The Search for the Red House: A Path Lost

An unexplained mystery

 

 

This story is difficult to categorize, as are many of the events in my life.  It might be seen as a paranormal event but on its most basic level, it is simply a walk through an unfamiliar neighborhood by three young boys.  It also represents an unsolved mystery and part of a pattern of unusual occurrences in my life.  It occurred in the spring of 1971, when I was only twelve years old.  With me on this day was my closest friend, who returned to our home town later in his life to add a postscript to this event.

 

 

The unexplained journey

Three young boys set out on a spring day
Three young boys set out on a spring day
We walked past a red house we found very intriguing
We walked past a red house we found very intriguing
A path near a small creek led us further into our mystery
A path near a small creek led us further into our mystery
The creek and path were gone when we returned
The creek and path were gone when we returned
Decades later there were still no answers
Decades later there were still no answers

Journey to the Red House

 

Shortly after my best friend Brad returned to Lawrence in 1971 from his year in Austin, Texas, we resumed the weekend visits we enjoyed as grade school friends.  We tried to keep alive the activities that occupied us before he moved, and maintained contact with friends who lived in my neighborhood.  Since Paul, Rick and Anna all lived within several blocks of each other, Brad and I made a habit of regularly visiting their neighborhood.  We assumed we would always find at least one of them at home, so we never scheduled anything—we just showed up.

 

On this spring afternoon, we embarked from my parents’ home toward Baker Street, stopping at the local Food-Mart for a supply of snacks for our journey.  When we arrived, we looked for Rick or Anna first since they lived across the street from each other.  I was a little uncomfortable visiting Anna because of my adolescent crush on her, so Rick was usually the recipient of our company.  We found him at home, but he had an afternoon paper route and was getting ready to begin his delivery.  We asked if we could walk with him, and he didn’t see a reason why not.

 

We chatted together about school and girls as young teens will, and enjoyed the walk.  From an early age, Brad and I shared an interest in older houses and relished the opportunity to examine the homes on Rick’s route.  We were particularly taken with a large red house on West 119th Street, set off from the street on a large lot of land with an ominous but beautiful appearance.  The house looked quite old, but seemed kept in good repair.  If not so well cared for, it would’ve made an excellent haunted house.

 

Rick delivered the afternoon paper to the back door of this house, explaining that a short cut saved him nearly ten minutes time.  He knew the area well and traveled a dirt path from Larken Avenue that paralleled a small creek for a short distance.  As he guided us along this path we were intrigued by its seclusion, so close to the road and yet completely hidden from 119th Street.  He cut north and walked to the back patio, deposited the paper, and led us to the northeast edge of the property where we reconnected with 119th Street.  For the next hour we walked the distance of his route and when we returned to Rick’s house, it was time for Brad and me to leave.  We said our good-byes and headed back to my house, pausing in front of the red house a final few moments to again admire its beauty. 

 

On another Saturday afternoon several months later, Brad returned and suggested a second trip to the Larken Avenue neighborhood.  He wanted to walk the path we took with Rick on his paper route, and I eagerly agreed.  We arrived at Larken Avenue expecting to quickly find the creek that wound through the neighborhood.  We saw nothing.  Brad and I stared at each other in confusion.  We agreed we found the access to the path that led to the back door of the red house, but the path and creek were gone.  We cautiously snuck onto the property to locate the trail from the other direction and made our way to the back patio for a discreet look around.  Nothing seemed familiar.  We couldn’t determine where Rick led us in from.  We eventually admitted defeat and realized we needed Rick to find it again.  We made plans to return with him as soon as we could.

 

Brad visited again a few weeks later.  We set out immediately after lunch, determined to relocate the path with Rick’s help.  We hurried to Rick’s house and Brad knocked loudly on the door.  Rick’s mother greeted us politely but appeared annoyed.  Perhaps she preferred us to plan our visits with her son instead of just appearing at the door, but she said nothing.  Rick emerged from his bedroom, put on his shoes, and we went outside.

 

We hurried him toward Larken Avenue and asked him to point out the path he took to the back of the red house when we followed him on his paper route.  For the second time that month, Brad and I stared at each other in astonishment.  Rick didn’t know what we were talking about.  He didn’t remember bringing us along on his route.  He said he left every newspaper on the front steps of the houses on his route, and would never consider traversing private property to deliver a newspaper to the back door.  He didn’t know of a back way to the house or recall a creek on the southwest edge of the property.

