Ghost on West Beech Street

Years ago, before I was even born, my Grandma and Grandpa Smith lived on W. Beech Street in an old two-story asbestos-shingled house close to where the Browns and Praters lived at one time (I think it was on Beech between 13th and 11th Streets). My Aunt Sarah and Uncle Fred (back then we called him “Skinny”) Miller lived upstairs. My Dad, Bill Oliver, would go hunting or fishing on mornings he didn’t have to work and that would give my Mom a great opportunity to visit with my Ma and Pa. Mom and Dad lived up in Fonde, KY or Pruden, TN because Dad worked in the mines.

One fine morning my parents were expected to come to LaFollette so Dad could go fishing out on Norris Lake. Back then, you could leave your doors unlocked and your windows opened day and night. My grandma was in bed and she thought my grandpa had gotten up to get ready to go to work with Skinny. Every few minutes, my Ma would feel something pulling down the sheet that covered her and she would grab it and pull it back up over her. This lasted a few minutes so she yelled at Pa…”Bill (that’s a 2-syllable name and pronounced ‘Bail’ if you are from the South), quit yer foolin’ around and pullin’ dem kivers off’n me”. Well this seemed to quiet it down for awhile and Ma went back to sleep.

A little later, the same thing started again. However, she knew that Pa and Skinny had gone on to work; therefore, she thought my Mom and Dad had gotten to LaFollette and my Mom was teasing her by pulling the bedcovers off of her. So she set up in bed and looked down to the end of the bed…nothing there. The window was open so she thought my mom was reaching in through the window and pulling on her covers. She yelled out the window “Tressie, ye better stop that or I’m gonna sic that boogey man on you.” However, she went ahead and got up….but alas, no Theresa or Bill had got to LaFollette yet. She was a bit confused so she went to the stairs to yell for my Aunt Sarah.

“Sary, ye better come down dem stairs and be quick about it”, she said. Through the process of elimination, in Ma's mind, this only left Aunt Sarah to blame. Well, Aunt Sarah came to the door and appeared as if she’d just woken up with her gown on and her hair all mussed up. “What’s the matter, Mama?”, she asked. Now Ma was totally confused. Hain’t ye been down here teasin’ me and pullin’ dem kivers off’n me. Of course, it wasn’t my Aunt Sarah neither…but Aunt Sarah told her let me get dressed and I’ll be on down.

Later on, my Ma and Aunt Sarah were having a cup of coffee while sitting at the table and talking about who in the world could have been pulling the covers off Ma‘s bed. (You know how they drank their coffee back then…teacup and saucer…and you poured a little coffee in the saucer to sip as the coffee cooled). A little later, my Mom and Dad got to LaFollette. Of course my Ma questioned them about being there earlier and teasing her by pulling the covers down. And naturally, my Mom answered “no indeedy, Mama, it wasn't us”. By now, my Ma was getting really anxious…when all of a sudden from upstairs in Aunt Sarah’s apartment, there was a loud noise that sounded like dishes and pots and pans being thrown around. My Aunt Sarah cried out, “Oh Lordy, my cabinet has fallen over and all my dishes are broke”.

Well they all went traipsing up the stairs…my Dad being in the lead since he was 6’4” and was a lean, mean machine from loading coal cars. They went into the apartment following each other around till they got to the kitchen. The cabinets were in fine shape….nothing was strewn about and there were no broken dishes. Then they all rushed back downstairs scared out of their wits…including my Dad.

Needless to say, they were packed up and ready to move out of that house before Pa and Skinny got home from work and that was one fishing trip that Dad never got to keep. But as a youngster, every time we’d go past that house on Beech Street…I’d hear that story.

I’ve often wondered whether anyone else who had lived in that house or area ever heard of that house being “haunted”.