Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Ravenholt Great House, Lake Bemidji, Minnesota

   "We will all be killed!" Young Mellisa cried.
    The Ravenholt Family was in mortal danger. They sat at the long dining room table, all twenty one off them, for their dailyexchange. Reimert Ravenholt, the stern family patriarch, was at the head of the table and conducted the discussion with an iron fist.
  The family members nervously darted glances out the large picture window. The rain was endless, with the bridges out, all communications down. And the mighty river was rising. They could all be swept away. Mellisa was correct, they could be killed.
   Patel half rose, the protocol for speaking. Rei nodded and Patel straightened and looked around superciliously, then began to speak in his sing-song voice. Curtis, two chairs away and out of Patel's sight, murmured to Lucille: "Where did these Patels come from? How are these people from India connected to the family?"
   Lucille shrugged and cocked her head, good question.
   "Patel talks nonsense." Curtis added angrily. "I don't understand a word."
   While Patel droned on about slights such as family members nipping his cigarettes, Lucille gazed around the table: How long had they been trapped in the large house? Lucille had lost track of time.
  "Point noted," Rei said, after Patel sat down, "we can gather again this evening. Anyone else?"
   Bob, the slow-witted member of the family hesitantly rose, taking one of Patel's cigarettes and shakily lighting it. Rei gestured for Bob to sit, but Bob stood and straightened himself.
   "What if this is not real?" , Bob said, waving his hand around.
   Some at the table guffawed, others murmured, pointing at the driving rain. Good ol Bob, around the bend, the family nutter.
   Bob continued: "What if we have somehow segued into another universe and do not belong here? Perhaps a time warp, or a spatial tear."
The people at the table shifted uneasily. Some furrowed their brows.
Rei Ravenholt rose."Bob, when the rain stops and the bridges are open, we will take you to the Center. No disgrace in treatment at the Center, Bob."
All nodded in agreement, and the uncertain cloud lifted. There were nods as the family rose, standing to chat before dispersing to their rooms.
Then suddenly, the front door was flung open and brilliant sunshine flooded the hallway. A tall, fashionable blond swept into the foyer.
" Isn't this the most fantastic entrance way!" The blond declared in a booming voice.
Behind her a young couple hesitated, as if the great house would devour them. The couple stepped into the foyer, eyes wide as they took in the grand entrance.
"And this dining room! Just spectacular for those marvelous family holiday dinners we all love. Such fun!" The real estate broker enthused.
Timidly, the couple peered into the empty dining room.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Lost Forty Hunting Hut, Itasca State Park, Cass, Minnesota

   The Joshua Carson survey party trekked into the forests in November in the early1900s to survey acreage for logging. Joining Josuha were Bill Sutton and Jack Pine, who was Joshua's cousin. The survey team found an old hunting hut, which they could use as a hub for their survey of the area between Moose and Cass Lakes.
   Unfortunately, the weather turned cold and cloudy with the threat of an early snowstorm. Perhaps due to the desolate swamps and the threatening weather, Joshua made a mapping error, showing Cass Lake a half mile further west than it was. Maps would indicate 144 acres of prime, towering pines as underwater. The voracious loggers passed them by, and this area became a National Heritage, known as "The Lost Forty".
  During the survey work, Bill Sutton developed a plan. Bill was number two after Joshua in the survey company, and Bill also lusted after Joshua's striking fiance, Betsy Gilbertson. Bill Sutton promised Jack Pine a full-time job if Jack threw in with him.
   The plan was for Bill Sutton not to return, inexplicably lost in the unexplored wilderness, perhaps a victim of the creature that the Ojibwe Indians claimed roamed the lakes and the dense woods. Nearing the end of their survey, they returned to the hut in single file in a falling snow. Bill pulled out his pistol to shoot Joshua who was in the lead. But Joshua was gifted with a sixth sense, and he whirled around and buried his hatchet in Bill's chest. Jack Pine, bringing up the rear, shot Joshua in the forehead. Joshua fell in the new snow eyes wide, staring at Jack.
   The snowfall developed into a raging blizzard, and Jack pulled the bodies to the side of the hut. He hunkered down in the hut for the cold night, thinking of his story and what to do with the bodies. In the morning, Jack surveyed hiking out, but the four feet of wet snow discouraged him and Jack retreated back to the hut.
   As Jack huddled by the fire, his mind raced: -was he trapped for the winter? Surely the snow would let up and he could find his way back to the wagon trail. The wind howled and Jack felt a presence, as if something was outside. He saw movement at the hut's small window; or was it just the swirling snow? Jack spent a second restless night with fitful dreams of his two dead friends.
   In the morning, it was still snowing and Jack went outside. He saw the forms and brushed away the snow. But only Bill Sutton's body was there with the hatchet protruding from his chest. Joshua's body was gone.
   Who or what took Joshua's body?
   Jack went inside and surveyed his supplies, only a bit of pork, beans, and dried apples remained. The snow was now over six feet deep and relentless. Jack dragged Bill Sutton's body inside the hut. Jack could not let the creature claim Bill's body. It was going to be a long, long winter.
   In the Spring when a survey teams finally hiked into the area, they found Jack Pine, fit and well, but Jack's mind was gone. There was no trace of Joshua Carson or Bill Sutton.
   Jack Pine was confined in the St. Peter State Hospital for the dangerous insane. And the lost forty hunting hut stands empty.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lake Leech Creature, Laport, Minnesota

