The Rock House

The Rock House

The other day, we passed by the old Rock House, after taking one of my husband's employees home. This was the first time my daughter Julie had ever seen the old house. We didn't stop, and get out, but drove slowly enough for Julie to get a good look at the old house standing alone and desolate through the overgrown brush and trees. Julie made a comment on how eerie the house looked and that it EVEN looked haunted. Of course, seeing it for the first time, I can certainly understand the eerie, haunting feeling one must feel, as I had the same feeling seeing it for the first time myself some 25 -26 years ago.

Throughout the different generations, many stories have been told about the old Rock House, and how it became it haunted. You can ask 10 different people the legend, or story behind the Rock House, and chances are, you will get 10 different stories. I had once heard the house was built in the mid 1800s, and I have heard the house was built in the 1940s. Both are wrong. As you walk up to the old Rock House, you can see the year house was built. Engraved above the entrance: Tolbert 1922.

One story about the old Rock House, is that the family was murdered, all decapitated, and during the night you can see them running through the house headless. Another, they all died of some kind of fever, and the whole family haunts the house. Yet another story is that Mr. Tolbert killed his wife and kids, and another is that Mr. Tolbert hung himself from the staircase and his wife and kids left after they found him hung, and its his spirit that haunts the house.

The story I believe the most, and makes more sense to me: Mr. Tolbert had been away, and while he was away his old home burned down, taking the lives of his wife and kids. He decided that never again would he have a home go up in flames and decided to build a home that could never be destroyed by any act of nature, fire nor storm. So he built the Rock House. After moving into the home, he became so lonely living in the big huge house alone, that he hung himself from the spiral staircase that once was in the home. With this particular story it is believed the whole family haunts the house.

Another story which seems closer to the truth: Mr. Tolberts house burned in a fire, taking the lives of his wife and children. When he built the Old Rock House and moved in, the spirits of his wife and children drove him crazy. He could hear their screams in the late night hours and therefor he hung himself. With this story, if you go to the Rock House late at night, you can hear the screams yourself.

Someone told me the Index Journal did a story on the Rock House once and that I can go to the Library and look in the archives to get the true, original story. Somehow, I don't think we will ever know the true story behind the old Rock House, and each one of us will have our own story to tell.

While Julie was away with her boyfriend yesterday, I took Libby and her friend Lacy to see the Rock House. I was a little apprehensive about getting out of the car. Not because of ghosts and spirits, but being that I am much older, I was afraid of being arrested for trespassing.
When, I was a teenager, we used leave a quarter on the bridge before driving up to the rock house. When we left, our quarter would be gone. Yesterday, we left our quarter on the bridge, when we left, our quarter still remained. Either the ghost that took our money as teens has moved on, or the teens that rode past the bridge collecting money have grown and moved on.
The old house where I used to frequent as a teen, still stood tall, and still looked very haunted and eerie. The path we used to take as teens to the house, still remained some 25-26 years later. One of the stories about the old house, before entering you must leave a gift so the spirits do not follow you and haunt you when you leave. I left a handful of pennies before entering as payment and a cigarette in case Mr. Tolbert himself wanted a smoke.

Libby, Lacy and I walked up the pathway that led up to the house. As I walked, all sort of memories came rushing back from when I would frequent the place as a teen. I mainly wanted to see if my name was still spray painted on the wall in the last room on the right.

When we entered, everything pretty much looked the same as it did 25 or 26 years ago, but I was wee bit upset when I couldn't find my name spray painted on the walls anywhere! Liquor and beer bottles still lingered on the floors, and laid on the ground. Cigar wrappings for blunts were laying on the floor and outside on the ground, as was coke bottles and empty potato chip bags. The spiral stair case that once was in the house was gone, but I also remember when the staircase was stolen when I was a teen and who stole it. There used to be a heavy boarded up back door at the back of the house. I remembered we used to wonder what was behind that back door. Yesterday, the heavy boarded up back door was gone, destroyed, proving to be nothing but a mere entrance to the back yard.

I began taking photos of the old house. Never once, did I feel or see any spirits or ghosts. I was about to take a photo from inside one of the rooms, of the outside from the broken busted window, when suddenly Lacy's face appeared through the window. I almost dropped my camera and wet my pants, and I felt the color drain from my face, leaving ME standing looking a ghost. That child didn't realize how bad she actually scared me!

I took photos of each of the windows from outside, hoping when I got home I would see some kind of apparition, but instead, I have nothing but windows. I did, however, catch a couple of orbs floating behind Libby in one of the photos.

If the Rock House is truly haunted, in which I do believe it may be, I think the Tolbert's are pretty lenient, and evidently love teenagers as they have kept their doors open for over 26 years or longer for the teens to come and frequent the place, hideout at night to smoke a little weed, drink a few beers, do a couple of shots, and even sneak in a little kiss in one of the empty rooms. One thing for sure, Mr. Tolbert built one hell of a house! After close to 90 years, it still stands even after the vandals, the partiers, the visitors and ghost hunters. Mr. Tolbert set out to build a house that could never be destroyed, I think he pretty much succeeded.

One thing I should note, as we were leaving the old abandoned, haunted house, I noticed these pretty little flowers blooming all over the place. A place so desolate, so dead, so eerie, yet such beautiful little flowers blooming...proof enough for me..there is still LIFE at the Old Rock House!

