This photo taken in 2008 would indicate that someone finally bought this old house and refurbished it. When I was a child in the late 1940s and early 1950s, my friends and I were afraid to walk past it.
The photo clearly illustrates what an imposing edifice the structure is. It sits on the highest point in Crafton Heights and, when all the surrounding area was overgrown with weeds and vines, and the home was badly in need of paint, it was easy for a child to let his or her imagination run wild. Add numerous broken windows and a roof that was missing many shingles, and it became more frightening. And all of this was prior to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”!
There were rumors that some brave boys entered the stately old mansion (it still has the stone hitching post on the sidewalk in front of it) and found such oddities as a dumb waiter. But I never met one of these lads, so I could only go on what I heard from the rumor mill.
In any case, I avoided it like the plague, especially on Halloween.
These woods, which – surprisingly – are still there, represented one of our favorite places. We spent many hours playing games in the woods and throwing snowballs and other objects down on passing vehicles.
However, I was not permitted to go into those woods until I was allowed to cross the street by myself. I really don’t recall when that magical part of my youth came to pass. What I do remember is the night we were scared silly walking this road past the woods. It was in 1954, when I was ten years old. My brother and I, along with a number of friends, walked down to the Crafton Theater to see the latest horror movie.
By the time the movie ended, the sun had set. I don’t recall the exact season of the year, but it was warm enough for the crickets and other noisy insects to be out chirping away. Those chirps sounded just like the giant ants in the movie we’d just seen. That’s one time our parents didn’t have to worry about our dawdling on the way home. We made record time!
I’m sure there were other things that kept us awake at night, but hiding under the blankets always seemed to keep us safe.
The one thing I miss from childhood is movies that allowed us to use our imagination. Today’s films, with their constant displays of blood and gore, are disgusting… and not nearly as frightening as what we can envision by ourselves.