15 August 2007

The Hopkins House-Memories rise out of my gloamy brain

Carolan, Isabo and JC's book title kept niggling at me... In the Gloaming but I couldn't put my finger on it. Finally, I remembered. There's a house in my hometown called, the Hopkins House. It's said a woman named Anne Harrison grew up there and she wrote In The Gloaming because of this house it's a rumor, never proven, but you know how southerners are and I'm not arguing. Gloam refers to twilight, right before dark. All the shadows around that place literally and figuratively, well, the song fits the house like biscuits and butter.

Built in the middle to late 1800's The Hopkin's House has seen a lot of life, and of course, a lot of death as well. Set back on a hilltop, surrounded by bent and ancient Oaks and Cypress , and the ever present Magnolias it's got that good old Southern gothic charm. From the time I was born until I was fifteen nobody lived there. Those big empty windows gave it an air of dissolution and of course plenty of room for the ghosts to grow. That's right, the Hopkin's House, of In the Gloaming fame is haunted as they found out when they started renting it. Nobody lived there long and those who did reported seeing flickering lights, their belongings were moved around, and even more unsettling they heard strange noises coming from the upstairs bedroom. This room was used as the nursery for the original owner's of the house. This room still has the old furniture,including a rocking horse which would rock when nobody had been in the room to touch it.

Does it sound like a chicken may know a bit more about this than she should? Well, you're right. I, Jenna Bock Bock Leigh actually stayed many a night inside Haunted Hopkins House. Oh, I heard the gasps of shock, and believe me, my mother was just as surprised as you, are. I, like the rest of the town of Marion, went on tours of this beautiful home and was struck by the eerie stillness of it. It's large, with airy ceilings and hardwood floors so that your footsteps echo back to you as well as, other things. Not a great combo, huh? Well, no. However, friends of mine moved in and I screwed up my courage and stayed.

Sometimes I think ghosts may be memories of happenings gone by but not in this case. See, we'd make the bed in the nursery upstairs, together I might add, as there was no way in Mayhaw Country, we were going up there alone. Hours later, we'd go back up there and find that the bed would either be messed up again, or handprints would be pressed into one or more of the pillows of the high teaster bed. Many times the rocking horse would rock by itself, quickly or slowly, depending on the day and the temperment of the 'ghost'. The renter had two teenaged daughters and I firmly believe this entity liked these people, because at no time did we ever feel threatened by whatever it was.

Now that's not to say we weren't ever scared because please, we're big babies. But we were never scared by this so called ghost. We were scared by, the dog who got mysteriously shut into the nursery upstairs, bats inside the house.. oh dear God, I almost passed out, shut up, I know they're nice, shut up! The dude dressed up like Freddie Kreuger on Halloween! But the ghost, never scared us, not really. I mean, I had my share of goosebumps and chills down the spine walking from the bedroom to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but never in all my time at The Hopkins House did I ever have a bad experience with whoever it is that resides there. And for that, I'd like to say, thanks for never scaring me in the gloaming.
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