Since it’s Halloween, I thought I’d post the ghost story I recorded for Associated Content.
Note: There may be some grammatical errors. Hey, it was 3 am 🙂 Anyway, enjoy!
Every Halloween groups of teens and wanna-be witches flock to Rockville’s very own haunted mansion. Everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the witches that had died outside that very mansion over 200 years ago.
Legend has it that on dark, overcast nights, the ghosts of the six Catala sisters can be seen roaming throughout the three story house and walking along the bridge leading to the grounds. If you dare to cross the bridge into their territory, you will never be the same again, if you’re lucky enough to survive. Many have been found floating in the small river after trying to cross the bridge. Police always say suicide, but true believers know better.
Survivors claim to be haunted by the Catala sisters for years after they cross the threshold into the witches’ terrain. It is common for new and old witches to place sacrifices and perform strange rituals outside the broken gates leading to the bridge. Despite warnings posted on the gates, someone always enters and they always regret their decision.
Built in the late 1600s, the mansion is your typical haunted house. With three stories and an attic, the structure is slightly intimidating. No one has ever been able to find any history about the sisters other than their names and date of death. No birth records, no family history, nothing. No one has ever bothered to move in since the six were found hanged from three trees on each side of the house. An eccentric millionaire purchased the property in 1853, but has never been seen again. However, taxes are always paid and a crew appears yearly to maintain the mansion.
Three years ago, three college girls decided to visit the Catala mansion for research. They were majoring in Occult Studies and had chosen the Catala legend for their term paper. Savannah and Lucille were from the area and believed completely. Karla, on the other hand, always needed proof before she believed in what she called, “silly superstitions and urban legends.”
Halloween happened to be Monday, so the three came down on Friday night and stayed at Savannah’s house, which was only a short drive from the mansion. They started out excited and anxious, not certain what they would find, but thinking it would be fun all the same. Around 10 Saturday night, the girls drove to the mansion and parked on the dirt road leading up to the gates. They had agreed only to cross the bridge on Sunday night if there was no activity tonight. The idea was to avoid the Halloween groupies that would inevitably congregate to catch a glimpse of the famous sisters.
Armed with their favorite cross necklaces, bottles of root beer, and a pepperoni pizza, the girls set up camp in Lucille’s Cherokee. With a spooky sounds CD playing gamely in the background, they were ready for whatever show the house decided to put on, or so they thought.
Around 1am, Lucille started complaining that she was cold. Considering the night was uncharacteristically warm for late October, her friends couldn’t understand why. Karla was the next to raise complaints, expect this time, she said she felt the car was on fire. With a nice breeze and the windows down, Savannah was more than confused as to her friends’ temperature problems.
However, Savannah was the first to notice a dim light in a third story window. She turned to tell her friends, but both were looking towards the oaks to the left of the house. Despite the increasing wind, the remaining fall leaves stayed still. Looking to the right, they noticed the other three oaks were completely bare of leaves and swaying threateningly against the wind.
They quickly jotted down the occurrences and grabbed their digital camcorder. They had taken five sets of freshly charged batteries and cleared the hard drive to have plenty of space. However, the camcorder refused to turn on. They tried all their batteries, but to no avail. Karla had thought to bring along her small digital camera, but no matter how many pictures she took, they all showed the same scene. The house standing proudly with spring flowers in front and the trees covered in dark green leaves.
Savannah turned back to the house and saw that two of the second story windows were filled with candle light. In one, the outline of a small woman could be seen writing. Lucille couldn’t help but gasp when the curtains parted in the third story window to show a young woman, no older than 30, peering out at them. Despite, the distance, Lucille felt as if the woman was looking straight at her.
At this point, the girls were more excited than frightened. The activity continued for another hour before all the lights disappeared suddenly. The girls stayed two more hours before heading back home. Even though it was 5 when they got back to Savannah’s, no one could sleep. All they could do was discuss what had happened. They quickly agreed to go back Sunday and cross the bridge before midnight, just in case the legend was true.
9 pm and they were parked back near the gate. A few other cars were around, but no one was daring to go inside the broken, iron gate. Karla was the first out of the Cherokee. Savannah had tried to talk everyone out of going in, but Karla was adamant. Lucille said she wasn’t sure, but if Karla was going, she might as well tag along.
Savannah and Lucille reluctantly followed their friend to the entrance. After a short pause, the three entered. Immediately, they air changed. Muggy, yet cold at the same time. Instead of turning back, they walked to edge of the bridge. Despite, the years that had passed, the bridge was still in excellent condition. Lucille was the only one to look down as they crossed. The water was still and black. A chill went down her spine as she turned away. The moment their feet hit the gravel on the other side of the bridge, the wind began to gust. Looking back, they noticed the leaves on the trees near their car were barely moving.
The oaks on either side of the house stood tall and still like dark sentinels keeping watch. Karla hesitated only a second before walking on the wrap around porch and stopping at the front door. Savannah looked back once more before joining her friends. Karla tried the knob and was surprised to find it unlocked. Peering inside, the house smelled slightly old and musty. Everything seemed normal, except the furniture.
The annual crews always came out in early spring, but the furniture was spotless. The girls climbed the spiral staircase to the second story. The same was true. Lucille walked down the carpeted hallway and opened the door to the room where she had seen the woman the night before. There she found a small desk with a closed journal and a fresh pot of ink. She screamed as the door slammed shut. Turning the knob, she was horrified to find the door locked. Karla came running and pushed the door opened with ease.
All three girls checked, but there was no way to lock the door. Shaken, they continued to the third story. This time every door they tried was locked. The only floor with carpets seemed to be the second. Even with tennis shoes, their footsteps seemed to echo through the house. However, this story was the most interesting. Six paintings hung down the hallway.
