In the “spirit” of the holiday, this week’s YA Indie Carnival posts are about the Spooky, the Scary, & the Eerie. That puts me in mind of a fave ghost story from my hometown.
In the mid 1800s, there was an old man by the name of Deluse. He lived alone in a modest house outside of town. Deluse kept to himself. He did not work in town and his fields were ill-tended, yet he always seemed to have plenty of money.
A very odd man, Old Man Deluse owned an extensive collection of weaponry and naval tools. He called his home the “Isles of Pines”. These things combined with his mysterious wealth fed into the belief of his neighbors that Deluse was a pirate, living in retirement off the secret treasures he’d plundered. But of course, at the time, such things were never discussed among polite company.
One winter day, Old Man Deluse was found dead in his bed, though he had been known to be very healthy. There were no signs of foul play, so the town doctor declared the cause of death to be “visitation of God.” A public official took over the estate. After an exhaustive, yet fruitless, search for Deluse’s supposed booty, the official locked up the house to await sale.
A few nights later, a great storm wreaked havoc over the region. Snow and ice fell in heavy blankets. Winds ripped through buildings and tore trees up by their roots.
The next morning, Rev. Galbraith arrived home after a month-long trip to Cincinnati. His wife and his good friend (a lawyer by the name of Maren) welcomed him home. Mrs. Galbraith asked her husband about this trip. He told them that he had arrived in town by steamboat the evening prior. He acquired a horse and was on his way home when the storm hit.
Fortunately, he saw lights on at Old Deluse’s house, so he stopped to take refuge. He knocked on the door and could hear Deluse inside, but the old man never answered. Out of desperation, Rev. Galbraith forced his way in. The room was dark and cold, so he built a fire in the fireplace. All the while, he could hear Deluse in the next room.
Once the fire was going, the reverend nestled down on his coat to sleep. He told his wife that Deluse came into the room, but paid him no mind. Deluse spoke not a word and seemed to be searching for something. Convinced that the old man was sleepwalking, the reverend shut his eyes and tried to get some rest. Though it proved to be difficult. Rev. Galbraith said that he saw and heard Deluse up all night searching, but when the reverend awoke in the morning, Deluse had already left.
Mrs. Galbraith and Mr. Maren looked to each other. Since the reverend had been out of town, he didn’t know of the old man’s death. They told him, but the reverend was still adamant about what he experienced. Mr. Maren, being a man of fact not superstition, was not convinced. So, Rev. Galbraith, Mr. Maren, and Galbraith’s son headed back to the house to investigate.
By the time they reached Deluse’s home, it was dark. They forced open the door. Though they had seen lights on inside upon their approach, the house was dark. Mr. Maren, a man who was always prepared, had brought matches and a candle. With the lit candle, the men and the boy moved through the four-room house. When they reached the last room, a sudden gust of wind blew out the candle. A loud thump sounded.
When Maren re-lit the candle, they found the reverend’s son, dead on the floor, holding a large sack heavy with Spanish coins. The doctor declared the boy’s cause of death to be “visitation of God.”
For more spooky, scare, and eerie posts, check out…