Some of you might be wondering which story was mine. Here's a hint--I grew up in Decatur, Texas, and there actually was (and probably still is) a Waggoner Mansion on a hill there. The story, however, is pure fiction. Or, is it?
THE OLD WAGGONER MANSION
In our little Texas town, all the kids knew about the spooky old house, “the Waggoner mansion.” It sat on an isolated hillside, a three-story house made of rough-hewn Austin stone, its crenellated towers giving it a faintly medieval look. It had been unoccupied since the last Waggoner passed on. Well, one summer’s night three of us got into a session of “I double dog dare you” and decided we’d explore the “mansion.”
Dusty Montgomery had a license, so we rode in his pickup truck. Frank Perrin knew where there was a hole in the fence. And I discovered an outside door that was unlocked. We forgot to bring a flashlight, but the moon shone brightly through the dusty windows. We had just entered a room on the third floor when a stern voice said, “You boys better skedaddle.” I could see the form of a man, silhouetted against a window, pointing toward the door. Well, you didn’t have to tell us twice.
The next morning I tried to be as casual as possible when I asked my dad, “Who’s the night watchman at the old Waggoner mansion?”
He looked up from his paper and said, “There’s not one. No one has lived there since old man Waggoner died in his bedroom on the third floor three years ago.” He took a sip of coffee. “Sure hope the family can sell that house soon. People are starting to say it’s haunted.”
Photo of the actual Waggoner Mansion from Donna Jordan.