The Haunted Barn

I don’t believe in ghosts. I feel like that’s an important point on this entire ghost story. Sure, Paranormal Activity had me jumping at every noise in the night, but that wore off. If I watched it now, I bet I’d have no reaction to it. Especially now that they’ve made those god-awful sequels. If it had been a single movie, then yeah, maybe I would have figured it could possibly happen. But now I know it’s a cash grab, so thanks a lot, movie producer, you’ve made me immune to “ghost activity”.

Sure, there was a moment when I first moved into my house and figured out that a dying person had lived here, and possibly died here. What if he stayed and haunted the house!? That thought lasted about two weeks, and then I removed the handicapped features of the house, so I wouldn’t have to be reminded. And also, I figured I’ll never need such things, because clearly I will be a fit, healthy person for the rest of my life until I suddenly drop dead for no apparent reason when I’m 90 years old. 

I’m not even scared of things that go bump in the night. I go out to my barn in the dark every morning, and during the winter months, in the dark every evening. In the beginning, I carried a gun, because HOLY CRAP, WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN. Then I carried a wooden rod because that could probably fend off something. Then I dropped down to nothing but a lantern, and on nights I smell skunk, I shriek like a banshee to scare it off so I don’t get sprayed. It’s also a good excuse to shriek, because how often is that accepted in everyday life? Certainly not in my everyday life.

The point of all this is that I don’t believe in ghosts, or vampires, or zombies, or gargoyles. I do believe in bears because I saw a bear here once, but that was in the daylight, so it’s probably okay. Although I do remember that story of the guy who had a personal zoo of big cats, and one day he let all the big cats out, so I guess that could happen. But, I am not aware of anyone with a personal zoo, so it’s probably okay…. at least I hope it is.

“The hounds are calling Emily! Let’s rent something at Blockbuster!”

Going back to the point, trainer Sarah has been telling me ghost stories about her barn for as long as I’ve known her.

Factual things she’s told me:

  • There was a confederate campsite on her property. The property has been metal detected to death, and lots of buttons, coins and random artifacts have been found.
  • There was an old house on the property, but it was falling apart, so it was torn down many years ago.

Ghostly things she’s told me:

  • There’s a confederate soldier who hangs out at one end of her barn and scares the horses. One time, late at night, she was cleaning a stall, and he appeared leaning against the stall wall. She swears he was as clear as day, as clear as I was, which at the time, I happened to be standing right in front of her. She said she yelled at him to stop spooking her horses and go away, and he vanished.
  • She and her brother have had ghost hunts before. Her brother has some kind of visual dectecting device, and it saw a thrashing figure in her arena, right in an area where the horses spook a lot. 
  • She has had very vivid dreams of being at a confederate camp, and having to run away to hide in the woods.
  • She woke up suddenly in the middle of the night to find a native american head in front of her. She reached out her hand to touch it, and it vanished.
  •  There’s a vortex where the old house used to be. I’m not sure how she came to this conclusion.
  • She and her boarders all have sightings of ghosts. She said that she hasn’t even said anything to her boarders, and they will come to her and tell her about ghostly sightings. There’s at least three distinct ghosts that haunt the barn.

On the evening of Saturday’s horse show, Sarah had invited ghost hunters to her barn. D’Arcy and I were politely invited, so naturally we took Sarah up on this. It’s time to hunt some ghosts!!! 

Having never been to a ghost hunt, I was not sure what to expect. It started with me being told to shut my yapper, because I was being too loud and they couldn’t hear the ghosts. Fair enough. 

They set up three cameras to watch the aisles. We walked around with one man who had some kind of device that reads different radio waves. I really have no idea how it works, but supposedly it’s supposed to facilitate ghost communication.

As we walked around, it was apparent the ghosts weren’t in a talkative mode. I think they were asking the wrong questions though. If you’re a ghost, and you’re hanging out in a barn, do you want to relive the way you died over and over again? I mean, why is that the only thing people are interested in? Maybe the ghost wants to discuss other things, like how their Saturday went, or if they’re following any sports teams.

We weren’t having much luck getting the ghosts to talk, and eventually, we made our way to the confederate soldier side of the barn. (Sarah has a seriously huge barn, it’s like 36 stalls or something crazy). They were asking the ghost about what his secret was. D’Arcy and I went with another line of questioning.

“So, do you like the horses?”

And then, IT RESPONDED. OMG, the voice thing said, “I do.”

 We all exchanged a glance. Like, whaaaaaaaaat.

Unfortunately, there were no other responses. So we still don’t know why the soldier likes to spook the horses. Maybe it’s on accident?

“Why don’t you get in the back of my van and I’ll drive you home.”

We continued onward. They had another device that somehow deciphered words from thin air, and then it would say the words. So, when the ghost was talkative (maybe) the device would random spout words. It named Sarah’s brother, by name. Maybe it’s a coincidence? It told us to go outside by a tree. We all went. The tree was super creepy looking like definitely a tree people would get hanged on. But, logically, the tree probably wasn’t that big 150 years ago, it wouldn’t have been strong enough to hang people. It would have been just a tree back then.

We were all standing around like idiots by this tree, and Sarah wandered into the adjacent field with one of the devices because that’s where the old house/vortex had been. D’Arcy acquired a cat out somewhere and was holding it and loving on it. The cat was appreciating the attention, when it suddenly went on alert, staring at the ground, following the movement of something up the tree, watching something in the tree, and then following something back down the tree. Ghost? Or stupid cat?  I guess we will never know. Although being out in the dark by a creepy looking tree definitely made it feel like a ghost.

