Historic Highland Home haunted house hosts Halloween

Published 8:40 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2022

On Halloween night, seasonal celebrations often claim a haunting presence. But the Richardson Legal Center in Highland Home, which will host The Witches of Highland on Oct. 31, boasts a “ghostly friend” on every other day of the year, too.

According to attorney and legal center owner, Arlene Richardson, the building is home to a spirit presence whose antics clients and staff have witnessed on multiple occasions.

“The first time it happened, a woman was sitting [in a client chair],” Richardson said. “She was dark headed. [The ghost] seems to like dark hair and dark eyes. And so, she asked, ‘Who was that?’ And, I said, ‘Who was what?’ [The client] said, ‘That man.’ She saw him out of the corner of her eye in the hallway.”

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The structure is approximately 130 years old and built on a parcel once part of historic Highland Home College, which operated from 1856 until 1915, Richardson said. While its original owner remains unknown, Richardson refers to the building as the “Jones House,” so named for a former resident, Dr. Andrew Jackson Jones.

The hallway is a space Richardson now calls “the big room.” Jones’s granddaughter Carol Mullins once visited the center while traveling through Crenshaw County and told Richardson Jones had laid out the bodies of deceased patients in the hallway space.

Guests who saw the spirit-man describe consistent details of his appearance, Richardson declared.

“One woman described a short man in brown overalls with a flannel shirt and a straw hat,” Richardson explained. “Three or four weeks later, another woman, who had dark hair and dark eyes, walked out on the porch and asked, ‘Who’s that.’ I asked her to tell me what she saw, and she also described a short man with brown overalls, a flannel shirt, and a straw hat.”

Carol Barber, who grew up in the “Lofton house” next door, told Richardson she remembered three former tenants, two men and a woman, who rented the house about 50 years ago. Barber recalled one of them who she said was a short man often sporting brown overalls with a flannel shirt and straw hat.

Neither Richardson nor paralegal, Katherine Snider, has seen the ghostly resident personally, but each has experienced a few of his light-hearted pranks.

Snider pointed out an inner office door which retains the original doorknob and hardware. The door, which can only be opened by turning the knob, often opens on its own, she said.

“We have this [door] open and shut all the time,” she described. “There will be clients sitting in here for appointments. Arlene’s talking, they’re talking, and then all of a sudden, the door opens. And then we say, ‘Sorry, it’s our ghost friend.’”

Richardson and Snider have each found file drawers and kitchen cabinets open when no one recalls opening them.

Richardson recalled another incident when a ball was tossed toward her by invisible hands. Snider recounted a separate instance when she heard paper rustling and discovered a wall map torn down the middle.

Both Snider and Richardson feel the ghost is a friendly presence. They believe he dislikes change and renovations, but his antics typically serve only to make his presence or preference known and never seem malicious in nature.

The center has hosted five Halloween events in the home, including “Dracula’s Ball” and spooky bed-and-breakfast themed celebration. This year’s event will feature old world witches, a steaming cauldron, and surprise treats kids are sure to enjoy.

Trick-or-treaters looking for a family friendly experience may visit the center at 18615 Montgomery Highway in Highland Home. Plan to arrive just after dark and who knows? Visitors might even meet the center’s “ghostly friend.”