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The Friendly Fort

The Friendly Fort

Tom Raimbault

Shakespir Edition

Copyright © Tom Raimbault 2016


License Notes:

Copyright © Tom Raimbault 2016

All rights reserved! No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form or by any means, without permission from the author!


This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



This work is 100% fiction. All scenes and events within these pages have been an invention of the author's imagination, and to his knowledge never occurred in reality. Any resemblance to the reader's own experiences is purely coincidental. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.



When I was a teenage boy I had been thrown out of my bed by a malevolent spirit. Now I should clarify that this spirit didn’t actually enter the physical space where I slept that night. Rather, it somehow accessed my consciousness while I dreamed. It coerced me in my dreams to poise myself at the edge of my bed and then jump onto the floor. I recall growling some seconds before taking the plunge.

Then my feet hit the floor and I awoke in the darkened room. I screamed in terror and, of course, woke up the entire family. My father rushed in to see if I was okay.

“It threw me out of my bed!” I declared to my father who probably figured I only had a bad dream. But to me, the incident was very real. To this very day I know what happened. Through dreaming, I had exposed myself to some dark and evil place in the astral realm where a malevolent spirit with hyper dimensional existence managed to affect me, here, in the physical realm. For many months, thereafter, I had to learn how to protect myself while dreaming. And I developed a phobia some years after of my inherent skill of astral projection. It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I resumed the practice of projecting my consciousness outside of my body.

But on that fateful night of being thrown from my bed; I recall having a series of bizarre dreams, afterwards, of a barn. It was an old barn that people had converted into a living area; not a farmhouse, but a barn. In my young mind, I concluded these people to be evil, perhaps even possessed by demons. And the barn held a mystery that could never be solved. You see, one would never want to enter the building because its infinite interior of ever changing, and “paradoxical” realities would trap an unfortunate visitor forever! The old building was a portal to some reality that we could never comprehend in this world.

While writing this preface, I referenced the meaning of a barn on Dreammoods.com. The dream dictionary says, “To see a barn in your dream signifies the feelings that are kept in your subconscious. There is a possibility that you may be holding back your instinctual action or natural urges.”

So there I have it! The mystery of the barn is solved! As a teenage boy, I had fragments of myself trapped in my subconscious mind. I might go so far as to say that the malevolent spirit that threw me out of my bed was actually my Jungian shadow that was yearning for me to consciously embrace and bring it to light. Subconscious manifestation, after all, is one of our lifelong journeys.

About a year later I was listening in on a conversation from nearby classmates in which someone relayed a strange incident that had taken place over the weekend. On that particular weekend, a group of kids had been out in the forest (probably partying and up to no good). Suddenly, an abandoned, old barn was discovered. And just like most young kids who are up to no good, they began throwing rocks at the barn in an attempt to break the windows. It was then that people dressed up as monks had emerged from the old and seemingly-abandoned building and chased the kids off. A couple of them had pellet guns, and actually took shots at the kids in an apparent warning.

It makes you wonder what sort of people would live in an old barn, and would dress up as monks.

And then we have the legendary Friendly Fort which is now in ruins. The condition of the landscape saddens me—while at the same time—amazes me, considering how little time is needed for a landscape in the forest to change. The Friendly Fort was a mysterious location in the Cook County Forest preserves of Illinois that resembled a colosseum of three-tiered flagstones that surrounded a small brook. Back in the early nineties, my brother and I used to like to visit the Friendly Fort during our mountain bike expeditions. To reach the place we followed a snaking creek through the forest that is very much like the one that you will encounter in the pages of this book. And then we would reached an amazing place where the creek opened up into wide brook. As mentioned before, the brook was surrounded by flagstone; three-tiered stacked in such a way to resemble a coliseum. The view was spectacular and breathtaking. I remember the first time we found the place it was the middle of summer. The surrounding forest was a beautiful lush green that matched the moss-covered flagstone.

“This is the Friendly Fort.” my brother announced. (I’m going by memory from over twenty years ago). Either he just realized that we stumbled upon the legendary Friendly Fort, or he had been there with his friends who knew of the legend and relayed it to him.

You see; despite how beautiful the Friendly Fort was, it had darkness to it. My brother proceeded to explain to me that devil worshippers came out to this area of secluded forest to perform their rituals and do their animal sacrifices. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a peculiar fascination with the occult in the area where I lived. A friend of the family who worked for the Cook County Forest Preserves disclosed that it wasn’t uncommon to discover remains of rituals performed in the forest along with dogs or cats that had been mutilated for apparent sacrifices. The early-1990s (the time when my brother and I did our mountain bike expeditions in the forest) would have been the very tail end of the region’s fascination with the occult.

It was soon realized during our initial visit that the place possessed an eerie and disturbing vibe to it. And then came the noises of something in the forest; something—whether it be people or malevolent spirits—that did not want us at the Friendly Fort. Whatever it was, it began to chase us.

“Let’s get the fuck out of here!” my brother and I simultaneously said. Now keep in mind that I was in my early twenties at the time; my brother in his late teens. We weren’t little kids who were easily spooked. But something clearly terrified us, and we interpreted it as a warning to leave.

“Those are probably the devil worshippers!” one of us speculated while running off. I recalled the account from high school of the monks emerging from an old, abandoned barn and chasing off my classmates. Was this the same people?

And get this! Upon reaching our bikes, we crossed the creek and cut through the forest preserve in the opposite direction of the mountain bike path to quickly access a road. It was then that we found an old, abandoned barn sitting out in a prairie. “That’s where they live!” I warned my brother. “I’ve heard about this place!”

We made it out of the Friendly Fort alive that day. But wouldn’t you know it? There’s a funny thing about young men who are adventurous—like to mountain bike through off-beaten paths in the forest and such. You see, the visit to the Friendly Fort was actually an adrenaline rush. We had a good time that day!

“Wanna go to the Friendly Fort?” one of us might have suggested to the other.


And we’d go through the same ordeal as the last time. It was an adventure to stand up to our fears and face whatever frightening thing was out there.

I will not disclose the location of the Friendly Fort. You see, I recently paid a visit with my daughter to take photos that I am sharing with you at the end of this preface. In the twenty years of the Friendly Fort’s decay, the landscape has healed itself from the negative energy. Nothing dark and disturbing exists there anymore. Although sad that the place’s beauty of twenty years ago is now in ruins, I wish for the region to continue healing—the water to wash over and carry downstream the horrible things that once occurred in that place.

The water, however, did speak to me during my recent visit in a few micro-second visions. The flagstone coliseum from twenty years ago was used for those who participated in the evil rituals to gather round the circle which surrounded the water. Water is an excellent element for merging, projecting and amplifying consciousness. The people who performed these rituals knew what they were doing. But like I said before, twenty years of living water passing through a circle has the power to wash over and clean the area.

Tom Raimbault

December 15th 2016

Frankfort, IL



In case you are unfamiliar with Mapleview; it’s a fictional town—the very setting of my Mapleview series of novels. And those who visit Mapleview all agree that it’s the rural sort of town that one passes through while driving on vacation; the peaceful, historic sort of town that is typically surrounded by miles of forests, lakes, mountains and untouched wilderness. But despite its days-of-antiquity charm and God’s country location, Mapleview and surrounding area is surprisingly a thriving community complete with every convenience and luxury one would expect to find in the city or suburbs.

Downtown Mapleview has a population of some hundred thousand people. That should tell you as to how much this historic town, which was originally established in 1831, has grown. The center of town has a main road that runs north and south that is rightfully called, Mapleview Road. Continue traveling north, you soon enter a heavily wooded highway which marks what many refer to as the historic section. Homes that would have been built in the 1800s—such as the legendary, haunted Trivelli house—continue to stand on their heavily wooded properties of an acre or more. These private properties, in turn, are embedded within the neighboring wilderness.

Continue traveling north, Mapleview Road eventually curves and transitions east. If one remains traveling eastward, they will soon reach an intersecting road called Creek Highway. This marks the unofficial border of Mapleview and its neighboring town, Sillmac. It’s a fuzzy region that doesn’t quite belong to Mapleview or Sillmac. It’s simply referred to as the Mapleview Township. And it’s the location of one of Mapleview’s most shameful chapters of history that would have occurred sometime in the 1800s.

Chapter One

This is the location where wind turbine investor, Spencer Doiler, had set up temporary residence during the summer of 1997. (Bear with me in these next few paragraphs as I disclose the boring details of his reason for setting up residence in Mapleview.) At the time, corporate and government planning was in the works to install a multi-billion dollar wind turbine infrastructure for the town of Mapleview and surrounding areas. But the plans were unsuccessful. To this very day, the region continues to receive power from a combination of fossilized fuel and nuclear energy. You see; at the time, residents and farmers throughout rural Mapleview and Sillmac had strongly opposed the installation of a wind turbine infrastructure. There was significant evidence that wind turbines were harmful to farm animals. The turbines, after all, would have been installed in open areas of land that would have been near farms. In addition, large portions of farmland and even private, residential properties were proposed to be acquired for this project through eminent domain. Needless to say, residents of Mapleview and surrounding areas were not happy with the intrusion of wind turbine power.

Investors, however, remained hopeful. They believed it would only require diligent lobbying along with significant donations to representatives to make the dream of wind turbine energy a reality. For that matter; co-investor of Winds of Change Energy, Spencer Doiler, had been deployed to the Mapleview region to begin the acquisition of land, as well as educate the public of how helpful wind turbines could be. With the assistance of a local Realtor, he would find a corporate rental home and set up temporary residence.

It was a rental property; a simple, three-bedroom, brick ranch built in 1947 that sat on two acres of mostly-wooded land right off Creek Highway. The two acres connected with the forested and mountainous back country of Mapleview.

Spencer believed he would only stay in that house for six months to a year. There was so much momentum behind the development and installation of wind turbine infrastructure that it was nearly a done deal. Often he would stand outside on the old, wooden deck—say—in the late afternoon and look out at the surrounding wilderness. He imagined monstrous wind turbines generating power for Mapleview and surrounding areas. As for the small house that he rented, it was old and would probably be plowed down along with neighboring houses to make room for the turbines.

Next door to Spencer’s home was a two-story that looked to have been renovated and built-upon since its original construction. The surrounding property, however, was larger; about three and a half acres with a noteworthy half-acre clearing of trees some distance behind the house. Spencer speculated that at one time this mysterious clearing might have been a large garden. Personal farming was a way of life once-upon-a-time.

This home next door was vacant and for sale when Spencer originally moved in. It was like this for a few weeks until Spencer momentarily went out of town for the Fourth of July weekend, and then returned to Mapleview. His return was on a late, Sunday afternoon. Immediately, Spencer noticed that the “For Sale” sign had been removed from the front lawn, and there were now occupants living in the home. And they were such a peculiar bunch of people; about a dozen of them living under one roof and of various ages which suggested that perhaps a few generations of one family now resided there. And they dressed so strangely in old-style black clothing that appeared to be something that maybe Amish people might wear.

“Amish people?” Spencer softly asked out loud upon studying his new neighbors through the side window of his house. “I have Amish people living next door to me? Too bad the Realtor didn’t warn them that all of this land will soon be acquisitioned for wind turbines.”

The more Spencer thought about it, the more he speculated that perhaps his new neighbors were real estate savvy, and wished to cash in on the eminent domain advantage. Homeowners could get up to three times the appraised amount when losing property to government acquisition. But it just didn’t seem like something that Amish people would do. Amish people were religious and Puritan-like, not aggressively seeking ways to make money. Still, there was just something odd about them. Spencer’s new neighbors weren’t right.


On Tuesday morning following the Fourth of July Weekend, Spencer sat at a desk in the front room of his rented home. The front room had been converted to a make-shift office, complete with business phone and PC on the desk. He was in the middle of a conference call and discussing the progress of acquiring land throughout different locations of America, including Mapleview.

