By John David Harrison
To see the house from the outside, one would not suspect anything strange about it. The quaint A-frame house, painted autumn red and set back from the road in the shade of oak trees, appears to be a more-than-comfortable, normal place to raise a family. For homeowner Alice Jackson, however, the past twenty-nine years have been anything but normal.
Built in 1990, the house had strange happenings even during its construction. Builders would complain about missing tools or lumber, only to have the items reappear at the jobsite days later.
“If anything, there was more activity back then,” says Jackson. “It’s like we stirred up the dirt or something.” After settling in, Jackson and her family began experiencing more peculiar episodes. Doors would open and slam shut by themselves; lights would turn on and off; objects would move on their own, including a candle Jackson kept on the coffee table.
“I had a candle, and we’d go somewhere and come back, and the candle would be over there or there,” says Jackson, pointing around her living room, “I remember thinking, ‘That’s the strangest thing, I know I put it there;’ and I come back, and it’s on the floor. One time my daughter, Ashley, her grandmother and I were in here talking, and the candle just got up and went over by the fireplace.”
Things became even more unusual when Jackson started seeing small balls of light and other anomalies around the house. One night after getting home from a nursing shift, Jackson quickly prepared for bed, and, while saying a prayer with her eyes closed, she could tell a light had come on in the bedroom.
“I opened my eyes, and there was this tunnel of light, about three feet in diameter, and it reached from the ceiling to the floor. I knew I had to get up and go to work in the morning, so I just covered up my head and stayed in the bed. Before daylight, I pulled the covers down and looked out ,and there were three buttons of light down there.”
For years, Jackson kept quiet about the strange activity happening in her home. She finally told neighbor Mark Smith, even though she was afraid he would think she was crazy. Smith laughed and admitted to knowing that the house was haunted, he and his daughter Erin having already had weird experiences of their own.
Since childhood, Erin Brown has witnessed countless phenomenon, including light anomalies, shadow figures, curtains and blinds moving with no airflow in the room. Her most unnerving experience occurred one day while she was mowing the lawn. Having passed onto Jackson’s property, Brown happened to glance up and was stunned to see a man standing in the laundry room window.
“I was coming around on the lawnmower, and he was standing right here on the inside of the glass,” Brown says from the laundry room. “He was looking out, and I stopped right here, and we connected eyes with each other.”
Later, while researching the history of Florence, Brown discovered a 19th century photograph of Rev. Henry Steen, one of the town’s forefathers, and believes him to be the man she saw in the window.
“So I know this is Henry’s hangout spot,” Brown says with a chuckle.
Since 2011, Jackson has had multiple paranormal teams investigate her house, including Jackson metro locals John Bullard and Brad Cooney. Bullard and Cooney currently have cameras and other video equipment set up in the house, documenting any disturbances which may occur, 24 hours a day. They’ve captured plenty of evidence, from inanimate objects moving to electronic voice phenomena.
“I heard a full fledged chatter conversation in the upstairs bedroom one evening, followed by what sounded like a WWE wrestling match. It sounded like someone was rummaging through furniture. When we went up to investigate, there was nobody in there,” Cooney says.
He and Bullard agree that the house is a special place.
“Alice’s house is the most consistently active location I’ve done in my eleven years investigating all over the country and outside the U.S., as well,” Bullard says.
But with all that, Jackson and the other witnesses have never felt anything dark or negative about the place. Instead, the ghost or ghosts that allegedly haunt the cozy little house seem to be friendly, intelligent, and just eager to reach out to people.
For Jackson, that still doesn’t completely keep the willies away.
“If we’re here now [in the daylight], this is interesting and all that; but, if you’re here at night by yourself and you see little balls of light in the room, it’s not so fun,” she says, with a grin.