[I thought my character might write up his adventure and submit it to a journal to network with like minded people. It turned out longer than I expected, but I finished it off and decided to put it up.]
A submission to the American Journal of Rational Philosophy
An Investigation into the Happenings Concerning the Corbitt House Part 1
A long time reader of this distinguished journal, I now find myself in need of your help. So, dear reader, I invite you into an exercise in rational thinking; on the day of Tuesday the eighth of March I and my companions were hired by the owner of 20 Copps Hill, Boston to investigate the ghost stories that were preventing him from renting the property out. (It still amazes me that, in this day and age, a businessman can be harmed by wild superstition.) These arose because of a string of instances of madness that, the most recent of which saw two young boys lose their father and then their mother to the Rockwell Mental Institution. This tragic incident, though I will admit strikes me as unlikely, is hardly proof of the supernatural.
To begin, I will recount the events of our first steps on the journey. We spent the Tuesday afternoon gathering research to prepare ourselves and ensure a solid case, then on the morning of Wednesday the ninth we made our first forays into the house. The property had not been touched in several months and the grounds showed it, being largely unkempt and in good need of attention. Despite the surrounding businesses having no problems, we first collected soil and water samples from around the house to test for some kind of environmental cause. Upon entering, we found the inside in much the same state, with dust beginning to settle in sheets on every surface.
In line with proper scientific process, we began with a systematic search of the rooms on the first floor, but were quickly interrupted by the sound of someone moving about on the floor above us. We rushed to the stairs to catch the trespasser, and this was when I encountered our first bizarre event – I, a proud member of the Anti-Saloon League and support of Prohibition, found myself in the kitchen, with no memory of entering the room, drinking a bottle of soured homemade wine. Though it must have been no more than the foulest vinegar at this point, I could have sworn that I was drinking the freshest orange juice on a warm summer’s day.
This shook me so much that I needed to step outside for a moment to recover, but was drawn back in by the sound of thumping coming from upstairs. Wondering what my companions were up to, I ventured back inside and found my companions in a one of the second floor rooms staring at writing, written in what was apparently blood, that they swore was not there moments before. Having found no sign of our trespasser, we took some more samples of the ‘blood’ and continued to the master bedroom to see if we could finally find our man.
Being the last room we checked, we had expected to finally come upon our mystery man, but apparently not. We stood to consider where he could be, when we heard more thumping coming from the room we had just left, so we rushed back to find more writing in more blood that I can attest was not there before. We thought to check out some of the lower rooms we had missed in case he had slipped past us, but again we heard thumping from the same room and again we rushed back to see more writing on the wall. The writing was getting consistently more aggressive, demanding we leave the property ‘or else’. We decided this time to do a thorough search of the room, looking for hidden trap doors or hideaways that our culprit could have been using to carry out what at this point I was assuming was an elaborate prank.
At this point, as I am sure you can well imagine, we were rather getting tired of this, but went to finally finished our search of the lower floor when we heard the crash of breaking glass and screaming – we found that one of our party, who had gone to look out the window, and been thrown out the window by a heavy iron bed frame that any single member could hardly lift, let alone push that quickly. Concerned for the health of our fallen compatriot I ran down to check on her, though fortunately she was still alive (in some ways seemed more angry than injured). While getting her up and towards her automobile to take seek medical attention, the last of my companions, who had stayed behind came out of the house and claimed to have had a conversation with the room, with more writing appearing to answer his words, and that it had attacked him with the bed. At this point we considered it best to call it a day and head home to recover, thus closing the first chapter of our investigation.
It is here that the rational mind becomes the best defence against superstition. By applying logic and thought we can find the truth of events and explain what lesser minds would merely cower away from, exclaiming ghosts! Demons!
This is our task, and the task that I present to you dear reader. The main points as I see them are:
1) The event of my lost time and hallucination – I have always found myself of sound mind, and it affected me before consuming anything, so I must assume that there is something in the air. This seems like it could be the source of the stories surround this place, as being constantly exposed to that kind of trauma would eat away at even the strongest mind. The house was showing serious signs of damp, so I feel that some kind of fungus is a possible explanation for the more recent incident, though I doubt it would explain all of the historical reports. If anyone has any hypotheses (perhaps some gas seeping up from the ground?) I would be more than happy to receive them.
2) The unexplained noises – though we never actually found a culprit for these bangings, it is possible that they had prepared a place of concealment that we missed in our short time there. I also consider it possible that the entire house has been set up with mechanisms to recreate these, such that the operator could have been hiding in the basement that we never got round to investigating. I feel this would have required a skilled craftsman to modify the property while leaving no apparent sign, or it could have been build into the property during construction, being intended to be used as a ghost house by some mischievous tycoon.
3) The writing in blood – since the words seemed to appear too quickly for someone to have written them there and then, I begin to imagine that there may have been some chemical reaction involved, perhaps in two parts – one, transparent, applied before hand to give the shape of the words and a second sprayed on quickly to give the appearance. I hope our labs might have some luck in identifying this chemical, though if this is known I feel it would be a favourite parlour trick of fortune tellers and mystics. Though my companion claims that the words replied to his statements, he is not a man of complex thought, and so he would easily be convinced by the kind of vague statements that could be interpreted in many ways (often used by the very same fortune tellers). These could have been set up beforehand, and the careful selection therewith made to give the impression of a conversation without actually saying anything.
4) The case of the moving frame – this leaves me more perplexed. I can assure you that there were no wires or mechanisms apparent in the room that would explain this mechanically, but I do wonder if the frame could have been manipulated with some strong electromagnetic field. This would certainly be an ingenious device, and I would applaud the mind that could create it if not that which would use it to hurt people. I wish to get permission from the property owner to look inside the walls and floors to discover and remove the device for further study, as I’m sure something this powerful would have to be built into the very structure of the room.
While I began this believing it to be the work of nature, and merely unfortunate that so many were caught up in it, and it may have started as just that, I now feel convinced that there is some malicious thought behind the events, some person who has systematically assaulted the minds of the occupants and the bodies of my compatriots, and this should be put to a stop forthwith. As such, any thoughts or comments you may have on explaining the events and catching the culprit would be most welcome. Please address all letters to the editor, who will pass on any correspondence to me.
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