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)