The Inherited Mansion


The Inherited Mansion

In this scary horror story, a young family learns that something terrifying lives within their inherited mansion.

I have always hated the cold. Too many cold winter nights spent alone while my father, an unemployed butcher, blew our welfare benefits on booze and took his frustrations out on me with his belt. I left Michigan fifteen years ago at the age of sixteen after a particularly bad beating, and never looked back. Last I had heard, about eight years ago, he had taken to living on the streets. Good riddance, I say.

I spent a few years in the military, got a college education courtesy of Uncle Sam, and started a family of my own in the sunny state of Florida. Life was great, and I had not thought about my father in years. I truly believed that the worst part of my life was behind me. I had the American Dream: beautiful wife, kids, and was on the verge of buying our very own home. That all changed last year.

Last November my wife and I were nearly ready to sign the papers on our dream home. She worked as a home decorator and I owned half of a small auto repair shop with an old Army buddy. We were so close to signing the mortgage for a small, beautiful house. We were not to be so lucky. I can still remember the heavy envelope we received in the mail the day before we were set to finalize the purchase of our new home.

Inside the envelope was a letter from a lawyer in Detroit informing me that my Grandparents on my Mother’s side had passed away. My mother had died during my birth, and I had never met my Grandparents. I remember my father once telling me, during one of his many attempts at sobriety, that my Mother’s parents had hated my father, and blamed him for her death. The lawyer’s letter stated that I was the only living heir to a sizable estate. I directly inherited $700,000, a decaying mansion, and what was estimated to be 3.5 million dollars worth of artwork and antique furniture. The only caveat was that I needed to be in the small Michigan town to claim the inheritance within thirty days, or else the estate would become property of the State of Michigan.

My wife was ecstatic. I tried to match her excitement, but failed miserably. I had done a hell of a good job building a new life to replace the broken life I had left behind in Michigan. Yea, this was a shit-ton of money, but we had what we needed here in Florida. My wife was determined. She believed that this was the jumpstart that her career needed. She convinced me that we should move the entire family into the mansion. She could blog about home improvement and interior decorating and I could use the inheritance money to start a new auto shop. It was a done deal. I wish that I had resisted more, knowing what I do now, but my wife is stubborn as a mule when she wants something.

So we moved. I sold my stake in the auto shop to my buddy, and reluctantly packed up for the cross-country move. My two kids shared my wife’s enthusiasm for the move. She showed them pictures of the place that were included in the envelope from the lawyer. I remember my oldest son, Brian, saying, “Cool! Our very own haunted house!”

He was right. The place seemed pretty damn haunted. It was huge, over 6,000 square feet, and looked like it hadn’t been lived in for years. The mansion seemed to have a perpetual fog surrounding it, likely due to its proximity to Lake Erie. The lawyer informed me that my grandparents had lived as shut-ins for the past twenty years. Their lawyer had last seen them five years ago, before they disappeared. A lengthy police investigation determined that my grandparents had likely drowned in the lake, possibly as part of a suicide pact.

White sheets covered all of the furniture and artwork, and a thick layer of dust covered everything in the mansion except for in the kitchen and master bedroom. The roof leaked in a few areas and the yard was in dire need of landscaping. The only source of heat came from huge, drafty fireplaces, which seemed to scream during windy nights. So yeah, my son Brian was right, we had our very own haunted house.

The first few weeks of living in the mansion were actually pretty great. My two sons and I would go out onto the estate grounds and collect firewood to warm the mansion. My wife started her home improvement blog and got to work on fixing up the place. I began putting out feelers for local communities in need of a good auto shop. We had one of the best Christmas’s in recent memory. My wife even found an old photo album, which had pictures of my mom as a child and teenager. I became complacent. It all seemed too good to be true.

The initial euphoria of the move began to fade by the second month. The mansion felt too big, too old, and too goddamn creepy. It sounded like a giant awakening from a slumber when fierce gusts of wind blew in from Lake Erie and forced their way through every nook and cranny. I would toss and turn in bed at night, trying to shut out the howl and scream of the wind which seemed to come from deep within the mansion.