   Randy Ryte and Marisa Marvell learned about the Leech Lake Creature when they were conducting doctoral studies on timber economics at Bemidji, Minnesota.
  Finished with their PhDs and having been hired for the fall at St. Olaf College, they decided to research the creature. They leased a pink single-wide trailer on a farmer's plot off Route 64.
   One evening they went for a walk and came upon the charming Forestedge Winery. Randy and Marisa strolled down the driveway and they found Lane Swanson relaxing on the lawn enjoying a chilled bottle of his famous Rhubarb Wine. Lane waved them in to share a glass.
They chatted and when Lane asked what they were doing, Marisa explained they had come to seek the  Creature.
   Lane fell silent and a cloud descended.
   Randy and Marisa were uneasy, and Randy changed the subject. Marisa complimented the distinctive fruit wine. Lane was pleased and detailed the history of the Forestedge Winery. Lane went for a second bottle, which Randy insisted on buying. After a few more glasses, Lane relaxed.
   Lane told them the Lake Leech Creature rumor had been extant for as long as the locals could recall. No creature was ever seen, or heard. There were no pictures, not even pseudo creature pictures. Yet the rumors persisted.
   He went on to describe two incidents in the past five years. The first was a State Police-University of Minnesota investigation five summers ago when students and volunteers came to scour the perimeter of the lake; they deployed a deep water submersible to search the lake bottom. Nothing turned up.
   More disturbing were the Blackwell girls, who came three summers ago and announced they were going to camp and search the lake, seeking evidence of the creature. The Blackwell girls vanished.
   Randy and Marisa listened silently in the fading summer twilight. Then Marisa said: " What if the creature exits in time and not place."
   The two men looked at her. Marisa went on to say how the three of them existed in a place in linear time.
For example, Marisa explained, this evening they were together. Tomorrow morning she and Randy would be in the pink trailer. Lane would be at the winery. And in linear fashion the day after tomorrow they would be in a place and so on, linear. But what if the creature could go backward and forward in time?
   The two men coughed and smiled. But Marisa continued. She ventured that when the university expedition came with fanfare, volunteers, and boats, the creature went ahead in time to what it meant. The expedition meant nothing, so the creature let it be.
   Perhaps the Blackwell girls stumbled over the creature, and the creature could see they would cause great grief, so the girls vanished.
   "Too much Forestedge wine," Randy laughed.
   Randy and Marisa waved goodnight to Lane, taking his card if they needed assistance and walked back to the pink trailer.
   Just as Lane was set to go to bed, his cell phone rang. He answered it and heard Marisa scream:
"It's here! My God, it is here and so..." then the phone died.
   Lane loaded his shotgun and jumped in the pickup and roared over to the pink trailer. He captured the trailer in his headlights and approached cautiously. The trailer lights were on and the two doors wide open.
   But Randy and Marisa were gone.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Love House, Fort Benedict, Minnesota

