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A peice of steel cable cloths line wire noose hung from a bent nail in the roof truss over the attic stairs . It had been in the trash by the road yesterday when 8 year old Alan Baer personally checked right after the trash truck left too . It was gone . Still it was not even a surprise anymore to see it hanging there just as always . At the far end of the attic Alan's mom was placing peices of ripped up paper together as a test for a few minutes and then shaking some more down out of a dark green stained glass vase , too dark to be transparent enough to see the paper peices inside .. Jeanne McCaliss was exited at the clue she had found and determined to fish out the peices , after suggesting she bring the vase and all the peices downstairs and there's nothing to eat the boy made his way back out between the junk piled up on both sides of the boarded area of the attic floor and back down the stairs impressed by his mom's courage , It was as far back as Alan had ever been in that scary room .
Lug , a St Bernard was waiting dutifuly at the bottom of the steps glad to see the boy . He remained at his post to wait for the family still up there but he would not go up those steps . He feared nothing else , but the one time three of the brothers tried to coax him up there Glen , second to youngest of the 5 got bit when he tried to push him up to the fifth step and nobody tried to make him anymore , a huge friendly dog but when he meant business a fearsome looking beast with a growl to match and incredibly strong. The boys felt the house was haunted since the first day but once deposited by the stepfather Mac , who only showed up about once a month , he laughed and dismissed the frenzied stories of the hauntings . Fact was the rent for the enormous old mansion , $400 a month , was less than the 2 bedroom apartment they had left a few months earlier and the space was needed for 5 boys the oldest 11 down to 3 year old David , Mac's real son .
Mom had finally quit dismissing all the weird happenings in the house as forgetfullnes or boys pranks when she and all the boys returned once from some family outing to a little league baseball game and all the light bulbs were gone after having finally built up enough to have a light in all 17 rooms . It was useless to keep one in the porcelean pull chain fixture nearby the clothes line noose. . She came to beleive the boys weren't faking it when she would come home from her art school 3 nights a week and they would be be terrified and in the room with all the glass globes and fish nets hanging in it , they were already in the house and made excellent decorations and when the 5 boys were in there all together they felt untouchable in there . Sometimes they could hear someone knock on the floor above and then in the next room ... if they would follow it and start running around following the noise things got more caotic and more serious things happened as if more and more spirits came alive in the exitement . The boys learned to huddle in the fish net room and everything would be ok , when mom got home it stopped usually . She heard it once and they got into the frenzied chase and even all went upstairs to chase it , and followed it through the entire upstairs determined to solve the mystery , when they knew it was trapped in the back wing of the house the door would slam , the sound of a body falling down the back steps , a thud on the concrete and dogs in the neighborhood would start barking . After this happened more than once the mother quit her art classes and made the mystery her mission to solve . The note was finally completed , it was a beautiful letter from a young woman staying in Myrtle Cottage to her family, She was fascinated with the history of the old Inn , it had been a haven for run away slaves who were smuggled out of Florida , It was a beautiful mansion a short walk to the sea , but mingled oddly in the paragraphs of quaint old English or Scottish sounding dialect were forboding sentences about strange noises and panic attacks she had suffered , ghosts , spirits . Alan understood and it seems like all the boys understood panic beyond their years . The letter was incomplete . The story about this being a major hub for the underground railroad seemed unimanaginable , even in this huge inn .
One day while climbing a pepper tree in the back yard Bron , the second oldest noticed a white wooden square made out of tongue and grove flooring that did seem very odd . Like a boarded up window but at the wrong level on the house just about 4-5 foot under the second floor bathroom window .Some days later when he found an old aluminum extension ladder in an old delapidated carport on the property he and Alan drug it out and proped it by that strange window . He succeeded at removing the panel and both awed to find a hole in the side of the house and a crawl space between the 1st and 2nd floor . He could see nothing inside , we were both scared , Alan climbed up took a look , nothing was finished , nothing to crawl on but the plaster and lathe , the opening small enough that he would have trouble turning around once entered , cobwebs top to bottom , He came back down and they decided to recap the hole but with only the couple nails that were left straight enough to hammer .
