This is a story sent to me by Chris Shear. It is a wonderful account of his expereince at Ellerbe Road chool.
I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you Chris for sending the story.
Old Ellerbe and Me: A true story
It has been said that Louisiana is one of the most haunted states in our nation, second only to Virginia. Many in the Shreveport/Bossier area would agree, blaming it all on New Orleans legacy of voodoo and on the sordid history of cotton farming in the South. Few think that our area is just as infested with spectral visions and spooky sites. It is. Twenty years after his death a construction worker makes his presence known in the halls of a South Shreveport pharmaceutical company. In the eroded remains of a church bell tower waits a bride whose groom has had cold feet for decades now.
Then there is Old Ellerbe School. I first stumbled upon Ellerbe on a website devoted to cataloging haunted places across the United States. The person who supplied the information stated that people have heard bells and the faint screams of young children emanating from the school's walls. This, of course, piqued my interest, and I began making inquiries among friends and associates. Finding out the truth behind its abandonment and ghostly inhabitants has thus far proven rather difficult, perhaps owing to my reluctance to go to the library and look it up. Who wants to sit for hours searching through microfilm copies of old newspapers when it's much more fun to just guess? I heard several conflicting stories about the place from the people I've questioned.
Some say it was a school for the children of the wealthy farmers who inhabit that rural locality. Others identify it as a black school that met with a very nasty end. It was involved in segregation. It was involved in desegregation. It was involved in a fire. It was just closed down. Separating fact from fiction is not an easy thing, but, what the hell; I'm not getting paid for this. I might as well go out on a limb.
One of my fellow security guards informed me that he moved to this area in 1955, and remembers that the school was already abandoned at that point. So we know it's been falling apart in that field for at least 45 years. I seriously doubt that it was a black school. It's too nice to be something that would be used by blacks in the Deep South. It resembles the elementary school that I went to; same architectural style, almost the same layout. It's quite possible that the two schools were built in the same era.
Looking through the phone book has yielded no sign of a Shreveport-Bossier City Historical Society or anything close to it. But hey, we do have five casinos! Just what we need, another strip of wicker for our hand basket to hell. I received tales of terror that are either a testament to Ellerbe's haunted legacy, or to a person's ability to imagine some really scary shit while running , half-drunk, through the dark. My mind was filled with ghostly students still in class after all these years, flashes of green light that raced through the building, and manhole covers that opened by themselves to reveal unseen Lovecraftian horrors sloshing around in the water below. Of course, Old Ellerbe has also been linked to Satanic cults who often visit and no doubt use it for their bizarre rituals which regularly include child sacrifice, unwholesome sex acts, and arts and crafts lessons. How could I not want to visit?
Late one night, roughly three years ago, my friend, Jason, and I hopped into his Ford Ranger and set out to find the school. The directions we had gleaned from previous adventurers were rather vague, as no one could tell us exactly how many miles outside of town Old Ellerbe lies. All we had to rely on was that if we kept driving south on Ellerbe Road we would eventually see it in a field on our right. It was a lonely and rather ominous drive. Once we got outside of Shreveport streetlights became practically
non-existent, and the landscape outside the truck descended into a shadowy, barely visible world. Shapes loomed out of the darkness and I would hit them with Jason's 10,000 candlepower spotlight. Barns, storage buildings and other assorted bastions of rural life taunted us. Ten miles south of the intersection of Ellerbe Road and Flournoy-Lucas we were becoming slightly annoyed.
Then something appeared in the moonlight; something large and foreboding, an ill-defined shape sprawled out in a field of tall grass. I raised the spotlight, pulled the trigger, and lit it up.
"Oh shit." I said.
My finger slipped off the trigger and Ellerbe was plunged back into darkness. We had found our destination and it was not at all what we had been expecting. According to legend a fire had broken out, gutting the school and forcing its closing. In my mind I had seen a burned up husk, the skeletal remains of a less fire retardant era. In reality it is quite whole; decayed, but still defiantly standing.