   David Matchler performed a whirlwind romance of the very patrician, Claire Wilkinson, who was an heir to the Wilkinson Timber Fortune. David and Claire eloped to Reno, Nevada; an Elvis impersonator married them. No time for the prenuptial agreement.
   When they returned to Benedict Lake, David built Claire with his own money and hands a simple house shaped like a giant "L". As you drove up the dirt drive you could see the house was an L, for the Love House. 
   Early that spring, David and Claire, both avid sailors, went for a sail with Claire's beloved Comet, Eagle on Lake Kabekona, known for its stiff winds and sometimes violent summer squalls. Claire and David were enjoying themselves immensely, when a squall, replete with thunder and lightning, hit them. David mistakenly turned downwind in a gust and the sailboat flipped over. They clung to the keel, as the storm raged and the heavy rain and mists enveloped them. They were invisible from shore.
   Claire clung tenaciously, but David could see she was tiring and shivering, mewing as the wind howled. Suddenly David slammed his elbow into Clair's face. She fell back into the water stunned. David quickly undid her life jacket and kicked Claire into the turbulent water. She sank like a stone.
   It was another hour before the storm cleared and a fisherman saw the overturned sailboat. David was almost gone when the fishermen pulled in him and covered him with blankets. Once David recovered, he told the tale of them clinging to the keel, of Claire 's sudden disorientation, and Claire undoing her life jacket and trying to swim to shore. David went after her, but she vanished into the mists.
   Three days later searchers found Claire's body on the rocks at Thunder Narrows, where Lake Kabekona flows into the bigger Lake Leech. The waves had battered Claire' body on the rocks. It would be a closed casket.
   David sank into a melancholy comatose for six months. He would not speak or leave the Love House. David told his lawyer he did not want Claire's millions of inheritance, which was duly his. But David did not sign the inheritance release papers. He was too distraught.
   Six months later, David emerged from his fugue and told his lawyer to transfer the money from the inheritance escrow to his account. Then David set up a trust fund for the maintenance of the Love House, never to be sold or rented, just maintained as a memorial to Claire. Today the house sits eerily empty, but immaculate. Rumor has it that David then drove west; some say he is in Fargo, North Dakota; others say he is in the Missouri Breaks.
  Justice has not been served. But Claire's account will be balanced. The haunting has begun.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wilderness Haunt, Mille Lacs, Minnesota

   Gabe knocked on the door of the Wilderness Haunt and Ray answered, slightly drunk. Gabe explained his car had died and he needed to call AAA. Ray, normally a loner, took to Gabe and invited him into his isolated lakeside home.
   Ray showed him the phone and Gabe pretended to make the call to triple A. Ray then beckoned Gabe to join him by the fire, where Ray had two chairs and a coffee table set with Jack Daniels and an ice bucket. 
   "Where you from?" Ray asked innocently. Gabe explained he was a Nephilim, the son of a wayward angel and a human. That his brief was to settle the accounts, those accounts that never got reconciled. Ray cackled and sipped his Jack.
   "It's about those little girls." Gabe said. "What about the little girls? They cry out for the accounts to be settled."
   Ray coughed, wiped his face, and took a Camel out of his shirt pocket. "I don't know nothing about little girls." Ray said, lighting up.
  Gabe put a heavy coil of rope on the table. "All those moms and dads," Gabe said. "We need to bring them peace, the moms and dads."
    Ray puffed furiously on his Camel  and waved a hand around. "Some of them are here with me, here at Wilderness Haunt. Others..." and Ray's voice trailed off.
   Gabe got up and looked at the heavy rope. "Don't make me come back, Ray. "
   Inexplicably, later that week Ray, the recluse, was discovered hanging from a beam in his living room. There was no note.
Today the Wilderness Haunt is in probate, complicated by many civil suits.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chase House, Lake Leech, Minnesota


