Unexplained Voices

Hey, Readers. Welcome to another Mystery Monday post. This month’s topics are personal experiences or family stories.

I’ve always maintained the sixties and seventies were the best decades to grow up. Every generation feels this way, but life was simpler in those days. We didn’t have cable TV, cell phones, or video games. In summer, we played outside all day and never had a problem entertaining ourselves.

For me, forty acres of woods and fields was an ideal place. I climbed trees, waded in our creek, and rode a bicycle (on the road). Even though our house was only four miles from the nearest small town, with no nearby neighbors, I sometimes only saw friends when we went to church on Sundays. That was okay because I had an active imagination.

But on this particular summer afternoon, I heard something that wasn’t my imagination. It was late in the day, probably after dinner, when I went outside to play at the barn. It stood about thirty feet behind the house. Mom and Dad were inside. My brother wasn’t home. In those days, we didn’t have air conditioning, so we kept the windows open.

I was behind the barn when I heard someone call out my name. “Joan, Joan!” Thinking it was my dad, I hurried back to the house.

“Did you call me?” I asked.


“But someone called my name. I was at the barn, and I heard it.”

Both Mom and Dad could see I was sincere and not making up a story. I can’t recall if Dad went to check, but I stayed inside the rest of the evening. We never knew who called my name.

A path in the woods between my brother’s cabin and my house. (My own photo)

This wasn’t the only time we heard unexplained voices on our property. Years later, my brother built a small cabin near our creek. One day, he was outside when he heard someone plainly say, “What are you doing?” No one was around.

Sound travels, and by this time we had closer neighbors. It could have been an echo. Then again, maybe not.

In the late 1970s, during an ice storm, Dad fell and broke his hip. Mom, my brother, and I were in the house. When Dad was unable to get up, he called out for help. Not to Mom and not to my brother. His words? “Joan, Joan!”

It was much like that summer afternoon when I was a child. I’ve often thought the voice I heard that day was a premonition of things to come.

I still live on the family property, but I haven’t heard any more unexplained voices.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the personal stories this month. Next week is Memorial Day, so I won’t be posting then. June is a busy time for me as I’m editing not one, but two pieces of fiction – a novel and a novella, so I’m taking a break from writing Mystery Monday posts then. They take a lot of time and research, so with my busy publishing schedule this year, I need to focus on that. I’m also going back to a twice-monthly schedule for Mystery Monday and Legends and Lore.

The next Mystery Monday will be in July. I may have a random post or two during the month of June, otherwise, I’ll see you at the end of the month with my book reviews.

Don’t Go

Hey, Readers? Ready for another Mystery Monday? This month’s posts come from personal experiences and family stories. Some of these family tales inspired short stories or events in my novels. This story served to inspire a scene in my novel, Cold Dark Night.

In the late 1950s, when I was a toddler, my parents sold their home in Irving, Texas, and purchased forty acres in the eastern part of the state. Having lived all their married life in cities, they were ready for a change. They also purchased a couple of cows, grew a garden, and raised chickens.

Until our new house was built, Mom and Dad rented an old farmhouse across the road from the newly acquired property. For a few years after we moved, Dad continued to work in the Dallas area and came home on weekends. Mom and my brother did all the chores.

One of my own photos. The old house where we once lived stood just to the left of the old concrete building.

One cold winter evening, my brother was sick with pneumonia. Dusk had already fallen by the time Mom was able to milk the cow. They kept her on our property, and the barn was a short walk from the house.

Mom set out from the house with a pail in hand. When she got to the end of our driveway an inner voice spoke to her. “Don’t go.” She paused for a moment, but knowing she must milk, walked on.

She’d walked a few yards further on the dirt road when the voice spoke to her again, this time in a firmer tone. “Don’t go.”

She stopped. Even turned around. “I have to milk the cow.” She turned back toward the barn. The cows always waited for her at a particular spot near the fence but on this day they weren’t there. She saw them near the barn gazing intently toward the thick woods. (Our closest neighbor was at least a half-mile away.)

The voice came a third time. “I SAID DON’T GO!”

This time, she didn’t hesitate. She went back to the house and told my brother and me to bundle up and get into the car. She drove the short distance, parked near the barn, and kept the headlights on while she completed her chores.

She never knew the reason for the warning. It could have been a wild animal or someone lurking in the woods. Mom always said warnings came in threes, and when this one happened a third time, she knew to heed it.

I’ll always wonder about the reason for the warning on that cold winter night, but it’s a mystery that will never be solved. Next week, I’ll share a story about some other unexplained voices.

The Lasso

Hey, Readers. Welcome to another Mystery Monday. This month’s posts are events that either happened to me or to members of my family. This one is a mystery—one that some people might chalk up to someone’s active imagination. I have my opinion, but I’ll let you decide.

My mother was forty-two years old when I was born. She grew up in North Texas and lived during the years of the Great Depression. Her father was a textile worker. When she was a teenager, the family moved from Fort Worth to Dallas and lived in the area around Love Field Airport.

In the 1930s much of the southern plains were in a period of severe drought, known as the Dust Bowl. While Dallas wasn’t affected like towns in the panhandle, Mom said the summers were hot, dry, and often without so much as a breeze blowing. It was on such a day that Mom, her sister Mary, and four friends decided to explore an empty house.

According to Mom, in those days people didn’t lock houses after moving out. This particular house was a large-two story structure with a front porch and a wide and heavy solid wood front door. As excepted, the girls found the front door unlocked, so they went inside, exploring every room, nook, and cranny.

At one time, someone had been murdered in one of the upstairs rooms, and Mom said the blood stain was still visible on the hardwood floor. The back entrance of the house was locked, so the only way for someone to enter was through the front. Once they finished looking through each room, the six girls went back outside to sit on the front porch.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Being teenage girls, they imagined what it would be like to live in the house. It was large enough to accommodate several people, so they talked about how they would divide the rooms. Suddenly, on that hot, dry, windless summer day, they heard someone throwing a lasso. The heavy front door slowly closed.

Frightened, the girls took off, running in different directions. One of them lived with her grandparents a couple of doors away. When she told her grandfather, he and her brother immediately went to the house and looked throughout each room. No one was there, and no one had an explanation for the sound. Needless to say, the girls didn’t return to that place. Mom said the house burned to the ground not long afterward.

I was only a child when Mom first told me this story, and it always fascinated me. Years later, when I was a teenager, one of Dad’s sisters and her husband came to visit. Mom and Dad rarely entertained people in the living room. Everyone sat around the kitchen table, talking, and drinking coffee.

Often, I would join them as they often reminisced and told stories of things that happened before I was born. On this day, they must have talked about unexplained events. My uncle said, “Joan, there was a house near Love Field where you could hear the sound of a lasso being thrown, and the door would close by itself. I’ve seen and heard it myself.”

I’ll never forget the surprised look on Mom’s face. She was unaware that Uncle Melvin had heard the sound, and he didn’t know she had.

I’m inclined to believe this event wasn’t the product of over-active imaginations. What do you think?