Suddenly, Spencer had a flashback from the previous evening of what could possibly have been a session of sleepwalking. He had no memory of this throughout the early part of the morning, but now remembered it with such clarity.

He recalled lying in bed in a partial state of dreaming while desperately contemplating as to what phase the Moon was in. Was it a new, waxing-crescent, full, or waning-crescent? It was a peculiar thing for Spencer to be concerned about, for he usually cared less about the Moon.

An overwhelming urge caused Spencer to rise out of bed and over to his bedroom window. From his vantage point he could see no Moon in the sky. You see, the Moon was a waxing crescent on that particular evening which was about eight percent full. It would have been long under the western horizon shortly after twilight. But Spencer did see something quite alarming through the window. Across the yard and into the next door neighbors’—from the half-acre clearing of trees some distance behind their house—a large fire could be seen. Was there a forest fire? Or maybe the strange neighbors were having a late night bonfire?

Spencer’s vision was blurry at that moment, and he couldn’t make out the details. He staggered over to the bedside table for his glasses and happened to glance at the clock which read 2:12 am. Still in a half-sleep state, he returned to the window with glasses on. It was difficult to see, exactly, what was happening next door. You see, the half-acre clearing was partly blocked by trees. But from what Spencer could gauge, the large family of strange, Amish-looking people all stood around a large bonfire while gazing into it with blank faces.

“What the…? What are they doing?” Spencer asked out loud. “It’s two o’clock in the morning!”

The light from the flames danced along their faces and contorted their expressions to appear grotesque. One of the women held a book in her hand and appeared to be reading out loud.

“That is just weird…” commented Spencer. “What kind of people moved in next door to me?”

And this is what Spencer recalled while listening in to the conference call the following morning. The phone was on speaker mode to allow Spencer to shuffle through documents or make adjustments to spreadsheets throughout the meeting. This freedom allowed him to momentarily stand up and quickly sneak over to the window to hopefully catch a daylight glimpse of the neighbor’s half-acre clearing of trees. But the front room window did not yield enough view. He would have to wait until after the call to go to another window.

“Spencer, did you have anything to add?” asked the conference chairperson over the phone.

He rushed back over to the desk. “I’ve visited a few local real estate offices and had them do appraisals on the ideal regions of land that we need…”

Ten minutes later—the conference ended—Spencer returned to his bedroom and looked out the side window that he had gazed out of the previous evening. He had his contact lenses in and could see fairly well from a distance. But nothing outstanding or unusual could be seen at the half-acre clearing of trees; just some trash cans and a wheelbarrow full of old dirt.

Spencer just so happened to have in his possession a pair of binoculars to use when surveying prospective land to purchase. They were in his front room make-shift office. With a need to verify what he had seen last night, Spencer dashed into to the front room for them and returned to the bedroom window. But upon studying the area where the strange Amish-looking people had stood the previous evening, there was no evidence of a fire having been there. There were no burned logs or circle of ashes. Perhaps Spencer only dreamed and hallucinated while sleeping walking last night.


Later that night—nearly twenty four hours after sleeping walking and seeing the strange Amish-appearing people standing around a fire—Spencer tossed and turned in bed. He had been sleeping fairly well throughout the early part of the night. But now he was having a nightmare.

“Oh no…” called out Spencer in his sleep. “They’re coming… We have to run and hide… I’ll take Gwendolyn with me… No! They do horrible things when they catch us…! They’re monsters…! We cannot stay…! Hurry…! Oh no, it’s too late! There’s too many of them!”

Spencer awoke upon jumping out of bed. His heart was racing, and he was covered in sweat.


Chapter Two

Two mornings later, a Thursday, Spencer sat at the kitchen table and ate a bowl of cereal while looking out the window. It was a cloudy morning with occasional light drizzle. He had nowhere to go for the day, no conferences, and no reports to write on recent updates of land acquisition. One thing was for certain: there was plenty of downtime for Spencer. In moments like this, he wondered why it was necessary to stay in Mapleview. He could have easily flown into town by commercial jet as needed to handle business.

Still, Spencer had to admit that the peace and quiet of the surrounding Mapleview wilderness was a nice change in comparison to the noisy hustle and bustle back at home. And if Spencer didn’t know any better, the town and wilderness of Mapleview was beginning to grow on him.

Just then, there was a soft knock at the front door. At first, Spencer intended to ignore it; assuming that the knock was only a door-to-door salesperson, or some kid selling candy on behalf school activities. But then he remembered that he lived off a highway, not on a neighborhood street. For this matter, it might have been someone important.

Spencer quickly stood up and walked over to the door to answer it. But upon opening; it was no one important, just one of the strange Amish-appearing neighbors who lived next door; a woman who might have been in her late forties with shabby hair grossly parted down the middle and then pulled back into a pony tail. There was no makeup on her face, of course. As for her outdated, floor-length dress; it was dull black in color—almost dirty—with some sort of smock or apron on the lower portion.

Spencer almost appeared annoyed to see her.

“I’m sorry…” she apologized. “But have you been to the cemetery?” Her teeth were discolored, crooked and somewhat jagged.

“Excuse me?” asked Spencer.

“The old cemetery out in the forest.” she explained. “The flat headstones have all been sunken into the ground, and are almost unnoticeable. And there is no writing on them. We’ve counted thirteen headstones, but wonder if there are more. I was just wondering if you knew who they belonged to.”

Spencer shrugged his shoulders, “Your guess is as good as mine.” he answered. “To be honest, I’ve never even bothered to walk back into the forest.”

For a second, the conversation looked to have been over. But out of curiosity of his strange Amish-appearing neighbors, Spencer next asked, “So how do you like it, next door?”

“Oh, it’s nice.” the woman answered. “We should have you come over for a visit some time. I’ve got my garden on the other side of the house. The sunlight is there most of the day.”

“A garden already?” asked Spencer with a note of surprise. It was the middle of summer, and his new neighbors only recently moved in.

“Well it’s already July.” the woman pointed out.

All Spencer could do was speculate that maybe they transplanted their garden from wherever they moved—as weird and unlikely as that might be. Feeling it was best to maintain friendliness, Spencer held out his hand to introduce himself. “I’m Spencer.”

The woman daintily held her hand out with palm facing the ground and allowed Spencer to momentarily hold her fingers while shaking. It was very lady-like, not something a business woman would do. She even did a slight curtsy—so old fashioned. “I’m Lydia.”

“Well it’s nice to meet you Lydia.” followed Spencer. And then he confessed, “Yeah, I was expecting to hear you speak Pennsylvania Dutch or have some unique accent.”

“I beg your pardon. What do you mean?” asked Lydia.

“Pennsylvania Dutch…” said Spencer a second time. “You know, like the language that Amish people speak. Aren’t you Amish?”

Smiling only a several seconds ago, Lydia now returned a queer and somewhat disturbed look. “No, we are not Amish. What makes you think that?”

“Well you people sure do dress differently.”

Lydia apparently felt that it wasn’t a very polite thing for Spencer to say. At a loss of words, she turned and walked away.

Spencer sighed and closed the door. “Nice move…” he said to himself. “I suppose I came off as being a real jerk.”

Spencer sat down at the kitchen table and finished his bowl of cereal. “Gosh, I’m in need of a cup of coffee.” he declared. “I need it more and more now that I’m living out here.”

And he was talking to himself more and more since setting up residence in Mapleview as well.

A few minutes later, Spencer backed out of the driveway. He carefully checked the highway for any oncoming cars before continuing onto the road. Not more than halfway past the neighbors’ house, he quickly jammed on the brakes and pulled over to the shoulder of the highway. Much to Spencer’s confusion, the “For Sale” sign was in the front lawn!

“What the…? They just moved in!” Spencer could see that there was even a lock box on the front door.

“I’ve got to think of something… got to think of something…” Spencer desperately sought of a reason to go to the neighbors’ front door with information, and then casually mention the “For Sale” sign in hopes for an explanation. “Ah, the cemetery!” Spencer finally exclaimed while dashing out of the car. “I will tell Lydia that I’ll stop at the library and do some research into the cemetery.” But as Spencer stood on the front porch and rang the doorbell, there appeared to be no one home. Was everyone who lived in the house, out? Maybe Lydia was left home alone and she was now working, outside, in her garden.

Spencer walked across the front lawn and to the side of the house where Lydia described the garden to be. But it was only overgrown bushes mixed with weeds along with patches of landscaping stone. There was no garden.

Maybe Spencer didn’t understand Lydia, correctly. Maybe the garden was more towards the back. He continued walking along the side of the house until reaching the backyard. He really expected to see Lydia; if not, at least the sign of a garden. But outside of overgrown landscaping and weeds, there was no garden.

Spencer continued walking the perimeter of the house. He made a complete circle and, again, saw no sign of a garden anywhere on the property. And the longer he investigated, the more he felt that the house had been vacant for a couple of years. Had Spencer not seen the new neighbors with his own two eyes, he would have believed that people hadn’t recently moved in.


In contrast to the drizzly Thursday with ample downtime, Friday was a day in which Spencer met with representatives of the real estate company to go over the various appraisals for the properties he was interested in. Saturday and part of Sunday was spent driving throughout the Mapleview region to visit the properties of interest and photograph them.

So occupied with his work, Spencer mostly forgot about Thursday’s encounter with his next door neighbor, Lydia. And beyond taking notice of the sudden appearance of the real estate sign in their front lawn—and how odd it was—Spencer would pay no further mind to it.

“But what about the missing garden?”—you might ask?

Again, Spencer was too busy to occupy himself with petty mysteries. He might have written it off as the neighbors being strange. Maybe Lydia was not right in the head and only believed that she had a garden.

On Sunday night, after his long and busy weekend of work, Spencer slept soundly in bed. Actually it was going on Monday morning, dawn only an hour and a half away The Moon was in its first quarter phase. It had been nearly a week since sleepwalking and partly dreaming of the strange neighbors having a bonfire in their backyard.

It was during this time when Spencer had another disturbing dream. In the dream, he stood before the bathroom mirror with the intention of shaving for the day. That’s when the face of Lydia appeared in the mirror. Plain face without make-up, and her grossly parted hair that was pulled back into a pony tail; she forced a smile in a means to cover some sort of sadness.

“Oh, I forgot to give you this on Mother’s Day.” said Spencer while reaching over to the countertop for a pink carnation flower. He actually handed the flower to Lydia through the glass of the mirror.

Lydia gladly accepted the flower which brightened her smile to the point of no longer being sad.

“Happy Mother’s Day.” Spencer wished.

It was a strange act, indeed. You see, the pink carnation symbolizes the undying love that a mother has for her children. And Lydia certainly wasn’t Spencer’s mother! And as the seconds passed in the dream, Spencer received the feeling that Lydia was communicating her wish to be considered his mother.

“But they’re coming!” warned Spencer to Lydia. “They’re coming! I wish you’d listen to me and understand that they are horrible monsters!” Behind Lydia in the mirror, the scenery changed to that of a raging fire with the voices of countless people screaming in horror.

With that, Spencer quickly awoke.

He glanced over to the clock on his nightstand which read 4:02 AM. This was the second time that Spencer startled himself out of sleep from a bad dream in which bad people were coming. Never before had he experienced such dreams. What did it all mean? Spencer could only assume that living in the new environment required some adaptation. This might have been the reason behind the nightmares.

Spencer lay back down in bed and closed his eyes. He laid there for about ten minutes, but could not fall asleep. “I am not getting up for the day.” he declared. Have you, the reader, ever woke up extra early and wondered if you were being given a head’s up of important matters to take care of early in the day? It’s like something is urging you to get up and get ready for the day because something unexpected is soon to take place. Well Spencer thought about this for quite some time. Maybe there would be a sudden conference call to take place in the early part of the day. Maybe he would receive a visit from one of the co-investors that morning who wished to see the portions of land that Spencer found ideal.

