Rachel says I should write this as a way of settling my nerves. In 20 minutes or so, we’re going to start the séance, and, yes, now the time’s here, I am rather nervous about it. I’ve never taken part in anything like this before so I don’t know what to expect. I’ve seen it in movies but how close to real life can that be?
Okay, to bring this journal up to date with today’s events so far ~ Alex finally got around the security on the database and she and Florence learned that Dr Carver was called to the Manor to treat Florentine for acute anemia and severe depression. So I think it safe to say that Florentine McFarlane is the crying woman and it is her face we all saw. Why she was depressed, I don’t know. Rachel says one of the symptoms of anemia is tiredness. Maybe that, over a period of time, left untreated, could have become depression. There was no record of anyone being treated for a gunshot wound. We have no idea where the screaming comes in, or the laughter, or why the two brothers were arguing. We are all hopeful that the séance will answer those questions.
When we got back to the lodge this morning, Derek made the formal suggestion to Andy. He said that we’d all been asked our opinions informally to see if the idea had any merit. Andy agreed that it was worthwhile. Halloween is the night to do it. Then, we went to sleep. This afternoon, Alex and Florence gave us the latest on the research (see above) and we discussed it, Derek said he’d found a man’s voice in the background of the laughing tape, and then he, Alex and Rachel talked us thru what’s involved in a séance. We’d sit in a circle, hold hands and open our minds to the possibilities. We should try not to think or move around. We should focus on the Manor. Derek would lead, we’re all there to support him. Nick and Peri are sitting it out as security in case something goes wrong. They’ll also video the whole thing so, if none of us can remember what happens or our memories are a little fuzzy, we can watch it later. We spent the afternoon mostly in our two groups – the club and the Foundation – preparing in our own way. Andy, Drake, Florence and I talked quietly, went for a walk around the grounds. I apologized to them for being such a controlling bitch. They accepted it and said they were pleased I was so different now although they wished I didn’t have to go thru such an ordeal to get there. Then we talked about where we would go on next year’s vacation, but promised we’d get together long before that.
We came back to the Manor at 7:00, later than usual. It feels different again. It has an electricity in the air, a buzz. Almost like it’s alive. Nick had set up the video camera in the library and moved chairs in there. Derek’s been conferring with Alex and I think we’re about ready to start now. More later .. I hope.
I feel exhausted. I didn’t ever believe it would take so long. I thought .. 30 minutes max. It was 3 hours. It started slow, nothing happened. I think we were all too wired to relax into it. When that wore off, I felt so strange. Light headed. Drugged or so tired. And then … Well, I remember but it’s like it happened to someone else. If I hadn’t seen it on video, I’d never have believed it. Derek began to call on the spirits in Haystone to come to us, to tell us their story. I remember that clearly. And then .. they answered. They didn’t appear but they came to tell us. They used us to tell it for them.
The video shows Drake, Andy, Florence, Alex and myself suddenly slump down in our chairs. Then our heads rise and we look at each other as if we’re family – we love each other and yet we hate each other. We start to talk. Derek asks me who I am, and I say Charity McFarlane. I felt her inside me. I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t do anything. My mind had been shoved aside. And the story I helped tell … My God. It’s unbelievable. The worst thing is that, although I loved them, I did nothing. I let it go on. I’m as much to blame as they are. I helped bury the body.
We’re all set up ready and I just hope the others are up to this. They look nervous but in an excited way. I’ve told them to write their journals because today’s details may seem fuzzy afterward. To them, this is what Halloween should be about. If they’d seen the things I have, they wouldn’t be so excited about it.
I’m taking part in the séance, along with Derek and Alex. Nick and Peri are sitting it out. We need outside observers as well as someone there to break it up if anything goes wrong. We have to keep in mind that a shot was fired, blood was spilled, and an argument did take place. We’ve had crying and screaming. This house was not a happy family home. It isn’t going to be easy. Anyone thinks it is .. they’re in for a shock.
Journals should be as complete as they can so I’ll fill in this morning’s details. We were all aware that our time here is limited and Halloween night was really our best chance, so, when we got back to the lodge, Derek formally raised the subject of a proper séance. Andrew agreed to it. They were all willing to try. Then we slept because we were tired, and not just physically tired. I think the strain of listening and analyzing only to have more questions, of researching but not finding exactly what we want only more leads, was starting to tell on our mental reserves. I know I went out like a light and didn’t really feel refreshed when I woke. To be honest, I’m looking forward to sleeping when it’s dark and in my own bed. For now, though, I won’t quit.
