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In a daze I made my way toward the house until I found myself at last on the threshold of what was meant to be my retreat. Trembling and bathed in a cold sweat, I watched my hand reach slowly for the knob then hesitate over it. Her warning echoed in my mind. "Leave", she had shouted, "LEAVE!" Instinctively, I drew back my hand, turned and made a dash for the car. It was then, dear Evan, from out of that shadowy night, I heard your voice speak to me in that no nonsense tone used when you are upset. I could hear you as if you were standing beside me.
 "Mysterious deaths, unexplained madness, how can you even consider leaving?" 
"You are a writer, York." 

I knew you would
expect me stay. You would convince me that logic dictated the reward of such an experience would far outweigh the risk of some unknown threat. I could not fail you.Rest easy my friend, dear conscience, I am still here and hard at work. No harm has come to me as yet and I have begun questioning the good citizens of Ashton. The old woman's tale was indeed based on factual events. My investigation began with a  search through records of old land deeds. Unbelievably, they are kept in a the barn belonging to the present town clerk. She was very gracious and left me to sift through the boxes without a watchful eye. I sat for hours in that dusty loft, webs clinging to me, crawlies everywhere. It was tedious work but I did manage to find a charter for the town Bainesboro. Attached to it was an old newspaper clipping describing a fire of unknown origin that had indeed claimed the lives of all Bainsboro's inhabitants. The clerk told me superstition and fear of ghosts had kept visitor and local alike from the area until some ten years after the tragedy. It was then that a certain Hiram Brown took interest in area, purchasing the entire 500 wooded acres and what once had been the town of Bainboro. A local historian verified this information and added that the gentleman had made use of the Bainesboro church (or what was left of it ) as the foundation for his home. It was said he cut the lumber from a circle of trees that were believed possessed by an evil malignancy referred to as the living wood. I have no idea nor did they where this "living wood" folklore originated but it had been passed down through generations dating back to the 1700's.The only other reference I have found concerning Mr. Brown was a short piece written by a long dead journalist some 50 years ago. Less than an year after the completion of his home, Hiram Brown was found raving mad by a group of traveler's who sought lodging for the night. They tried to subdue him but he escaped, disappeared and was never to be seen or heard from again. The body of wife Alicia was found in the bedroom. The undertaker assumed she had died from a "fit" as her face and body was observed to be "twisted unnaturally".





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