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Monologue by Heidi Steeves

Interviewee: 
Steeves, Heidi
Interviewer: 
Fredican, Nicole
Date of Interview: 
2002-04-13
Identifier: 
LGST0341
Subjects: 
Overcoming obstacles; Childhood adventures; Relationships with people and places; Stories and storytellers; Then and now
Abstract: 
Heidi Steeves talks about stories she read and adventures she had as a child, and about a friend whose doll was possessed.
Collection: 
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Nicole Fredican interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
Transcript:
HS (Heidi Steeves): Two stories I remember being read to me as a child were probably "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and "Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf," which I thoroughly enjoyed. My grandmother Gardner, who lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, would read over and over the stories, and I would get into them so much that at dinnertime or lunch, they called lunch 'dinner,' we would have to have chicken noodle soup, except we called it porridge and we still do. And I would pretend that I was Goldilocks, and after I had eaten my bowl of porridge and sampled theirs, like Goldilocks did, I would go sit in three chairs, which they had in the living room and decide that mine was the best. Then I'd go take my nap in the three beds, which was probably a great ploy to get me to take a nap and do exactly what they wanted me to do, but I fell right for it. Moving beyond that, probably stories that we told and stories that were told to me, my family, um, loves science fiction and ghost lore and I love it too. We told lots of ghost stories, growing up we were even told several times by my other grandfather who lived in the Appalachian area at the time, that ghosts lived in everyone's attic and I think it was a ploy to keep me out of the attic, but I still kind of feel that way. I don't like going in the attic. Um, anyway, a real life ghost story that I'm going to tell today actually happened to me. I witnessed it and it's kind of hard to explain and you may choose not to believe this story and that's okay. But, I know what happened and I know what I saw. It was the summer before my seventh grade year and I went to a private school. It's called Saint Stephen's Lutheran School in Hickory. And a girl named Tiffany had just moved to our school with her family. They were from Indiana, outsiders you would say, to this small school. We only had 12 children in our class and, desperate to make friends, Tiffany had invited myself and the pastor's daughter over to spend the night for the weekend. We had really, really wanted to go Tiffany's house because she lived in this great house, lots of land out in Taylorsville. We had heard that she had a pool. We had heard several things that we thought that this would be a great weekend trip. So, we packed our things and we got dropped off at Tiffany's and much to our surprise it was better than we ever thought. It was a huge house. It had an east wing and a west wing, had this great pool, except there was something eerie about it. It took forever to get out there. We used to call it BFT. I shouldn't probably tell you what BFT stands for, but, um, it was out there. It was way, way, way out in the middle of no where, um, in the middle of the woods, and I can, I remember on the route there telling my mom, "If you don't hear from me in a couple of days, come looking for me. Please come find me." But we got there and they did have, they had a servant, they had a maid who answered the door and took our things and we went to Tiffany's room. The thing I remember, first of all, as I walked into this room, there was this china doll, very eerie looking china doll, sitting in a wooden rocker in the corner of her room near her bed. And for some reason, I'm sure my age and also loving ghost stories, and letting my imagination, um, run wild, I was an only child by the way. I saw this doll and for a split second, I thought it was staring at me. And no matter where I walked in the room, it seemed that the doll's eyes would follow me. And it really freaked me out and I told Tiffany later that evening that if I was going to sleep there, she needed to move the doll. And she said, "Oh, no my doll won't, would hate that." And I said, "Don't play games with me. Your doll doesn't talk." And she said, "Yeah it does, it tells me things." And of course then I proceeded to believe that Tiffany is loony, this girl is nuts, why are we here? And so finally I talk her into putting the doll in her brother's room so that we could go to sleep. Well, the next morning I woke up and the doll was right beside me in the rocking chair and the rocking chair was rocking. Now, again, being logical, somewhat, I tried to rationalize that I thought Tiffany is playing a joke on me and I looked up Tiffany is sound asleep, my friend Amy is sound asleep. So, I thought, "Well maybe her brother did this. Maybe her brother Toby did this." Went to look for Toby and couldn't find him, so I kind of made myself feel a little bit better that Toby did this, this doll is not possessed, I do not need to be afraid. Well, summers went by and it was our eighth grade year. Um, we continued to go to Tiffany's, we continued to feel a little freaky about her house. The doll would, still would sleep in Toby's room in the closet because I still had a problem with it. But, I finally got a little bit used to it, weirder things happened, the doll would move and we would come back into the room, it'd be in different places. But, um, it was kind of an inside joke and all along we thought her family was playing tricks with us because we made such a big deal about the doll. Well, about the middle of her eighth grade year, there was a fire and fortunately no one was killed or hurt badly. Her brother's leg was burned, but there was a fire and her house was destroyed. And nothing at all in the house was salvaged, nothing. They lost absolutely everything. Fortunately her parents were pretty well off, so they were OK, but all their life possessions, their cherished memories, pictures, everything was destroyed. And ironically, because of the fire and everything they just didn't have any hope of recovering anything. And ironically enough, they found the doll with a couple of ashes on it, untouched, it was not burned. The firefighters had a picture in the newspaper about Tiffany's family and it had the firefighter holding the doll saying at least one thing was salvaged. Well, I took that to be, it's definitely a demon doll. Something is going on in this house, this doll is crazy. And I talked to my friend Amy about it and she was pretty much on the same wavelength as me, but we never made a big deal about it because it was a tragic time and we weren't going to talk about this doll when their family was suffering. Well, anyway, the, Tiffany's family had to move back to Indiana. Her dad's job got transferred back and when it did, we kind of lost touch there for a while. And I went to college and I actually took a ghost lore class, folklore with a section of ghost lore. And we were asked to remember a time that we thought we experienced something a little abnormal. And of course, I'm thinking about this story, so I did some research and I actually went to some libraries and searched some artifacts and found out that Tiffany's house was built directly on an Indian burial ground. You do the math, I don't know. I still think the doll I possessed and that is the end of my story.
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