The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Mysterious Lights

By Mildred Burke © 1984

Issue: October, 1984

Sometime in the 1920's, my grandparents built a two story house on Route 11 between Christiansburg and Radford, Virginia. Soon after moving in, different members of the family heard a clock striking. It seemed the sound came from a closet under the stairway. One member was so sure of this, she cleaned out everything in the closet and made a thorough search.

Several members of the family died in the living room of this house, including my grandmother and in later years, my father.

In those days you did not leave the body of a loved one in the funeral home overnight. So, this house seemed to be the place to bring family members who died in other states, "to be laid out," as they said back then. Even people who were not blood relatives were brought here.

After my grandparents were gone and my parents became owners of this house, it was rented out. Complete strangers would tell of strange noises, and of what sounded like someone walking up the stairs. I remember one lady in particular saying she was afraid there alone at night and felt like someone was watching her.

When my parents moved into the house the noises continued. My mother, who wasn't afraid of anything was dressing to go to work on midnight shift said, she heard someone come up the stairs and was so sure of it she called out to them. A roomer, who knew nothing of this got up one morning and said someone came up the stairs and came into his room, but when he turned on the light no one was there.

In 1955 I moved into this house with my husband and two children. The children immediately became afraid to be alone in the house. I heard none of these noises while I lived there, but if alone at night, I had an uneasy feeling and felt someone watching me.

In 1958 we built a house next door and moved. The old house sat empty for awhile. One night I saw a light burning in the bathroom of that house. The lady next door said she had seen it several times and thought we had left it on. She went with me to turn it off, and when we got to the stair landing, it went off. As the old saying goes, "We turned tail and ran."

We called the police and they checked it out. The power had been cut off and no light would come on, so they said a tramp had probably been sleeping there and when they heard us, went out on the porch roof and jumped off.

A few nights later, the light was on again. My husband was away, so the next day we went to investigate and the bath room light was on. We cut it off and called the power company to check it out. They said no electricity was coming into the meter. The light would not come on. Believe me, I made sure it did not come on again. I removed the bulb.

The old house is gone now and a restaurant built on the lot. But that is one ghost story that I know happened.