Estimated reading time — 11 minutes
The McCarter House in Greenburg, TN is fairly well-known by now, but at the time that my wife and I were looking to buy it, it was only infamous to the locals and we knew nothing about it. It is a pale, white farmhouse on a bald hill just off Baden’s Road in the Walnut Creek area of town. It might still be there, but hopefully it had been torn down by now. If you decide to go there, listen to this story as your word of warning first, and do not go
there during a full moon.
The house had been the scene of a horrific battle during the Zombie Apocalypse. Jim McCarter, his family and some of his neighbors had holed up there when the zombies rose up from the Walnut Creek cemetery. The attack was brutal. The McCarter clan were quickly surrounded by the living dead, and somehow the zombies were able to break open a door and get in. No one survived. The story behind this was particularly scandalous as there was a
church nearby where everyone else in the community was able to hide and successfully defend themselves from the zombies. Jim McCarter’s clan was banned from the church due to accusations made by Pastor Tom Olson claiming Jim had impregnated both of his twin daughters. Later, when everyone else was driving stakes through the brains of the dead in every graveyard they could find, Olson famously refused to do so, on the grounds that the
rising dead was part of God’s divine plan. God gave these men and women new life, and taking that away was nothing short of murder. That was the last straw for those who sided with Jim during the feud and they broke away from the church to fight at the McCarter house. They likely regretted that decision.
No one had been in the house since, except for a government cleanup crew that sanitized the property and fixed the broken door that lead to the massacre. It had stagnated in real estate listings until my wife and I decided to buy it. We were dirt poor, as the economy after the Apocalypse was still in the dumps, and the only thing we could afford was to either take this house or keep sneaking into motels at night. The real estate company was so desperate to get rid of it that they waived the down payment and processing fees. We were very thankful, because this house was considerably cheaper than our apartment back in Marron City. My wife was 6 months pregnant with twins, and this meant more money and space to raise our kids.
While the real estate company promised lightning speed processing to get us the deed, we made arrangements to stay with a neighbor, a retiree named Charlie Bunyon, until we got our house. We paid him a little money for room and board, and to borrow his truck and hands to get the furniture everyone was throwing out onto their curbs. He was happy to do it, and happy to see new people in the neighborhood here, but he warned us that the community was
still very superstitious and set in their ways, even after the Apocalypse. Taking that house might create some problems with them.
At the time, I noticed he seemed nervous about something else too, but he never told us what it was, and I paid it no attention.
While I was getting my new job set up at Ogle’s Lumberyard across town, my wife and Charlie went out to collect furniture from the curbs. The economy here was so bad that trash pickup was MONTHLY, but the residents around Walnut Creek were quite friendly to my wife and let her take what she wanted. Once they learned where she was moving into, though, like Charlie
said, their reactions ranged from restraint to religious paranoia. One lady even closed the door on my wife and had to explain herself through the mail slot, saying, “I’m sorry, but I was loyal to Pastor Olson and I still am today. I don’t care if he’s dead, I want nothin’ to do with Jim McCarter.”
Later in the day, the real estate company called her to pick up the deed and keys. By the time I got done from work, I had a new house to come home to and a bunch of crappy furniture all stacked up in my living room. My wife told me about how our neighbors reacted and proselytized, and even though we knew to expect it, I found it weird because my new co-workers did the same thing to me. This house had a wider reputation than we expected. We nearly forgot all about it as we got to work putting furniture in place and cleaning up the couch to sleep in… until we found a note under a couch cushion that Charlie had slipped in there.
It said very plainly, “I didn’t want to say anything while we were driving, but please do not stay in that house. You need to LEAVE before the full moon.” It seemed like he wanted to tell us more but ran out of room. I crumpled the note and tossed it immediately. You have to understand neither my wife or I are religious, particularly after what we suffered during the Zombie Apocalypse, and this old school superstition was more than a little irritating to us. If they want to think we’re blaspheming against some crazy, old preacher and his flock of sheep, then that’s their problem, not ours.
That night, and I thought nothing of it at the time, I woke up at about 3:30 in the morning just briefly because I thought I heard some furniture shuffling around. I figured it was just my wife getting up and navigating the darkness to the bathroom.
