Friday, June 6, 2008

The Caldwell "Haunted House"



By Dave Heflin

The old Caldwell house on Water Street has always been accused of boarding "haints." Most of us have walked around it "safely" in the daylight while peeking in the windows. YEAH, SURE! Admit it, you saw a little more? Plenty of cluttered "treasures" were stuffed around every crevice. The biggest surprise was the ancient Chevrolet sealed in the garage by trees. Mr. Ben owned and operated the Chevy Dealership and Service Center on the future site of Dr. Mitchell Ford's Clinic.

Ben and Olga raised two children, Lucian (b.1903) and younger sister, Kay in this frame house on a large lot next door to the Kirk M. Heflin Sr. homestead. About 1938, Ben completed the construction of a large brick house facing the new Highway 45. Olga opted to allow Ben the total process including completely furnishing it. So goes the story. When the house was completed, she chained the old house doors and left, never to go back. This mystery could be verified if some of you vouched to see clothes in the closets including a military officer's uniform? The rest of the house was also left with supplies in place.

Do you know of the other "haunted houses" in Baldwyn? I think there were at least two more that were categorized as such. Sweet Ms. Ethel Simmons' home on Latimer Street was thought to have some strange powers unknown to "Mortals". Several of us have been trying to recall the others, but can't. We think they were on the south end of town. One that comes to mind was the McKay home on 45 south across from Henderson"s auto dealership. The McKays died suddenly a day or so apart, which led to sinister thoughts from the young folks.

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Photo (1961) also by Dave Heflin. The photo was in color, but converted to B&W to add the mood of gloominess as we remember it, and also an apparition can be seen in the right window. Some kids would swear they saw unknown figures moving about inside the house after dark. Some were even "chased away" by ghoulish figures outside.

I was recently told the old 1936 Chevrolet mentioned above was bought from Lucian and restored by Mr.Leland Roberts. It is in immaculate "show condition" today and was featured in a Baldwyn Weekly News article that was posted on this blog on 12 April. -CH

16 comments:

  1. There was a strange house on the road to Henry's house (past Cunningham's) that we considered as weird. Was it the Sloan's house?
    Bob B.

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  2. Surely Henry O is going to tell us about that house, Bob. I know he has some stories about it.

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  3. The Annie Spencer Cox house on the dead end road of Carrolville is said to have been haunted. Mr. Bishop bought it & would rent it out for weddings but the up stairs was roped off & you were not allowed there.

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  4. I think I know most of the children in the picture that Jimmy C. sent in of Bro. Crawford. Those of you that have moved from Baldwyn probably don't know the children, but know there parents. The back row left to right. Tommy Prather, Ruth Carol Prather, Dora Wilhite, Becky Hamblin. Front row (?) (?) Cynthia Houston, Martha Ann Miller.

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  5. Betty Smith and I decided to go down there one night and see if we could find a ghost. We did! While trying to be still and quiet while watching the house, some boys slipped up on us and, well, that's all I'll say! My hair didn't return to shape till the next morning.

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  6. I remember it well, too.. the dirty old windows were like mirrows. When you rode your bike by at night or just walk by, the lights would reflect and move, too. It sure looked like there was movement inside..
    also the road was gravel then and you were usually barefooted in the summer. You could grab a gear and fly down that road by the house because your feet were toughed up.

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  7. I may be wrong, but didn't the McKays die just a couple of hours apart (naturally)?
    I read that they found a cache of silver dollars on that property when they were building the road, 370?, west from that point. There was a big hassle over ownership of the money. I never heard how that came out.
    Bob B.

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  8. Tena in SaltilloJune 6, 2008 at 11:11 AM

    Two additional places that much emphasis has been placed on over the years are as follows:

    After the April 5, 1936 tornado leveled much of Tupelo, the injured and dieing were brought to the Lyric Theater. Popcorn machines were used to sterilize medical instruments. Local lore has it that the building is haunted to this day.

    The theater at Barnes Crossing Mall - Female ghost (Lola) haunts the concession, arcade, and employee break room. Three others haunt the theaters. They especially like it when horror movies are playing. There is also a man haunting the upstairs and projection room.

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  9. Little know story about the Caldwell house... Lanny O any Myself decided to look for ghost in the house. When we didn't find any it made us very mad. So we decided to break all the front windows out which we did. Well that cost me real whipping and cost my parents in money. Both familes funded the replacement of all the windows in the house even the ones that we didn't break...the ghost was Lucian who would hide around the house day and night to try to catch us kids fooling around the place which he did on more that one occasion. So there was never a ghost, just the ole man trying to scare the kids...sorry to be the hoax buster


    Jimmy G

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  10. My grandmother told a story about John Allen when he was delivering papers. John was always known for his dawdling never got in a hurry and could make an all day task out of anything. One day while delivering papers and it was getting close to dark he was walking past the Caldwell house probably kicking rocks and just meandering along when Mrs Caldwell appeared from around the corner. John saw her and it scared this little boy to death especially after hearing the rumors of it being haunted. He took off and headed home in a run where he arrived out of breath. Billy bob might be alble to tell the story better and clear up some of the discrepancies.

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  11. I can attest to the “other worldness” of the Annie Spencer Cox house place. On my first visit there in the mid 1970’s Jimmy R. Green and I walked through the little picket fence gate and closed it behind us and had some genuine feelings of being transported to a different time. The Summer temperature suddenly got much cooler and the wind sounds changed. Jim and I looked at one another and said “did you feel that?” “yeah, this is really weird!”

    We swallowed hard but continued to the front door and Miss Annie invited us in, sat me in Private John Allen’s favorite chair (hair stood up on my arms) and we sat and chatted and took notes for a long time. Our gracious hostess told us stories her mother used to tell her and invited us to come back to see her anytime.

    Tena, I had always heard the rumors of the old Lyric in Tupelo being haunted and indeed, the theater used to capitalize on that every Halloween by having a spook walk through the upper level with creepy sounds and things that popped out of the dark recesses.

    Odd thing is that I ran the theater on weekends in the Fall and Winter of 1983 and used to take a nap in the upstairs office between the matinees and evening shows. Never heard the first spook.

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  12. Well, for goodness sake. I was born in Miss Ethel Mae Simmons' house! I never knew I lived in a haunted house. What a hoot.

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  13. Jo Carolyn, the kids thought that Ethel Mae was weird, but we now know the term is eccentric. They thought that anyone who didn't use electricity and would rely on candles for light was 'different" and therefore not understood.
    She bought ice for her icebox, and her sewing machine was treadle-driven. Her house was the darkest place on that street after the sun went down.
    I suppose her house was wired for electricity, but she rarely or never used it.
    And that made her and her home look mysterious to the kids.

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  14. Judd Bishop's large barn burned and took with it several animals. It was said that the rebuilt barn exuded horrific animal "screams" at times.

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  15. There was a wash-hole in 20Mile canal where some deaths happened, probably drowning. It was near Pratts school. There could be seen some kids walking the banks on a bright night, no sounds could be heard. I saw it. I will therefore remain anoymous, too!

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  16. I'm pretty sure Ethel Mae's house was wired for electricity because I have the first electric iron my folks owned. They bought it for Mother to iron my diapers. Yes, I was a fancy-pants baby.

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