Still, Spencer wasn’t going to get out of bed at four o’clock in the morning. He lay there and lay there until finally dozing off. But then, around 5:15 AM, he was startled awake by the sound of loud knocking at the door.

“What the…?” Spencer sat up in bed. “Come-on! Who comes to the door at five o’clock in the morning!” he complained.

As Spencer walked over to the door to answer, the knocking continued—louder and louder—like there was something urgent with the visit. He finally unlocked and opened it.

There stood Lydia with her plain, unmade face and shabby hair that was grossly parted down the middle. She wore the same dress as the last visit. “Good morning!” she greeted.

“Morning?” challenged Spencer. “It’s dark outside. It’s still night for me.”

“But it’s nearly half past five.” pointed Lydia. The sun will be rising any minute.” Then she raised her hand to her mouth. “Oh, no! Were you sleeping?”

Spencer nodded. “I was…”

“Oh I’m so sorry!” apologized Lydia. “You must have been doing some work after the first sleep, and didn’t return to your second sleep until later. We do that sometimes.”

Spencer hadn’t a clue of what Lydia was talking about. “First sleep…? Second sleep…?” Then he asked, “Well, what is it that you want?”

“Oh, we were visiting the old cemetery and found a name on one of the headstones. You can’t even read it during the daytime, probably because of the Sun and its glare. It isn’t until dark when you hold a lantern near the stone that the name, Reverend Jensen, can barely be read.”

Spencer stared at Lydia for a few seconds. “That’s why you came here at not even 5:30 in the morning; to tell me about a name on the headstone of an old cemetery?”

“Well I thought you’d like to see it.” suggested Lydia. “You said you would research the cemetery.”

“I did?” asked Spencer.

“Yes, remember? And I thought you could use a name to help you in this research. So would you like to see the headstone before the sun rises?”

“Oh, I’m still in my pajamas.” excused Spencer. “I don’t have my glasses on, and I haven’t even had my morning coffee.”

“I don’t mind pajamas.” reassured Lydia. “There isn’t much I haven’t seen in the years of raising a family. Put your glasses on and come out. I have coffee. I’ll pour you a cup and bring it outside.”

Spencer shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I guess there’s no reason not to join you. I’ll meet you in your backyard.”

A minute later, Spencer stood in the backyard of his neighbors’ house. Crickets chirped, and robins announced the coming of dawn. In the eastern horizon, the barely noticeable glow of sunlight began to manifest.

And then Lydia emerged with an eight ounce cup of coffee with saucer underneath in one hand, and a glowing oil lamp in the other. When finally in his hands, Spencer could see that the coffee cup was the fancy sort with elaborate flowers and trees painted on it. It looked to be hand painted. And the small saucer had matching artwork.

The coffee was strong, but very good. “Mmmm! Perfect!” exclaimed Spencer. “Thank you.”

“I’m glad you like it.” acknowledged Lydia. “Now we better get going before the sun rises.” Immediately she walked through the backyard; past the half acre clearing of trees and to the edge of the property that joined with the forested wilderness. Spencer followed, but really couldn’t see much beyond Lydia and the glowing oil lamp. He was completely dependent on the guidance of his neighbor lady.

The forested wilderness was even darker, still. None of the barely manifested glow of sunlight in the eastern horizon could be seen in this landscape. In the forest, it was still midnight. Lydia must have ventured some one hundred feet until reaching a creek. From there she followed it some distance until (in the midst of darkness) seemed to open as a wide brook. She followed it further before finally stopping. There she announced over the soft roar of the brook from a distance, “This is the cemetery.”

A short distance away, Spencer could see the silhouette of a stone cross. It was the only thing he could see of the area. Naturally, he began to walk towards it.

Lydia held her hand out to stop him. “You’re going to walk over the graves.” she warned. “Besides, the headstone I want to show you is over here.”

Now July, the ground of the forest was mostly tall vegetation—weeds and wild flowers that spring up through last autumn’s fallen and decaying leaves. But portions of this area had been cleared by—assumedly—Lydia. She knelt down at one of these clearances and touched a stone. “This is the one.” Lydia announced. She held the lantern near the stone. Sure enough, the barely recognizable name of Reverend Jensen could be seen. “Is this the person you are looking for?” she asked.

Spencer confessed, “Well, up until now I haven’t done much research into this cemetery. But I’ll definitely look this guy’s name up. Maybe they have some old news clippings at the library.”

Lydia nodded her head in acknowledgement.

Spencer was suddenly interested in the cemetery and asked, “Would you mind if I return here during the daylight hours, and cut through your backyard to access the forest?”

“Oh I wouldn’t mind if you use my backyard as an easement to the forest.” reassured Lydia. “Please feel free.”

After a few minutes of additional conversation, and speculating that, perhaps, the cemetery belonged to a small settlement of pioneers that predated Mapleview; Spencer and Lydia began to walk back to their houses. It was then that Spencer casually brought up the “For Sale” sign in the front of Lydia’s house.

“So I was driving past your house the other morning, and noticed the For Sale sign in your front lawn.”

“You did?” asked Lydia with a note of surprise. “You saw a For Sale sign?”

“Yup!” answered Spencer. “So I assume you will be leaving?”

“No, we are here to stay.” declared Lydia. “And I’m going to have to see this For Sale sign. I’m not sure why someone would have put in our front lawn.”

“Spencer was confused for a few seconds. Then he suggested, “Maybe there was a mistake. It’s probably gone by now.”

“Probably…” agreed Lydia.

The remainder of the hike was mostly silent. By the time Spencer and Lydia returned, the sun was peaking over the horizon. This yielded Spencer a view of Lydia’s garden at the side of her house. It was, exactly, where she had described it to be the last time she visited Spencer.

“Oh, there’s your garden!” said Spencer with a note of surprise.”

“Yes, come over and take a look.” invited Lydia.

It was a large garden that extended some distance beyond the side perimeter of the house. It was the sort of garden that one would have if growing vegetables as a means to supply food throughout the winter months. There was corn, beans, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, squash and eggplant along with herbs. Lydia and her family had no reason to visit the grocery store throughout the winter months for vegetables.

This, of course, baffled Spencer. As you recall, he hadn’t seen evidence of a garden while perimetering Lydia’s house last week.

“Would you mind showing me where you saw this For Sale sign?” requested Lydia as Spencer stared in awe at her garden.

“Oh yes.” affirmed Spencer while walking to the front yard. “It was right there in the center of the lawn.” Spencer lightly jogged over to the spot and stood where he saw it. “Right here… It was a big sign. Like I said, someone probably made a mistake and quickly pulled it out.”

“Probably…” agreed Lydia. “But I’m glad to see that it’s no longer there. Like I said before, we are not moving. We are here to stay!”


An hour later on that Monday morning—showered, groomed and dressed for the day—Spencer backed out of his driveway and checked the highway for oncoming vehicles before pulling onto the road. He was on his way into town for breakfast. But just like last week, he quickly applied the brakes in front of Lydia’s house and pulled over to the shoulder.

“Son of a…” exclaimed Spencer before holding his tongue. “There it is, again!”

Right there in the middle of Lydia’s front lawn was a “For Sale” sign; listed by Mapleview’s, Jack Swieley Realty!

Spencer dashed out of his car and up to the front door of the house. He would warn Lydia of the sign’s reappearance. And just like last week, there was even a lock box shackled to the door knob.

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!” Spencer anxiously pounded on the door. He even rang the doorbell. But there was no answer.

“Oh come-on!” complained Spencer. “Maybe she’s out in the back.” “Spencer rushed to the side of the house to where he and Lydia stood not more than an hour ago.

But what was this?

Lydia’s large garden was no longer there! In its place was nothing more than the grass along with overgrown, uncared-for landscaping. In utter disbelief, Spencer jogged around the entire house while concluding that the house hadn’t been lived in for over two years!

What happened????

Chapter Three

This is about the time when Spencer felt that perhaps he needed to see a doctor—a good head doctor. Spencer scheduled an initial visit with a psychiatrist, Doctor Millheimer, who lived in town. Doctor Millheimer had been working in the region of Mapleview for many years, and had seen plenty. The man of science is a wealth of understanding into the human psyche. He once treated a patient whose wife was tragically killed in a car crash; but suffered the horrible hallucination of seeing her alive, conscious and well in the hospital room while he signed the death papers. To this, Dr. Millheimer advised the patient some days later, “The mind has been a mystery for countless ages, and it continues to baffle us. I’m afraid the more we try to understand the human psyche, the more we will realize how little we know of it.”

As luck would have it, Doctor Millheimer had a one hour time slot available on that Monday to make an initial assessment of his new patient, Spencer. Poor Spencer believed that he was going mad.

I’ll spare the reader the details of the first half-hour or so of conversation between Doctor Millheimer and Spencer. It was mostly Spencer explaining why he had set up residence in Mapleview along with relaying the peculiar things witnessed with the neighbors next door. And many times when Spencer mentioned Lydia or her assumed family, he would remind Doctor Millheimer that they didn’t really exist—possibly a hallucination.

“I see… I see…” would answer Doctor Millheimer. Then, satisfied that he had heard enough; he began with some basic questioning. “And you haven’t had any history of mental illness?”

“Nope.” answered Spencer.

“No history of mental illness in your family?”

“Not that I know of.” answered Doctor Millheimer.

“Have you recently suffered from any injuries; particularly head trauma that resulted in black out or loss of memory?”

“No.” answered Spencer.

“Is there any drug use or excessive alcohol?”

“I never used drugs and I rarely drink.” declared Spencer.

Doctor Millheimer paused for a several seconds in deliberation. “How do you feel about this project that you are involved in? Do you ever feel that it goes against something you might believe in? Take for example; perhaps you feel guilty that you are acquiring personal land to be used for this investment of yours.”

Spencer shrugged his shoulders. “I wouldn’t say that I feel terribly guilty or resentful for seeking out land to acquire. Sometimes I feel bad because Mapleview is a really, nice area. I realize that people have lived here for most of their lives. But I always remind myself that I am helping to improve the region with alternative energy.”

“Yes, very good!” acknowledged Doctor Millheimer. “But let’s talk about the encounters that you’ve had with your so-called, non-existent neighbors. I am most interested in the fact that…” Doctor Millheimer looked at his notepad for a name. “…Lydia brought you to a remote location in the forest to show you a cemetery that had been long forgotten. Even more, she showed you a nearly-buried gravestone that could only be seen by the light of a lantern before the Sun rose. This name was…” he glanced at the notepad, again. “…Reverend Jensen.”

Doctor Millheimer stared at Spencer for a few seconds in anticipation for any input from his patient. But Spencer remained silent, almost appearing to be ashamed of the recent incidents with his so-called, non-existent neighbors.

“Well before we write you off as being crazy…” began Doctor Millheimer. “…I need you to do a little homework for your next visit. I want you to do two things for me—for both of us, actually. First, I want you to go back to the very location of the cemetery where Lydia had brought you. I want you to confirm that it is there, and not vanished like your mysterious, non-existent neighbors. I predict that when you go to this location, you will see the cemetery. Cemeteries remain for many decades, even centuries. And you already received permission from your neighbor, Lydia, to use her backyard to access the forest. So don’t feel bad about doing this.

Next, I want you to fulfill your promise to Lydia, and do some research into the history of Mapleview. Go as far back as the 1800s when this area was first established. Newspapers were in print at the time, so I’m sure there might be some of these on file at the library. Look, particularly, for a Reverend Jensen. Surely, he would have been an important figure in the area at the time.”