(above photo by Lacy Johnson)

Valentine Memories and Keeping It Alive

As a child in elementary school, I always got excited when it got close to Valentine's Day. I would spend my time with my Mother at the local drug store, or grocery store, searching endlessly through the many boxes of Valentine's Day cards. It was always a special holiday for me back then and the cards I chose had to be perfect. I would search endlessly through all the boxes. Through glittery cards, cartoon cards, Barbie cards, teddy bear cards and the cards that had little slits in them to stick a sucker through. Sometimes I chose the cards that I could insert the suckers into, other times, it was more of the cute, quircky type cards.

The night before Valentine's Day, I would sit on the floor going through the cards, trying to figure out which card went to who, paying special attention to sayings on the card. My best friend would always get the best card, but the latest boy I had a crush on would always get some stupid little quirky saying like "Valentine, you're #1 in my heart" or "My heart beats for you Valentine, youre special" and I would sign it "your secret admirer"
The next morning, I would jump out of bed, eager to get to school.

The week prior to Valentine's Day, we had made little boxes, or bags and decorated them with little hearts made out of construction paper, and glitter. The teacher would call our names individually to go put our Valentine's cards in the bags or boxes. I was always a quiet and shy elementary child, and was always afraid when I put the Secret Admirer card in the bag or box belonging to my crush, he would see me, and know the card was from me. My hands would shake, my heart would race, and my pulse would beat faster, as I threw the card real quick in my crush's box or bag. The teacher would pass out cookies, chips, and juice and we were able to grab our our box or bag and start ripping into our Valentine's Cards. I would get so excited, when I had Valentine's Cards with the suckers inserted and even more excited when I had a little box candy Valentine's hearts. I read each card carefully, always smiling, my heart skipping a beat when I would get a secret admirer card. I would spend weeks trying to figure out who that secret admirer no avail.

As I got older in Junior High, and High School, we quit exchanging Valentine's Card. Valentine's Day was only acknowledged if you had a special boyfriend. Yet, I still received a box of chocolates and stuffed animal from my Mom and Grandparents every year.

When I got married, and my husband and I shared our first Valentine's Day together, I cooked a special meal, and gave him a box of chocolates, and a sweet card. I, on the other hand, only got a card. It was then that I realized, that Valentine's would never mean as much to him as it did to me. My childhood Valentine's excitement, would forever be gone, and Valentine's Day would just always be another day.

When my daughters, grew to be school aged children, I regained that Valentine's Day excitement once again. I was able to take delight in helping them choose their perfect box of Valentine's Cards, and I got to sit with them at the kitchen table, going through each card, just as I did and they would get so excited, just as I did. When I picked them up in the afternoons, they would be wired up on candy and sweets from their Valentine's Day party. They were eager to show me the cards they received and we would spend our afternoon and evening trying to figure out together who their secret admirer was. My heart would fill with pride and glee, when they would present me with a Valentine's card they had made especially for me.

As they grew older, and became teens, once again, that Valentine's magic was lost, and just a thing in the past, just another day. But, each year I would still buy my girls a little something for Valentine's Day and present it to them, whether it be a teddy bear, a box of chocolates, or a new outfit. Even, as teens, they face would still light up as they received their Valentine's from me. Even today, my heart swells with pride and love as I receive my Valentine's from them. Its never much, maybe a small box of chocolates, maybe a card they had made while locked in their bedroom with their music blaring through out the house. As I said, it may not be much, but to me, its the best, and it gets better every year. My daughters and I have always loved Valentine's Day, and we have kept the magic, love and thrills alive between us through all these years.

This year, Julie has a boyfriend, and he gave her a beautiful sapphire ring. I was a little shocked to see such a gift as they have only been dating over a month. I later learned it was just one of those fake jewelry rings, you can purchase at Wal Mart for about $20 or $25. Still yet, Julie received her first ever special Valentine's gift, something I never got, nor Libby.

A holiday centered around Love and couples, yet my daughters and I have made it a family tradition to celebrate the love and closeness we have with eachother. This year, like every year,I will not receive a dozen roses, nor a box of chocolates, or a diamond ring instead we are celebrating with my Mother who got a divorce last year, when she found out her husband of 20 years had been having extra marital affairs. So tonight we are going to the Japenese Steakhouse and celebrate the love our family has for eachother. I doubt my husband will be joining, as Valentine's Day, is just another day to him.

It doesn't matter if you have a special someone in your life. Valentine's Day doesn't have to be for lovers. Instead, make it a family affair, or celebrate with your best friend, regain those childhood memories,

Winter Wonderland

I had stayed up way past midnight, waiting on the first snowflake to fall. I was more excited than a kid at christmas. I love snow, and with the Weather Channel's metorologist predicting close to 8 inches, the excitement grew. It was hard for me to imagine 8 inches. Never in my life had I ever seen 8 inches of snow here in South Carolina. Most of the time we are lucky to get an inch.

When I woke the following morning, the bright, white fluffy substance covering the ground and tree tops was just too much to comprehend. I carefully stepped off my back porch and my foot sank through the fluffiness straight to the ground. It was a strange unusual feeling as I felt it would be never ending, falling into a deep hole or something. I tried to make my way to my husband's shed to get the measuring tool. I took long, wide steps, finding each step seemed to be more deeper. Once we found the measuring tape, we walked through the yard measuring different spots.

I woke Libby and Julie. Libby quickly got out of bed and dressed to go play in it. Julie, not a big fan, took her time. They had snow ball fights, built snow men, ran and fell down in all the fluff, made snow angels, simply just having the best time.

Our neighbors from up north came over making fun of us in all the snow and how us southerners take it to the extreme. They just didnt understand, we never had this much!

This is one snow I will never forget, not only was it just beautiful to see and play in, it was the best snow in my 44 years.