The afternoon began well – Alex and Florence made a breakthrough. Dr Carver did not treat anyone for a gunshot wound – which is a little puzzling – but he had been called to the Manor to treat Florentine McFarlane for severe depression and acute anemia. It could be the two are related medically with the anemia coming first. Anemia causes tiredness which, left untreated, would wear a person down and lead to depression, especially if they’ve lived an active life up to that point. It probably means that Florentine is the woman we heard crying and it is her face we’ve seen. One of the other side effects of depression is insomnia which aggravates the tiredness and leads to a downward spiral. I don’t know but one supposition could be that the spiral dragged her down to a suicidal state of mind and she tried to shoot herself but was saved. The blood was from a flesh wound easily treated. And, of course, a family like that wouldn’t want it known even in a confidential record. It has to be proved but it’s workable from a medical aspect.
Derek told us that he’d located 1 other voice, a male voice, in the background of the recording from last night. Again, too faint for details.
We spent the afternoon in 2 groups, or, more accurately, 3 groups. Andrew and the others went out for a walk after Derek, Alex and I talked them thru what a séance involves. The 3 of us began our preparations too, mainly quiet time, talking softly. Nick and Peri went to the Manor to set it up for tonight.
After supper, we came up to the house. As soon as we walked in, we could feel the difference. The Manor seems to know which night it is and maybe even that we are here to help. I won’t say it feels cooperative but there is some sense approaching anticipation in the air.
Derek doesn’t want to wait till midnight because that is a very dangerous time on Halloween – we don’t want anyone to get hurt. I think we’re about ready to start now. I’ll finish this later …
It’s now past midnight and Alex is recovering well. She’s experienced this type of activity before and she’s bouncing back. The others are disoriented still, a little unsteady on their feet and looking slightly nauseous. I’m not surprised. I was in the circle but not affected; neither was Derek. Nick got the whole thing on tape. At first, they weren’t in the mood to settle to it but the nerves wore off and, suddenly, they all slumped down, even Alex. The spirits in this house came at Derek’s invitation and they used the bodies they found waiting here to tell, and act out, their story. In turn, Derek asked who they were. Alex was Clemency McFarlane, Carrie was Charity and Florence was Florentine. Jack McFarlane used Andrew and Barnaby spoke thru Drake.
I can’t believe what I heard, yet I know it’s the truth. It was all too passionate to be a lie. It’s a story of love and death. They buried the body right here, in the library.
I can rest up for a while now. Rachel has everything under control. Derek wants to watch the tape again. Everything’s been answered. At last, we know what happened here and why Jack decided to shut the gates and, ultimately, to sell up. He couldn’t face living here a second longer, not with the people he loved most yet felt so ashamed of. Merli says, now it’s out in the open, the disturbances will probably end. Maybe. If anything anchors a spirit to this world, it’ll be either love or hate. Here, we got both.
The smell in the library – that of rotting flesh – turns out to be a dead body after all. But it didn’t stay buried in here. They moved it and reburied it in the woods out back. Merli and I found the place this afternoon but we didn’t know what it meant, not exactly. We had ideas – they were all wrong. Way off track.
When we got back to the lodge this morning, Derek asked Andrew to consider the idea of a séance. Everyone had been approached informally to gather opinions on whether it was a good idea or not. They’d all had time to think about it and so Andrew said yes. I think Merli was a little disappointed, not because she thinks it a bad idea but she doesn’t like to see civilians put in danger and the truth is that none of them had done this before. It sounded right for the occasion and the place but that shouldn’t be why it’s held. Then we split up to sleep. After lunch, Derek brought us up to speed on the analysis and said he’d heard a man’s voice very faintly in the background of the laughing tape. Alex told us that Dr Carver had been summoned to the Manor to treat Florentine, the youngest of the sisters, for depression and anemia. Rachel explained how one could bring on the other. No gunshot wounds though – at least, not in any of the McFarlane medical records. There was a wound but the doctor never knew about it. Derek, Alex and Rachel explained what would be involved in holding the séance and how to prep for it. Merli and I had already decided we’d sit it out. Derek wanted the whole thing taped so we went up to the Manor to get it ready. We set up chairs in the library, got a good angle for the camera so it would catch everything but not be intrusive. Then we went out to the woods to check out those trails.