    Cannon Raspberry retired as a "Professional" and bought the Chase House on Lake Leech at Walker, Minnesota. Cannon had hit the mother lode with his last job. Cannon took his payoff, plus some, and bought the old rundown Chase House, planning to open an upscale B&B on Lake Leech, the rural life.
   The first night Cannon sipped a bottle of wine in a rustic lawn chair, then retired falling asleep immediately. At two in the morning he awoke with a start as he heard the creak of a door. He sat up, but all was quiet and Cannon fell back asleep.
   The next morning he found the kitchen door ajar. Cannon went to his tool kit and loaded his automatic, then searched the old house from attic to basement. No one there.
   Cannon worked hard all day and arranged for his contractors to come the following week.That night he was asleep early. But awakened again with the sound of footsteps, the old stairs creaking. He took his gun from the side table and sat up, holding his breath. Someone was there. Cannon got up and went into the hall, but the stairs were empty. He went back to bed and slept fitfully.
   Once again at first light Cannon searched the house, but found nothing. That night after a hard day's work, he took two stiff sleeping pills with his wine on the lawn. Big mistake.
   When he awoke in the late morning sunlight, Ramona Inez, with her black hair and lovely, chiseled features was there pointing a gun at him. Regrettably, Cannon had screwed Ramona out of her share on their last job.
   "Cannon, Cannon, Cannon," was all she said, her dark eyes burning. Then Ramona shot Cannon dead.
   The Chase House opening has been delayed indefinitely

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Des Moines, Iowa

  Hunter Farnham finagled his way into managing the Hackers' (nerds gone wrong) money from his Boston office. At its height, the Hackers' money was $500 million, the benefit of skimming one hundredth of a cent from hundreds of millions of accounts. Over time it added up, peanut here, peanut there, after awhile, a jar of peanuts.
   But Hunter lost it all through a series of foreign exchange trades. In a panic, Hunter took what was left and fled Boston. He reinvented himself as a farmer in Des Moines, Iowa by buying a modest farm house outside of Des Moines, the old Boynton cattle farm.
   Hunter kept to himself but he did have a maid twice a week, Ramona Inez, and a gardener who kept the extensive lawn trimmed. Hunter took to the gardner, Cannnon Raspberry, a former Vanderbilt football player with a career cut short by a bad knee. A few years back Cannon had suffered heartbreak in Mississippi, so Cannon became a ""professional and hit the road,  finally drifting to Iowa.
  On Hunter's birthday, Hunter befriended Cannon and Inez with wine and cheese. When it got dark, Cannon and Inez took Hunter to the cellar, opened the tool kit and worked on Hunter.
   Cannon and Inez finally got the account numbers they needed for the balance of the Hackers' stolen money. They left Hunter in a corner of the dark basement in a chair facing the cinder-block wall. They painted Hunter's forehead in blood, "666".
   Now no one will buy or rent the old Boynton farm, rumored to be a place of the devil.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

   Previously, Elina and Averil Quicksilver had to leave New Orleans, and then flee from the Natchez Trace in Mississippi as Sam Bradford, a wealthy Louisiana deal maker, relentlessly pursued the mother and daughter, hiring assassins to kill them. The two psychics knew that Sam had murdered his wealthy wife.
   After escaping from the Natchez Trace, Elina and Averil settled in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, known as a spiritual and healing center in the Northern Ozarks. Elina perceived positive energy in Eureka Springs, so they bought a Victorian house on a hill, establishing the Eureka Psychic Center.
   The many ill travelers seeking the curative waters of the "Basin Spring" often found their way to the Psychic Center to learn their way to a more prosperous future.
   After a few years Sam Bradford, now sick with the cancer, traveled to Eureka Springs to take the Basin waters cure. After having soaked in the magic baths and drunk the bottled basin spring water, Sam felt better and was upbeat. He decided to stay in Eureka Springs for a few days and sent his servants back to New Orleans.
  One night on a whim, Sam visited the Psychic Center for a read. He disappeared into the gingerbread house, but never emerged.
  Sam Bradford is reported missing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Bates Motel, Batesville, Arkansas