 

 

The mysteries still remain

 

Over the months and even years that followed, Brad and I queried Rick about our journey that afternoon.  Rick never remembered the walk we took together to the back door of the red house.  Neither of us believed Rick was joking—how could he have moved a creek?  Brad and I occasionally searched during the months and years that followed until the house was torn down, but never found the creek or path.  How did Brad and I share a memory Rick couldn’t recall?  We never comprehended how Rick could stare blankly at us when we asked him to help us retrace our steps.  Was it an illusion?  Did we share a dream?  How did we lose a path we both walked on?  How did a creek disappear without a trace?  Why couldn’t it be found again in such a small expanse of land?  What happened?

 

Almost 30 years later, Brad lived in town and worked in Real Estate.  In the fall of 2000, he learned of an open house in the same neighborhood and recognized an opportunity to investigate the area one final time.  One Saturday evening he mentioned in an excited voice that he might have found the area.  We drove to Larken Avenue and walked into a small open field surrounded on all sides by homes.  We didn’t see the creek we followed, but noted that we couldn’t be seen from the road.  The red house had been razed years ago, but Brad suspected we found the area we walked with Rick.  It seemed possible, but questions remained.  Why couldn’t the field be discovered for the last 25 years?  What made Brad able to find it now?  Where was the creek?  We guessed that we were in the same area we walked so many years earlier, but nothing was even remotely the same.  As pleased as we were with our discovery, the mysteries remained.

 

The mysteries would always remain.  We never returned to further investigate the area, and the land was eventually sold and became part of an industrial park.  No clues would remain to shed light on an event that occurred (now) almost 40 years ago.  Behind a red house that once stood on 119th Street was a path and creek, travelled only once by three young boys—never to be seen again.

 

 

What do you think happened when these young boys walked to the Red House that afternoon?

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Comments 32 comments

Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

This is an interesting story. Hmmmmmm I have no clue and am curious of what you think? It jogged my memory of when I was a young girl. My brother and I packed a lunch-we lived out in the country--we hiked into the woods. Came across rows and rows of very slim tall trees-all in line--they went for a good 1000 feet--we walked through them-found this terrific waterfalls and sat and had lunch. Packed it up and followed the marked path back to our home.

Do you know when we tried to get back to this place-it was awesome--we never found it--never! So many attempts together and so many times when I was alone--not even the long row of slim trees...just crazy! I have never figured that one out! LOL


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ghosty, nice to see you here!!!!

So many of your hubs have reminded me of things that have happened to me--it is interesting that my story reminds you of an event that happened to you and your brother so long ago. Your story is so similar, it gave me an odd feeling to read your words.

I have wondered what happened here for so long--I mean, really, how does a creek disappear? My friend had dreams about the place over the years--he dreamed that the house sat outside of time, and once he dreamed that if he showed up at a specific time, the house and land would be revealed exactly as it was. He didn't make it, so he never got to know if his dream was only a dream. His dream was a curious part of the story, but because the dream was his and not mine, I didn't include it when writing the hub itself.

Four years ago at our last high school reunion, I asked our other friend if he ever remembered guiding us through that area on his paper route, and he still said no. We both remembered walking with him, and recalled events exactly the same way. How could he have forgotten being there, a month or so after we made the trip???? I never figured that one out.

I have always had a place in my heart for this old house that is now gone, and I wish it were still there to visit.

Thanks so much for your comments, and I hope your day was a good one!!!

Mike


bulletproofchris profile image

bulletproofchris 6 years ago from hutchinson, ks

man, your story sparked a whirlwind of fictional ideas about this little red house...ever thought of taking this real experience and turning it into a fiction piece?...hmmmm...do you mind if I do? I will eagerly await your reply...good hub tho, regardless.


H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 6 years ago from Lone Star State

Mike,

Great story! Such a mystery. Many often experience such mystery, and convince themselves that rather than it being an unexplained occurrence, it was just the mind playing tricks on our senses. Most people would rather think that they are a bit crazy than consider that there are such unexplained occurrences such as this or ghosts or un-human like beings in existence. Love the detail and emotion put into this. Thanks for sharing

hc


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

You know Mike..I had to come back and tell you that I was jogged today again about a similar thing...When I drove back to Billings, Montana with my sportscar with Twistyy-we had a weird time thing happen? Meaning it took sooooo long to get to Salt Lake City Utah--I mean double the time-SERIOUSLY-and in a sports car!-clear weather-no furniture? We still to this day can never figure it out!

