The Haunted House on Red River

Hunter, J. Marvin. "The Haunted House on Red River," Frontier Times Vol. 2 No. 3 (December, 1924), pp 17-19, 31. Bandera, Texas.

In the spring of 1880, with my family, a young man named Larkin, his mother and sister, I moved to the Chickasaw Nation and leased a farm in Red River bottom, about 12 miles from Denison. The place of which I speak was renowned, if not historical. It had for many years been the domicile of old Dock Carter, an old time annuity captain for the Chickasaws, who a few years previous to the time of which I speak, had died in the city of Washington, while on an embassy to that place for the Chickasaw Nation. When he departed for Washington with his family, the house was left unoccupied and had so remained even until the time of our coming.

When we took possession of the place, to our great wonder, the house was filled with beds, trunks, costly mirrors, and bookcases filled with works of standard English and American authors. Everything seemed to be disposed very much as when the place had been abandoned by Dock Carter and his family. Here was a fortnight's riddle to solve. Why had the furnishings of that house remained all those years intact, exposed to the greed and avarice of all comers? Do what we could, think as we might, for many days the mystery became more profound. As time went by, we were slowly advised that the place was haunted by the spirit of old Dock Carter, which kept nightly vigils over the sacred precincts of his old home. The Indians for miles around held the place in mortal dread. The told all sorts of fabrications of spectres, ghosts and ghouls, which had been seen by every belated traveler who had passed that way for a great while. Through superstitious fear, the Indians had conjured up the notion that Dock Carter could be seen in all sorts of fantastic forms and guises.

Very many, too, were the recitals of both deluded whites and Indians that lights were often visible in the house at night, horses were frequently seen hitched in the yard or lot, and voices and unearthly groans were often heard in the open hallway. Blood stains were visible on the floor of several rooms, of which some were so bold to say they were the blood stains of sundry persons who had been murdered in the house and buried under the ample hearthstone.

That there were some grounds for all the exaggerated recitals we all realized, but what the real ghosts had been, for a long time we were unable to determine. However, as time passed we became fully convinced that the weird sights and sounds around the place had arisen from the fact that the deserted house had long been the rendezvous of a band of horse thieves or the retreat of yeggmen and robbers. As time went by and old Dock Carter did not put in an appearance, a degree of reassurance possessed the ladies and altogether a very happy and prosperous year passed away. We saw no ghosts, heard no fiendish yells, and were never disturbed by the band of horse thieves we suspected of visiting the place.

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