One of my first experiences with “The House on Roland Road” happened many years ago. I was waiting to pick up my daughter at a farm just outside of town. She was visiting the kids that live there.
While waiting, I saw a small, curly headed blond girl being twirled around and around by a man in a uniform. The child looked to be three years old. The laughter went on as I quickly turned away. It looked surreal, as if I could see through them.
Thunder rumbled in the distance — a storm was brewing. I rolled up the car windows anticipating the downpour. As I turned to the passenger side, I encountered what I can only describe as the “old man’s spirit.” He was dressed in a World War I Army uniform, sitting next to me in the front seat of my car! “Well I guess you are going to have to go up there, she isn’t coming out,” he said to me.
I jumped out of the car and ran up the hill to the house. The spirit of the soldier appeared to me again: “Well go in,” he said as if he owned the place, so I walked right in the front door.
As I gazed around the huge living room, a picture on the wall caught my eye. The man in the photo looked just like the old soldier. As I stared at the picture I was startled by a voice. I turned and I was greeted by the woman of the house who she introduced herself as Clair. I asked her who the man was in the picture.
“This farm was his, but he passed a long time ago, he’s my Great Grandfather,” she said. “He died trying to save a little girl who was drowning in the lake out back about a half mile away,” she explained.
“Did he save her?” I asked.
“No, she drowned too, unfortunately.”
“There’s a picture of her too,” said Clair.
Around the corner in the dining area was a picture of the little girl I saw the old soldier twirling around out in the yard. I told her I saw what I thought was him and the little girl while I was waiting outside. She nodded and said that the kids have said that they see him in the house pretty often too, and they won’t go upstairs!
“Would you mind if I had a look up there?” I asked.
“Sure, go ahead — but there are no lights. Take this,” Clair said handing me a large flashlight.
I climbed the stairs to the top and felt a chill coming from the left, so I went in that direction, there was a spot that felt very cold at the top of the landing. I slowly walked in that direction. Once I was there I stood quietly. I heard the old man’s voice again.
“I have a message I want you to pass on,” he said. “The wiring in this house is bad, and I am worried about the children, this house is going to burn down.”
He wanted me to tell the family to install smoke detectors around the house. I went back downstairs and told everyone what had happened, relaying the old man’s warning about the bad wiring and the fire. I asked them to take the message seriously — I was certain that the warning was real. The house would burn to the ground within two years. The fire would start in the upstairs area.
In mid-August the following year I heard the awful news that farm house had burned to the ground. Lucky enough the whole family was away when the fire broke out. In fact, one of the kids wanted to stay home that fateful day, but was driven from the house by “a ghost pushing him toward the door.” He was so scared he said he wouldn’t stay there alone and begged his Mother to take him along. She of course did, and when they returned the house was in cinders, burned to the ground.