Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Mom's Memories of the Yancy House

My Mom read the blog entry about me being scared silly in the Yancy House, and she sent me this note to relate her experiences there. Roy had done some research and had found an article indicating the house had been abandoned because it was destroyed in a fire. Neither he nor I or my Mom and Pop agrees with that. After all, we have all been there since then. I suspect that may have been a story circulated by the family to keep people away, but it apparently didn't work. Roy also reports having been in there and had a dark creepy feeling and that he has seen movements in the old house when no one was there. Anyway, I am not a believer in ghosts per se, but there are some things I have seen that are terribly hard to explain. The Yancey, (or Yancy), House is one of those things. Anyway, here is what my Mom wrote:

Dear James,

The Yancy House was a very elegant home. The floors had been carpeted in the very best carpeting available when it was built. I don't know the exact date. The heirs deserted the house---- just built a new house and left sometime during the late thirties or early forties. Why? Old Granddad Yancy, the builder of the house haunted it.

Originally the land included "Grandpa's” Mountain. But the story goes that Old Man Yancy was very sick during the last years of his life and had to spend all his time confined to his suite upstairs. Many of his days were spent in a rocking chair. When he died, his spirit remained refusing to give up possession of the house.

Yes there were other ghosts as well, but Granddad Yancy, or Old Man Yancy as he was referred to by the old people I knew growing up , was the most prominent. It was told by family and friends alike and by young people who went to "see", that beginning at midnight, Old Man Yancy would rock his chair out of his room, down the stairs, and out the front door to the porch (front) and there he would rock until dawn every night.

I don't know what else happened, but eventually, the family just left taking little of the original furnishings ,not even the books.

Over the years, people would go in and systematically strip out the carpet and anything of value and sell it. On one occasion, when I was in high school, Some of the boys in the community, (Johnny’s brother. Harry, and Phillip Fairchild, Jimmy Justice (Johnny's cousin) and some others slipped in before dark knowing some blacks were planning to go for some of the things still there.

There was a coffin stored in the attic of the old house along with other things from the civil war, Spanish American War, and World War One.

Well, this night, a bunch of the boys decided to have some fun at the expense of the would be thieves. They went in early and hid. One hid in the old coffin with a sheet wrapped around him. When the thieves arrived and made their way into the attic, that boy slowly sat up and looked around. They say the black men turned white that night. There was even talk that they were never seen again.

When I was in the eleventh and twelfth grades, all the kids in our age group would load up in someone's car after church on Sunday night and go riding. One car was a Lil Nash Rambler. We loaded up 3 deep that night (yes, 3 deep except for the driver). We decided to ride out to the Yancy House and see if we could see anything.

We left Yancy Road, turning into the drive tunneled on each side by large oaks hanging with Spanish moss. The lane bore all the traditional earmarks of an old haunted estate of the south--- a long drive by an overgrown pond, oaks trees bordering the overgrown road with a bridge over the dam side of the pond, approaching the house on the side with a fork for front or back.

This night, there was no moon. That is the night I saw the old woman standing in the window. The kitchen had been a cook house outside the main house at first. Later I think they added one to the house. Of course, we got out of there as fast as we could.

The last time I saw the house, your dad and I drove out there just "messing around" one Sunday about 20 years ago. The house was falling down. The floors were already sitting at a 35degree angle. We dared not try to enter. We just looked through old windows and doors and walked around the old gardens and then left. The old pond had been drained for safety purposes. The silt buildup had become a death trap to kids trying to swim in it.

James Lee Frady (c) 3/04/2009