Also, When I left Montana-I was driving a 16 foot truck packed with furniture--pulling my convertible on a dolly up on 4 wheels--I had the time thing happen again--I don't know how--but I showed up 3 days early-even while taking my time-bad weather-snow-driving slow-stopping-sleeping?? I am done trying to figure it out because I don't have the answers...kind of like you trying to figure out how the missing lake? How did your friend not remember when your other friend is a witness to it also?

I think about Nell Rose story on her hub-about time travel? Just interesting..but I nor Twistyy will ever have the answer to how we were slowed up--nor me an answer how I was hurried along on that drive out of Montana!


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

*quivers*.. well Mike, you have really intrigued me this time. Do you think that the past can leave an unseen history - a sort of residual? I do

Good hub - as usual!

x


keira7 profile image

keira7 6 years ago

Hi Mike, brilliant hub. I enjoyed reading your work. Thank you for sharing. Loved it.:)


Susan Carter profile image

Susan Carter 6 years ago

What a neat story. You kept me intrigued the entire time. Thanks.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

bulletproofchris, I appreciate your reading, and your enthusiasm for my work. I confess that I would prefer to maintain control over my work and any adaptions of it, but I am grateful for your interest. It is indeed a curious tale and you are absolutely correct, it lends itself well to fiction. I believe that if this story ever sees print in a form other this hub, I would like opt for something in a biographical realm. However, I do appreciate your interest.

Thanks again for reading. Come back any time.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

HC, thanks for your comments. You are correct, most people tend to dismiss odd occurances, whether their explanation makes sense or not. I will always tend to look for a rational inspiration, but if none can be found, I will never dismiss the unexplainable.

What made this particular incident impossible to rationalize away was the fact that I remembered exactly what my friend recalled, and neither of us understood why our other friend couldn't recall our afternoon together--or why we couldn't find the creek without him. I even asked again at our last high school reunion and got the same response.

I am a firm believer in the unexplainable--too much goes on right in front of our eyes to ignore.

Thanks again for reading, it is much appreciated.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi Ghosty! You know, I have no problem believing a person or place could be outside the boundaries of time as we understand it--there is no reason to assume that a linear description of time is the whole story. I had a dream about this same house once, years later, and in the dream I saw that each room in the house was a doorway to a different era in time. It is unlikely, but on the other hand--why not? Your own stories certainly suggest that time isn't the straight line we believe it to be.

To answer your question, we never knew how the guy who showed us that path couldn't remember doing it. Decades later he still never remembered us going with him. If he was playing a trick, he sure stuck to his story!

It is interesting to think back to those times. I was so young--maybe twelve or thirteen (twelve? good grief!), and to witness such an odd occurance was beyond description. And this wasn't the only thing that happened to a young boy named Mike, either.

Well, thanks again for your insights, they are tremendously important to me.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

keira, I appreciate your reading. Your comments are very kind, and I am appreciative.

Thanks for stopping by!

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Susan, thanks so much for reading and leaving your comments. I am very appreciative. Come back any time, okay?

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Shaz, thanks for reading. I didn't mean to respond to your comments out of order. Hope you find me down here.

I certainly believe that what you suggest is possible. The idea of an unseen history is not only something I think is possible, it is an incredibly intriguing idea, also. There are so many possibilities, and your idea is one I will consider further.

Thanks for sharing your insights, Shaz, and I apologize again for responding out of order.

Mike


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Wonderful story, and so beautiful to read. Stephen King should begin to be a little worried. Great hub and great story, you're really an example of good, and catching, writing skills. Both thumbs up.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

hypnodude, thanks for your comments. I have to admit, I've had some things happen that would probably make King believe he'd found the material for his next novel...

I greatly appreciate your kind words about my writing skills. Thank you very much.

Mike


bulletproofchris profile image

bulletproofchris 6 years ago from hutchinson, ks

i understand completely, mike...i respect your wishes over the story and thank you for your response...i still like your hubs; no hard feelings at all


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks (Bulletproof) Chris. Your comments were (and are) very uplifting, and I appreciate them. Come back any time.

Mike


rml 6 years ago

This is a very strange story. It is very odd that you would not be able to find this creek again, especially if you were in a residential area that was on someone's paper route. BTW, you have a unique narrative style that serves you very well.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

rml, thanks for reading. It is totally weird that I could never find that creek again--and even weirder that my friend never remembered taking us there. There is no explanation for what happened back then.