Doctor Millheimer paused for another few seconds while studying Spencer. Then he continued; “Now I know what you are thinking! Maybe I should be treating you for hallucinations and giving medications and such. But I’m not entirely convinced that this phenomenon of encountering your so-called, non-existent neighbors is a mental problem. Chances are that someone or something is trying to communicate with you. Maybe it’s your own subconscious coming to terms with something you’ve learned of the area. You need to shed light on it—like the oil lamp on the grave stone—and fully understand it. You see; the mind has been a mystery for countless ages, and it continues to baffle us. I’m afraid the more we try to understand the human psyche, the more we will realize how little we know of it.

As for these nightmares of people coming to get you, and strange dreams of communicating with Lydia through the mirror; I am only going to suspect that these are symptoms of a greater problem. I will not treat symptoms! I need you to reach the very crux of the matter.”


With no business matters to take care of on that Monday afternoon, Spencer started his homework that was assigned by Doctor Millheimer. He began by cutting across the vacant backyard (Lydia’s yard) into the forest. Now light outside, Spencer could finally see the creek that snaked through the dense forest. After following it for some distance; he confirmed that it did, in fact, open up as a wide brook—approximately twenty feet. And as Spencer discovered now that it was daylight, the brook was surrounded by a three-tiered coliseum of heavily-mossed flagstone. He could have easily sat down on this coliseum as if it were bleachers. But Spencer wasn’t there to sit. He was on a mission to find the cemetery.

Through instincts and foggy memory from that morning, Spencer followed the brook some distance until reaching a small clearing in the forest. And just like earlier that morning, Spencer could see the stone cross. It was definitely an antique; stood the many seasons and decades while marking the location of a long-forgotten cemetery.

Yes, Spencer found it!

He walked to the area where he felt that Lydia had brought him earlier that morning. Just like before, it was as-if instinct had guided him. And there it was! The partially-buried gravestone lay right before Spencer’s feet. Doctor Millheimer was right. The cemetery and gravestone would be there for the simple matter that these sites and their occupants remain throughout the many years… decades… centuries. It wasn’t like Lydia’s garden that suddenly vanishes as-if it never existed. But as for the name, Reverend Jensen, it could not be seen in the daylight. Apparently, Lydia was right. Only through the lighting of a lamp could it be seen. Strange…

But what about other gravestones? Surely there had to be more. To look for these Spencer proceeded to walk around. But he soon imagined in his head the voice of Lydia urging him, “Careful! You don’t want to walk over people’s graves!”

“Oops!” acknowledged Spencer out loud. “Sorry about that!”

Carefully, Spencer walked about in such a way that he imagined nearby gravestones with the bodies laid to rest before them. And amazingly, this enabled Spencer to find a total of thirteen additional headstones throughout the seemingly-forgotten cemetery. It was only necessary to kneel down and move away a bit of dirt with his fingers to find them.

After some time, Spencer approached the most-visible item in the cemetery, the stone cross. Now in the daylight, he could see that it stood many decades and many season. It was weathered and old, nearly a shame to symbolize Christianity and salvation. But it matched, none the less, the state and condition of the forgotten cemetery. Unlike the cemetery, however, the cross was not so forgotten. It had seen graffiti along with possible attempts of physically destroying it. The sad condition of the cross made Spencer wonder what sort of people would do such a thing and why.


Spencer had dinner that night, in town, at the Mapleview Supper Club. He sat at one of the long tables in the dining room along with other residents of Mapleview and ate his Yankee pot roast. The supper club often provided Spencer a chance to have simple conversation with residents. And he always hid his true identity and purpose. You see, Spencer didn’t want people knowing that he was affiliated with the organization that had plans of installing wind turbines throughout the area. Residents clearly weren’t happy with this prospect as evidenced by the signs throughout town and the rural area that had a wind turbine with a red-X over it.

The people who ate near Spencer discussed church rummage sales, weekend farmers’ markets, sports, etc. He wanted so badly to inquire of the old and forgotten cemetery near his home. But doing this might have clued people in of Spencer’s whereabouts. Already he was beginning to suspect that some people knew who he was. After all, who was this out-of-town person who ate with the locals at the Supper club a few times a week?

It was early in the evening when Spencer returned home. It had been a long day for him, and he was exhausted beyond belief. Who wouldn’t be? Spencer retired early, and fell asleep the moment his head hit the pillow. By midnight, Spencer awoke and lie in bed for about a half-hour or so while staring into the dark. Perhaps this is what Lydia had meant by with the term ,“first sleep”. Spencer never paid much attention to the phenomenon; but throughout his entire life he would awake in the middle of the night to lie there for a while—sometimes an hour—before falling back to sleep.

But this temporarily-awakened state brought with it that night some strange and eerie sensations. For the first time in Spencer’s life, he felt something unexplainable that surrounded him. He likened the sensation to being inside of an invisible enclosure—some sort of membrane without matter that possessed a consciousness of its own. What was happening to Spencer?

Chapter Four

Tuesday was a day which dictated conference calls, surveying more land to acquisition in Mapleview, and then creating reports. Spencer was much too busy that day to give attention to his cemetery investigation.

It wasn’t until Wednesday when Spencer reported to the Mapleview Library to do some research. He had hoped on finding some historic news articles that might have gone as far back as the 1800s. And keep in mind that this was the 1990s. Internet use wasn’t in prevalent use like it is today. What’s more: The Mapleview Library hadn’t updated its facilities to include public computers, much less Internet access.

“Excuse me.” interrupted Spencer upon approaching the main desk at the Library.

It was an older woman with long, white hair who worked as the librarian.

“I was wondering if you had old news paper articles from Mapleview and surrounding areas.” asked Spencer.

“We do.” confirmed the Librarian. “We have a collection on the periodical shelves over there that go back for about two years.” She pointed towards its direction. “For anything going further back, you’ll have to access it on microfiche.”

“Well I was looking for some historic publications.” explained Spencer. “I guess I’ll have to be set up on the microfiche?”

“Well just how far back do you need to go?” asked the librarian.

“I was hoping you would have publications from the early 1800s.”

The librarian shook her head in negation. “No, I’m afraid we don’t have anything that far back for the Mapleview area. The furthest back we have is the 1950s. But that’s just for the Mapleview region. We do, of course, have periodicals throughout the country that go back further, but not Mapleview. Can I ask what it is that you are looking for?”

Spencer hesitated for a couple of seconds. “Well… It’s sort of strange. You see, there’s an old cemetery that looks to be abandoned near my house. It’s actually out in the middle of the woods. You can hardly see the gravestones, much less the names. The only thing that can be seen is a battered, stone cross in the ground. I’m assuming it’s from, maybe, the 1800s. Oh, there is a name on one of the headstones that can barely be seen: Reverend Jensen.”

The librarian stared off for a few seconds, apparently in thought. Then she offered, “I know this probably isn’t the direction that you want to take this. But something tells me that an old, forgotten cemetery in Mapleview might have some urban legends attached to it. Now I know that urban legends are typically blown way out of proportion. But if you dig deep enough, you often find some grain of truth.” She paused and stared at Spencer for a second, expecting some sort of comment.

Spencer shrugged his shoulders. “It’s a start. Did you have some sort of book on these urban legends?”

The librarian smiled," Do we??? We definitely do! You see, the Mapleview region is full of urban legends—hauntings and stuff. And we have an interesting book that was written about this area. Follow me."

Spencer did as invited. He was led over to a small section of books that were under the paranormal category.

“Let’s see…” spoke the librarian out loud. “This book is usually very popular around Halloween. It’s probably still here… Ah! This is it!” She pulled out a large book titled, “Hauntings and Urban Legends in Mapleview and Surrounding Areas”

“Let’s bring this over to a table and see what we can find.” suggested the librarian while heading over towards the main area.

Spencer followed, and then pulled up a chair next to the librarian where she had sat down. She fingered through the table of contents which offered the general names of the various urban legends.

p<>{color:#000;}. Murder at the Historic Trivelli House

p<>{color:#000;}. Flesh-Eating, Human-Appearing Creatures

p<>{color:#000;}. The Curse of Nukpana’s Hole

p<>{color:#000;}. A Tunnel in the Basement

p<>{color:#000;}. The Witch Burnings of New Essex

The librarian paused at the witching burnings.

“You think that’s it?” asked Spencer.

“I don’t know…” answered the librarian. Why do I think this is the one you are looking for?” She flipped to the title page of The Witch Burnings of New Essex. It actually had a black and white photo of the stone cross that overlooks the forgotten cemetery.

“That’s it!” exclaimed Spencer.

“Shhhh…” the librarian reminded Spencer. (This was back in the day when people were supposed to be quiet at the library.)

“Oops, sorry about that.” whispered Spencer. But that’s the stone cross that overlooks the cemetery.”

The librarian skimmed the opening paragraphs which additionally contained a small map with Creek Highway at the center. “And I assume you live over here, somewhere?’ she asked.

“I do.” affirmed Spencer.

“Okay, so this might be an old cemetery that had been used for a settlement back in the early 1800s before Mapleview was established. It was called New Essex. Is this book a good place for you to start?”

“It definitely is.” affirmed Spencer.

“Well, you are welcome to read all of this. You can check the book out if you need to.” invited the librarian.

“Thank you.” answered Spencer. “And thank you for all of your help. This is definitely an excellent place to start.”

The librarian smiled in acknowledgement while standing up and then walked back to the main desk.

Spencer remained at the table and read The Witch Burnings of New Essex…

In the early 1800s before Mapleview had been established, a small town of English immigrants called New Essex existed in the region of forested wilderness that surrounds Hidden Lake. It would have been the ideal place for a community to establish itself. Plenty of trees in the forest made it easy to build up their small town of log cabin homes, shops, a school, and a church. There are areas throughout the forested wilderness that open up to wide clearings. These would have been ideal for farming. The small lake (technically large pond in the middle of the forest) would have provided water for crops during the summer months.

But what happened to the long-forgotten and mostly buried town of New Essex? Local historians theorize that at one point there may have been mass flooding in the region of New Essex by a heavy rainy season. In modern times; Hidden Lake has been known to overflow and flood the surrounding area during heavy rains throughout various years. Residents would have had no choice but to evacuate and settle in a region of higher altitude to avoid further flooding. That place would most-likely have been where modern-day Mapleview stands today.

But modern-day locals of Mapleview have a different theory as to why the settlement of New Essex didn’t last. Legend says that a small group of witches and warlocks—about a dozen or so—arrived and settled somewhere near New Essex. This would have been near the area where Mapleview Road intersects with Creek Highway. You see; rather than move into the town of New Essex, they simply built a couple of large cabins in the forest along with a barn. As for water, there is a freshwater stream that opens up to a wide brook before it narrows and continues to Hidden Lake. This, of course, would have provided plenty of water for these newcomers.

Hunters from New Essex accidentally discovered the small settlement while hunting. As they reported, it was as-if the group of newcomers traveled by night and quietly set up homestead in the forest. The residents of New Essex weren’t angry, of course. The newcomers were quiet. They had their own farm and gardens, and even seemed to hunt in their own region of the forest. Through time, the town of New Essex actually traded and did business with these mysterious newcomers. They even allowed their children to attend the small grammar school.

But it was eventually noticed by the teacher at the school that the children of this neighboring settlement had no formal Christian education. They were clueless of holidays such as Easter or Christmas. They were unfamiliar with common figures of monotheistic religion such as Noah, Moses or Jesus.

Reverend Jensen of New Essex invited the newcomers to attend weekly Sunday mass, and insisted that there was plenty of room for everyone. But the mysterious newcomers with children who apparently had no Christian education never took the reverend up on the offer. They, instead, observed other religious practices.

It was easy for residents of New Essex to conclude that the newcomers were a small colony of witches and warlocks—something very unsettling for people at the time. The residents of New Essex might have fallen under a bad spell of mass hysteria. And just like the Salem Witch Trials of Massachusetts from the late 1600s, a witch hunt was underway that was launched by Reverend Jensen.