  The Bates family established the town of Batesville, Arkansas in 1821, which was a small port on the White River.
          The extended Bates's family split in the 1950s and the dissidents went west, settling in Southern California and opening a roadside motel.
          After a series of illnesses, incidents, and mishaps in California, the children of Norman Bates returned to their roots in Batesville, Arkansas. They renovated the Bates Victorian house and reopened the gingerbread structure as a Bates Bed and Breakfast.
          The welcome light is always on.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Creekside Plantation, Rosedale, Mississippi

  The Union Horse Soldiers raided Rosedale as Grant was laying siege to Vicksburg. Captain Dan Fletcher stopped his unit at the Creekside Plantation, where Colonel Earl Van Dorn, Sr. was standing with his daughters.
          Captain Fletcher greeted the one-armed retired Confederate Colonel, saluting smartly. They exchanged pleasantries, then Captain Fletcher got to business. The Captain wanted to know where the Confederate gold was buried. The Colonel said he had no knowledge of buried gold. They parried politely for a few minutes, the daughters in their long skirts glancing occasionally at the restless union raiders.
         Finally, the Captain delivered his ultimatum: lead them to the gold, or the Captain would hang one daughter at a time. A soldier held up a wicked looking coiled rope. The daughters gasped and put a hand to their necks.
        The Colonel shifted and waved his stubble left arm, which caught the Captain's eye. Then in a flash, the Colonel slid a straight razor from his belt, flipped the blade open, and slit his own throat. Blood gushed everywhere, spraying the Captain; the Colonel crumpled, dead before he hit the ground. The horses pranced nervously, their nostrils flaring, while the Captain circled the dead Colonel and his bereaving daughters.
         "Burn the plantation mansion," the Captain ordered.
        The oldest, quick-witted daughter who had been watching from the shadows of the mansion entrance, grabbed two throw pillows, stuffed them under her skirt, fluffed her blond hair into disarray and sprang onto the colonnaded porch.
        " I am pregnant with twins. " She hollered. " Burn my house and you will burn me and my babies".
 The Captain eyed her, thinking of his own wife with child. He took off his hat and swept it across his chest.
        " Boys, we have caused enough grief for one day." The Captain said.
        The seemingly pregnant daughter held out her hands. "Enough grief for this war." She cried. Her beloved father, the Colonel lay dead on the ground.
        But the Confederate gold was safe.
        Today the plantation is on the annual Rosedale Historic Homes Tour, which ends at Creekside with mint juleps and canapes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The House at the Emerald Mound, Natchez Trace, Mississippi


 Sam Bradford had burned the New Orleans townhouse of Elina Quicksilver and her alien six-fingered daughter, Averil. The two psychics knew Sam had drowned his wealthy wife for her money.
        But Elina had seen the danger and she and Averil had escaped the French Quarter just as the townhouse burst into flames. They fled to Natchez, Mississippi and rented a modest farm house that was adjacent to the Emerald Indian Mound, an ancient Choctaw site on the Natchez Trace.   
        Sam Bradford's tentacles spread far and wide, and when he got word of Elina's location Sam hired Mississippi's most feared assassin, Shadow Man, to "goodbye" Elina and Averil.
        Late one evening Elina was fast asleep when at midnight Averil sat upright and screamed: " Mama, Shadow Man is coming!" Once again they packed their bags, jumped in their station wagon, and roared away, going north on Route 61.
       Shadow Man had an unfulfilled visit to the Emerald Mound along the Natchez Trace.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Battlefield Error and the Homecoming, Spanish Fort, Alabama