And, thank you for your kind comments about my writing, they are much appreciated.

Mike


Just A Voice 6 years ago

I LOVED THIS STORY!

There are so many unexplained things out in our wonderful world, that I am more amazed that it doesn't happen to everyone...although maybe it does and they refuse to accept it or talk about it.

I think your particular experience was a residual thing.

I get so excited over this kind of stuff. We have a field office that is in another city. Of all things, it is located in what use to be a convalescence hospital. The owners are turning it into offices...but it is on a gradual basis. Our field office is in an area that has been renovated, but they are the only ones in that section. Long, dark hallways with many rooms that still have beds and medical equipment in them separate them from other offices.

It has it's own creep factor without anything happening. But things are happening there that are a bit weird. Unfortunately the field staff won't let me come visit too often. They say because I'm interested in what goes on there, I just stir things up and they would prefer for it to just be quite and go away.

I tell them we can break the lease if they are so uncomfortable there, but they continue to stay and continue to refuse to let me visit...spoil sports!

It was a good read, thanks again :)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

This story was a great read and sparked off quite a few somewhat similar memories, of something being found, then lost again, never to be recovered...inexplicably gone west...

What a good story! Thank you!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Voice, thanks for reading. Your comments are interesting, in and of themselves. Your employers won't let you go to the offices in the convalescence hospital because they think you will "stir things up???" Makes you think others have seen something out of the ordinary, and are trying not to talk about it. If there's nothing going on, there is nothing to stir up. That's a pretty interesting scenario there, and highly curious. Sounds like a future hub in the making......

Thanks for sharing, and I appreciate your reading.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Paradise, thanks for reading. Similar stories?? It would be interesting to hear what memories this story has stirred.

Thanks again, your comments are always appreciated.

Mike


ralwus 6 years ago

Too much Twilight Zone. LOL Great spooky story Mike. Man you get around these days, I see ya everywhere on HP.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

ralwus, thanks for reading. I know what you're saying about the Twilight Zone--sometimes I feel like I've lived in the Twilight Zone since I was about 12. Hopefully it isn't too late to find my way back.

Yeah, I've been getting around HP a lot lately, trying to soak up some knowledge and some culture. Hopefully it's not too late for me in that regard, either!

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it.

Mike


Nature Girl 101 profile image

Nature Girl 101 6 years ago from Where the Wild things are.

What a fascinating mysterious story. Thank you for sharing it. It brought back many childhood memories of unexplainable happenings.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Nature Girl, thanks for reading. I think there are lots of strange things that happen to everyone. Hopefully we can hear about the memories you refer to sometime.

Thanks again.

Mike


tom hellert profile image

tom hellert 6 years ago from home

mike i hate you... you write waaayyy to good... I am envious- but i'll be back and i'll keep reading....Very well written -I personally believe you and your buddy went into a parallel dimention thats why your freind did not remember the path walk - Life is strange even in your own neighborhood. ya know -"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

quotes Bilbo


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Tom, thanks for reading and offering your comments. I certainly can't rule out the idea of visiting a parallel dimension--there is no rational explanation that explains what happened. Life is indeed strange, even in our own neighborhood (nicely put, I might add...).

Thanks again for reading.

Mike


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Mike it sounds like a step into the Twilight Zone. I believe in dimensions and thin vales. Could it be possible that you stepped through that vale into another dimension and saw the creek and then walked back into earths dimension?

I realize this sounds weird, but hey our mind does play tricks from time to time, maybe like the Bermuda Triangle you walked into another era when there was a creek there. Regardless, this must have been and still is a mystery to you, I am at awe with life and it's many mysteries.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Saddlerider, thanks for reading. In the search for a "normal" explanation, nothing made much sense, and as I've mentioned elsewhere, I am able to embrace an out-of-the-ordinary explanation if need be. My friend wondered the same thing as you over the years--if perhaps we stepped into another time or a parallel dimension that was similar to (if not exactly like) our own. It would explain why we could never again find the creek, and also why Rick never remembered walking back there with us.

Like you, I remain humbled and awed by life's mysteries, and have experienced more than a few odd situations first-hand. Frankly, a link to the unexplained makes life interesting and exciting--wouldn't you agree?

Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

Mike

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