With no records or documentation, it’s unclear of the exact number of people who lived in New Essex. But it’s believed to be close to a hundred. Being the case, there would have been no contest when a large percentage of the town of New Essex surrounded the two homes of the suspected witches and warlocks in the night. They were forced out of their beds, and given a speedy trial led by Reverend Jensen. It was a trial by fire! One-by-one, each family member—including the children—were burned at the stake. Of course none of the supposed witches and warlocks survived this trial. Their remains were buried at a fresh cemetery where the trial by fire had taken place. Today the cemetery is marked with a stone cross. This very cross can be seen if hiking in the forested area at the edge of Mapleview where Mapleview Road intersects with Creek Highway. Some people have gone so far as to examine the surrounding area, and find large, flat stones embedded in the ground. They definitely resemble gravestones; gravestones that belong to an old, forgotten cemetery.

Legend further says that shortly after this sinister deed, Reverend Jensen died in a freak accident in his own church. His body was found in such a way that it appeared as though something had terribly frightened him. Residents of New Essex concluded that he was trying to get away from whatever it was. He might have tripped, fallen, and somehow broke his neck.

It just had to do something with the savage and murderous trial by fire of the suspected witches and warlocks. There was now some sort of curse on the town of New Essex. So to avoid any further tragedy—possibly to wash their hands of the reverend’s sinister deed—the body of Jensen was buried at the cemetery along with those who had suffered their trial by fire.

From there, New Essex was quickly evacuated. It’s theorized that its settlers moved to the area where downtown Mapleview stands today.”

Chapter Five

Spencer woke up early on a Friday morning, two days after visiting the library and reading the urban legend of New Essex. He hadn’t thought much about the story or the cemetery since reading it. He needed a rest from all of it. And quite frankly, Spencer didn’t know what to think this new information. But by Friday morning; Spencer experienced, for the first time, some concern and maybe feelings for a possible area that would be acquisitioned for land. Maybe Doctor Millheimer was right. Maybe the recent visions and hallucinations originated from something unexplainable that called out to Spencer. Maybe he was supposed to make the cemetery known to his business partners to avoid any disturbing of graves.

There wasn’t much to do on that Friday. Today was a perfect day to visit the long-forgotten cemetery. But before doing so, Spencer drove into town for breakfast at McDonald’s. The young woman who took his order at the counter was obviously pregnant. It was the feature that he noticed foremost. She might have been about month or so away from the due date. And while eating his two Egg McMuffins with hash browns, orange juice and coffee; Spencer would occasionally observe this woman while wondering if it was okay for her to be working.

Upon returning home after breakfast that morning, Spencer cut across Lydia’s backyard, and reminded himself that he received permission from her to do this. He followed the stream through the forest to the place where it opened up to a wide brook. It was there that Spencer made the most disturbing discovery some twenty feet away from the brook. The body of an animal hung at its hind legs from a rope that was tied to the branch of a tree. It had been sliced open down the middle of its body. As Spencer came closer, he soon realized that the animal was a dog! I’ll spare any details of the gory sight, but it disgusted and deeply disturbed Spencer to see this. Who would do such a thing and why? There were a circle of stones underneath the hanging dog with the remains of a fire. It looked as-if someone had done a bizarre ritual, overnight—possibly satanic.

Spencer continued beyond the brook and walked towards the opened area where the cemetery is. And just like always—just like the black and white photo in the book of urban legends for Mapleview—there stood the old stone cross. Spencer approached Reverend Jensen’s grave and stood before it. It was then that he realized that Jensen’s remains were the only ones in the small cemetery that hadn’t been burned. What did Reverend Jensen see on that fateful day in his church? What had come after him?

Suddenly, Spencer spotted a barn a short distance away. He hadn’t noticed it the past two times of visiting the cemetery. But to be fair, the first time he visited with Lydia, it would have been too dark to see it. The building didn’t look terribly old. It wasn’t sagging; the roof was in good condition; and it had glass windows. As Spencer continued to study the barn from a short distance away, he realized that it appeared to be constructed out of log.

“Good morning!” a recognizable voice announced some distance behind Spencer.

Spencer turned around to see Lydia approaching the cemetery. Unsure of how to react to the presence of someone who probably didn’t exist, he simply returned the greeting. “Good morning!”

He watched as Lydia appeared to waddle towards him. She seemed to have difficulty in breathing. “I really shouldn’t be walking out here.” she informed him. “But I saw you on your way to the cemetery. I’m pregnant, and I’m under doctor’s orders stay off my feet.”

“Pregnant?” asked Spencer. For the first time since meeting her, he noticed that Lydia’s lower abdomen protruded outwards—just like the young woman who waited on him at McDonald’s that morning. “Oh, I didn’t notice that before.”

“Yes, I’m really starting to show.” answered Lydia.

Spencer wasn’t sure of how to comment. Part of him believed that Lydia was only an intensified output of his imagination. But he still wished to be polite to her. “Well congratulations!” Spencer finally said.

“Thank you!” acknowledged Lydia.

“When’s the due date?” asked Spencer.

“May 3rd…” answered Lydia.

The answer was Spencer’s confirmation that he wasn’t dealing with someone or something from reality. You see, May 3rd was over two months ago. “Well that’s any day, now…” he commented.

“Yes, and I’m supposed to be getting my rest.” answered Lydia. “Strict doctor’s orders.”

“So I never noticed that barn, before.” said Spencer while pointing towards the building a short distance away.”

“That barn?” she answered. “Oh, it’s been there for a while. Our horses are in there along with tools and equipment.” Then she asked, “Did you learn anything about the cemetery?”

Spencer sighed, “Yes, I did some research at the library. From what I’ve learned, there was a small town back in the early 1800s called New Essex that settled in this area.

“New Essex… Oh, yes! Over by the lake.” added Lydia.

“Right…” affirmed Spencer before continuing. “Well there was a smaller group of people who settled in this area at the time who might have been different from the people of New Essex. And because they didn’t show any interest in going to church, the Reverend concluded that they were witches.”

“Witches???” exclaimed Lydia.

“Yeah, supposedly their kids didn’t have any basic knowledge of Christianity. They didn’t know about Christmas or Easter. They didn’t know about Moses, Noah or Jesus from the Bible. So the town of New Essex seized the small group of people who lived in this area and gave them a trial by fire. They burned them at the stake.”

“Good heavens!” exclaimed Lydia. “That’s awful!”

“Yup! And the bodies that lay in this cemetery are the remains of those people. And this grave down here belongs to the very reverend who launched that witch hunt. You see, something happened to him a few days later—died in his church while trying to get away from something. The people of New Essex buried him out here to avoid any curses.”

Lydia shook her head in disbelief. “Well if you ask me, the only witches around here are those bad people who come out at night. Did you see what they did to the poor dog?”

“Yes, I saw that on the way over here. Is that a normal occurrence?”

“Yes it is.” affirmed Lydia. “That brook used to be a beautiful place. But they come out here to make deals with the Devil. They usually end up sacrificing some unfortunate creature. If you ask me, those are the people who should have been burned at the stake.”

“Right…” agreed Spencer.

“You should probably have someone take that dog down.” suggested Lydia.

“I think I’ll do that.” agreed Spencer. “And I hope all that I told you shed some light on the cemetery. It’s a long-forgotten place, and it has a shameful story behind it. But it needs to be respected and care for. I think that’s what I’ve taken from it all.”

A few minutes later, Spencer and Lydia walked back. The journey was mostly silent. And it was done slowly to accommodate Lydia’s pregnant condition. Occasionally they would stop and rest so that she could catch her breath. “Any day now… Any day…” she would comment while rubbing her belly. During one of these moments Lydia did something that was a bit alarming to Spencer. She looked at Spencer with a peculiar, wicked expression on her face. While rubbing her abdomen, it made him feel as though he were the one in Lydia’s womb!

Upon their return, Lydia’s home now appeared to be lived in with the large garden at the side of the house. And of course it all vanished an hour later to be nothing but a sad, vacant home with real estate sign in the front lawn.


“So did you get any of your homework done since last week’s session?” asked Doctor Millheimer. It was now Monday morning—a week since Spencer’s initial visit to Doctor Millheimer. He was ready for his second session of therapy.

“Yes I did.” he answered while holding up the book, Hauntings and Urban Legends in Mapleview and Surrounding Areas

“What do you have there?” asked Doctor Millheimer.

“Well I went to the library and spoke with the librarian about the cemetery.” began Spencer. “She believed that urban legends might be the best place to start. Well, the cemetery is in this book.” Spencer relayed the urban legend that was discussed in the book to Doctor Millheimer who carefully listened while taking notes.

Doctor Millheimer next asked, “I assume that the cemetery is still there? You visited, and it was physically present—not a vision or hallucination like your next store neighbors?”

“Yes…” answered Spencer. “It was there just like you said it would be. I actually visited a third time because I’m beginning to have some feelings for the place. I’m beginning to accept your theory of the visions pointing to something mysterious and unknown that calls out to me.”

“And what is this that calls out to you?” probed Doctor Millheimer.

“I believe that maybe the dead, or maybe some spirit that watches over the cemetery, is aware of my purpose in Mapleview.” answered Spencer. “I believe that I am supposed to see to it that nothing happens to the cemetery when the land is finally acquisitioned for wind turbines. I might actually go so far as to clean up the cemetery and have a sign or landmark that designates the area as a cemetery.”

“Very good!” congratulated Doctor Millheimer. “And I do believe that once you follow through with all of this, your visions and hallucinations will go away. You see, there is a vast and mysterious world that we cannot see. Some like to say that it is hidden behind a thin veil which is sometimes lifted so that we can see what is behind. There are things which we will never fully understand behind this veil, but the subconscious mind is connected to it. I believe you are right. I believe that something from behind the veil wishes for you to take care of that cemetery. This is why you have been receiving these strange visions and hallucinations.”

Spencer interrupted. “Oh, but I did see my imaginary neighbor, Lydia, on Friday while visiting the cemetery.”

“You did?” asked Doctor Millheimer. “And what did she want this time?”

Spencer went on to describe Lydia’s pregnant condition, and the fact that she was due in May.

After hearing Spencer’s account Doctor Millheimer suggested, “You keep referring to Lydia as imaginary. But, perhaps, she isn’t imaginary at all. You see; she’s expecting in May, but it’s now June. I think this is a clear indicator that Lydia has originated from behind the veil. She probably accesses your subconscious mind which projects her as a vision into our world. How long did she stay with you?”

“Well I told her about what I’ve learned.” explained Spencer. “And it seemed to outrage her as to what the people of New Essex did to the newcomers. She thinks that the devil worshippers who now come out to the forest to sacrifice animals should be the ones who are burned at the stake.” Spencer described the dog which hung from a tree. Then he continued with the visions from Friday morning, “Oh and then there was a barn up in the distance which I had never seen during the past two times of being there. It was actually made of log and looked relatively new. She said that it was her barn. She said that horses are kept in there along with plows and tools. On the way back, we had to stop a few times for her to rest due to her pregnant condition. And she did something that really bothered me, actually frightened me.”

“And what was that?” probed Doctor Millheimer. He was very interested in Spencer’s account of these visions.

“She rubbed her lower abdomen while looking at me and saying, ‘Any day, now… Any day…’ She had this frightening smile on her face, and I never saw her look like that before. It’s like she was trying to say that it was me in her womb!”

Doctor Millheimer calmly explained, “It is often difficult to fully comprehend what something behind the veil is trying to communicate or show to us. The visions of Lydia’s pregnant state, and the fact that she is implying that you are in her womb, might simply mean that she is waiting for you to take action with the cemetery.”

“But Doctor, what about the dream I had about handing Lydia a pink carnation on Mother’s Day?”

“Again, she might have accessed your subconscious in that dream for purposes of communicating an expected relationship.” answered Doctor Millheimer. “A mother can be considered a figure of authority. In this sort of relationship, Lydia would have expectations for you to follow.”

