Sheila May’s childhood in Abbott, Texas was not one you’d see portrayed in feel good Disney movies. Her father was a raging alcoholic and was prone to getting violent towards Sheila May (Names changed for privacy) and her mother whenever he was drunk. To ten year old Sheila, school was a blissful retreat.
But every time summer rolled around, she tried her best to avoid home at all costs. She wound up exploring almost every corner of Abbott as a result. “I’m much more of a chicken now, but when I was little I was fearless,” she drawled.
“I explored just about everything, even when I knew I would get in big trouble for trespassing. Abbott’s a small place, but it was even smaller back then, and I think most people knew that my daddy was a drunk. I think that even if I had been caught on someone’s property, they wouldn’t have told him, knowing he would take the belt to me,” she said grimly.
“Anyway, I remember I was out riding my bike around two days after school got out for the summer, when I traveled to the southernmost border of town and stopped in front of a beat up, ancient looking barn. Some kids had told me that the barn was haunted and that only the bravest of kids went in there, so naturally I was determined to find it and break in somehow,” she laughed.
“One kid, Roger, told me that a demon lived in the barn, but his buddy Billy said that the man who had owned it had hung himself from the rafters, and he could still be seen, walking around the property.
"The stories definitely spooked me, but not to the point where I refused to go in or anything,” Sheila May shrugged. “I set my bike down near the road and ran across the field in a crouched position, hoping nobody would see me. The door to the bar was rusted and practically hanging off its hinges, so it was easy to get in.
"I remember it being very dark inside, with barely any sunlight coming through the wood slots of the walls. Several feet up was the rafters which took up half the space of the barn. I saw an old wooden ladder tucked in one corner, but as I stood there, staring up at the space…,” she shook her head.
“I was finally starting to feel a little creeped out. I kept picturing a demon with glowing red eyes up there, and goosebumps began to form up and down my arms and legs. I silently dared myself to confront whatever was in there—if something was in there at all.
‘Hello? Anybody there?’ I called out in a half-whisper. Suddenly, I heard a series of squeaks, like someone was walking across old floorboards. My heart started pounding and I realized that I wasn’t as brave as I thought I was.
"I turned and started to run towards the opposite side of the barn, where the door was, when I heard the sound of twisting rope, and the silhouette of a man appeared in front of me,” she said, flinging her arms about. “That’s when I realized that it was a spirit and that I had watched him hang himself from the rafters. I never explored that part of Abbott ever again.”