We found a small, cleared area with a simple fence around it. It had started out that way but, after so long, it was overgrown. You could still tell it wasn’t natural. Set back a little from the path, with this low fence. Naturally, we went to investigate and found a wooden marker. No name on it. Definitely not hallowed ground; at least, not hallowed by a minister. I like to think it was hallowed by love and tears. It was a fair distance from the Manor, not in sight of any of the windows. A shameful place. Jack had to keep it secret but he didn’t want to see it every day. It was there though, in his mind. It shattered his family. It was the reason why they had to leave.
At 7:00, we came up to the house again. Derek spent some time talking with Alex while Rachel kept an eye on the others. Then, we got down to it. Simple enough. Derek, Rachel, Alex sat between Andrew, Drake and Florence. Carrie was in the circle too. Merli and I stayed outside. Aquila was there as well, tense and waiting. I figured we had it covered. At first, nothing happened. Then, because nothing happened, they relaxed enough to let it happen. Derek called on the ghosts to come and tell their story. They did but not how we expected. They moved into Alex, Drake, Andrew, Carrie and Florence. Just took them over. Merli was anxious, wondering if they’d leave again – they did, once it was all out in the open. How Jack and Barnaby argued and Jack shot him in the shoulder because Barnaby got in the way – Jack had been trying to shoot Florentine, and not to wound. It was acted out in front of the camera. The screaming – Florentine again, with Barnaby and Charity there with her. The crying – Florentine alone and in despair. Burying the body in the library, then digging it up again and burying it out in the woods where no one would find it. We’d thought it had been the grave of an animal, a family pet. It was about the right size. But it was Florentine’s baby.
I have really tried today to emulate Alex’s professionalism but I have had to admit I am just an amateur with aspirations. I wanted to be as calm and composed as she is about this séance but I’m just too nervous and excited about it. We haven’t held the séance yet but it won’t be long now. A few minutes. Rachel advises us to write down today so far because later we’ll be too busy thinking about what we learn, to remember what happened before. Also, it’s a distraction, stopping us from dwelling on what we’re about to do.
Alex made the break thru the firewall at around 4:20 this morning. She looked so tired by that time that we didn’t really feel it was the success it was. We read all five McFarlane medical records, concentrating on the last 12-18 months of their time in the Manor. The only one Dr Carver saw was Florentine. A rather terse entry related that he’d diagnosed severe depression and acute anemia. Then we shut down and prepared to return to the lodge. Over breakfast, Derek asked Andrew about holding a séance to learn the truth. He added that we’d all been asked only informally to learn our reactions. If we were against it then he would’ve stayed silent but the general consensus appeared to be in favor. Andrew said yes. Derek said we’d all be briefed later on what to expect. Then we all went to our various rooms to sleep. Alex slept at once. I was too wired to sleep. I lay there just thinking of what might happen, not just during the séance but afterward as well. Could we really bring peace to these people? It was such a wonderful idea that, after so many years of torment, the members of the ghost club could bring it to an end. Eventually, I did sleep but I was tired when I woke. Not surprising, I guess.
We ate lunch and Alex told the group about our findings with the medical records. She is so thorough. I would’ve just said about Florentine but Alex related everything. Rachel explained what anemia does and how it might cause depression. We all agreed that Florentine must be the ghost we’ve seen. Derek said he’d isolated another voice on the laughing tape but it was very faint. He couldn’t do any more with it here. Then we moved on to tonight’s plan. Nick and Peri would stay outside the circle as security. I don’t like the implied suggestion that something could go wrong. It makes me very nervous. Derek, Rachel and Alex told us the best way to prepare ourselves, and what was involved, how to do it. The preparation advice was more or less followed. We spent quiet time as a group. We went outside, walking around the garden, trying to ‘get back to nature’. We talked too. Carrie apologized for being a cow. That was very good of her. She is so different now. We discussed where we’d go on next year’s vacation – again, a distraction, a way of telling ourselves there will be a vacation next year because we’ll all sail thru tonight. We did promise to meet up again before vacation time, as a group of 4, maybe around Christmas. We’re all single people, and Haystone has really brought us together as friends. In a way, that is a result.