Doctor Millheimer stood up from his chair, and walked over to a nearby closet. “I want to show you something; something to use for your next homework assignment. You can get these at a number of places.” He pulled from the closet a Parker Brother’s game box that had a picture of two hands over a Ouija board. The front cover said, “Ouija” at the top along with, “Mystifying Oracle” underneath.

Now you (the reader), Doctor Millheimer and I (the narrator) certainly know about Ouija boards. But Spencer had never seen or heard of them. “What’s that?’ he asked as Doctor Millheimer placed it on the coffee table before him.

“It’s called a Ouija board.” answered Doctor Millheimer. It was invented in the late 1800s for purposes of allowing people to communicate with the dead. You see, times could have been considered much sadder over a century ago. The average life expectancy was just over fifty-years-old. It wasn’t uncommon for families to have children that were suddenly dead from some disease or condition. Women died while giving birth. Sudden death is a terribly-shocking phenomenon. And the human mind has sought ways to reach out and maintain contact with deceased loved ones. The Ouija board was one such tool. Are you aware, Mr. Doiler, that in the 1800s it wasn’t uncommon for homes throughout America to host séance parties on any given night of the week? Abraham Lincoln actually held séances in his home.”

Spencer stared at Doctor Millheimer in disbelief. He was beginning to doubt the credibility of his therapist. But this is completely normal for a patient to experience this after a couple of sessions. “You’re talking about séances, now? You want us to do a séance?” he asked.

“Trust me!” reassured Doctor Millheimer. “I’m not about to do anything theatrical. But in my medical opinion, I do believe that the Ouija board is an excellent tool to help pull out knowledge from the subconscious mind. And it’s the subconscious mind that is in contact with Lydia. Let me show you how to do this.”

With the Ouija board unboxed, he placed it on the coffee table before him. This coffee table was actually between Spencer and Doctor Millheimer which made it ideal to do a Ouija board session.

“Now… you place the plachette at the center of the board like this…” explained Doctor Millheimer. “You can work the Ouija board with another person, a group of people, or by yourself. Go ahead and rest your fingers on the plachette like I am doing.”

Spencer did as directed.

“Now relax your hands and arms, and let’s begin to slowly move the plachette back and forth… that’s it… nice and slow… nice and easy… you’ll find that through time there will actually be random patterns of circles being made.”

After nearly a minute or so of exercising the plachette on the Ouija board, Doctor Millheimer explained, “I am going to use the Ouija board as a tool to help access our combined subconscious minds. To do this, I am going to call out to your neighbor, Lydia. Chances are if she resides behind the veil, she will have some hyper dimensional existence and will be able join us in this moment.”

“Lydia?” called out Doctor Millheimer. “I am Doctor Millheimer. Perhaps you recognize me as the person who is helping Spencer understand who you are and what you want. I am showing him how to use the Ouija board so that he can unlock the knowledge from his subconscious mind. Are you there, Lydia?”

It nearly felt automatic as-if some force outside of Spencer and Doctor Millheimer had circled the plachette near the image of the Sun which clearly made contact with the word, “Yes”.

“Excellent!” answered Doctor Millheimer. “I thank you for being here with us today. What is it that you want from Spencer?”

After some twenty seconds, the plachette seemed to automatically spell out the name, Spencer.

“Yes…” answered Doctor Millheimer. “I want to know what you need from Spencer. We are talking about him.”

Another twenty seconds passed. “To return…” answered the Ouija board.

“Apparently, Lydia wants you to return to the cemetery.” speculated Doctor Millheimer while speaking to Spencer. Then he addressed Lydia, “And what is it that Spencer needs to learn, understand or find upon returning to the cemetery?”

Under the guidance of Spencer and Doctor Millheimer, the plachette moved in a figure 8 pattern before spelling out the word, “Himself”.

“What does that mean?” asked Spencer to Doctor Millheimer.

“Why don’t you ask Lydia?” suggested Doctor Millheimer.

“What does that mean, Lydia?” Spencer asked to Lydia.

The plachette circled and moved about before spelling out the phrase. “Any day now…”

Suddenly, the overwhelming vision of Lydia appeared in Spencer’s imagination. She rubbed the baby in her womb while smiling at Spencer. It was a wicked sort of smile that frightened Spencer to the point of removing his hand from the plachette and nearly leaping out of his seat.

“What…? What is it?” inquired Doctor Millheimer.

“She just appeared in my mind. It was so strong that I almost hallucinated her. She was rubbing her abdomen and smiling at me.”

“Good!” exclaimed Doctor Millheimer. “We have succeeded in using the Ouija board as a tool to unlock your subconscious mind. Your homework before our next session is to purchase one of these Ouija boards at some toy store. Technically it is only a game, and the Ouija board is very popular. Once you have a Ouija board, you should next visit the cemetery and use it there like we just did. Maybe sit cross-legged on the ground with the board resting on your knees and legs. You can move the plachette on your own. And have no fear of the Ouija board. There are all sorts of strange beliefs that it will attract demons or monsters from Hell. But the Ouija board is totally safe. It is only a scientific tool to help unlock the information from the human mind.

Chapter Six

Per the homework assignment; Spencer spent the early portion of his Friday on a mission to purchase a Ouija board, something not-so-easy as Doctor Millheimer had explained. Mapleview Walmart did not have them. A nearby employee stocking the shelves had answered upon being asked of their whereabouts, “Ummm… That’s more of a seasonal item. If you come back around Halloween, they will be here.”

“Why Halloween?” asked Spencer.

“Because you talk to ghosts with them.” he answered.

Spencer turned to walk away.

“Oh, sir.” called out the Walmart employee. “You might want to try a place out in Sillmac called Sillmac Quartz and Candles. It’s an occult bookstore with black magick items and stuff.”

And so Spencer drove to the neighboring town of Sillmac—a 10.6 mile cruise down the open highway of Route 4. Unknown to Spencer at the time, the occult bookstore was located on a street in town that locals nickname, “therapy lane”. Simply turn a left off the main road in town onto a street named Benchview. There you will find yourself on a block of historic homes that have been renovated for business purposes. And most of these businesses are the offices of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. There is also a Gypsy fortune teller who lives on the end of this block, along with a kung-fu school next store. And at the center of this block is a peculiar occult book store named Sillmac Quartz and Candles. To this very day, it remains in operation and is surprisingly a successful business. It’s actually a haven of quartz crystals and various stones used for magick and metaphysical purposes; oils, incense and herbs; items from around the world that are used in voodoo, paganism, and miscellaneous religions outside of Christianity. Upon entering the shop there is an overpowering scent of some herb or oil that would remind one of Patchouli—or “hippy oil”. And the small staff that works there behaves strangely towards intrigued customers who are clearly not witches, psychics or fortune tellers.

“I’m looking for a Ouija board.” announced Spencer to the clerk behind the counter—a strange, Gypsy-looking woman who adorned herself in gaudy jewelry. “The kid at Walmart said I could get one here.”

“And why would you need one of those?” interrogated the clerk. Like everyone else who worked at Sillmac Quartz and Candles, it was her job to deter random customers who wished to merely play with the supernatural as a means of entertainment.

Spencer hesitated, “Well… my therapist wants me to start using it.”

“A therapist recommends using a Ouija board???” the clerk continued to interrogate with a now queer expression on her face.

“Yeah… so you do you have any?” asked Spencer.

The clerk sighed, “We do… But we don’t have the typical Ouija board made by Parker Brothers. Ours are actually hand-crafted and then blessed by the Maple Society of Witches on either the vernal or autumn equinox. We keep these in the back. Let me get one for you.”

The clerk stepped away for a moment to an apparent stock room behind the main counter. She returned with a specially-handcrafted Ouija board that was stored and protected inside a soft, velour-appearing, purple-colored cover. Resting on top was a small box that assumedly contained the plachette (or pointer, as some people like to call them).

“We have two of them in stock that use the Theban alphabet.” announced the clerk while approaching the counter. “But I’m assuming you don’t read Theban?”

“Never heard of it…” answered Spencer.

“So I got the right one…” commented the clerk while carefully pulling the Ouija board from its cover. The physical board was an eerie-green color with a coat of shellac to make it appear glossy. At the center of the board, was a pentacle that had been superimposed over an image of the World Tree. The symbols that represent Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit were located near their rightful places at each point of the pentacle. The English letters of the alphabet were lined up at the top of the board as do most Ouija boards. “Yes” and “No” appeared at the top with artful representations of the Sun and the Moon. The numbers zero through nine were lined up underneath the alphabet. And unlike most Ouija boards, the phrase, “Merry Partings” was used as “Good Bye” to close the subconscious portal between the physical and spiritual world at the end of each session.

This was a real Ouija board! Handcrafted and then blessed by the Maple Society of Witches at the time of vernal or autumn equinox; the people who made these boards truly knew what they were doing! It was definitely the sort of Ouija board that one would want to use.

But there’s more! The clerk unboxed the plachette which was a polished, clear-quartz, hand-sculpture of the Triple Moon to represent the Maiden, Mother and Crone. Whoever was to use the plachette would hold it by the Maiden and Crone moons to observe the letters and symbols on the Ouija board through the Mother moon. Yes, the quartz was that polished and clear!

“Wow!” exclaimed Spencer. “It’s beautiful! The whole thing is nothing short of art!”

The clerk smiled. “Yes, they do a good job, don’t they?” Then she began to explain the Ouija board and plachette to Spencer. “Now I know that your therapist probably gave you some instruction on how to use these. But I want to, first, talk about the plachette. This symbol is called the Triple Moon. It represents the spiritual world… feminine energy… mystery and psychic powers. There is very, good reason why it is being used as a plachette for a Ouija board. And just like the Ouija board, it had been blessed so that mystery and occulted knowledge be granted to the user from the best and highest spirits.

Now about the Ouija board: although it was handcrafted and blessed under the best and highest good, there is no guarantee that you don’t run the risk of attracting and communicating with something negative or evil. I want to warn you about an occasional phenomenon in which the plachette counts down or up; or goes through the letters of the alphabet in order. If you notice something like this, immediately close the session by moving the plachette over to the Merry Partings portion. Do not allow the plachette to count or repeat the alphabet! This is a strong indicator that a negative or evil spirit is looking for a way to unlock the door into this world. Counting or going through the letters of the alphabet is the attempted incantation to do this.

If you are new to using Ouija boards, I would strongly suggest that you not use it alone until you are fully familiar with it. There have been many explanations to this suggestion ranging from moral support of other users, to eliminating the possibility of controlling the Ouija board yourself. And if you start off as being fearful of the Ouija board; negative entities from the other side might try to prey on you. This can be especially overwhelming if you are alone.

Some experienced users like to place a silver coin on the Ouija board. Supposedly this eliminates evil spirits from entering. You can try that if you have any silver coins on hand. We don’t sell any here.

Now, if something really bad happens and you can’t seem to get rid of a negative spirit; it’s suggested to break the board into seven pieces and then bury it in the ground to successfully banish the unwanted spirit.”

The clerk paused for a moment and then asked, “So is this a tool that you truly feel ready to use?”

Spencer sighed, “Yeah… I mean my therapist taught me how to use these, but you certainly explained some other things that I wasn’t aware of.”

“Do you have any questions?” asked the clerk.

“No…” answered Spencer. “I guess the only thing I want to know is how much does it cost?”

“Well, the Ouija board and plachette are sold separately.” explained the clerk. “But it’s strongly recommended that you purchase and use them together. You wouldn’t want to use—say—an ashtray.”

“How much?” asked Spencer a second time.

The clerk nearly gulped while carefully answering, “The handcrafted Ouija board that has been blessed by the Maple Society of Witches goes for $79.99. As for the plachette: because it’s handcrafted, polished, clear quartz and blessed by the Maple Society of Witches as well; it goes for $199.”

Spencer gasped. “Are you serious?”

