Haunted House in Chelsea, Kansas

manka house card
The old farmhouse in Kansas where the mysterious footsteps were heard night after night. (photo provided by Monte Manka)

Spooky Memories of a Kansas Farmhouse

Do you have memories of something that frightened you as a child? Maybe footsteps on the stairs after you’ve gone to bed? I’m intrigued by octogenarian Monte Manka who taps into his childhood memories from the 1930s for his poems. He grew up in Chelsea, Kansas in the same county where Gail Martin lived later in life. Chelsea is gone now, hidden under the water of the El Dorado Reservoir.

Here’s his account of something that really scared him as a child. The house his family lived in showed signs of being haunted. I’ve also added some memories his younger sister had of that same house. The house is gone now, so was it really haunted or ???

Read his poem describing the spooky events and also the other evidence presented. See what you think.

As for me, I’m sure glad I didn’t have to climb those stairs each night and lie awake listening to the strange sounds.

Who or What Made the Footsteps on the Stairs Late at Night?

haunted manka meme

Those “Spooky” Farmhouse Stairs

A poem by an octogenarian, Monte Manka about his childhood memories

The stairway in that farmhouse

That led up to the second floor

Meant a way to reach my bedroom

Nothing more.

Newel posts, balusters, banisters

Landing, risers, and treads

I used them daily

When heading for my upstairs bed.

As I grew older

I often wondered who

Engineered this marvel

Such beautiful workmanship, too.

That old railing and Newel Post

Were well hand-worn

Solid walnut wood

Built long before I was born.

If I wanted a midnight snack

Down these stairs, I could not sneak

The pressure on each riser

Let out a telltale squeak.

Many times

As I lay in bed

I pulled the covers

Tight over my head

Because in the stillness of the night

That old stairway would creak

From the bottom step to the top

You’d be scared to speak.

Besides, there was no such thing

As Goblins and Ghosts

Looking to do me harm, I said to myself

As those creaky sounds grew close.

I kept telling myself

While shivering in my bed

I was afraid to fall asleep

Afraid I’d wake up dead.

Thank goodness for that Sandman

He saved my life many a night

By putting me to sleep

And keeping me free from fright.

Mrs manka and farm house

Photos of the farmhouse and of Monte’s mother (in the light colored dress). Photos provided by Monte.

An Odd Incident

Remembered by Monte Manka

One night while we were sitting by the pot-bellied stove in the living room, keeping warm, suddenly a muffled noise and the house began to fill with smoke.

Dad finally got it under control. One of the bricks was missing on the chimney on the top and that brick fell down the chimney and clogged up the draft. Dad and the hired man had to take the stovepipe apart and remove the brick and all was well–

Funny no wind that night, no earthquake ????????????? Monte

old stove

A drawing by Karen Martin showing the black wood stove similar to one in the Manka house.

Another Person’s Experience in That House – Monte’s Sister

“Something came up those stairs every night at precisely the same time, around 10:00 or 10:30 I don’t remember which. The footsteps were clear and distinct from the bottom of the stairs to the top.

I am not the only one in the family that heard that either. Ray commented on that very thing. I thought it was just a kid thing and now I know that it wasn’t.

There were other things that went on in that house as well. That house was a haunted house when I was living in it.

Cordially, Carol”

Another Haunted Place in Kansas

Learn about another haunted place in Kansas – YouTube video.

The Manka House Eventually Burned to the Ground

 

fire destroyed wayne manka farm house

The Wayne Manka farmhouse after the fire.

In His 90s Now, Monte Manka Lives in Retirement on the West Coast

Monte Manka

The Good Old Days???

Our guest blogger today is Monte Manka. He grew up in the 1930s like Gail Lee Martin did in Central Kansas. They met later in life through their writing when both were in their eighties. Monte writes poems and lots of nostalgia pieces. He just had his 91st birthday this week!
 I went to the grocery store today and got a half-gallon of milk and it started me to thinking—

In the good old days, I would get up in the morning in the early A.M. and set under the Holstein or Jersey and pull on those warm teats and get my milk. With my head buried in her flank, I could tell if she was going to kick me or not and I could get out of the way. (was not always successful though.) I loved to be hit in the head with a tail full of cockle burrs or in the winter time a tail with frozen urine on it. The feeling was the same, a bump on the head. When it was 100 degrees in the shade or 27 degrees below zero those critters had to be taken care of, come rain or shine.

cream-separator-pixabay

An old style cream separator.

Then those calves would come along and you had to train them to drink out of the bucket–more problems–they seemed to get something wrong with them and you had to doctor them, more problems. When you finally got the milk into the house and separated, you had to wash the separator. This was another chore of mine. One part had 123 disks on it and they were numbered. The disks went in numerical order. The buckets had to be washed and by that time it was time to do it all over again. BAH TO THE GOOD OLD DAYS.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS ???????  – BREAD

While at the grocery store I also got a loaf of bread and it started me to thinking again.
In the good old days, we took our wheat to the mill at Cedar Point and had it ground for flour, cracked wheat for breakfast food, and then took it home. Mother made bread from the new flour. The old wood stove felt good in the wintertime but was hot in the summertime.