I don’t have much time left now so I’ll just note that we returned here at 7:00. Everything was ready for us. Nick and Peri did that this afternoon. The Manor feels different. Sparky, alive. Not at all spooky, like it should as a haunted house on Halloween. Derek’s calling us into the circle. Have to go. More later ~
I don’t know if I can write it all, not now. I’m just stunned at what happened to me. More than that, I’m stunned at the story I helped tell. I have to remember I am Florence Goode, not .. her. I’ll have to work up to it – the séance started slowly because we were too tense. We didn’t prepare properly. Then, when we all thought it was a bust, we relaxed and focused on the Manor and not on ourselves. Derek asked them to come to us, to tell their story. Suddenly, I felt very weird. I could see but it was like double vision. Andy was still there but his face was someone else’s. So were Drake’s and Carrie’s, and Alex’s. I knew them. They were my family. Andy looked at me with such disgust and horror. Alex and Carrie were .. distant, cool. But Drake …
And then we began to talk. Drake and I, Drake and Andy, the 3 of us, all of us. I can’t even begin to think about it.
I can’t write any more tonight. It’s too raw. Tomorrow, I’ll fill in the gaps. I can do it then because I’m never going to forget tonight. Never.
Florence has been so thorough in her research that I’m thinking of asking her to compile a report which we can mail to Mr Jessop. Maybe Drake can include a few photographs too. Mr Jessop did request a report should we experience anything .. and we have. I think no one who spent time here has bothered. I don’t know why – maybe the Manor didn’t consider them serious enough. Maybe those others who applied for permits, or who sneaked over the wall and got inside somehow, were only here to say they’d been here. But, although we’re amateurs, we approached it seriously, scientifically, as well as hoping to be scared by .. something.
The culmination of all that is about to begin. I’ve seen strange things during my time in the house on Angel Island. The sword of Amaterasu, old Japanese gods, freeing of trapped souls. That was different, and I know why. There, then, I was Andrew the butler, trained to stay calm amidst chaos. I’m a professional butler. Here, now, I’m Andy, an amateur ghost hunter and I am trying so hard to find Andrew’s courage and unflappability, and I’m failing. I’m scared of this séance. I’m going to do it but I am shaking all over.
I have maybe 5 minutes. DR is talking with AM, and NB is checking the video camera is ready. So, briefly, the morning began with the formal suggestion to hold a séance. We’d all been asked informally and it was clear that we were all in agreement so I said yes. We slept. When we woke, I prepared lunch and then AM and Florence updated us on the research. Dr Carver had treated Florentine McFarlane for anemia and depression. RC explained how they could be linked. DR said he’d found another voice in the background of yesterday’s recording. Then RC, AM and DR gave us a briefing on what to expect in the séance, what we had to do during it and how we should prepare. NB and PB would sit it out as observers and security; they went to prepare the Manor. Drake, Carrie, Florence and I went for a walk. It was a lovely day. Hard to think it’s the beginning of November tomorrow. We talked about nothing much, more to fill the silence than anything. Carrie said she was sorry for being so controlling. We accepted it. Wasn’t quite a group hug but we came close. We talked about where we’d go next year on the ghost hunt. Then it was time to get back and prepare supper.
At 7:00, we came up to the house. It feels different. Maybe it’s me and, because it’s Halloween, I expected it to be different – all I have are my senses. To me, it feels alive. Keen. It feels like Carrie looks. Me, I feel sick but there’s no way I can back out now. Okay, this is it. Wish me luck, journal …
It’s a lot later now. It’s over. We know everything. I feel .. shaken at the story itself and I can’t believe it’s really true but it’s too real to be a lie. I lived it. I know it’s true. It’s just that I can’t believe it. Jack McFarlane .. was me. I’m not reincarnated – his spirit invaded my body and used me. I spoke but it wasn’t my voice. I saw people I’ve known for years with different faces. My brother and sisters. I tried to kill Florence and Drake pushed her out of the way so I shot him in the shoulder. I didn’t have a gun but I acted as if I did and I wanted to kill her. I felt every emotion – the disgust and the horror, the shame, the pure, undiluted rage. The love turn to hatred. I, me, I was sick inside but I couldn’t stop any of it. I sold Haystone, our inheritance, because I couldn’t stand to be with those people anymore. They ruined my life. Now it’s over, I can’t look at any of them. I feel they’re judging me. Accusing me. I don’t know if I can go back to my job. Facing DR, AM, the others .. and them knowing how I acted tonight …
My God, it’s slowly sinking in. I’m starting to separate out my memories from his. I feel cold, shaky, like I’m coming down with the flu. I think I’m going to throw up. What a terrible, horrible story .. but it isn’t a story. It’s history. It happened right here in this house. Jack believed leaving, separating, would free him from his shame but, when he died, he was dragged back, just like the others, to live it out again and again … He won’t be seen because he can’t bear to show his face to anyone.