The clerk nodded in affirmation.

“That’s crazy!” exclaimed Spencer. “And there is nowhere else I can get one of these for cheap?”

“You can try the toy store or wait for Walmart to carry them around Halloween.” suggested the clerk. “But you have to admit that this Ouija board and plachette will truly work, right?”

Spencer shook his head in disbelief while pulling the wallet out of his back pocket. “Do you take credit card?”

“We sure do…” reassured the clerk.


Spencer had been to the cemetery a total of three times; once with Lydia escorting, and twice by himself. He never felt uneasy or apprehensive during these visits. But that Friday afternoon’s return was the first time that he felt fearful. Why wouldn’t he? Spencer had a real Ouija board in his hands that had been made and blessed by witches. He was advised by the clerk who sold it to him of the possible danger of attracting malevolent spirits that won’t go away. To top it off, Spencer was now trekking through a region of forest where heartless devil worshippers sacrifice animals. Unsettling memories of the mutilated dog hanging from its hind legs didn’t help him feel any better. And what’s more?—the Mapleview Forest Preserve District had yet to take the rotting corpse down. Apparently, Spencer would have to do that by himself.

But that’s not all that bothered him. You see; since his setting up residence in Mapleview, Spencer experienced regular face-to-face encounters with the mysterious phantom of Lydia who manifested herself at will. There was something important about the cemetery that she needed him to know about. And then there were the new, disturbing revelations of actually being the baby in Lydia’s womb. Had millions of dollars not been at stake (the wind turbine investment), Spencer would have packed up and moved out of Mapleview to save his sanity.

Finally at the cemetery; Spencer sat down, cross-legged, near the area of Reverend Jensen’s grave. He removed the Ouija board from its purple, velour cover and set it on his lap. The Triple Moon plachette was unboxed and then set at the center of the board—the location of where the pentacle superimposed the World Tree.

“I guess this is where we start.” said Spencer out loud. “And then we just slowly glide from side-to-side like this…” The expensive Ouija board and plachette combination were extremely smooth. Because of this, the plachette nearly glided across the board as-if it had a life of its own.

“Lydia?” called out Spencer. “Are you there? I know you sometimes appear when you feel that you have something to tell me. But I still have some questions for you. That’s why I have this Ouija board. I hope I can make contact with you.”

Suddenly, Spencer received what some people describe as the “Ouija board eye phenomenon”. It’s a phenomenon in which the user feels as if his or her eyes are being used by a nearby spirit. The user then views the surroundings through the senses of this outside entity.

The plachette spelled out the word, “Dog…”

“What about the dog?” asked Spencer out loud. “And is that you, Lydia?”

The plachette spelled out the word, “Duty…”

Spencer knew what the Ouija board was implying. But he wanted to make sure. “Are you telling me that it’s my job to take the corpse of that dog down?”

The plachette circled around the “Yes” area of the board.

“What am I supposed to do with the dog when I cut it down?” asked Spencer.

The plachette spelled out the word, “Grave…”

“Bury it?” asked Spencer. “You want me to bury it in this cemetery?”

The plachette spelled out the word, “Good…”

Spencer sighed, “Okay… fine… Seeing that the forest preserve district won’t do it, I guess I have no choice.”

In the seconds that followed, Spencer received a silent transmission of information that hadn’t been done through the Ouija board. You see; oracles, Ouija boards and spirit boxes aren’t always necessary for communicating with ghosts and discarnate entities. Many times they can telepathically communicate with us. And this is what happened to Spencer. In a brief few seconds of receiving a telepathic message, he quickly realized that it was his duty to keep the area surrounding the cemetery clean. The dog was a disturbing sight. It needed to be properly laid to rest so that peace could be restored in the area.

Several seconds later, communication through the Ouija board had returned. The plachette spelled out a phrase, “You are here…”

“Yes, I’m still here.” affirmed Spencer.

Again, the plachette spelled out the phrase, “You are here…”

“Yes!” answered Spencer a second time. “What else do you need? I’ll take the dog down and bury it.”

The plachette spelled out the word, “Come…”

“Come where?” asked Spencer.

The plachette spelled out the phrase, “You are here…”

Spencer was getting annoyed, “Yes, I’m here! Where do you want me to go?”

The plachette spelled out the word, “Find…”

FIND WHAT???” shouted Spencer. “That’s what I’m here for! I’m looking for answers!”

The plachette spelled out the word, “Horses…”

“Find horses?” asked Spencer.

The plachette spelled out the word, “Duty…”

Spencer sighed, “Alright, this isn’t working.” Almost immediately, he looked over his right shoulder towards an area that was a short distance past the cemetery. He noticed the old barn that had been constructed out of logs. Spencer wished he had paid more attention while entering the area of the cemetery. He never knew for sure if it truly existed, or merely manifested itself from behind the veil like Lydia did.

Frustrated with his Ouija session, Spencer set the board down and then cautiously walked his way over to the barn. He was curious of the barn’s nature of existence. “Horses!” he suddenly shouted. “Yes, there should be horses in there! Lydia said this!”

Close enough to the building; Spencer could see that it actually appeared fairly new. The glass windows were not distorted or broken. The wooden logs were in good shape. If not actually Lydia’s, perhaps the building was a storage area for workers of the forest preserve district. Curious, he peaked through one of the side windows.

But what was this? Spencer expected to see tools and equipment used for farming or landscaping. Instead, it looked like a barn that had been converted into living quarters. There was a main table with surrounding stools where people apparently ate their meals. Nearby was a wood burning stove for cooking. Horse stalls had been converted into individual bedrooms, complete with dressers, beds, and cracked & dusty mirrors. Throughout the barn there were antique & warped photos of people who lived, perhaps, over a hundred years ago. The floor was dirt, and there were small farming implements stacked up on the wall. On the upper level were bundles of hay and additional tools for working the Earth. Everything in that mysterious barn—the furniture and tools—were antique. Abandoned and sitting out in the open, one might think such a place would have been vandalized and plagued with graffiti, or perhaps used as a drug house. But surprisingly, this was not the case.

“Is this what they wanted me to see?” asked Spencer to himself? “But Lydia told me that she kept horses in here.”

Spencer returned to the area near Reverend Jensen’s grave and sat down with the Ouija board. He slid the plachette from side-to-side. “I looked inside the barn.” he announced. “It’s a bunch of old furniture. It looks like people lived in there. Is that what you wanted me to see?”

The plachette spelled out a series of nonsensical numbers and letters. “AZX12×21ZA…”

“Hello?” called out Spencer. “You’re not making any sense.”

The plachette spelled out, “Can’t do…”

“Can’t do what?” asked Spencer.

The plachette spelled out, “Inside…”

“Inside?” asked Spencer. “You want me to go inside the barn?”

The plachette circled around the “Yes” portion of the board.

He wanted to do what the Ouija board suggested. But there was just something not right about the barn. It didn’t belong there. Clearly an antique building, it appeared relatively new. And the items, inside, conflicted with what Lydia had told him.

Then a wave of terror hit Spencer: perhaps he wasn’t communicating with Lydia. Perhaps it was one of those malevolent spirits that aimed to trick him. And maybe the barn was a dangerous manifestation of something that Spencer couldn’t understand. For these speculations, Spencer quickly packed up his Ouija board and plachette, and hiked back to his house. Of course he passed the opened brook with flagstone that was stacked like a coliseum. And the decomposing corpse of the unfortunate dog continued to hang from the branch by its hind legs.

“I’ve got to get that down.” he said to himself while continuing to hike back to his house.


Midsummer brings with it longer days. Because of this, Spencer was able to return to the cemetery around seven o’clock that evening. His purpose was to cut down the corpse of the unfortunate dog, and bury it at the cemetery. Spencer was tired of looking at it. And he felt it was best to obey the orders from the Ouija board—whether they be from Lydia or some other spirit that resided in the cemetery.

While trekking down the bank of the stream through the forest, Spencer rolled an old wheelbarrow in front of him with pick axe and a couple of shovels. He found these leftover tools from the house he rented in the corner of the two stall garage. He also had in his possession a couple of bed sheets that were purchased at Walmart while in town for supper that late afternoon. There was a pair of side-cutters in Spencer’s back pocket that he hoped would be able to cut the wires that hung the dog.

When finally reaching the area where the stream opened up into a wide brook, Spencer momentarily paused and examined the corpse of the dog from a short distance away. He sighed and shook his head in disbelief. I’ll spare you the gruesome details of those few minutes that Spencer spent cutting the corpse down; all the while wincing and gagging. All you need to know is that the bed sheets were spread open and laid over the wheelbarrow. The wires that hung the dog from its hind legs were cut so that it dropped into the wheelbarrow. From there the bed sheets were folded over the corpse so that Spencer could wheel it over to the cemetery.

“Disgusting!” exclaimed Spencer out of outrage. “What kind of asshole does something like this?” Then he answered his question. “Devil worshippers, of course. They’re cold and heartless!”

Twenty minutes later; Spencer huffed and puffed while swinging the pick axe into the ground at the nearby cemetery, and then scooped the earth up to the side. He already had about a two foot deep hole in the ground. “I’m not making this six feet.” Spencer declared out loud. “Maybe just a few feet—enough to cover the dog up.” He paused for a few seconds to catch his breath and wipe the sweat off his forehead. Then he took a couple more swings into the ground with the pick axe.

Just then, the voice of a boy could be heard from nearby. “Hey Mister! What are you doing?”

Spencer stopped and turned around to see two boys standing nearby. “I’m digging a grave for this dog.”

“Is that your dog?” asked one of the boys “Did he die?”

“Is this your cemetery?” asked the other boy. “Is your family buried here?

Spencer paused for a couple of seconds in deliberation. There was something eerie about hearing that perhaps his family was buried there. “No, my family is not buried.” answered Spencer. “An, no, it’s not my dog. I found it over there, hanging from a tree.” He pointed towards the direction of the wide brook. Then he sternly looked at both boys before asking, “Did you do that? Did you hang that dog from the tree and mutilate it?”

Uh-uh!” denied one of the boys with a serious expression while shaking his head in negation.

“No!” denied the other. “The devil worshippers do that. And that’s the place that they call the Friendly Fort. This whole area is the Friendly Fort. And the river is where they do their sacrifices.”

“So people actually call this place the Friendly Fort?” queried Spencer. “It doesn’t seem too friendly to me. Nothing nice ever happens over here.”

“It’s a sarcastic name.” explained one of the boys.

“I see…” answered Spencer. “And what are you two kids doing out here? Isn’t it getting dark? It’s kind of dangerous, too.”

“We’re just cutting through to get home.” answered one of the boys.

“Well you better hurry up!” urged Spencer. “I don’t want to take anymore of your time.”

“Okay…” acknowledged one boy.

“Bye…” said the other while waving his friend to continue hiking.

Spencer watched as both boys ran off towards the direction of the stream. What was wrong with them?—cutting through this area to get home. Those devil worshippers could abduct them and do the same thing that they did to the poor dog. He glanced at the sky to see how much light he had left, then looked over towards the area of the barn.

But what was this?

The barn was not there!

“Hey!” shouted out Spencer to the two boys who were some distance down the stream. “Wait!” he chased after them.

Both boys turned around, and cautiously backed away upon seeing Spencer running towards them. Obviously they were unsure of a grown man at the Friendly Fort who chased after them.

“I’m sorry!” apologized Spencer, now twenty feet away. He stopped running upon realizing that the boys were frightened. “What happened to the barn?” he asked.

“The barn?” asked one of the boys with a baffled expression on his face.

“Yeah, the barn!” repeated Spencer. “It was over there earlier today.”

“You mean the ghost barn?” both boys simultaneously asked.

“Ghost barn?” probed Spencer with a queer look on his face.

“Was it an old barn over there near the cemetery?” asked one of the boys.