  A week after Jeanette endured the somber military ceremony, and after her family and friends had left,  Cannon Raspberry came out of nowhere. The attraction was instant and within a week Cannon was in the back guest room and helping with Jeanette's PinkCharm, her knickknack and candy store. Jeanette had never been happier. After 6 months, she was sure she had found her beloved soul mate in Cannon.
        And then one night the call came. Ralph's vehicle had been blown up, but Ralph had survived and wandered off into the Afghan Mountains. The casket was a case of mistaken identity. The Army offered sincere apologies.
        Instantly, Jeanette told Cannon, who took the news stoically. In the morning Cannon Raspberry was gone, leaving a note: " On the back roads, off the grid,  but you are always on my mind."
        A month later Ralph arrived home at the PinkCharm doorstep, his soldier friend beside him. Jeanette was delirious hugging and kissing Ralph.
        " Of course your friend is welcome." She said.
        " This is Jeremy, my partner. " Ralph replied.
       Three days later, Jeanette secured the PinkCharm for the hurricane season and began to search the back roads for Cannon Raspberry.
       Jeanette's search goes on.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Overgrown House, Pascagoula, Mississippi

 Bobby Lee Boodle, a Vietnam War Veteran, bought two acres of land on Route 90 just outside of Pascagoula, Mississippi. He built a modest house set back from the road. Bobby Lee cleared the trees and brush with gusto, a slash and burn gardener.
        But Bobby Lee had trouble keeping up when his hip went bad, the wild grass, twisting honeysuckle vines, and deciduous trees turned on Bobby Lee with a vengeance.
       Mr. Boodle dropped out of sight and the local folks thought he had gone North to visit friends. Kids snooping around Bobby Lee's place in the high grass and weeds later swore they heard a muted voice. One girl claimed she saw a stricken face at a window. Today Booby Lee's house is totally overgrown, enveloped by the relentless, unforgiving vegetation.
       No one dares go there anymore.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Mystics, French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana

Sam Bradford left his Canal Street office to wander one summer evening. He found himself ringing the doorbell of 766 Rue Toulouse, a stylish townhouse in the French Quarter. A young girl with startling green eyes opened the door, "We have been waiting for you." She said.
        The girl grabbed Sam's wrist and pulled him inside; Sam noticed she had an extra finger on both hands, a six-fingered girl. She led him into the hallway, then steered him into a shadowy room where a woman of 30 or so sat at a round table. The woman nodded for Sam to have a seat. Ice tea was set at his place; they had been waiting.
        Sam sat down across from the black haired woman, who appeared to be of American Indian blood. She took his hands and held them tightly and let out a breath:
 " You did a bad, bad thing. You drowned your late wife, Alice Lacount." She said laconically.
         Sam gasped and his blood ran cold. How did this crackpot know?
         The  psychic shook her head. " No matter to me. We have a different message."
 Suddenly the girl sitting off to the side chirped, " Sell. Sell everything!" The woman dropped Sam's hands and looked at him with dark eyes: " Five dollars, please."
         Sam paid and hurried back to his office. Nonsense, he thought. But that night Sam called his broker and told him to sell all his stock market holdings.
         Two days later on June 25, 1950, the Korean War started and the market crashed. Sam bought back at the bottom and made millions. He owned it all to the crazy psychic and the weird girl.
         But they knew Sam had taken Alice behind the Orchard Mansion for her last visit with the Cane River that fateful night.
         Something must be done about the psychic. Perhaps a fire.
         The original townhouse burned completely, but no bodies were ever discovered. Sam later donated money to the city to rebuild the townhouse. Once rebuilt, the city leased the ideally located building to various businesses.   
         But no one has ever succeeded at 766 Rue Toulouse in 60 years.  Yet, hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Hanna School Haunting, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana

 Sam Bradford fled Alexandria and his beloved Orchard Plantation after the unfortunate death of his wealthy wife, Alice Lacount.
         Seeking to keep up appearances he provided funds for Natchitoches Parish to build a state-of-the-art school building north of Alexandria. The Hanna School, named after Alice Lacount's mother, was dedicated with much fanfare and for a few months the teachers and the children flourished.
         But late one spring afternoon, a woman in white  appeared standing in the hall, her hands splayed in supplication. The students saw her, yelped, and ran from the building. Even the teachers took flight.
         School was out.
        The Natchitoches Parish has offered Hanna School for redevelopment on very attractive terms.
         So far there are no takers.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Plantation Haunting, Alexandria, Louisiana