Nick is resetting the video recording so, while he does that, I will record my journal entry for today. When we returned to the lodge this morning, I formally requested permission to hold the séance. Andrew agreed. I asked early because we would need the afternoon to prepare both mentally and physically. We could begin thinking about it while we slept. The mood in the lodge when we woke was a mixed bag. People were somber but purposeful, and there was an element of restrained excitement as well as genuine fear. I considered all those to be healthy signs that they were approaching it with the necessary caution. Séances are serious business, not something to be undertaken lightly and especially so on Halloween night. We ate lunch while Alex and Florence updated us on the research. Alex had finally broken into the database in the early hours, just as she had predicted she would, and they had used their remaining time to examine each medical record for the McFarlanes. There was no record of anyone being treated for a gunshot wound, which I found intriguing, and Florentine McFarlane was diagnosed with anemia and depression. I began to see a light shining dimly in the darkness of my ignorance. This one small piece of information turned me in the right direction. Now all I needed to know were the fine details and those I hoped to gain during the séance.
I gave my own results – I had found another voice in the background of the laughing tape. Too faint to make out words but the tone of voice .. is strange. It does not appear to be sharing the woman’s obvious joie de vivre.
Bearing in mind the fact that a gun had been fired at some point, I asked Nick and Peri to sit outside the circle. I wanted not only impartial observers but also 2 strong personalities able to break it up should it slip out of control. I also wanted the proceedings video taped. They left to set up the library in the Manor. Alex, Rachel and I briefed Andrew and the others on the preparation they should do, what was involved in a séance, the practicalities, and what could happen during the séance. They listened but I don’t know if they truly understood all we were saying. They went outside when we’d finished. Rachel and Alex remained for a while and we discussed what we wanted to learn from these spirits should they agree to speak to us. Obviously, we want the various noises explained. We want to know why they decided to sell and leave, and, when they died, what forced them back. We also debated the various strengths and weaknesses of Andrew’s friends, if they could cope with the séance and the aftermath. I was especially concerned about Carrie but Rachel said she believed she would be all right. Carrie was doing it for the right reasons. Then we parted for some quiet time of our own.
After supper, we returned to the Manor. We had agreed between us to start at 8:00 because we wanted to be finished before midnight. Something warned me that continuing on to and past midnight would be a mistake. Andrew, Drake, Florence and Carrie were all looking rather more nervous as they joined the circle and we linked hands – clearly, they hadn’t understood the need to mentally prepare. I didn’t expect any response for around 15 minutes, and I didn’t get one. The lack of success eased nerves and we started over. And then, quite suddenly, 5 of us sagged in the chairs. Rachel and I were the only unaffected ones. It lasted possibly 5 to 6 seconds then heads rose and they looked at each other. I saw recognition in each pair of eyes, and I also saw a variety of emotions. I asked each one who they were – I was inwardly alarmed at this turn of events as I had not anticipated possession. Andrew said he was Jack McFarlane, the owner of Haystone Manor. Drake said he was Barnaby. Alex was Clemency McFarlane, Carrie was Charity, and Florence was Florentine. By this point, I had confirmed 2 of my suspicions. I then asked them to explain the noises we had heard. They broke the circle and proceeded to act out the events in the correct sequence. Peri was the one now alarmed as, with the circle broken, we had lost control and there was no guarantee that we could force the spirits out of their temporary homes. The sequence ran: Drake and Florence talking, Florence laughing with Drake, the argument between Andrew and Drake, Andrew attempting to shoot Florence but Drake receiving a wound to the shoulder instead, Florence screaming with Drake and Carrie in attendance, Florence crying alone, the burying of a body under the library floor, and, finally, the exhuming of the body and the reburial outside somewhere.