“Yeah!” answered Spencer. “Where did it go?”

“It’s the ghost barn!” explained one of the boys. “Sometimes people see it. It’s usually not there. Some believe that ghosts and demons live in there. They come to help the devil worshippers at the Friendly Fort.

“Okay!” acknowledged Spencer. “Just checking!” He turned and head back towards the cemetery where the barn was still missing. Upon examination, there was no evidence of a building ever sitting there—no foundation or imprint in the Earth.

Chapter Seven

At this point in time, Spencer just about abandoned his original purpose for coming to Mapleview. He received a voice mail the following morning—a Saturday—from one of the co-investors from Winds of Change Energy, reminding him to send his weekly progress report.

“Weekly progress???” Spencer snapped upon hearing the voice mail. “Yeah, I’ve scouted this whole area and have found some great places for wind turbines. But we need money to buy off all the property owners, not to mention right of eminent domain.” As far as Spencer was concerned, his original work was done in Mapleview. It was now a waiting game, perfect to allow himself to become absorbed in the mystery of the cemetery.

And so Spencer trekked through the nearby forest with Ouija board in hand to the place that the boys from last night called, the Friendly Fort. The dog was no longer hanging from a tree near the wide brook, and the grounds almost seemed to thank Spencer for taking care of the unsightly display. And unlike last night, the old barn now stood a short distance away from the cemetery.

“So that’s the ghost barn!” announced Spencer. “And what makes me so privileged to see it on a regular basis?” He sat down on the ground near the area of Reverend Jensen’s grave, and removed the Ouija board from its purple, velour cover. The plachette was unboxed and set at the center of the board. With it resting on Spencer’s lap, he glided the plachette from side to side.

“Lydia?” Spencer called out. “Are you there? I want to know more about this ghost barn. You said it’s your barn, but those kids from last night tell a different story.”

Almost, immediately, Spencer felt the Ouija board eye phenomenon. Theoretically, an external spirit was now viewing Spencer’s reality through his own eyes.

The plachette spelled out the phrase, “Thank you…”

“For burying the dog?” asked Spencer.

Rather than circle the “Yes” portion of the board, the plachette actually spelled out, “Yeah…”

“Okay, so I did my job!” reminded Spencer. “You are welcome. Now could you please tell me more about this place? What’s going on with the barn?”

The plachette spelled out, “You are here…”

“Come on!” complained Spencer. “Quit playing that game! Yes, I am here!”

There was a stillness that enveloped Spencer, almost as-if time had completely stopped. Not even the wind blew. And the next word spelled out with the plachette was, “Here…” It was then that whatever nearby spirit—whether it be hyper dimensionally connected, or physically close—used a more telepathic means to relay the information to Spencer. It caused him to nearly toss the Ouija board and plachette onto the ground as he leapt up and frantically scouted the grounds of the cemetery. “Here…? Here…? I’m here…?” Spencer was very much beside himself. Never before had he felt so consumed—nearly possessed—by an unexplainable force. He cried—nearly sobbed, “[_ What did they do to us??? I told you that we couldn't trust them! _]” In those moments of running about, Spencer finally realized that his own charred bones from over two hundred years ago lay tossed and buried at one of those long-forgotten graves. This realization certainly explained the horrible dreams of begging Lydia, his mother, to flee because “they” were coming.

Spencer knelt down on the ground and sobbed over the eerie-green Ouija board; partly out of confusion and fear, partly out of sadness. He needed to talk to someone at that moment. While kneeling before the Ouija board, he slid the plachette from side-to-side. “Who is this? Who am I speaking with? Mother, is that you?”

The plachette spelled out, “You…”

Such a mind-blowing concept; Spencer nearly stopped breathing while contemplating the meaning. Or maybe it was a simply a reminder to recompose himself. His mind might only have been playing tricks on him. Surely they didn’t mean that Spencer was talking to himself from his previous life.

Spencer resumed gliding the plachette from side-to-side. It actually spelled out, “Spencer…” Apparently, someone was calling him.

“What?” answered Spencer.

The Plachette spelled out, “Come…”

“The barn?” asked Spencer. “You want me to go into the barn?”

The plachette circled the “Yes” area.

“But it’s a ghost barn!” argued Spencer. “It’s some sort of mirage. You think I actually want to go into that building? Then what?”

The plachette spelled out the phrase, “Any day now…” It was followed by the disturbing mental image of Lydia rubbing her womb with the wicked smile on her face.

Terrified, confused and emotionally distraught; Spencer quickly packed up his Ouija board and plachette, and left for the day.


It was the following Monday morning, almost ten o’clock, as a shiny, black Oldsmobile Aurora pulled into Spencer’s driveway. It was Doctor Millheimer who promised to meet Spencer at his house for that week’s session of therapy. Yes, Doctor Millheimer is an old-fashioned man of science who makes house calls in the region of Mapleview. He truly cares for his patients. And in Spencer’s case, Doctor Millheimer would hike through the forest to accompany his patient on a final visit to the cemetery in hopes to bring closure.

Spencer stepped outside to greet Doctor Millheimer as he exited his vehicle. “Good morning!” he called out.

“Good morning Mr. Doiler!” returned Doctor Millheimer. “My, I have always enjoyed this area of Mapleview.” He glanced over at Lydia’s house. “And I can see that the for sale sign is still up, next door.”

“Yes it is.” affirmed Spencer. “And I haven’t seen her since the last visit when I learned that she was pregnant.” When finally close enough, Spencer showed gratitude for Doctor Millheimer’s house call. “Listen, I want to thank you for coming out here and seeing the place.”

“Oh, it’s nothing.” reassured Doctor Millheimer. “I mostly want to guide you through making closure with this place that you found… this… Friendly Fort as you call it. And as you can see, I was sure to wear my hiking boots.” Doctor Millheimer pointed them out to Spencer.

“Nice!” exclaimed Spencer. “Do you ever go hunting?”

“Sometimes…” answered Doctor Millheimer.

Both men walked their way into the back and then cut through Lydia’s yard. They passed the half-acre clearing of trees and then followed the path into the forest. It didn’t take long before Spencer and Doctor Millheimer met the stream that snaked its way through the forest.

“This is lovely out here!” exclaimed Doctor Millheimer. “You are fortunate to have such a nice environment to stay at. Who knows; maybe you’ll decide to stay in Mapleview after your business venture is completed. How is that going, by the way?”

“Oh, we’re just waiting to receive word of eminent domain along with funding.” answered Spencer. “There’s not much more I can do at this point.” For the remainder of the hike, Spencer discussed the details of his last visit to the cemetery which was Saturday.

Soon they reached the area where the stream opened up into a wide brook. Doctor Millheimer was in awe at the tremendous beauty; the depth of the water, the lily pads with flowers, and the moss-colored flagstone that surrounded the body of water that was stacked in such a way to look like a mini coliseum.

“Amazing!” exclaimed Doctor Millheimer. I’m no expert on fish, but this might make a nice place to go fishing. So peaceful and serene!”

“Yeah with the occasional sacrificing of animals by devil worshippers.” added Spencer.

Doctor Millheimer chuckled. “Well perhaps you should adopt this area and take action to keep it clean. You only telephoned the forest preserve district, once. You should escalate these incidents and get the police to take action.”

“Yeah, I suppose…” agreed Spencer.

Spencer and Doctor Millheimer continued walking, and finally reached the cemetery. Much to Spencer’s surprise, the old barn stood not-so-far away from the cemetery. “There it is! I can’t believe it!” he exclaimed.

“What?” probed Doctor Millheimer. “The barn?”

“Yes, the ghost barn.” affirmed Spencer.

“Well it doesn’t look like a ghostly mirage to me.” pointed Doctor Millheimer. “It looks very real. Why don’t we go up to the barn so we can physically touch it?”

“But it wasn’t here when the kids passed through on Friday night. Why are we seeing it, now?” challenged Spencer.

“Well perhaps the two boys that you saw were nothing more than a vision from behind the veil.” offered Doctor Millheimer. “The barn’s disappearance might have also been only a vision. Perhaps it has always been there. Did you ever consider that?”

Spencer sighed, “I suppose it’s as good as an explanation as any.” Then he continued; “Now usually I bring the Ouija board out here, but you told me not to bring it this time.”

“Right!” affirmed Doctor. I think you have pulled plenty of information out of your subconscious. It’s now time to take action. Let’s go over to the barn.”

Both men walked a short distance past the cemetery until reaching the barn. Doctor Millheimer knocked on one of the logs of the building. “See, one hundred percent real. Go ahead and touch the building for yourself.”

Spencer did as directed. Sure enough it felt just like log. He even went so far as to knock on one of the windows which felt as expected, glass.”

“Very good!” congratulated Doctor Millheimer. “Now the next step—assuming the door is unlocked—is to open and enter like Lydia keeps asking you to do.”

Carefully, Spencer pulled open the main door which was nothing more than logs tied together and fastened by some sort of hinge. He turned to look towards Doctor Millheimer before entering.

Doctor Millheimer read his patient’s expression. “No, this is a journey that you must take by yourself.” he said to Spencer. “Don’t worry; I will be out here and will run in after you if you happen to get into trouble. Now go inside, and see what it is that Lydia wishes for you to find.” He watched as Spencer hesitantly entered. The door was left partly opened which allowed Doctor Millheimer to observe his patient. Inside, Spencer walked about the barn to study the furniture and various pictures.

There was a noise in the nearby forest; perhaps a deer or some other animal that stepped on a large branch on the ground. Doctor Millheimer was concerned that maybe someone was coming; maybe the owner of the barn who wouldn’t be happy to see someone trespassing. He only turned around for some several seconds to reassure himself that no one was there. Satisfied, he turned back towards the direction of the barn.

But what was this? The barn was gone!

Mr. Doiler???” called out Doctor Millheimer. “Mr. Doiler, where are you?” He scurried about the ground where the barn once stood; desperately searching for the building, and desperately looking for some sign of Spencer. There was no evidence of the building ever sitting there—no remains of foundation or imprint on the ground. In fact, the area where Doctor Millheimer stood was now tall weeds that surrounded the long-forgotten cemetery.

Mr. Doiler!” Doctor Millheimer continued to call out. He ran back towards the area where the forest met the cemetery. It was the very spot where he first saw the barn. But just as expected, the barn was no longer there.

The brook behind him softly babbled. A gentle breeze began to stir from all around as Doctor Millheimer struggled to make some sense out of what happened. “This is truly a strange place.” he cried out loud. “I’m afraid I lack the ability to understand what happened. It’s as-if something from behind the veil reached its hand into our world and took Mr. Doiler.” Confused and unsure of what to do, Doctor Millheimer reluctantly left the cemetery. He trekked through the mysterious forest, and head back to his car. Oh he did knock on Spencer’s door just to make sure that his patient wasn’t actually home. The mind, after all, is capable of playing tricks on us; even psychiatrists who are experts on the mysteries of the human mind.


Later that night, Doctor Millheimer sat at a desk in his study with a glass of scotch whiskey while writing in his daily journal.

“…I still don’t know whether or not to call the police. Who would believe me if I made such a report? The whole thing sounds too fantastic. They might think that I had something to do with his disappearance.

In going over some of the notes that were taken during Mr. Doiler’s therapy sessions, I can’t help but wonder if we both saw hints of a world outside of our lifetime. Perhaps we are all forming inside of some great womb and waiting to be birthed in that vast world that exists beyond the veil. Maybe that’s what the veil is; the tissue that encases us as we grow inside of this womb. But so peculiar; in Spencer’s case, his birthing appeared voluntary. They actually came for him and invited him to join them. Maybe they brought him back to some ancestral mother spirit from where he and many others like him originated.”

The End!

The Friendly Fort

  • Author: Tom Raimbault
  • Published: 2016-12-16 18:20:10
  • Words: 19720
The Friendly Fort The Friendly Fort