After standing by the tree for way too long, we headed back to the barn. That’s when we were intercepted by the other half of the ghost hunting team, which consisted of “official” ghosthunters, and also, one of Sarah’s working students.

They breathlessly explained how they have been watching the cameras in one of the breezeways when they suddenly heard footsteps in the loft above. It wasn’t just one person’s footsteps, it was multiple, and they heard a chain rattling, as though it was worn around the ankles. 

I wouldn’t have believed just the ghost hunters because they seek these kinds of things, but the student, who previously had been very skeptical, was adamant that she had heard it, too. Naturally, this made everyone want to go to into the loft. But, naturally, since there you had to climb a ladder to get to the loft, the number of people who actually went up dropped down to just three: Sarah, D’Arcy, and random ghost hunter man.

I determined that the best use of my time would be setting up a chair in the breezeway, watching the camera, and listening for ghosts. Naturally, perhaps due to my non-belief, absolutely nothing happened. But, I did get to hear the activity in the loft as they tried to get the ghosts to communicate with them.

The ghost hunter asked the ghost to talk to them. He asked them to touch them. At one point, there were loud gunshots, which startled everyone. But it turned out he had just bumped the device. As far as I can tell, the ghost did not indicate its presence. 

“Hi, Billie Mays here for Super Scrub!”

After a while, they came back down. The next place to check out was the arena, where the thrashing stick figure had been. We went out with them, but at this point, it was getting really, really cold. We only had sweaters on, and it was dropping down to 45 degrees. It was very uncomfortable, so we went back up to the barn, which had a very warm tack room.

After hanging out with completely normal german shepherds, who are only looking for love, Sarah eventually returned and told us we had to come back down to witness t he activity. She was really excited, so we agreed.

The official ghost hunters had disappeared to get more equipment, so Sarah just took us down with a device that would light up for activity. Its default was green, and it would light up through yellow, orange, and red, which somehow indicated a ghost’s presence. 

We stood by the entrance to the arena, and asked questions to the open air.

“Are you a woman?”


“Are you a man?”


“Are you a pirate?”

It lit up all the way to red.

“How can you be a pirate so far inland?


“Do you like pirates?”

It lit up to red.

“Are you being funny?”

It lit up to red.

“Can you stop spooking the horses?”


We asked a few more questions, and everytime pirates came up, it was a red. Our line of questioning determined that it was a little boy who likes pirates. We went back to the barn, and Sarah said that he could not come in the barn, so it did not follow us.

Back in the barn, she told everyone what had happened. When she started talking about pirates again, the device lit up to orange. Apparently the ghosts in the barn like pirates, too. 

We headed out at that point. That was enough ghost hunting for one night. 

Everyone agreed that the ghosts were being very quiet that night, but still – I have absolutely no belief in ghosts. I don’t know what those devices were picking up, but I can only assume they are programmed to pick up random things to make it seem like there are ghosts.

Although – have you had ghostly experiences? Perhaps your barn is haunted? Let’s discuss! 

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  1. Yeah… it would be really hard to prove to me that ghosts exist. All the tech that ghost hunters have that “proves” that they have heard a ghost never really convinces me. Especially the tapes where they have heard words and will subtitle the video for you to see what they deciphered. I can literally never hear anything. Sure since they put words in there I can kinda hear it but without prior context? Nothing.

    I love ghost stories and ghost hunting videos though. They scare the bejabbers out of me, even though I don’t believe. I just like being scared. 🙂

  2. The only thing scary about our barn are the boarding prices we pay (womp womp). That is such an odd experience – they need to now name the barn something pirated related. That’s only appropriate right?

  3. I am fairly certain that the barn I just left had something going on. It was built in the 1950s, so not super old, and I never did look into what the history of that particular spot was. I had one really creepy experience there. I was in the wash rack (which was completely enclosed except for a regular human sized door just barely wide enough to bring a horse in). I was washing up some leg wraps when my spidey senses started going off. You know that feeling you get in your stomach when you think something bad is happening or going to happen? Kind of like maybe whatever is left of our fight or flight instinct from a millennium ago. Well I got that hardcore. I stopped what I was doing and walked out into the barn aisle. I looked down to the end of the stalls just in time to see something black go from one side of the barn aisle to the other along the ceiling. The doors were closed at that time of night, but had been open during the day so I thought maybe it was a bird, but at the same time the horse in the stall where the black thing had originated made a really weird noise, like a pain sound. I walked down to check on her as she was on stall rest, and she had her head up as far as her neck would allow and was staring at the stall across from her (where the black thing had gone) with big eyes. The horse that was actually in the stall where the black thing had gone was pacing circles (which was kind of unusual for that horse), but otherwise didn’t seem concerned. Still I got a really creepy feeling and left as soon as I could.
    The BO at that barn has seen black blobs on her mare cams, even had one cam that would constantly seem to malfunction when it was in one spot, but would perform totally normally if moved to another spot.
    The nail in the coffin at this barn is the amount of really bad things that happen to the horses there. She’s had one foal die due to a red bag birth, she had another foal that became septic due to her belly button not closing up (thankfully the baby did live), one of her foals that was born this year is wind swept (I left before I found out more, but they are doing casts and hoping for the best). She had another mare that was 8 months along and aborted without any indication of anything being wrong. All of her broodmares received top notch care. My mare was seriously injured while boarded there, and another one of the boarder’s was seriously injured right before I left. The mare that I mentioned that was on stall rest was seriously injured off of property, but still that was three horses of the six that were there that suffered injuries in the two years that I was there. It just seems really…suspecious…despite them going out of their way to provide good care and a safe facility.

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