What is it like to own a haunted house? Better still, what is it like to own a haunted location, opened to the public year round several nights a week? Being open to the public changes things.
People expect to be able to go through your closets and drawers. You have zero privacy. Imagine your home plastered all over YouTube, Facebook, twitter and Instagram. Your life becomes an open book. Such is my life with the Hill House Manor in Gainesville, Texas.
One of the first questions I’m asked by new investigators (both new to the house and new to the paranormal community) is, “Do you live here?” and “Have you ever lived here?” The quick answer is, “No.” But there was this one time… when we had to move out of our house in Hickory Creek and our new house in Gainesville wasn’t ready. We stayed at Hill House Manor for a few weeks rather than get a hotel. It was unnerving. I have several stories from that time period, but I’ll save those for another day. To this day we maintain a private room in the back of Hill House Manor for emergencies. It has been our bedroom, my craft room, my Dental Laboratory, and personal storage.
It was when I was using it as my Dental Laboratory that I would have experiences on a daily basis. And since I’m writing this piece about my own personal experiences, that is a good place to start.
There was a time when I worked part time out of my lab in Lake Dallas and part time out of my “mini-lab” in Hill House Manor. I would start around 9 am. The goal would be to work all day in the lab. The reality was always considerably less. Before you let your imagination run wild, let me explain that Hill House Manor is a gentle haunted house. There is no evil in the house and we go to great lengths to keep it that way. Rather, it plays with your mind more so than your body. Yes, it throws things occasionally and moves furniture and has been known to grab or even scratch people, but that is not the norm.
It prefers to play tricks. Many mornings when I would be sitting at my desk carving teeth, I would hear my husband in the front of the house talking to people. At first I would call out to him with no response, finally I would stop what I was doing and go to the front of the house. There would be no one there. I have called him more than once to find out where he was during one of these “episodes’ only to find out he was off at a hardware store one town over from the house. He wasn’t even in town!
After a time I stopped getting up. Eventually I stopped trying to work in the mini-lab. There were just too many distractions. Sometimes I would hear my name called from the kitchen. I would call out, “I’m in the lab.” But no one would respond or join me in the lab. I would stop what I was doing and check the 3,000 sq ft. space. I was alone. It was difficult to get things done with the constant disruptions.
Some mornings I would sit down to work on something I had been working on the night before and it would be gone. I would search the room for said item until I was ready to start remaking it from scratch and then, as if by magic, it would be on my desk where I had left it. It didn’t appear before my eyes. It would just be sitting there as if it had been there all along. You can see how, after a time, one would begin to question one’s own sanity. There’s more.
Some days I would stop to answer the front door. I always kept it locked for obvious reasons. There would be no one there. Just kids in the neighborhood, you say? This was during the school week. There were no kids playing outside. It was quiet. Besides, the kids in this neighborhood are afraid of this house. And adults knew to ring me on the phone before coming by.
There were also the times I would see someone out of the corner of my eye only to turn and find no one there.
Of course there was also the feeling, not constant, that someone was behind me, watching. Not like a supervisor, but like an observer actually interested in what I was doing.
Each of these things individually could be laughed off. But when they happen consistently day after day, they become intolerable. Throw in the fact that I am an empath with certain sensitivities and you can understand why I would not be able to work in such an environment alone. These phenomena have always presented themselves, but they are often masked by the number of other people in the environment. Other technicians, office personnel, delivery drivers coming and going. But in a small room, in a large house by myself, I could no longer ignore or explain things away. I soon found reasons “not to work in the mini-lab today.” It was easier to commute for an hour in traffic than to walk across the street and work in “that house”.
Many of my readers will think they would love to live in a haunted house. I feel compelled to tell you, it is not the things that make you scream you should worry about. It is the day to day brushes with things that make you question your sanity that keep this writer from living in a haunted house. This is the home I offer you all with the haunted Hill House Manor in Gainesville, Texas.
I have many more stories from times I’ve spent in the house. Would you like to read more? Comment below because you know, there was that one time…
About the Author: Linda Anthony Hill lives in Gainesville, Texas where she and her husband, Del Hill, own and maintain the infamous Hill House Manor. Linda is an author writing mainly ghost stories both for children and adults. Look for The Anchor is the Key on Amazon or B&N. Follow her on Amazon to find her other books. Available as a speaker and for book readings and signings, she has appeared on My Ghost Story and HGTV’s 10 Most Haunted Homes in America.