Back in 1963, I took a trip to Weatherford, Texas, out in the country to spend some time at my Aunt Jay (Julia) and Uncle Guy’s house – the Rock House we called it because it was made entirely out of multicolored stone. Uncle Guy built it himself as a wedding gift to his bride, Jay. Soon after, a son Joe was born, then a girl, Ann. When the kids grew up, The son Joe married a girl with the same name as his sister – Ann, when she was only 17yrs old. I was 14 and attended the wedding.
On this particular trip, I was 18 yrs old and Joe’s Anne, 21. She was staying at the Rock House visiting her in-laws while Joe was out of town. We both put up for the night in the back bedroom off the kitchen. That room had been added later to the original 2 bedroom house as Joe got older and needed his own room. It was made of wood and had a different feel to it than the rest of the stone and concrete house. There was a small wood closet in the corner near the kitchen, full of blankets and winter storage. Three beautiful, round wood boxes of ascending sizes were stacked beside the closet opening.
Anne and I had a great time together, confiding in each other and laughing the night away, and just as we felt it was time to turn in for the night, a loud scratching resounded in the room. We both looked at each other. What is THAT? The scratching went on relentlessly, and we were afraid to get out of the bed lest it be a mouse! We could not sleep with the thought of a mouse or other frightful intruder in our room, and finally, I got up enough nerve to investigate further.
It seemed the scratching was coming from the closet, but as I stood and listened, I realized it came from the bottom box of the stacked three. Ann got out of bed to join the inquest, and we stared, puzzled, at the scratching box. We weren’t about to look in that box, but now it had our full attention, the scratching suddenly became louder and seemed to echo in the room. Whatever was in that box was BIG, and it wanted OUT. The thought of it scratching its way out under our feet sent us scurrying down the hall to Aunt Jay’s bedroom door, awakening her in the wee hours of the morning. We followed her back to Joe’s bedroom where she too, contemplated the scratching box. She picked it up and brought it out into the kitchen, placing the box squarely in the middle of the floor.
Aunt Jay grabbed a broom and Ann and I backed up, anticipating a furry onslaught. Aunt Jay reached forward, slowly and flipped the lid right off the box… we gasped. Nothing happened. We bent forward and looked in the box. It was EMPTY! Empty, except, the loud scratching went right on, echoing off the kitchen walls. We all stared at the box dumbfounded. Nothing. Yet, the eerie scratching continued as though a rat-sized animal was trying to get out. This was long drawn out scratching- SCRAAAAAAAAATCH, SCRAAAAAAAAAATCH… on and on. We walked around, talking, confused and incredulous.
We got something to drink and sat there at the kitchen table looking at that scratching box. We wondered if a small termite was trapped in the wood somewhere and the enclosure amplified its scratching, but Aunt Jay went over every inch of that box and the wood was hard and smooth- no room for any secret compartments. It didn’t make sense. Finally, Aunt Jay said she had to get some sleep and told us to go on back to bed. The box was left on the kitchen floor, lid off, and scratching away as we went back to bed and closed the door soundly. Ann and I listened to the scratching sounds filter through the door until we fell asleep.
The next morning we all came into the kitchen where the box still lay as we left it- but now it was silent. The scratching was gone! Aunt Jay put the lid on and placed the box back in the stack beside the closet door and we looked at each other like- uh, I won’t tell anyone if you don’t tell, but it is something I never forgot to this day- the night of the scratching box… what WAS that, anyway? I never heard about anything like that to this day.
Submitted by Mikey R.
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