mrs. Garcia, turned out to be two of the nicest and most gracious people I have ever met. They invited me into their home and gave me a tour  of the entire house. And although I had no recollection of it, I felt oddly at home.

There it was, the same big breakfast bar that held a red velvet cake with my dad and all five of us kids behind it that I remember from a picture of my brother Kevin’s birthday. Then there was the picture window in the front of the house that was the background for my favorite picture of all five of us.

And, there was the same concrete driveway where it is rumored I took a nap behind the back tire of the car and narrowly escaped death (somebody noticed me before Mom backed out.)

They invited me to take pictures wherever I wanted (I did), and they unscrewed mirrors and pegboards off the wall where they exposed my sister’s graffiti in her own six-year-old handwriting in the garage. Now we all know Kimwasn’t the angel she would have had us believe. Also, she was apparently a tic-tac-toe child prodigy.

Then they revealed – gently – that the house was haunted. This made me arch my eyebrow in a fairly noticeable way. When they saw I didn’t flee immediately, they gave me details about the ghost Mrs. Garcia has named Bill. Bill apparently has a thing for clocks and matchbox cars.

My kinda place. My kinda people.

It was comforting to think of my Mom and Dad, in their late twenties and early thirties, with five children and a brand new house. Their entire lives were in front of them, and ours’ even more so.

During those years Mom and Dad owned the Plains Farmer, a farming newspaper, as well as the Kress News. When the farming industry changed in the mid-to-late 60’s, having a specialty newspaper for farms became unsustainable.

Our family moved to Littlefield in 1967 where Dad took a job at the Lamb County Leader, and my Mom continued to publish the Kress News out of our home while taking care of five screaming, free-spirited and very young angelic children.

I still haven’t been back to Littlefield since we moved from there to Iowa Park in 1969 when my parents began the Iowa Park Leader. Maybe Littlefield, Texas will be my next homecoming.

Since I turned 50 this year, it occured to me that sometimes you have to appreciate where you’ve been and what it took (and by whom) to see where it is you’re going. Maybe only then can you plan the future with a greater sense of what you need, rather than what you want.

Congratulations Tyler and Gracie Duggins. And thank you, Mom and Dad.

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