After parking the truck we approached Ellerbe from the road, taking in the view in an almost reverent silence, preparing ourselves to witness the awesome terror for ourselves.As usual terror has chosen not to wait in a nice, well lit, air conditioned building with a wide range of snack cakes to nibble on as one is exploring. That would probably defeat the purpose.
Old Ellerbe resembles many of the schools in the Northwest Louisiana area. A driveway of weed-infested pavement arcs up to the school and back to the road. A pair of rectangular one story classroom buildings sits up front. Between them is a central covered breezeway that runs back approximately 150 feet. It ends between a third classroom building, which also held the administration offices, and a cluster of structures housing the kitchen, cafeteria/auditorium, gym and locker rooms. Most of the windows we could see were shattered. The graffiti covered cinderblock walls were crumbling in some places, and in others covered in creeper vines as Mother Nature pushed to reclaim her former territory. Traipsing gingerly through the field, avoiding the numerous cow pies that littered the ground, we decided to enter the building that turned out to be the combination cafeteria and auditorium. It was a large room, with the kitchen facilities off to one side and a small stage on another.
Now if Hollywood has taught me anything about ghosts, it's that the majority of them are not very nice to us living people. What I've been able to gather from numerous movies and TV shows is that ghosts tend to thing along these lines:
1. I am dead.
2. That makes me unhappy.
3. After years of unhappiness I have developed an antisocial attitude and some major anger management issues.
4. Here comes a living person. I think I'll scare/possess/kill them!
So, in an act of politeness that one should not expect to reoccur, I spoke to the spirits.
"Look guys, we just wanted to stop by and look around a bit. Maybe take a few pictures. I promise you that we will not vandalize anything. We won't add to all this graffiti that people seem to think is necessary. We won't take any of your stuff as souvenirs. Please don't scare the shit out of us ok? I know you've been dead for a long time and are pretty bored and the only fun you get to have is when us living folk come trespassing. Please let us look around. And, uh, if you want to maybe show up in a few of the pictures that's quite all right with me. Thanks."
We began our adventure. In the kitchen the oven hood still clung to the ceiling over a raised area of floor where cooking once took place. The bleachers and hardwood floor of the gym remained, but in a rotting state of decay. Any carpet that may have existed had long since been rendered indistinguishable from the mud and cow manure that littered the floor. Graffiti covered blackboards adorned the walls of the empty classrooms. Some of the halls still had lockers, though some were tipped over and rusted through. Wiring dangled from the ceiling, brushing against our faces at the most inopportune times.
For an hour we walked through Old Ellerbe School, and in all that time we had no ghostly experiences; no children, no green flashes of light, and certainly no manhole covers opening up.In one of the bathrooms we found, amongst the chunks of porcelain, a mostly intact toilet seat. I briefly considered taking it home with me as a rather appropriate souvenir but decided against it. With my luck it would bring along a little dead student. (Ghostly flushing from a haunted toilet seat, next on Strange Universe.) Of course, I had also promised that we wouldn't do anything like that.......this visit.
We walked back to Jason's truck empty handed and broke out the Hooper's Hooch to celebrate the fact that neither of us had gone into cardiac arrest. We were at that moment the masters of fear, patting each other on the back. Nothing could scare us. We were invincible.
That's when the little girl screamed.
I looked at Jason. Jason looked at me.
Perhaps we were celebrating a bit too soon. We did what any sane, rational person would have done in our place, namely hop our butts into the safety of Jason’s truck and take off. We stopped in front of the school, and I got out to take a few quick pictures before we left. I walked to the edge of the road and raised the camera.
The little girl screamed again. In an instant I was back at the passenger side window telling Jason I had heard it again. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it was no doubt witty and profound, as is my style. Jason may say that it was mostly incoherent babbling. He is a liar. I snapped off four quick photos, none of which turned out, and we got the hell out of there.
It was funny how we didn't hear anything till after we had left the school.
If one were so inclined, it could be reasoned that since I had asked not to be scared while in the buildings the ghosts waited till we were outside to have their fun.
I learned something that night which I have never forgotten. Dead people are jerks.