HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
A Haunted House in Lacoochee
By ARNO SURLS WEBSTER
One Monday near the end of one of my years at Pasco High School, I heard that Lacoochee Elementary School’s 8th grade class was putting on a play that they had spent much time in preparing. For some reason, the production was to be presented that Monday night. I really wanted to go; everybody that could go would be there! The problem: I had no way to ask my mama if it would be O.K. Back then, we had no cell phone, we didn’t even have a telephone. So, I wrote my mama a note telling her that I planned to catch the Lacoochee bus after school, then go to my aunt, Victoria Melvin’s house, go with her and my cousin, June Cruse, to see the play, spend the night, back to school on the Lacoochee bus the next day, then home as usual. I hoped it would be all right. I gave the note to my brother, Bud, to take home.
Everything progressed as planned. We enjoyed the play; it was well done and a big hit with the audience.
Afterward, I went home with my aunt and cousin and we talked and talked about the play until bedtime. Up until then, I had not remembered that my aunt’s house was supposed to be haunted; and the haunting noises were heard most often in June’s room where we would be sleeping.
Now its lights out; its late spring and the heat is oppressive. Lying in bed in the dark, I am apprehensive; I’m not sure I should even be there, not knowing what my mama thought of my decision about the evening, now worried about ghosts. I spent a very fitful night, sleeping in naps, awakening to the sound of vague moans a couple of times. For me, it was a miserable night.
A few weeks later, three or four, my grandmother went to stay for a while with my aunt. She was given June’s room – the haunted room. She said that she didn’t mind, if the spooks did nothing more than moan, it was not a problem for her.
One afternoon she lay across the bed for a nap. She was awakened by a loud “pop.” She sat straight up! pulled her glasses down from the top of her head and looked toward the wall where she thought the noise originated. There, a crack in the ceiling had separated and a dark reddish ooze was creeping down the wall! In her half-asleep, half-awake state she just stared, trying to make sense of what was happening before her eyes, thoughts of grim haunting images gaining dominance. Then reason prevailed and she fell back across the bed laughing.
There was plenty of honey for the biscuits that night and many more after. There was a honeysuckle vine growing up the side of the house and bees had made a hive in the wall. When the hive got too hot in the warm weather, the worker bees fanned their wings in the chambers accounting for the moaning sounds in the room. During the day, most of the bees were out and about but in the evenings when all the bees were ’at home’, the hive needed fanning more often.
Some of you may remember this house: it was the two story one across the street from the Berkstressers. It was on the left as you leave the commissary going up to town; just past the house, the road turned left and then on across the railroad.