After many sleepless nights, I decided it was time to use some of the inheritance money to add insulation to the mansion. I called every handyman and independent contractor in a fifty mile radius. Each one of them made excuses or hung up when I told them the address of the mansion. The area was still reeling from the implosion of Detroit’s economy; these guys needed the business. It should have worried me a little, that people seemed afraid of the place, but it never crossed my mind at the time. Instead I made a trip down to the local hardware store and picked up a couple caulking guns. I will never forget the looks that the locals gave me. At the time I assumed their coldness and stares were due to jealousy of the inheritance. When I look back now, I can remember that their expressions seemed to exhibit wariness, perhaps even pity from the locals that suspected the truth about the mansion.

I got back to the mansion and caulked like a madman throughout the night. I stalked throughout the mansion, caulking gun in hand, in search of gaps, cracks, and holes to fill up. My wife and kids slept peacefully throughout the night, yet I tossed and turned while the mansion tormented me with demonic sounds. Sleeping in different rooms did not help. Ear plugs, music and my head stuffed between two thick pillows finally allowed me to get a full night of sleep. My wife suspected it was all in my head and told me that it was just the stress of moving back home after so many years.

On New Year’s Day my wife woke me and told me that a blizzard was heading towards our town. There was already a foot of snow on the ground, and weatherman on the radio said to expect three to four feet of snow within the next 48 hours. I suited up to go out and chop and stack wood in case the storm lasted longer than expected. After two hours of hard work I decided to take a break and head back inside. Another half foot of snow had fallen while I had been cutting wood. I remember thinking to myself that I would get the boys to come out and help stack the wood while I chopped.

On my way back I noticed paw prints in the fresh snow. They were big. Too big for an animal. Almost human, but who the hell walks barefoot in the snow? I was about to find out.

My thoughts trailed off as I noticed that the front door of the mansion was wide open. I had definitely closed it when I left. I quickened my pace, and began to call out to scold one of the boys for leaving the door open in the middle of a blizzard. I paused mid sentence when I saw a round object lying on the doorstep.

My heart dropped into my stomach and my hands clenched around the axe. Lying on the doorstep was the frozen head of an old man. Head severed cleanly at the neck. Blank, cold eyes stared lifelessly over Lake Erie while his tongue protruded from the side of mouth, twisted in a permanent scream.

Instinct took over. It was fight or flight. I stormed into the mansion, feeling the surge of adrenaline as I called out for my wife and sons. A faint scream arose from the direction of the kitchen. I took off running and came upon an open trapdoor in the floor of the kitchen. Cold air burst through the trapdoor as I lowered myself onto the ladder. I found myself in a dark passage illuminated by smoky oil lanterns hung on the walls. I ran through the tunnel with both hands wrapped around the wooden handle of the axe. Sobs floated up the passage towards me. I broke into a sprint and soon emerged into a large, chilly room.

My wife and oldest son sat in the middle of the room shivering with their hands tied behind their backs. A dozen frozen bodies, hung from the walls on meat hooks, looked down upon us. Against the far wall I spied my youngest son tied down to what looked like a homemade guillotine.

I took a step towards the contraption, but an old man emerged from the shadowed wall and grunted, “I wouldn’t touch that”.

The grizzled old man held a gun in his right hand and a rope in his left. The rope led up to the ceiling, where it held a sharp guillotine blade in place, about ten feet over the neck of my youngest son.

I took another step towards my son, and the man loosened his grip on the rope, letting the blade drop an inch before catching the rope again. I froze.

“What do you want with us” I sputtered through clenched teeth.

“Dinner” he said with a phlegm filled laugh. “A man gotta eat” For a moment I thought the laugh sounded familiar, but the man resembled no one I had ever known. Yellowed skin covered with oozing lesions, rotted teeth, black and broken fingernails. He looked like something out of a Zombie movie.

A strong gust of wind blew open a large trap door leading outside. The cannibalistic man looked away for a moment, and that was when I raised the axe, and let it fly across the room. The blunt portion of the axe head smashed into the man’s face and he toppled backwards into an oil lantern hanging on the wall. His grip on the rope loosened and then gave way.

