Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Halloween Story

Most days this week were damply gray, with headlights shimmering on rain-polished pavement in mid-afternoon.

A week of watching rain run like cold sweat down the window might have inspired me to write about room 313 of the Belvedere Union Grand Hotel downtown. Instead, I found myself remembering a story my father told, about a college prank.

It happened in the late fifties, in a town near Chicago. One of the local points of interest was the old Seely place. Old Amos Seely had inherited the place, along with a small fortune, back in the twenties, and had managed to hold ownership of the massive collection of Victorian towers and brickwork through the Depression.

Amos Seely led a solitary and frugal life in the huge old place, and died a year after Eisenhower was elected. He had never married, and had no close relatives. The house wound up in the hands of some distant cousins, who found it impossible to sell and difficult to rent.

The old Seely place sat empty for almost five years by the time this particular Halloween rolled around.

By then, a story had grown that old Amos Seely was haunting the place. Hanging on to his wealth and house had, the story said, become so much of a habit that he couldn't let go: even in death.

Like a new-world Jacob Marley, he walked the halls in chains, crying for someone to release him.

Whoops. I've run out of room. I'll finish this next week.

2 comments:

Brigid said...

There seems to be a typo in the online version of this article. It should probably read "The old Seely place sat empty for almost five years."

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

><

You're quite right.

"The old Seely place had empty for almost five years by the time this particular Halloween rolled around"
should read
"The old Seely place sat empty for almost five years by the time this particular Halloween rolled around."

I think I was thinking "...had sat..." and missed.

Thanks!

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