Two weeks from that night, we would be fleeing for our lives. In those two weeks, and I’ll condense the details down, we settled into a daily routine of trying to get set up at the house. I went to work all day and my wife would try to get more of what we needed. It was a struggle for her, because I wouldn’t get paid for two weeks and we didn’t want to bother with our ignorant neighbors. At first, she tried getting around on foot, but our twins were too much of a strain for her small body and she often couldn’t get much done most days. In the meantime, I was trying to rack up as many hours as I could at work so I could better afford what we needed.
To say we struggled barely describes how hard it was for us. I wasn’t getting any real sleep on that couch. I kept waking up hearing things, and later seeing things moving in the darkness. My wife did too, and it wrecked havoc on our sanity. We were both losing sight of reality and fighting at any chance we got. We broke our backs in the day, fought each other to tears at night, and slept for only a couple hours until we heard the sounds again. The first few nights it was just footsteps and something brushing against the furniture, then it soon evolved to louder footsteps and the sound of furniture moving.
Then I started to hear moaning, and it froze me from the inside out as I remembered the last time I heard that sound. It sounded just like the moaning I heard for three days being barricaded in a basement during the Zombie Apocalypse. I panicked, thinking a stray survivor zombie had gotten in (which, while rare, was not unheard of in those days), I jumped out of the couch and turned the lights on… only to find nothing but one irate,
pregnant wife who had finally just gotten to sleep.
I should have suspected more at that time, and things would be different today if I did, but I still rationalized it as the strain of our daily lives affecting us at night.
Two nights later, our bickering came to a boil and my wife stormed to the kitchen to leave the house. I grabbed her and tried to slap her, but I hit the bottle of Mr. Clean and spilled the entire contents on the floor instead. We decided to go to sleep right then. Again we heard noises, louder now than ever, saw thicker shadows moving in the darkness, and only got sleep near dawn.
Not long after dawn, my wife shook me awake in a panic and pointed to the Mr. Clean mess on the kitchen floor. There were footprints in it. Neither of us had been in the kitchen once we tried to go to bed. We then saw the furniture in the living room had been moved. Someone really WAS in our house that night.
Our day picked up a bit when Charlie dropped by with a (possibly) new king-sized mattress for us. We talked for a bit and he said he felt bad for the community “spooking” us or imposing any “nonsense” on us. He then left as quick as he could. We never saw him again.
We moved the mattress upstairs, and while it was definitely more comfortable, we still didn’t get any sleep. Every night the sounds and moaning got louder, the shadow outlines got thicker, and every morning the furniture would be moved or turned over. When the lights came on, there was nothing, but then I would feel something was staring at me, leering, like it didn’t know any other way to let me know it didn’t like me.
Then one night, it was too loud to mistake it for something else. Something was in our house. I took my gun with me as I got to the stairs, and the moonlight shining on the bald hill as it got closer to the full phase made it undeniable that someone was in our house… but this time he brought his friends too. I saw maybe a dozen and a half figures downstairs and I was prepared to open fire, but when I turned the light on to better see them, again, there was no one in there and the furniture had been moved even further than before. I thought I was going insane, I KNOW I saw people downstairs, but the light, the one truth left in the world, showed no one there.
I turned the light off again, and they came back like they never left, but this time they were slowly making their way up the stairs to me. In the bright moonlight, I could almost make out body parts and faces, but I chickened out and turned the light back on and kept it on overnight. I was still too stubborn to admit my house was apparently haunted, so I still
simply summed it up that the lack of sleep and our problems was taking its toll on me.
I ended up sleeping until mid-afternoon the next day. I missed nearly a full day of work and while my boss was understanding on the phone, he also laid it out straight for me that he could not afford to pay an employee who didn’t show up. My wife and I talked about going to a doctor, but we both realized there was nothing that could be done until I got my paycheck after work tomorrow. I just needed more sleep, and it wasn’t hard to knock back out later.
That night I dreamt that my wife and I were inside the Walnut Creek church. I was the Pastor there and my wife was giving birth to two girls on the narthex. The birth was a success and I kept wandering around the shrouded, cloudy church with all these random people filling the pews and hallways. When I went back to the narthex, my twins were already school-age. I kept changing my direction and attention to one thing after another, and every time I turned around to see my girls again, they got older and older. I wandered through the hallways again, but this time the parishioners were unhappy because something happened. I go back to the narthex and my girls, barely adult age now, were both pregnant.