Alan got a dream thinking about some hidden treasure undiscovered in that strange nook . One day he decided to make the adventure At least enough to see around a wall that was at one side of the passage and obstructed any view of the space between the largest part of the house . He found an old flashlight and two batterys and took an old broken broom , enlisted his younger brother Glen to be a lookout . He was afraid to climb the ladder and Alan felt safe he wouldn't prank him putting the lid on once he was in
He ventured in. It was a process , clearing a way with the broom setting down the tools , scooting in and then retreiveing them for each couple feet of progress. Fnally made the 15 foot or so to the end of the strange wall that seemed oddly useless in such an inaccesible place. It was so dark . He fumbled for the flashlight , it fell apart but he got it back together in the sparse light and looked around . It was weak and only illuminated a short distance ahead . He was so far , half way he figured . He made himself go around the wall a few feet just to see, knowing he would never make that crawl again . It was harder going across the trusses, harder to keep track of the tools . It was bruising to rest across the trusses and squirm around to fish for the flashlight and broom . Turning on the flashlight now , having conserved batteries up to now and the brave lad looked around , He had so far to go , it was too hard . He was getting scared and could only see more darkness and thick matted dust saturated dangling cobwebs in every direction . Alan decided to just go in between the trusses where crawling was easier leaving the flashlingt on now so he could find it , clearing and crawling 10 feet or so back towards the rear of the house . He just wanted to see the rear corner then would make his way back . he did it and cleared a spot extra good so he could sit up upon the plaster and lathe and his head would not be in cobwebs .
He got his position , stretched for his light and sat up . He shined the dimming light around . His eyes had time to focus and adjust .Soon he spotted an object , and another . They were strewn about and more plentiful farther back . Now to get one to take back and get out .He was getting more and more frightened , soon the light would expire . He stretched and got one , it felt creepy and cob web covered . He began to back up and turned his head sideways . Horrified he could just make out a human skeleton but with old matted cobwebs ,,, or old dried flesh ? or cobwebs ? No . Obviously a badly preserved mummy was staring straight at the him . he felt paralyzed , blood rushing to his head , He realized what he was holding in his hand . and dropped it . Alan panicked . He lurched around to get back to the flashlight and hit is head on something sharp , he felt the warm blood seeping into his hair ...
Alan awoke in pitch dark with cramps twisting his feet the wood trusses digging into his hip and sat up . The musky dry air brought back the the terrible thought of where he was and what it would take to get out of there . Unable to move one leg at all , it was just asleep he hoped . Remembering the sharp object ,,, the bone the mummy, the hatch on house must have been closed . There was no light now .. the corpse , the flashlight . With nothing to lose and he began to carefully unfold . A strange courage seeped into mind , if he had life there must be some hope , determined to crawl through cobwebs and even corpses . Life is greater than death , he could feel some tingles in the leg , it is getting some blood it could move a little now he carefull fit himself between the trusses belly down and practiced moving , exercising muscles, thinking about why the hatch would be closed , Glen would have panicked and got somebody ,,,, probably mom , or Peppe , or Bron ...They would have had to cover up the escapade if Mac had come home . He was extremely violent , ex military , martial arts expert who was prone to fits of insane anger , Peppe would have replaced the hatch and layed down the ladder before risking a blow from that mad man ... Mac was good in that he gave his entire pension to Jeanne to care for the kids but we were all sure he would snap and kill at any moment . We knew he had killed many men , he wore the scars of battle , bullet wound scars in the back and neck . He carried a bullet in his head or neck that could not be removed , he had a suitcase full of pills ...
The leg tingles were painful but a good sign young Alan knew he needed to get moving but was not sure which way , just forward ... if he hit a wall he would turn around. . he crawled and movement slowly returned , cramps subsided , the attemps to move were helping , he got the leg out stretched and layed there letting the circulation return ., crawled some more .. moved the leg and nimbless was returning . The thump on the side of the house told Alan he was going the right direction light was sweet when the hatch came open even though it was not in sight it was much lighter , Peppe , the oldest yelled and Alan mustered a yell back " Im here , Im coming !" ...Taking a moment to look around was ghastly , able to see to the wall behind there were human skeletons and mummies at various stages of decay or petrification .. he could see far enough towards the front of the house to see they were scattered about but mostly in the corners where they could not be seen from the hatch door ... "Don't come in ! I will be there , it will take a while !" , Alan yelled surprised at the courage and commanding tone of his own voice .
He hurridly climbed around the wall and out of the tomb ... Peppe put the hatch on and went to find nails , Jeanne held her now sobbing son , and took him in ran him a bath , Alan saved his story for now , doubting his own recollection , wanting the hot bath bad enought to risk the validity of taking it above the tomb while he decided if it was true , what to tell , laying back and submerssing his head in the warm water , kicking on the hot with his foot. By the time he emerged he was cleaned up and told his story to his mother and oldest brother , others came in but left . It was not really tearful but somber ...
Jeanne went and called the 4 oldest boys real dad Frank and came back with boxes ,They emptied drawers into boxes and piled them out in the front yard ... Mac picked up David soon still unbelieving of any ghost stories , she didn't tell him any more . Frank showed up with a van and piled all his sons boxes into it . Jeanne stayed behind but 2 days later the family was back together in a small home in Indian Harbor Beach. 16 years later Myrtle Cottage was still there empty and dilapidated when Alan drove by now moving back to FL from St. Francisville Il . The incident had never even been reported to authorities . Now old inn has been torn down a while and a beautiful empy lot is at 422 Ocean Ave. Melbourne Beach , FL .