The girls were surprised to see six beautiful girls smiling for the artist. The portraits appeared as real as today’s photographs. No matter how they looked at them, the eyes were always staring straight into the viewer’s. Karla glanced at her watch and told the others it was time to go. Midnight was less than half an hour away. Savannah told them to go ahead, but that she wished to check the attic before they left.
Lucille said she had had enough and was going back to the car. Karla offered to go explore with Savannah. The group separated. Karla and Savannah walked to the end of the hall to find a ladder built into the wall. After pushing back a small panel, they were able to climb into the attic. Nothing looked extraordinary at first glance. Then they noticed a large bookcase. Throughout the house, they had found a few books, but mainly recipes or history related.
Karla picked up one entitled, Way of the Winds. The book was compiled of several different styles of handwriting. By flipping through, she noticed the book was full of spells dealing with the weather. Savannah had already checked two others and found them filled with spells and how to make potions. They browsed the rest of the attic, but could find nothing about their history. No paintings, no names, nothing except that of the six sisters.
As they climbed out of the attic, they noticed a door opened near the stairs. As they stepped closer, the door slammed shut. In the darkness, they could see light shining underneath the door. Savannah stood and listened, but could hear nothing. The two quickly exited the house. As they neared the bridge, they stopped dead. Several boards were missing in the middle. As they began to cross, the bridge began to tremble. The girls started running to the other side.
Just as Savannah’s feet hit the grass, she heard Karla scream. She looked back, but Karla was no where to be found. She hurried back onto the bridge, but she couldn’t find her. The water was just as still as before. Strangely enough, there were no boards missing now. As she called Karla’s name, she heard her scream once more and suddenly all was silent. No wind, no insects, not even a whisper from the cars parked nearby. Lucille had run out to stand at the edge of the bridge.
She yelled for Savannah to come back. Savannah screamed that Karla was gone. Lucille hurried to Savannah and told her that Karla was standing right there. Savannah spun around, but saw no one. Lucille turned and her mouth dropped open as she saw that every window in the mansion was filled with candle light. Five figures were standing in various windows and the front door was open with the oldest sister standing in the frame.
As the girls watched, Karla appeared out of nowhere and walked up the steps and into the house. As they tried to step forward, an invisible wall blocked their path. Lucille was suddenly being pushed towards the railings. Savannah tried to reach toward Lucille, but was held back by unseen hands. They heard Karla start screaming from an upstairs window. Her screams were cut off abruptly and the night was still once more.
Lucille and Savannah stumbled off the bridge. As they backed towards the car, they saw every light in the house go out at once. The gate, as good as new, was locked, blocking their way out. The two huddled against the gate, in the now frigid air, until morning. The moment dawn began to break, they felt the gate shift. As they looked around, everything looked normal again. A simple mansion, a broken down gate, and a perfect bridge over a sparkling river.
They ran to the house and searched for most of the day for Karla. There was no trace to be found. They tried to call the cops but both cell phones had mysteriously died over night. They drove home in silence. They called the police the moment they got to Savannah’s. Three days later, Karla’s body was found floating in the river directly under the bridge. The police found no evidence of foul play and decided it had to be another suicide. However, Savannah and Lucille both noticed strange symbols tattooed on her wrists.
The next two years brought Savannah and Lucille constant nightmares. The days were worse. Karla appeared every where. At school and at home, they would see the Catala sisters watching them. No one else seemed to see them. They decided to revisit the mansion. Once again, they arrived around 10 and simply waited. The first night, nothing happened. This was perhaps the first peaceful night they had had since Karla’s death.
However, the second night was anything but peaceful. Standing at the gate, the girls saw every window light up one by one. The front door opened and Karla was standing in the doorway. A younger sister was standing behind her. They watched as Karla turned to speak to her and then she stepped out of the house and walked across the bridge. She stopped just before the bridge ended and motioned to her friends.
Without speaking, both Savannah and Lucille walked slowly towards her. She looked the same as she did the last time they had seen her. They tried to ask her what had happened, but she simply smiled and shook her head. She motioned for them to join her on the bridge. Tentatively, they stepped onto the bridge. Karla suddenly vanished. As they turned to run off the bridge they once again found their way blocked. Both began to scream. As they looked back, they saw all six sisters standing on the other side of the bridge with Karla between them.
The oldest sister smiled and the board Lucille was standing on broke and fell into the river. The water didn’t even ripple. Lucille jumped back. The girls heard the board beneath their feet crack. They dived for the next board, putting them closer to the sisters. Savannah began to walk forward. Lucille stayed where she was. As Savannah reached the witches, Lucille screamed. Savannah turned, but Lucille had already fallen. She watch in horror as Lucille appeared next to Karla. Frozen, she watched as the group walked back towards the house. After screaming for a minute, everything stilled and the house turned dark.
Savannah turned and walked across the now perfect bridge. She called the police when she arrived home. Three days later, Lucille’s body was found below the bridge. The same symbols were tattooed on her wrist. The night after the funeral, Savannah dreamt of the sisters. When she woke, the ghosts were standing around her bed. Suddenly, she couldn’t breathe, couldn’t scream. One reached for her hand. The fingers felt colder than ice. Using a finger nail, the ghost traced a symbol on Savannah’s wrist.
Savannah watched as blood bubbled around the nail. Just as abruptly as they had appeared, the ghosts were gone. Savannah fainted. When she awoke, her wrist had been tattooed. There was no trace of the blood. However, to this day, she carries the symbol. She sees the sisters every night without fail. She now fears every bump, every shadow. Wishing every day she had never set eyes on the Catala mansion. Savannah discovered the hard way that some urban legends are real.