Another person told me our place is supposed to have ghosts. I’m working on the first stone wall going in here, so, I’m down on the dirt road. End up talking with an fellow riding his horse up the trail. After he left, I remembered this story by Marsden. He’s a fellow who spent a lot of time debunking ghost stories. He ends up at this castle in Scotland. Having spent many a night all over the Isles in various haunted places, he didn’t expect much from the latest on his tour. First, he can’t hire out a photographer. No one in the area would set foot on this place. Finally, he arrives in a taxi with an out of town photo man. The caretaker who lived across the road, took them up to the castle. He only said this…”I lock the gate down below at six pm. I don’t open it again until sunup. So, once I leave you boys, you’re here all night, understand?” He then leaves them at the top of this long, winding, tree covered lane. No castle in view yet. They head around the bend…As they come around a bend in the road, the see the castle for the first time. He was let down. More of a over sized country estate, actually. Walking at a good pace, they’re now standing in front of the main doors, looking up at the edifice. The photographers camera wouldn’t work for some reason. They decide to go in and look around. It was just before noon, so, plenty of light left to shoot later. The doors were unlocked. People in town said it was just as it had been left over a hundred years before. Marsden said the feeling of dread and doom that hit them was palpable. You could feel it all around you. Then he remembered his quick research prior to coming out. The family had owned slave ships. When slavery was outlawed, they ran all their ships aground for the insurance money, then, used the ships timbers to build the roofs of their castle. The photographer picked up his bags, he was heading for the gate. Marsden followed…Now, this Marsden fellow had to wait in this small Scottish town for an extra day since not one person who knew the right end of a camera would go on this property. Not only was the family who owned it cursed, but the land itself was weird. Where the estate could really frighten the locals was the green fog that came out of splits and fissures in the rocky terrain the house itself was situated in. The sea, not a mile away, caused the fogs at high tides and full moons said many a legend. Long before any structure existed, the area was avoided. The family that ended up with the land fit it perfectly. They started out as waylayers. Meaning they would deliberately give wrong directions to lost travelers, making them worn out and tired, then in a box canyon with no exit. The entire clan would fall on the unlucky travelers. Killing all the males, taking what they so desired, then burning the rest. Women and children were assimilated or dealt with through murder or slavery. The many meetings with sea captains eager for white slaves, brought the family into the slave trade itself. Seeing a good thing in the early seventeen hundreds, they began purchasing vessels and hiring captains of their own. England stopped the slave trade with many a crew hung from the impounded ships yardarms. The family collected their last bit of blood money by wrecking their own ships during a storm, then collecting not only the insurance, but, the large beams that made up the superstructure of the slave ships. What horror stories those beams could tell if able. Entire loads of slaves would be chained to the ships anchor at sight of a strange sail. If an English Man of War? The anchor, weighing a thousand pounds, went into the sea. Hundreds of slaves followed it down. No way to stop it as each body added to its weight….With their new wealth, an estate went up. The house’s main entry was made of those ships beams, spread out in a large octagon, then, into the various wings….Our writer doing the story, was well aware of all of this. He had no fear. He had already debunked over a dozen castles with far worse reputations. His favorite saying on leaving a haunted estate the next morning? “Never slept better in my life!” Now, left at the front door with his hired from another village photographer, he still had an air of confidence. But there was a problem with the camera. No problem said his new assistant, “I have another back up rig!” It was still early in the morning, so, they decided to check out the interior to see what the lighting was like. (Now, this is what I’ll always remember, in his own words)… “As I shoved the tall, oaken door full of cast iron studs before me, I noticed an odd thing right away. It had no way to lock. Once we stepped past it, the answer came to me in an instant. The feeling of dread and terror that permeated the tall chamber made it clear to one and all that this was no place to worry about securing. Not ten foot into the vast room, empty except for a large piece of furniture here and there, I find my companion lagging behind. I asked him if his back up camera had a flash option. His countenance had changed like a comedian will do in a flash, but, he was quite serious. Still awaiting a reply, I again looked back at him. He was heading for the front entry door at a fast pace. Once again in the full light of the sun, I started to tell a funny story to break the spell. He would have none of it. He picked up his large camera bag and headed back down the tree covered lane we had just came in on with the caretaker not minutes prior. I decided to continue on my own. Its what you’ve been mocking, I said to myself, so, time to put up or shut up….I never made it any farther inside. Something I had never felt in any of my prior overnights at many a dark and scary castle, began to seep into me like a black presence creeping into my very soul. And this was at midday in full daylight. Picking up my overnight bag and bedroll. I hastened after my companion!”

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