Nick has the video ready for viewing now so I must end this entry.
Have you ever said yes to something and really believed it was the right thing to say and then spent hours realizing it was wrong but pride won’t let you back out so you’re committed and obliged and, really, you’d rather eat your own intestines? Guess what, journal – that was me today. I said yes to the idea of a séance and I truly believed it was the right thing to be doing – I’d agonized over it at the time – but the thing is the time I agonized over it was nearly 24 hours ago. An eternity. When it became today, the doubts kicked in with a vengeance, and, by the time it became tonight, I was at the intestine eating stage. Believe me, I have learned a lot from this experience, the #1 lesson being always think at least 5 times before committing to anything. If the answer’s still yes, then go for it – it’s probably safe.
How I got to sleep this morning is a secret known only to God because it’s beyond me. I woke feeling sick but I ate lunch. I felt sick all afternoon but I listened to the research update and to the lecture on preparation, involvement and expectations. In 1 ear, straight out the other, I’m afraid. It didn’t stay long enough to shift the dull droning voice saying ‘what the fuck are you doing, Drake? Are you crazy?’ Nick and Peri didn’t stay to listen – I wish I’d gone with them. Anyway, once that hell was over, we escaped outside. I needed fresh air, sunshine, things I’ve never really appreciated before now. Didn’t feel like Halloween except for the hollow feeling of dread in my stomach.
Actually, this afternoon was really nice. Just the 4 of us, and we talked like we’ve never really talked before. Friends. Four different jobs and histories but a shared interest which brought us together. You know, I feel lucky to have friends like these. Amazing what a good, solid sense of impending doom will do. Carrie apologized to us. It drew a line under the past as far as I was concerned. We talked about what place we’d visit next year but promised we’d get together maybe at Christmas. Andy did a fabulous supper tonight but I couldn’t help thinking about the condemned having a hearty last meal. Talk had dropped way off by then. We were all nervous, even the Foundation people.
At 6:45, we did the walk up the drive and entered the Manor. I was really wishing I’d paid more attention to the briefing earlier. I wished there were bathroom facilities in the big house. But the weird part was that, as soon as I got inside, I didn’t feel sick anymore. Nervous, yes, but not sick. The Manor feels different. Charged. Tingling. I saw the library was set up ready for us and I wanted to get on with it, get it over with, but Derek had to finish his preparation, I guess. He’s talking with Alex right now .. oh, I think this is it. Here we go, journal …
Holy shit ..! I’m still alive. I feel like I’ve lived another life compressed into 3 hours. That’s because I have. I have not only taken part in my first ever séance but I’ve been possessed by the ghost of Barnaby McFarlane. I’ve been shot by my best friend who was also my brother. Oh shit .. this is seriously weird. My head is totally fucked up. But I’m alive. I never believe I’d get thru it.
Okay, well, it began with us sitting down and holding hands. Derek started talking, calling to the spirits in the house. Damn all happened. I was relieved, thought he’d call it off. After around 15 minutes, I was getting bored and I felt suddenly very heavy. I slumped down and my vision went blurred, sound got muted. I felt like I wasn’t alone in my own head. When I looked up, I could see faces I knew and faces I didn’t know, yet I did. They were my family. Derek asked us who we were. When it got to my turn, this voice came out of my mouth which wasn’t my voice and said Barnaby McFarlane. While all this is going on, my voice is giving a very faint, shrill scream in the back of my head. Then we got into telling the story. No, no, we didn’t tell the story. We acted out the story. Man, if I felt sick before, I feel worse now. I know Andy didn’t have a gun, but, when he pulled the trigger, my body felt like it had been shot. There was pain and I fell over. I’ve just looked and I have a bruise like a golf ball on my shoulder. And .. it’s all my fault, all of it. I’m responsible for tearing this family apart …
I had a phone call this morning from the contractors – they’ve finished at the house. I’d forgotten all about it. That’s how much Haystone has gotten to me. I had forgotten I have a new house. I haven’t told Nicky yet. There’s time for that tomorrow.