I took two quick steps and dived forward. Arm stretched upwards as the blade began to fall. I caught the blade in the palm of my hand, and it sank downwards, finally coming to rest halfway through my forearm. I fought the pain and terror surging through my body and forced myself to grab onto the rope to pull the guillotine blade back up. My son was unharmed, except for being drenched in my blood. Smoke wafted up behind me. The broken lamp had started a growing fire in the corner of the room.

I pulled my wife and two sons to their feet and rushed them outside. I freed their hands from the bonds and my wife immediately began to bandage my arm and hand with whatever clothing we could spare.

I began to lead them back up the hill, towards the mansion, when I heard an inhuman scream from behind us. We turned around and saw the man, engulfed in flame, burst from the hidden chamber. He ran haphazardly towards the lake, but slipped on the bank and fell face forward into the mud. He writhed for a moment longer, as the flames continued to burn, and then lay still.

The police did not arrive for hours, due to the snow. By that time it had snowed over five feet. I do not want to imagine what sort of horror we would have had to endure, if we had been snowbound with that lunatic.

The police chief of Detroit told me it was the most gruesome case they had seen in his entire career. The Detroit Cannibal, as the press called him, passed away shortly after the police arrived at the mansion from full body, third degree burns. Police have been unable to identify the cannibal, but I have my suspicions. They were also unable to identify most of the victims, except for my grandparents. Police believe most of them to be vagrants, alcoholics and drifters.

My family and I are back in sunny Florida. My arm is healing, and I hope to be back at work in the auto shop soon. We sold all of the furniture and artwork from the mansion, but were unable to sell the mansion. I relinquished ownership of it to the town. Last I heard they were planning to demolish it. We’re still dealing with emotional trauma of this ordeal. The kids are young enough that they should be fine with the help of some therapy. I still have trouble sleeping at night, and even now, I am plagued with the thought that it might not have been the wind that was keeping me up at night.


Meet the Ghosts of Chicago’s Bachelor’s Grove

By Michael Kleen

Bachelor’s Grove in the southwest Chicago suburb of Midlothian has been an enigma for over three decades, but like most such locations, it started out with a mundane existence.  Over one hundred years ago, picnickers dressed in their Sunday best lounged under oak trees in the park-like atmosphere of the cemetery.  Two of the grove’s neighbors heated their small homes with coal burning stoves and drew water out of their brick wells, while horse drawn buggies trotted down the dirt road.  It was a much different scene from today.

Much of the origins of Bachelor’s Grove have been obscured by the passage of time.  Even its name is a mystery.  Some say it was named after a group of single men who settled in the area around the 1830s, but a family named Batchelder already owned the land.  According to Ursula Bielski, author of Chicago Haunts, the cemetery itself was originally named Everdon’s.  Its first burial was in 1844, and the cemetery eventually contained eighty-two plots.

In the early half of the twentieth century, the Midlothian Turnpike ran past the cemetery, over the stream, and beyond.  Today, the broken road appears to end at the cemetery gates, but closer inspection of a long ridge across from the stream reveals a roadbed that has been nearly reclaimed by the forest.  The road was closed in the 1960s.  Locals say that was when the trouble started.

According to the Chicago Tribune’s Jason George, the body of a teenage girl was found in the woods in 1966, and in 1988 a man, who had been murdered by a former girlfriend, was found in the cemetery.  Aside from those gruesome incidents, grave desecration regularly occurred.  Bodies were dug up, animals were sacrificed, and headstones were moved or stolen.

Then the ghosts came.

One of the most controversial sightings involved a phantom house.  In the 1970s, Richard T. Crowe, a local ghost enthusiast, collected stories from dozens of eyewit-nesses who claimed to have seen a white farmhouse complete with a glowing light in the window at various places in the woods alongside the trail.  However, “there is no house on the property, nor anywhere near the site,” Ursula Bielski wrote.  “No property records exist to suggest that there ever was.” (Haunts, pg. 59)  She does mention that “most anyone familiar with the area will offer to show you the foundations of a house that they claim did exist.” (Haunts, pg. 61)

“Claim” is an interesting choice of words, since there are in fact two separate foundations, one east of the cemetery and one west of it.  Although the two are hidden in plain sight, both of them are very real.  As www.bachelors has well documented, there also exists two wells near these foundations.  Hundreds of visitors have probably seen these and later reported them as “houses.”  Time and imagination took care of the rest.

