Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Ghost Story

We stayed at The Big House this year at the HF Bar Ranch -- rather than one of the little cabins as usual.   The house once belonged to the ranch's founder, Doc (Frank O. "Skipper") Horton.  I'm told the doctor couldn't continue practicing because he was color blind, so he left Iowa and went West with his brother-in-law, a Chicago financier, to seek his fortune as some sort of cattle rancher.  It doesn't seem that was a very profitable venture for him, but many of his friends from back East would take the train out to visit him and found they enjoyed hunting, fishing and riding in the beautiful Bighorn mountains.  They'd stay for a month or more, and Doc Horton eventually suggested that, rather than staying in his house, they build cabins of their own for future visits, and so they did -- picking cozy spots near the stream that forked out from nearby Rock Creek.  Those cabins are the same ones ranch guests have been staying in for the past 70+ years. The ranch turned from cattle ranch to dude ranch, and Skipper Horton succeeded big at something -- just not what he'd set out to do.

Anyway, when we were given The Big House for our stay this year, we were also given an earful of ghost stories about the place being haunted -- and when you walk inside the house it's clear to see why. The downstairs hallway has a single 60-watt bulb lighting the hallway.  It's eerie and darkish, and the hallway is lined with dusty books and a model of what looks like a human spine (think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).  Most of the furniture is original, and that of course lends a certain sense of either macabre or nostalgia to the home.  I found the stories laughable and the upstairs part of the house charming and sunny. I loved staying there all week and didn't want to leave.  I should probably mention, though, that on the third night I woke up around 2 a.m. and saw the dark figure of a man standing at the end of my bed, staring at me.  After about ten seconds he disappeared.  I don't mean he walked out -- I mean he dissolved.  Now I'm fairly clairvoyant about things, and I can read people pretty well without really intending to, so I'm used to that; but those are just feelings and impressions. This is the first time I've ever seen a presence. It was interesting -- and it seems he was only interested in looking at me. Nothing evil feeling-- more just curious, like, "what are you doing in my house?" I waited to see if anything else was going to happen; you know,  those horror movie things like creaking doors and banging shutters.  But no.  I guess he was satisfied seeing who it was that was sleeping in the bedroom of his house.  (I'd like to think he was happy with the new woman in his bed, LOL.)

So there's your ghost story.  And here are some pictures from Horton House at H.F.Bar Ranch:

Below: the view of the ranch house (where we eat)
 from the Horton House. 

I could go on and on here with these pictures, I took 
so many. I may have spent an hour watching the light change
from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. the first morning in the house. 
Old houses are so beautiful in that way, 
watching the light filtering through the
 windows and seeing how things look 
different every quarter hour.


girlgotpoetry said...

okay, I totally admit I clicked on this post because of the Um, hello? I cannot imagine not screaming my head off if I woke to find a presence at the foot of my bed staring at me! Teri, you've got some guts!

love the photos....esp. the one with the cobweb in the window...nice touch!

I can see why you wouldn't want to leave a place like that (in spite of the night-time specters) looks cozy and best of all, AWAY from all hub-bub and chaos.

Lisa said...

Okay that would completely have freaked me out--even if it didn't feel evil. My 15yo hopped into my bed the other night while I was reading and said there was a ghost in her room. She swears she saw a very scary face in the corner near the ceiling that looked like Lucifer. She's named it "Lucy" but she's not that light about it--she now refuses to sleep in her room. Mind you, we built this house 13 years ago so there are no old spirits here! Your ghost sighting makes much more sense!

Brenda said...

I love that about my old house. I like to come down in the morning and see the light shining through the curtains and reflecting on the wall. It looks so pretty.

You look liked you had a great. Great story too!

Bea said...

I assume since they have had regular reports of the ghosts and the said ghosts haven't hurt anybody they just like hanging out there. That said, I don't particularly want to wake up to one. lol Beautiful house, loved the pictures you did share. It sounds like a wonderful vacation. sigh...........:)Bea

Holli said...

LOVE that you saw him.... that means he felt safe enough with you to show himself to you... you should feel special!