 Sam Bradford married an older woman, Alice Lacount, who was a Louisiana legend with money. He and his wife lived in great splendor in the Lacount plantation home outside of Alexandria. The Orchard Plantation had stately pecan orchards and was highly profitable.
        Alice was known to tipple and, inexplicably, one night she went to the Cane River that flowed behind the mansion, walked out on the boat pier to take the night air. Apparently, Alice fell into the water and drowned.
       Sam inherited everything.
       People talked about how Sam acted poorly after his loss, always looking over his shoulder. Without any explanation, Sam moved out of the mansion six months after Alice's passing and relocated from Alexandria to New Orleans
      The servants continued to maintain the lovely Lacount plantation house and grounds. But no one lives in the mansion, the servants are gone before nightfall.
      Rumors are a woman in white walks the grounds in the evenings.
      The Orchard Plantation is on the day tour.

The Grifter' Curse and the Nocona Boot Contract, Nocona, Texas

 Freddie James drifted into Nocona, Texas on a stormy summer night. He sought refuge in the Misty Times Saloon, where Peggy Ann, who ran the "Trading Post" during the day, was moonlighting.
      Peggy Ann introduced Freddie to the Boys who were playing cards. Freddie joined the game and soon cleaned out the Boys, who took umbrage at their misfortune. Especially when Freddie said, "time to go".
      The Boys took Freddie outside, lassoed him and tied him to the back of a pickup truck, then began dragging him to the town line. Peggy Ann ran behind pleading to let Freddie go.
       Unfortunately, Freddie tripped in a pothole and fell, hitting his head on the curb. The Boys braked, Peggy Ann looked on in horror as Freddie raised himself, thrust his left fist in the air and cast a curse on Nocona. Then Freddie collapsed and died.
      The next day the bank failed due to bad loans and embezzlement. The Nocona Boot Company lost its military contract to China. One by one the stores closed and folks moved away.
       Today the only vestige of Nocona is Peggy Ann's Trading Post.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Roswell, New Mexico

Ella Mae Quicksilver came to New Mexico from Arizona in the mid-1940s and she bought a white stucco house outside of Roswell, New Mexico. Rumors were that Ella'sparents had died in a shootout during a bank robbery in Colorado. 
        When the UFOs came to Roswell in July 1945, an industry was spawned, yielding eyewitness affidavits,  many investigations, and documentaries. A missing army nurse, who supposedly treated the injured aliens, was the focus of much speculation. Only the locals knew Ella Mae had also disappeared that night. But the y told no one.
        Some gossiped a few years later they had seen Ella Mae in Louisiana and she now had a daughter. The daughter was precocious, green eyed and slender, with six fingers on each hand.
        No one has ever offered to buy Ella Mae's place outside of Roswell.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Trinity, New Mexico

   War changed forever on July 16,1945 at Trinity, New Mexico.
  " Now I am become death, destroyer of the worlds", said one scientist.
       After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the scientists returned to Trinity and built the Green House for their reunion and contemplation.
        But those faraway had seen, and in July 1947 they visited the reunion.
        Now the Green House sits empty.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Magdalena, New Mexico

Ella Mae Quicksilver knocked on Jessie Long's door one summer evening, saying her boyfriend had abandoned her on the two-lane byway. Jessie took her in as he lived alone in the isolated ranch house.Years before, he had lost his family on an Interstate-25 crash.
      Strangely, the young girl and the old rancher clicked. They often sat on the bench out front in the soft night with smokes and a six pack. Ella Mae captivated Jessie with her  dreams.
      Jessie tried to sell his down-at-the-heel ranch, but no offers. So one morning, they packed essentials, case of beer, smokes, change of clothes, and they drove away in his old pickup heading east, foolowing Ella Mae's star.
      Tongues wagged and some say they are doing porn in Southern California. Ella Mae a star, Jessie finding a niche.
      The ranch is no longer for sale and sits silent, awaiting Jessie's return.