The haunted house on Chase Street

A Black Hawk Ghost Story

By Joan Pomeroy

It was late in October 1958, and I was an 8th grader at the Gilpin County Junior High School. One night I was given the job of babysitting for my Aunt and Uncle’s kids. They lived in Black Hawk, Colorado, in a rented old two story house on the left side of Chase Street, almost at the place where the street turned into a one lane dirt road. I was told that something unexpected came up that they needed to tend to, and there was no choice about babysitting. I knew better than to ask questions, even though a million questions ran through my mind. Just after my Aunt and Uncle left for Denver, an eerie wind started to blow.

After I put the three small children to bed and sat down at the kitchen table to start my homework, I heard the sound of footsteps on the outside staircase that ends at the upstairs bedrooms. Then I heard someone open the outside door to the bedrooms upstairs. I tentatively decided to walk up the inside stairs and check the door. It was locked, and the children were asleep in the second bedroom. In order to get to the second bedroom you had to walk through the first bedroom, there wasn’t a hall. A bed was made up in the first bedroom, for me to use in the event my Aunt and Uncle were late in coming back home.

Just before leaving the second bedroom, I thought I heard voices on the other side of the wall. I must be hearing things I thought to myself, since the other half of the upstairs was unfinished and had its own set of stairs. I had not heard anyone go up those stairs.

Before returning to my homework, I realized I was a bit jumpy. I made sure the front door was locked and the phone was working. Suddenly the lamp in the front room window went out, leaving me in a darkened room. Even the wind seemed louder as I fumbled for the wall switch to turn on the overhead light. After I could see again and investigated the window lamp, I realized that the bulb had simply burned out. Replacing should be easy since I knew where the extra light bulbs were kept. I told myself that this wasn’t the time to get scared because I had the responsibility of taking care of the children. After all, the bulb could have burned out at anytime.

After replacing the burned out bulb and turning off the overhead light in the front room, I returned to the kitchen to resume doing my homework.

Bang! The front door of the house next door slammed shut. Now I knew the house next door had been empty for some time, so there should be no one coming or going, especially at night. Impossible, I told myself, it must have been the wind – even now I could hear an odd piece of metal being blown down the street.

I woke up suddenly, lifting my head from the homework where I had been resting my eyes, and I could see the fire in the cook stove was almost completely out. Thankfully the inside wood box was full and I did not have to go outside for more. After placing a large log in the cook stove, I thought I heard voices again, so I slowly crept up to the inside door that accessed the stairs to the unfinished part of the second floor. Everything seemed to be quiet, except the wind that sounded like a banshee as it circled the house. But then I once again heard faint voices, though I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. Had my Aunt and Uncle come home and were fighting about something in the unfinished room?

To make sure, I looked out the front room window to see if their car was home, but it wasn’t. Since nobody was home to tell me I couldn’t, I decided to go up the stairs to the unfinished room, which all the kids had been strictly forbidden to enter. When I opened the off-limits mystery door, I could see by the one light bulb attached to the ceiling that there was not one storage bureau or closet, and the room looked as if it had just been built. I thought to myself, why wasn’t there any storage in such a large space? Of course I could never ask this question to the adults because I would be in trouble for going upstairs. To this day I can not figure out why I was forbidden to go to the unfinished room unless it was because it was still under construction. Part of the floor was not finished, so I could see down at the rough, unfinished side of the exposed ceiling and rafters and wiring that were over the front room below.

At that moment, I heard a car pulling in the driveway, so raced back downstairs and pretended to be working on my homework as my Aunt and Uncle came inside. Looking at the clock it was almost midnight.

I told my Aunt and Uncle part of what I had experienced with the light, wind, footsteps, and voices, and my Uncle said, “You likely were dreaming. Get your things and your Aunt will take you home.” Usually at this late hour, I would stay the night, but this time I was happy to leave and go back to my own familiar home and surroundings.

Although this happened many years ago, my mind will drift back to that night and I still wonder if what I heard was a dream or the ghost of those who once lived there…

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