When deciding what type of features we wanted for our home. My wife really wanted to use items from the early 1900s. One of our home’s oldest features is our cast iron, claw foot tub. We always wanted a claw foot tub for our bath tub and shower.
After searching re-stores and second hand shops, we finally found it on Craig’s List. We had to drive about 70 miles to fetch the tub from an old house from a quaint, but almost forgotten ghost town. We purchased the tub at the agreed price of $100.00, which was an incredible deal. Many of the tubs we were looking at for months were not even half as good, and the stores were asking $350.00. What a bargain we had found! However, our tub was discounted for a mysterious, chilling reason. The home we purchased it from was from a home in which several people had died from natural and also possibly unnatural causes.
The previous owners decided to reveal the tale of the tub just before money had exchanged hands. A little nervous about their reservation to tell us, we proceeded to hear the story about their old cast iron tub, which apparently had some other worldly activity. The story began with a series of unfortunate rumored deaths in the home.
The current owners explained how the tub was no longer in use and it was strictly used for storing freshly laundered and folded clothes. Odd, I thought, that the owners wouldn’t bathe in the tub, and it was used only for stacking clean folded laundry. The owners proceeded to tell us the tub on more than one occasion had filled with water while they were sleeping or out away from the home. When they walked into the bathroom, the tub was entirely filled with water to the brim. Yet, not one drop had overflowed to the floor. Like a glass lid cover, the tub sealed the folded laundry in its watery grave.
The owners believed that some mishap must had involved the tub in the home’s sorted past. They felt that some ghost was haunting it, trying to communicate with the world of the living. The other thought was some evil demonic force was taunting them to madness, which may have overcome the previous owners. Whatever caused the water to flow was never discovered, but the owners felt the tub needed to go. Fear had gripped them for out of their desire to solve the mysterious flooding of the tub, they had shut the water off at the wall as well as the faucet. There was no way the tub could fill with water if no water was to be had. But, it did.
After the owners finished their story, they proceeded to ask if we still wanted the tub and stated they would not be offended if we said no. I looked them dead in the eye and said we have come this far; I am still interested and will take the tub off your hands. My wife, however, was very quiet, but she followed my lead as the owner helped us load the extremely heavy cast iron tub into the back of our suburban. I paid the man and wife their money said thank you, all the while noticing the heavy renovation they were doing to their home. Their home would have nothing of its old existence left when they were finished with it.
Once we were on the road, my wife broke the silence by asking me what I thought about our tub and its mysterious haunted past. I glanced at her with a wink and a smile while driving down the highway and said, “If there is a demon possessing this here cast iron tub, I truly feel sorry for whatever ghostly force was assigned to haunt a bath tub in the middle of nowhere for eternity. After all, if I were a ghost, there are far more incredible places to haunt in this world than a bath tub in a dying town in the middle of nowhere.”
When we got back to our house we unloaded the heavy cast iron beast onto a piano dolly and pushed it into the living room. For the next several months it sat waiting for its several coats of paint to be scraped, and for a fresh coat of the appropriate primer and Rust-Oleum paint to be added. The tub does actually have claw feet, and it was a real trick to set it in place. I had to use a car jack on wheels and ease it onto the feet. The original metal pins to hold the feet in place were missing, so we had to improvise with small steel nails. Once the tub was set the feet spread out locking the tub in place. We could now take sponge baths in our tub, no longer would we wash next to a bucket while standing in a giant metal pan. The tub has running water now, but how I plumbed hot water to it is another trick, and I will save that for a post in the near future.
For the past four years of owning the cast iron tub, there has been no paranormal activity associated with it. From the story we heard by the previous owners, I wondered if they had gray water backup into the tub which caused the unusual water filled tub, without the water faucet on. This would explain the flooding to the rim since the over flow drain would of had to be flooded as well. With laundry usually associated with the tub filling, an old washing machine could easily over tax a slow gray water drainage system with forty or more gallons of water for each load. We love our claw foot tub, and the story of its sorted past is always fun to tell around a campfire in the summers to guests.