Below Mink Creek Steeps there is an old homestead,
Or was – now just a square of foundation stones
That ranging cattle sometimes use as a bed.
There is half of a chimney where the wind moans
On November nights, as it must have back then.
But the old house burned down a long time ago.
The locals don’t seem to know exactly when.
Many claim to remember the story though.
They say they came from back east. But they won’t say
Their name. There seems to be power in the name
That folks feel best left unspoken. Anyway,
They all agree it was from east that they came.
They carved out a cattle ranch on the hillside,
Where the ground was too rocky to take a plow,
Up until the man committed suicide.
Nobody ever knew why or even how,
But he came back to make his widow’s life hell,
Terrorized her until she was unable
To keep from throwing her baby down the well.
They found her hanged above the kitchen table.
The house was bought and sold until none would buy,
As nobody could stay inside a whole night.
Eventually, locals decided to try
And join together, to give the ghosts a fight.
Twelve men stayed there in a show of rancher’s might,
Till the lanterns went out, and they were beaten.
Whatever lived in that house could scratch and bite.
And the ranchers ran, rather than be eaten.
All the men who helped burn the house to the ground
Said they never stopped having terrible dreams
Of the way the wood burned with a hissing sound,
And the stench of burning flesh, and the faint screams.
There is still a hollow where they filled the well,
And a strange weed that creeps on the cellar stairs,
But no recent cases of biting to tell.
Dark birds and bats flutter from their evening lairs.
Fog often shrouds the hillside like a curtain.
Whether restless spirits still abide as hosts
Is not anything one can say for certain.
But boys haunt it from time to time, hunting ghosts.
~ Daniel F Mitchell