Here’s the first chapter of Bones in the Basement – surviving the S.K. Pierce House. Soon to be published.
Haunted House for Sale
The house was waiting for them.
The three-story Victorian Mansion sat vacant for two full years, looking every bit the haunted house. People drove past slowly, staring up at the empty windows, wondering if the rumors were true. The house was supposed to be haunted.
The Victorian was built in 1875 by Sylvester Knowlton Pierce, a wealthy furniture magnate in the town of Gardner, Massachusetts. The Second Empire Victorian mansion was considered to be a modern marvel of its time. It had two cisterns that once collected rainwater from the slate roof, providing the occupants with running water, something unheard of in the late 1880’s. The house was outfitted with gas lighting, speaking tubes and electric bells for communication throughout the house, and even boasted a dumb waiter which reached three floors. The hand-carved moldings and cornices spoke volumes of a time when houses were built carefully and lovingly. It had 26 rooms, with 4 bathrooms, and a tower with a circular staircase leading to a widow’s walk, providing sweeping views of South Gardner.
The massive doors were nine-feet tall, constructed of solid black walnut and weighed well over five-hundred pounds apiece. Every inch of woodwork was elaborately carved, signifying the status of wealth and opportunity. No detail was overlooked. No cost was too great. The house was simply a masterpiece.
In its 133 year history, the house had lived a variety of lives. After providing a home to the Peirce family for over fifty years, it would also become a boarding house and an artist’s retreat. Legends surrounded it a plenty. Stories of death, destruction, and murder tainted its history, making people wonder about the rumors.
Children gave the house a wide berth at Halloween, crossing the street as they approached, so they wouldn’t get too close. People who lived in the area whispered stories to one another. Some saw faces at the windows or heard strange noises; others had more personal stories to share.
When the house was vacant during the 1980’s and 1990’s, children would slip through the basement window and wander through the house, daring one another to explore the massive structure. Furniture still remained in most of the rooms, dusty and faded, harking back to a time long past. As the children played hide-and-go-seek, one child hid in a closet on the second floor that had once been part of a dumbwaiter. As the child crouched in the darkness, he felt hands clasp around his shoulder. He bolted from the closet, turning to see the smiling apparition of a child smirking back at him. The image would remain with him for decades.
When the house went onto the real estate market in 2006, many people were interested in seeing in. By this time, it had been featured on the SyFy Channel’s paranormal reality show, Ghost Hunters. It was now more than a local novelty. It was famous, but nobody could buy it.
It’s as though the house were waiting for the right people to come along.
Prospective homeowners flocked to the massive Victorian, armed with cameras and wide eyes. Offers were made, but every one of them fell through. After a while, the realtor began screening the viewings, not allowing anyone to bring cameras into the house, wary of all the would-be ghost hunters.
The house was haunted. Everyone knew it except for its future owners.
They would find out soon enough though.
The house was waiting for them and it wouldn’t let go of until it had fulfilled its darkest desires. And once it did, it would expel them from its depths, running for their lives.
Joni Mayhan is a paranormal investigator, as well as a free-lance writer. Please check out her paranormal thrillers on Amazon.com and BarnesandNobles.com. For more information about the author, please see her website: Jonimayhan.com
To read more about the S.K. Pierce Mansion, please check out Joni’s book Bones in the Basement.
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