Another popular ghost is the White Lady, or Madonna, of Bachelor’s Grove.  Cemeteries in the Chicagoland area are overpopulated with these women, who are almost always searching for their lost infants.  Bachelor’s Grove contains a monument to an unnamed ‘infant daughter,’ which has become a shrine for visitors and adds fuel to the story.  This ghost, or one very much like it, was supposedly captured on a now famous photograph taken using infrared film.  Unfortunately, the “ghost” in the picture casts a shadow on the headstone she sits upon, suggesting that she is not very transparent; at least not in the way ghosts tend to be.

Visitors also commonly report seeing orbs or ghost lights, a staple of haunted locations everywhere.  These bright will o’ the wisps are patriotic, appearing in red, white, and blue colors.  Although I have been to the cemetery nearly a dozen times, I have yet to see one.

The pond adjacent to the cemetery has its own share of legends.  Stories say it was one of the hundreds of places scattered around Illinois where mobsters dumped their victims during the roaring ‘20s.  One of these victims apparently grew a second head and has been known to crawl out of the water.  Lastly, a number of years ago a policeman reportedly saw the apparition of a horse, followed by a man and a plow, walk out of the pond and cross 143rd Street.  The ghost is said to belong to a farmer who drowned in the pond when his horse decided to take a swim one day.

Disappearing cars, sometimes sleek, black 1920s and 30s style, or the sounds of car doors slamming, have been reported along that stretch of 143rd Street.  Richard T. Crowe has written that he personally witnessed two of these phantom automobiles.
Although the number of visitors to Bachelor’s Grove has declined, and vandalism has trickled off (there isn’t much left to vandalize), the curious still routinely travel to Midlothian to snap pictures, leave cryptic notes, or place offerings at the stone of the infant daughter.

If you are in the area, check it out. Parking is available at the Forest Preserve across the street, but it is closed after dark – no exceptions. For more information on Bachelor’s Grove, and other haunted locations around Illinois, visit The Legends and Lore of Illinois.

Michael Kleen earned a master’s degree in American history from Eastern Illinois University in 2008. He is the author of several books, including Tales of Coles County, Illinois; Six Tales of Terror; and One Voice. Michael has spoken on local history and folklore at Teapot’s Café in Beecher, Charleston Middle School, and the 2007 Conference on Illinois History in Springfield. He has appeared on Joliet Paranormal Radio, AM-1050 WLIP, and has written several articles for Paranormal Underground magazine and KILTER – the journal of Gothic Art Chicago. He is also the publisher of Black Oak Presents, a quarterly digital journal of Middle American art and culture.

Haunted Lighthouses – New London Ledge Lighthouse

Located at the mouth of the Thames River, entrance to New London Harbor, Connecticut at the eastern end of Long Island Sound sits the New London Ledge Lighthouse. Built in 1909 on the Southwest Ledge, the lighthouse was originally called the Southwest Ledge Light, but to avoid confusion with another lighthouse in New Haven, the Southwest Ledge Light, the lighthouse was renamed to New London Ledge Light in 1910.

This lighthouse itself is a unique, one-of-a-kind structure with square red brick quarters topped with a mansard roof (a French type of roof designed to make maximum use of the interior space of the attic) and a circular lantern room. To appease the residents who didnt want to gaze upon an eyesore sitting in the sea, the lighthouse was built in Colonial and French architectural style in order to blend in with the large and historic homes on the shores.

The lighthouse was finally built after a half-century of petitions requesting an offshore lighthouse – the first one in 1845 – from mariners and residents stating the dangers to maritime traffic in the area due to the inadequcy of the four buoys in the harbor and the The New London Harbor Lighthouse on the shore. The Lighthouse Board detailed the inherent dangers to maritime traffic at New London to Congress in 1902 and 1903 and requested funds for constructing a lighthouse. The construction was completed in 1909. The United States Coast Guard officially took over the care of the lighthouse in 1939 and still keeps an eye on the place. Most of the stories of the ghostly lightkeeper have come from the Coast Guard crews manning the lighthouse.

