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The Austin House

Cheryl, Georgia, USA
October 1999

Built around the turn of the century, the age-worn, weather-beaten structure of the house looked very much out of place in its beautiful setting of ancient oaks and green pastureland. The porch roof sagged in the middle, threadbare curtains hung at the tall, broken out windows of the ground floor. Debris littered the rotten boards of the front and side porches. A ragged, wing-back chair sat in the large picture window which faced the road from the top floor. After years of sitting in the window, the sun had faded the once deep, burgundy color of the chair to a very light pink.

As I stood beside the road in front of the house, the aura of evil the house exuded was as pungent as I'd ever felt it. Many times I had been by there, hoping to work up the courage to stop and go inside, for I'd heard the tragic story of the son of the Austins, who'd committed suicide behind its walls back in 1962, and how his spirit still haunted the house after all these years.

It was 1977, and three of my friends and I were riding around one afternoon and decided to stop at the house and go inside. They, of course, changed their minds, once we arrived at the house, and dared me to go inside alone. I accepted the dare thinking nothing could happen in broad daylight. How wrong I was.....

I stepped onto the over-grown lawn as the evil surrounded me with its cloud of darkness, drawing me towards the house. About halfway across the lawn, I heard my friends back in the car, calling to me not to go inside. My courage bolstered by their fear for me, I looked back at them and laughed. "Ahh, come on!" I shouted back at them. "Nothing's going to happen in broad daylight!" "Come back!" they shouted at me from the car, "Didn't you see the chair in the window move?!" Thinking they were trying to scare me, I played along, "Yes, I saw it!" I shouted back at them. I stepped up on the porch. The warped front door, whose lock had long ago ceased to work, creaked open easily enough and I stepped inside. I shivered at the tomb-like coldness in the house, and looked around.There was a crumbling old fireplace in the front room. Old newspapers littered the floor and there were several pairs of old shoes scattered about. I started into another room and heard something above me. It sounded like someone had sat down quickly in a chair and the weight of their body caused it to slide a little ways, its legs scraping the floor. I froze!, listening for the sound to repeat itself. I didn't hear it again. Putting it down to my imagination, I forced my watery legs to move, taking me into the large kitchen, then face to face with the closed door behind which lay a flight of stairs leading to the upper floor where the suicide had taken place. I opened the door. Suddenly, an icy blast of cold air traveled down the stairs, cutting into me like cold steel, taking my breath away. I heard the distinct sound of chair legs scraping across the floor above me, followed by the sound of the chair toppling over...Then there was silence. I screamed and ran into the front room and out the front door. My friends were scrambling out of the car, shouting at me to hurry up, something or somebody was in the house. I ran to the car, my eyes following the frightened stares of my three friends, coming to rest on the picture window of the top floor. The wing-back chair, which had been sitting upright when we'd arrived at the house, now lay on its side in the window. My friends had seen it slide a ways then topple over. They had not, however, seen anyone or anything that could've caused this to happen. The chair had moved and fallen over all on its own. The house was truly haunted as we had been told it was, and the story of the suicide goes as follows:

The youngest son of the Austins, after his fiance' had broken off their engagement two weeks before their wedding day, had begun drinking early in the afternoon in his room. He was alone at the time, his parents off visiting relatives or something. Drunk and out of his mind, he took a thick rope and tied it to an exposed beam in his bedroom ceiling. He hung himself by standing in the wing-back chair in front of the picture window, putting the noose around his neck, then kicking the chair out from under him, causing it to topple over. His parents found him the next morning, dead from hanging...

Hope you enjoyed the story. There are other stories about this particular house that I have heard over the years.

The house was torn down back in 1988 or 1989...

Cheryl, Georgia, USA
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