I spent time plowing, disking, harrowing and drilling the wheat. This was always in the hottest time of the summer when you would either thrash or combine. I always missed the Rodeo at the Countryman Ranch at Cassoday. After sitting on the tractor with the heat from the tractor motor blowing in my face, and the combine engine blowing hot air on my back, I was well done by the time the day was finished. Then to the milking again.

leslie and monte manka wheat fiels south of house 1934

Monte L. Manka and his brother Leslie in the wheat field – about 1934

That wheat, that seems easy to raise is a gamble-one year it was a disease called RUST, the next it was a hail storm, the next it was too dry, the next it was too wet, the next it was the grasshoppers, that year was a plague about 1931, the corn on Teters farm east of El Dorado a couple miles, had no leaves left on the stalk after the grasshoppers visited them. I think you have better odds on the crap table in Las Vegas. One year Dad got a check from Kansas, City Grain for $2,000.00 for a carload of wheat, we took turns feeling it. Out of six years, we had one good harvest. The good old days- Yeah sure

THE GOOD OLD DAYS?????? – MEAT

While at the grocery store I was told to pick up some pork chops and that started me to thinking —–
We had a mean old sow. She bit my uncle on the leg and put a couple gashes in it. He did not quite make it over the fence.
Now, this sow was the ugliest thing you ever saw and I could never see what the boar saw in her. She would have the most pigs and the healthiest pigs of any of the good-looking sows. These hogs would have to be watched closely to keep them free of screwworms. More work more worry.

Once we had a bout with cholera and we lost 50 head that was ready to go to market. Needless to say, we had a big barbecue, too bad that we could not eat the meat. My uncle would give my brother and me a pig to sell if we would help him take care of them. One year we got $3.00 for our effort a few years later we got $6.00 then the market started to rise and no more free pigs. The good old days Phooey.

pig in nb

 

A Few Good Things about the Good Old Days

There were some things that were good like the filling station on the corner. Nufer’s gas was 18 cents a gallon but you got your tires checked, windshield washed, oil checked, a smile and a thank you. The good old days, Yeah.

When you came to town on Saturday you could take ten wrappers from ten Golden Crust bread loaves and get a free pass to the Eris and see the latest Ken Maynard western. I do not remember what the popcorn or soda was then, probably ten cents. After the matinee, we would go home and milk those stupid cows, and start another week of fun. Yeah

Ken Maynard 1926 vintage portrait card
Ken Maynard 1926 vintage portrait card

Another good thing-a handshake was as good as a signed contract, Not now it seems like the honest people are getting fewer and farther between. Out here you had better have twenty signed contracts, even then someone will break them all, and you are stuck with a lawsuit.

I always hear someone saying “Oh for the good old days.” I think back and no TV, no VCR, no microwave, no late model car. My gosh, I wouldn’t trade today for anything.

Written by Monte L. Manka

The Chelsea Kid – Monte Manka

 

Gail Lee Martin and Monte Manka first met on the Our Echo website. Gail served as the webmaster and encouraged everyone who posted there. She commented on every poem and each essay. Monte was the same generation as Gail, an octogenarian, who grew up just a few miles from where Gail lived in Kansas. Now he lives on the west coast, but through the serendipity of the Internet, they met online. Learn more about him below.

The kids at the Chelsea, Kansas school in the 1930s. 

Sharing an Octogenarian’s Poems and Memories of the Great Depression

Monte Manka grew up in Chelsea, Kansas in the 1930s. Now in his eighties, he records his memories in poems and essays for future generations to understand what it was like in those days.

This webpage is just one in a series that features Monte Manka’s poetry of the Great Depression. This octogenarian retains vivid memories of Kansas farm life and his youth. He still writes poetry and posts it on the Our Echo website. Don’t miss the other webpages with Monte Manka’s poems. They include such old-fashioned topics as pie suppers and chivarees.

(photos used with permission from Monte Manka)

The Old Homestead

a poem by Monte Manka

As I travel across the State

I had to see

The place where I was born

Out there on the prairie

The old house is still standin’

Out there in a pile of dust

The windmill still upright

Now just a tower of rust.

That lone post in the front yard

Where once hung that dinner bell

To call Dad in from the field

To eat and rest a spell

Is slightly leaning

Warped by wind and heat

To hear that bell ring one more time

Would make my life complete.

That old front porch

With that bench swing

We’d sit there in the evening

And hear the locusts sing.

I remember fields of green grass

That yielded tons of prairie hay

To feed the livestock

On a cold winter day.

Then Mother Nature

With a twist of fate

Turned on a four-year drought

Just when things were goin’ great.

A cyclone blew down the barn

Ripped shingles off the roof

Dust started blowing in

Doors and windows, not dust proof.

Nothing but drifted soil

Now and then a tuft of grass

If only those happier times

Could last and last.

Dad had a part-time job

Working for the State

We moved into town

Before it was too late.

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Monte Manka’s Dust Storm Memories

“We held Chelsea School outside the schoolhouse. The air in the Schoolhouse hung heavy with the dust. We would go to the pump and wet our handkerchiefs and hold them over our nose as we read out of our Bobs Merrill Primer”. …

He continues on telling about having to dust off the paper before writing the lesson. You’ll enjoy his memories.

(Excerpt from Lost in the Front Yard by Monte L. Manka. There is more on the Our Echo website.)

Monte Manka’s Poems and Essays on the Our Echo Website – Visit the site to read all of Monte Manka’s writing

Our Echo provides a supportive community online for writers to share their family memories and other writing. It’s a great site to post your memory pieces on for your whole family to enjoy.

our echo

Monte Manka with an Oliver Hart-Parr tractor.

Monte Grew up on the Farm

Monte Manka: “Me and the Oliver Hart-Parr after it was converted to rubber–There is a tractor.

This tractor had steel wheels and was a rough riding machine. When the wheels were changed and rubber tires were put on it was a pleasure to ride down a gravel road to the field.”