Old Barfoot House – Troy

From the outside, there doesn’t seem to be anything all that special about the place known as the Old Barfoot House. And, indeed, a talk with the owners of this private residence will reveal that nothing altogether unusual goes on there. At least, not these days. The same could not have been said during a period of five years from 1932 to 1937, when a dreadful poltergeist tormented the family who owned the home, finally driving them out, never to return.

It began one particularly bleak evening, when the children were tucked into bed and only the parents remained awake, sitting in their living room, enjoying the company of each other. Suddenly, they were not alone. As if out of nowhere, a man suddenly appeared. His hair was as black as the pants he wore, while his white shirt seemed to glow in the unnatural night. His eyes pierced into their souls, and the raging fire that burned there bespoke anger and hate. But it was the blood that flowed from his shoulders down to his waist, spilling off his legs and onto the floor, that terrified the poor young couple. They watched as the man turned, walking from the living room to the dining room, leaving puddles of blood behind as he went. It was only when they realized that he was heading to the back bedrooms, where their children slept, that they gave chase. The blood led all the way to the sleeping children’s door, but when they burst into the room, no one was there.

Whatever small comfort they took from that was short-lived at best. The apparition continued to haunt them, and every day, the family grew more convinced that it was only a matter of time before he did them real harm. They held on for five years, but by then, they’d had enough, leaving forever. And with them went the spirit, never to be seen again.

If why the ghost came and where he went are complete mysteries, at least the history of the house lends some clue. Some thirty years earlier, in the late 1800s, a violent and inexplicable crime spree swept through Troy. Twenty-one men, women and children were found hacked to death by an axe, their bodies spread all over town. The frightened townspeople began to wonder if the murders and deaths would ever end, and they began looking for someone to blame. Suspicion soon fell on Tom Johnson, a local drifter in town who was considered a good-for-nothing. Fear and a desire for revenge won out over a sense of due process. On March 31, 1899, Tom Johnson was hanged from a gallows erected in the front yard of the Bar- foot House.

Was Tom guilty? No one knows for certain, but it cannot be doubted that the murders ended with his life. Responsible or not, it certainly seems like Tom Johnson was the sort to haunt the Barfoot House—either as the spirit of an evil murderer or as the ghost of a man condemned to die for crimes he did not commit.



Haunted Alabama Black Belt written by David Higdon and Brett Talley – Copyright © 2013 by David Higdon and Brett Talley – All rights reserved