New London Ledge is locally famous for the ghost nicknamed Ernie who allegedly haunts the lighthouse. The famous ghost legend Ernie was a lightkeeper supposedly jumped to his death from the roof of the lighthouse after learning that his wife ran off with the captain of the Block Island Ferry in 1936.

Ernie is said to make his presence known by opening and closing doors, washing the decks, operating the light and fog signal, and untying secured boats to let them drift away. Before the station was automated, Coast Guard crews on duty reported frequently hearing mysterious knocks on their bedroom doors in the middle of the night, doors opening and closing, the television being turned on and off repeatedly, and covers pulled off the end of their bed.

The New London Ledge Lighthouse was the last remaining manned lighthouse on Long Island Sound when it was finally automated in 1987. Since then, reports of Ernie’s visits have dramatically decreased, most likely because there is hardly ever anyone there. This seems to be a relief to those who were stuck manning the light house. The final day of manned operation shows a log entry reading, “A Rock of slow torture. Ernie’s domain. Hell on earth. May New London Ledge’s light shine on forever because I’m through. I will watch it from afar while drinking a brew.”

There have been investigations at the lighthouse. In the late ’90s, a TV reporter from Japan spent a night inside the lighthouse to investigate the story of Ernie, and loud whispering noises were heard through the night, audible on camera. The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), who have become known by their series “Ghost Hunters” on the Sci-Fi Channel, investigated the place in 2005 but made no significant observations.

Today, the lighthouse is leased by the Coast Guard to the New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation, partly funded by the City of New London. The lighthouse is used as a maritime classroom, while the Coast Guard continues to maintain the automated light. The group plans to eventually open the lighthouse as a museum and may offer overnight accommodations.

Denise Villani is an author and the webmaster of several websites and article directories. Find more articles and information on haunted stuff by visiting

The Hauntings of Alcatraz

Located in San Francisco Bay with a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown San Francisco, you’ll find perhaps the most famous prison in the world. Alcatraz, nicknamed “The Rock”, was originally known as “La Isla de los Alcatraces” or “The Island of the Pelicans” because of its appearance as a barren white rock. The white was caused by pelican droppings, hence the name. It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963, when it became a national recreation area. Today it is maintained by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and nearly a million visitors per year stop by to check the place out.
The island, believed to be an evil place by Native Americans, has seen centuries of death from accidents, murders, and suicides. With this dark history, it’s no wonder Alcatraz is said to be one of the most haunted places in the nation. If ghosts return to haunt the places where they suffered traumatic experiences when they were alive, then Alcatraz must be bursting at the seams with spirits.

Entrance Sign to Alcatraz
Entrance Sign to Alcatraz

For years there have been reports of mysterious happenings on Alcatraz Island. These reports come from visitors, former guards, former prisoners, and national park service employees. From the original lighthouse reappearing on occasion to clanging, screaming, and sobbing, there are too many tales to put into this short article. It would definitely take a book to tell them all. Some of the strange occurences are recounted in the following paragraphs.
The Lighthouse – There have been several reports that on foggy nights the old lighthouse, built in 1854 and torn down after it was damaged in the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, will suddenly appear, accompanied by an eerie whistling sound and a flashing green light that makes its way slowly around the island and then vanishes as suddenly as it appears.
The Grounds – Many guards and park rangers have reported experiencing unexplainable crashing sounds, cell doors mysteriously closing, unearthly screams, and intense feelings of being watched. A number of guards from 1946 through 1963 experienced something out of the ordinary at one time or another. There have been reports of sounds of sobbing and moaning, horrible smells, phantom cannon shots, gun shots, and screams. Once in a while, groups of phantom prisoners and soldiers appear in front of startled guards, guests, and the families who lived on the island. None of these occurances have ever been explained.

