Whatever Happened at the Hazey Place?
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Whatever Happened at the Hazey Place?A tale of Sawyerton’s haunted house.
I had been in the house a hundred times, but it still gave me the willies. Located at the end of a logging road behind town, the dilapidated old structure had been abandoned for years. It was covered with wandering fingers of kudzu and honeysuckle, which only added to its creepy appearance.
The house held a sinister attraction for kids. Despite the pitchfork murder that had supposedly taken place in the attic at one time, we simply could not stay away.
This night, however, was different. I could have easily stayed away. In fact, on this particular night, I would have rather been anywhere else in the world. Because this night was the 31st of October—Halloween.
For the first time any of us could remember, Halloween was happening on a Friday. That meant, of course, no school the next day. We were given permission by our parents to camp out in the Peytons’ backyard. The tent was there. We, on the other hand, were not.
Somehow the five of us (Lee Peyton, Kevin Perkins, the Luker boys and me) had goaded each other into spending the night at the old Hazey place. We considered ourselves too mature for dressing up and begging candy from the neighbors.
We sat in a tight circle, close together in what we had decided was once the living area.
I, for one, was not enjoying myself. The stories were beginning to have an effect on me. I had had enough golden arms, hooks left hanging on car doors, and ghost girls being picked up on the highway wearing prom dresses. I was ready to leave and was about to suggest it when Lee picked up the conversation. “Reckon why she did it?” he asked.
We all looked at him. We knew what he was talking about. In 1951, so the story went, Martha Hazey stuck her fourth husband, George, with a pitchfork in the attic.
“My dad said she cut off his head,” Lee offered. In our hearts, we knew that Lee’s father had said nothing of the kind—that Lee had fabricated this part of the story—but no one challenged him, because the information, according to Lee, had come from his dad. Crediting one’s parent with a wild tale has always been the primary method for avoiding the scorn of peers. (“I didn’t say it, my dad said it!”)
“Martha Hazey,” I mused. “What kind of name is Hazey?”
“I’ll betcha God gave her that name,” Kevin said, “because it rhymes with crazy. You know she escaped from an insane asylum.”
Kevin made the statement as a fact. He was not asking us if Crazy Hazey had escaped—he was telling us that indeed she had. He continued. “She dug up George’s head and still carries it around . . . everywhere she goes.” I was about to tell Kevin that he was full of it when he added, “At least that’s what my mother told me.”
“Somebody saw her down at Henley’s Hardware not too long ago,” I said. “She was looking around in the pitchfork section.”
The other guys looked at me. Their eyes were the size of silver dollars and their breath was coming in rapid bursts. They knew I was lying as well as I did, but as we embellished the tale, it was like an addiction—there was no stopping us. The tension became unbearable. Past the point of casually getting up and going home, we were terrified!
Suddenly, Roger began to sing, “Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, ninety-nine bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around . . .” As his quivering voice faded away, we felt even more uneasy. It had been a pitiful attempt to change the subject.
Only Roger’s brother, Steve, said anything to him. “Don’t be so stupid. If you ever do anything that stupid again, I’ll . . .” Without warning, Steve’s face went white. His mouth kept moving, but there were no words—no sound. He was looking at a spot directly behind me.
I looked at Roger and Lee. Their eyes were now fixed on the same spot. Roger was on his back trying to push himself away with his legs. Lee didn’t move.
Kevin started a weird moaning sound that seemed to be an odd combination of crying and begging for mercy. As Steve continued to mouth nonexistent words, I quickly turned around and almost fainted. There, sliding slowly through the window, was a pitchfork.
My mouth was like sand and my heart was about to come through my chest. It was true! All the stories we’d heard were true.
There really was a Crazy Hazey. She really did kill her husband, and now she was after us! Why had I come here? Why hadn’t I gone trick or treating with my sister?
“Ahh!” Kevin screamed, “It’s George’s head!” Indeed, something that looked very much like a man’s head had come flying through the window and rolled up against Lee’s leg.
A large percentage of the time, when one speaks of hair standing on end, it is merely a figure of speech. In this case, it was not. Our hair did stand on end, we curdled blood with our screams, and before we left the house, we ran in place for a few seconds like mice in a cartoon!
We didn’t stop running until we were safely in the Peytons’ backyard. We were out of breath, we were still scared, but we were alive.
To this day, I have never experienced sheer terror to match that Halloween. Even now, I break out in a sweat when I hear kids singing “Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer.”
It wasn’t until years later—I was in college—when I found out what had actually happened that night. My mom and dad had walked over to the Peytons’ with my sister. As the adults talked in the side yard, they saw us leaving the tent. Dr. Peyton and my dad decided to follow. They had waited outside the window of the old Hazey place, listening to us talk in the living room. When the time was right, Dr. Peyton stuck an old board slowly into the window. Then my dad threw a clump of roots into the room, and the rest is history.
Because of that night, I never went in the old Hazey place again. That, I am sure, is exactly what my dad had intended. Still, it was a mean trick for a grownup to play on a bunch of kids. It makes no difference that it was Halloween. It was dirty, rotten, heartless . . . and I can’t wait for the chance to do something like that to my own boys one day!