Sounds is a true ghost story about a haunted house in Mobile, Alabama called The Madison Mansion. Three men who try to stay the night in the old place hear terrifying noises and see something that chills them to the bone. A version of this story appeared in the book, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
A long time ago, there was a house that stood on the bay near Mobile, Alabama. It was known as The Madison Mansion and it had been vacant and boarded-up for years. Most people in the area kept well away from it, frightened by its uncanny reputation. Anyone who passed by couldn’t help wondering what evil had transpired in the old place. Trespassers who dared to enter the old house usually fled during the night, telling tales so grisly that they were almost beyond belief.
One night, three fishermen were caught in a quick-moving storm and managed to make their way back to shore. Drenched by the rain, they spotted the mansion and decided to take shelter in the rickety old place. Once inside, they made a fire in the fireplace to keep themselves warm and ate a cold supper. Then, the three men pulled their oilskin coats tightly around them and lay down on the floor to try and get some sleep.
However, as soon as the dozed off, they were plagued by terrible nightmares of treachery and murder. Lying awake, the men heard the unmistakeable sound of footsteps upstairs. It sounded like more than one person, marching back and forth.
“Who’s there?” called one of the fishermen. The footsteps suddenly stopped.
They heard a woman scream. The scream turned into a groan and died away. The house was quiet again. Just then, the man who had called out felt something splash against his forehead. Something was dripping from the ceiling and forming a small, red puddle on the floor. To their horror, the fishermen realized it was blood.
All of a sudden, a door upstairs crashed open and the floor shook with the sound of heavy footsteps. It sounded like a woman was being chased by a man. The frightened fishermen heard disembodied voices in the darkness. A man shouted in anger. A woman cried out in pain. They heard objects being flung here and there with a crash. Long howls of horrible laughter rose and filled the house. It went on and on until the fishermen thought they would go mad. Then, there was silence.
The fishermen huddled together and listened. After a few minutes, they heard something coming down the stairs. It sounded like someone dragging something heavy that bumped on each rotten step. The scraping and thumping noises came through the front hall and the front door opened. It sounded like something was flung outside, landing with a thump among the weeds. Then the door slammed shut and again, there was silence.
There was a thunder storm outside and the house trembled as if it was about to collapse. Rain was pounding against the sagging walls. The terrified fishermen couldn’t bear to stay in the place a moment longer and decided to flee. Just as they reached the door, a flash of lightning filled every room in the house with a green blaze and one of the men saw a ghastly face staring at them from the stairs. It was so horrible that it looked as if it came from hell itself. A crash of thunder deafened the terrified men and they ran out into the storm, never to return.
Nobody ever knew for sure what terrible deeds had been done in that house. The mansion was built shortly after the American Revolution by a English man named Madison who was a rich recluse. He lived there with his daughter who was said to be mentally ill. Nobody ever saw her and the servants were kept well away from her. They never had any visitors and never went out.
One day, without a word of warning, Madison suddenly left for England and wrote to his servants, instructing them to sell the house. The daughter was never found. She just disappeared. After that, the house changed hands many times, but nobody could ever stay there for long.