Then the congregation started freaking out, but I didn’t know what it was until someone told me it was a zombie attack. We built defenses for the doors, but we couldn’t finish them because my wife appeared out of the misty hallway to tell me our daughters went out onto the fields. They were trying to get to the McCarter House. I went after them and got lost in the grey fog that was overwhelming everything.
The next thing I saw, I was in my bedroom and I was staring at a man sitting on my bed that I had never seen before. I felt like I was angry with him, but that I wasn’t in control either. He was cowering in the corner. I got on my knees to get closer to him, and when my face was close to his, he pulled a gun out of nowhere and shot me in the face. The gun rang out loud and I woke up.
But when I woke up, I could still hear the gun ringing in my ears. A real shot had been fired. Then I heard my wife scream “HONEY! HONEY!” while she was out on the stairs.
I ran to her… and there they were. Dozens of zombies, shuffling in the moonlight, disappearing in the shadows, moving the furniture, and slowly making their way up to us. She fired several more times, but none of them fell or even reacted. Before I knew it, one of them was trying to grab me, and I could feel a small push on my shoulders, but when my wife turned the lights on, they were gone. The room was as empty as it should’ve been and I
let out a mighty roar of frustration and lunacy.
Now we had no choice, we HAD to leave the house, but we still had no options until I got paid today. When morning came, I did my best to focus on just getting through the day so I could get my money and we could leave, but just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I ended up leaving the lumberyard with a pink slip instead of a paycheck. Again, I’ll spare you details, but let’s just say I listened to one too many haunted house jokes and I DEFINITELY deserved to get fired for what I did. In my desperation, I drove throughout the town and started begging door to door for money. It was pathetic, and I came home extremely late, empty handed.
That night was the last night before the full moon and the worst fight I’d ever had with my wife. It was almost midnight before we both calmed down and tried to come up with a plan. We were just going to leave the lights on everywhere, sleep as best we could, and pack the car in the morning.
But then, at the stroke of midnight, all the lights suddenly shut off. If you’re wondering why, its because I planned to pay the electric bill before I got home. We tried to just run for it, but we were already surrounded by zombies on the hill. The moonlight was almost sunlight and not only could I see every part of every corpse coming after us, I could see THROUGH them, and they all had bullet holes in their heads.
My spine turned to ice once it all finally dawned on me… We weren’t haunted with the ghosts of the McCarters, we were haunted with the ghosts of the zombies who died here.
We ran back inside and barricaded the doors behind us, but they just passed right through. In my madness, I tried to shoot them in the head again, but how do you kill something that had already died twice? The moonlight made them strong and we had nowhere to go but the master bedroom. We tried again to barricade the door, but it was no use. Nothing could stop them anymore, and I succumbed to darkness just before they swarmed over me.
Now here’s the part of the story that’s REALLY unbelievable. Obviously, I didn’t die,
instead I woke up the next morning without a scratch on me. I was ready to rejoice until I saw my wife was already up and crying hysterically. Without giving too much detail, she “informed” me that our unborn twins had died during the night… and it wasn’t for a physical or natural reason either.
We didn’t bother packing, we just left right then and there before we got to see what they were like at full strength.
That was three years ago. At this point, after an exhaustive amount of research, I THINK I figured out what happened. During the original zombie attack in Walnut Creek, Pastor Olson’s twins, still in love with Jim, had a dramatic change of heart and broke out of the church to be with him. No one knows whatever happened to them, and to Olson, this was the final straw in his feud with Jim. Olson went out onto the field and waded through the zombie horde to get to the McCarter House. HE was the one who broke the door and let the zombies in, and he became a zombie himself as a result. I also think he was the one leering at me in the darkness all those nights, and I think he was the one who took our daughters from us.
Maybe Olson was right, maybe zombies really were newly evolved creatures that deserved to live and feed as they naturally do just like everyone else. Who would’ve thought “ghost logic” could apply to the living dead?
You can go visit the house if you want, but do not go during the full moon. In fact, don’t go anywhere near a battle site anywhere. If it happened to us, it can happen to you. These zombies don’t eat flesh anymore, they eat souls.
Credit To – J.S. Lawhead
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