Alcatraz Cellblock, walk of shame
Alcatraz Cellblock, walk of shame

The door and the corridor – Behind a door in Cellblock C that looks as if it has been welded shut, lies the utility corridor where Bernard Coy, Joseph Cretzer and Marvin Hubbard were killed by grenades and bullets during the bloodiest escape attempt in Alcatraz’s history in 1946. Additionally, the attempt took the lives of two guards and injured 18 others. The trial afterward resulted in the execution of two more convicts who took part in the aborted escape. Behind this door can sometimes be heard loud clanging along with the sounds of people running as if trying to escape and disembodied voices. Others have reported seeing the apparitions of men wearing fatigues at the site of the riot that left the three prisoners dead. As a result, this utility corridor is recognized as one of the most haunted spots in the prison.
The laundry room – Also in Cellblock C is the laundry room that is said to hold an unseen presence. The story is told that a hit man named Butcher was killed in the laundry room. The room is said to occasionally emanate a strong odor of smoke, as if something was on fire. The sensation of the choking smoke would drive guards out of the room, only to return a few minutes later, the area now completely smoke free.
The most haunted area on Alcatraz is Cellblock D, or solitary, as it was often called. D-Block, which became known as the Treatment Unit was made up of 42 cells with varying restrictions. None of the prisoners put in D-Block was able to have contact with the general population. These inmates were not allowed to work or go to the mess hall to eat; they had to eat in their cells. They were allowed one visit to the recreation yard and two showers a week. These cells faced the Golden Gate Bridge, from which fierce cold winds often blew and one guard who worked D-Block was notorious for turning on the air conditioning to make it even colder for those confined on the block.


Alcatraz Cell Bunk
Alcatraz Cell Bunk

Five of the cells in D-Block, cells 9-14, are known as “The Hole,”. These cells contained only a sink and toilet, had no windows and only one light with a low-wattage bulb that could be turned off by the guards on a whim. The darkness made it seem like a hole in the ground. Reserved for the most serious prison rule breakers, these cells were located on the bottom tier, the coldest place in the prison. All mattresses were taken away during the day and the prisoners were not allowed time in the yard, showers, or reading materials. Inmates could be sentenced to up to 19 days in the hole, completely isolated from the rest of the world.
Needless to say, these horrible conditions led to misery, anger, and possibly even insanity. That ambiance seems to linger to this day. Most people who go to Cellblock D get feelings of sudden intensity and a feeling of cold in certain cells, especially cell 14-D. This cell is often reported to be 20 degrees colder than the rest of the cells on the block. Psychics who have visited the area reported picking up on the feelings of torture, misery, and abuse that were left behind by 29 years’ worth of prisoners who were forced to stay there. These cells are so eerie that some national park service employees refuse to go there alone.

Gas Chamber, Empty Chair
Gas Chamber, Empty Chairs

A guard who worked at the prison in the 1940’s reported that guards often saw the ghostly presence of a man dressed in late 1800’s prison attire was often seen walking the hallway of “The Hole”. Perhaps the strangest event occured when an inmate locked in a cell in “The Hole” immediately began to scream that someone with glowing eyes was in there with him. The spectral prisoner had become so much of a practical joke among the guards that the convict’s cries were ignored. The inmate’s screams continued well into the night, and then suddenly stopped. When the guards inspected the cell, the convict was dead with a terrible expression on his face and noticeable handprints around his throat. The autopsy revealed that the strangulation could not have been self-inflicted.
At the time many believed the inmate was strangled by a guard who got tired of hearing the inmate scream, but no one ever admitted to the strangling. Most believed the prisoner was killed by the restless, evil spirit of the nineteenth century prisoner who was so often seen wandering the corridors.

Hydrotherapy Room
Hydrotherapy Room

As a footnote to this tale, when the guards lined-up the convicts for the daily count, there was one too many convicts in the line-up. At the end of the row, stood the recently strangled convict. As everyone looked on in stunned silence, the ghostly figure vanished.

As the years go by, ghost hunters, authors, crime buffs and curiosity-seekers continue to visit the island hoping to have their own encounter with the ghosts of Alcatraz. Although most encounter nothing, they do have a tendancy to leave with a feeling of uneasiness. The majority of the ghostly experiences of Alcatraz have been reported by former guards and national park service employees who often spend hours alone on the island. Many claim not to believe in the supernatural but occasionally, one of them will admit that weird things happen here that they cannot explain.

Denise Villani an author and the webmaster of several websites and article directories. Find more articles and information on Alcatraz and other haunted places by visiting