Well, Haystone is a done deal. The séance worked. Not quite as we’d expected but everyone survived with their personalities intact and the possession was only temporary. I think, on the whole, they’ve come thru the experience quite well. They’re still a little unsteady, a little incredulous, but they’re busy scribbling in their journals, getting the details down while they’re fresh .. although I think they’ll have more to add tomorrow once it’s sunk in.
As for what happened here .. it’s pretty sick. Not evil. These things do still happen today but I can sure understand Jack McFarlane’s shame and why he shut out the world. Even why he stopped his family going to church.
We agreed this morning that the séance should go ahead. We slept. No one changed their minds so, this afternoon, Alex and Florence gave us the update on their research, and then Derek told us what he’d found on last night’s tape, and then Nicky and I went to set up the library. Basically, Dr Carver was called to the Manor to treat Florentine for depression and anemia, Derek heard 1 other voice in the background (a man), and we moved chairs and set up the video camera because Derek wanted a full record. Then we went out to check the trails in the woods. That was when Aquila started to put 2 and 2 together. Things began to fall into place.
We found an overgrown patch set back from the trail with a small wooden fence around it. Looked handmade. Amateur. Inside, there was (once we’d cleared the weeds a little) a wooden cross marking a grave. Again, the marker looked amateur. Nicky and I thought it was for a pet dog or something because it looked like something a kid would have insisted on doing. Animals don’t get buried in hallowed ground and this was definitely not that. We got it wrong. Now I know what’s buried in
that patch of ground, I can understand why it looks so amateur and why it’s where it is. You really have to expect to find something to see where to look. This grave isn’t something you’d discover by accident or by just strolling past on a warm summer’s day.
After supper (a particularly good meal – I think Andy was working along the lines of the last supper), we all came back to the Manor – for the last time officially. Andy, Drake, Carrie and Florence were keen yet anxious. I got the feeling that, if Derek had asked for any changes of heart, most would have leapt at the chance to back out. But he didn’t. They had guts, I’ll grant them that. Derek spent some time talking with Alex, going over the details of what needed to be asked, what exactly he had to do. Rachel was a mobile buffer zone, keeping the others busy, getting them to write their journals. Nicky, Aquila and I were sitting outside the circle as witnesses, camera operator and muscle should events go wrong. At 8:00, it began but nothing happened. It was too tense. When they’d relaxed, it happened fast. Aquila straightened up just as Alex, Carrie, Florence, Andy and Drake sagged. We knew spirits were in them, it was a question of who was in which body. I was anxious then because possession isn’t easy to control. There are no guarantees that, at the end, they’ll move out again. Derek asked them in turn who they were. Andy was Jack and Drake was Barnaby, Alex was Clemency, Carrie was Charity and Florence was Florentine. They were watching each other warily, not really pleased to see each other. In fact, Andy’s face was twisted with loathing and disgust. Alex and Carrie kept themselves aloof and a little distant. As for the other 2 … Derek asked them to tell us their story. They acted it out instead. All the scenes we’ve heard, we got to see. To do that, they broke the circle. I was alarmed by that. It meant we’d lost control over these invaders. But the whole sorry thing came out in the open. They were all guilty of something – Jack tried to kill his sister but shot his brother instead and the other 2 sisters nursed his wound because Jack wouldn’t let anyone go for Dr Carver. Charity and Clemency helped bury the body under the library floor and then helped dig it up again so it could be buried in the woods. They all kept the secret. And Barnaby and Florentine .. I don’t know who was the more guilty. Him for starting it or her for letting it go so far. I just hope the friendship between these people will survive tonight’s revelations.
I didn’t get time before to write up my journal so, although I’m feeling fragile and a little disoriented, I’ll do it now. It isn’t exactly strenuous activity. At least I have the benefit of past experience to help me thru this. What Andrew and Drake, Florence and Carrie must be feeling right now … Actually, thinking about my past experience and the experiments I’ve undertaken, I’m leaning toward the view that what happened is my fault. It’s accepted knowledge that a paranormal experience leaves an invisible mark on you. It creates channels, pathways, so it’s more likely than not to happen again. When we sat in the circle, the spirits in this house must have recognized that I’d been possessed before. If I hadn’t, maybe it wouldn’t have happened the way it did.
Anyway, it’s over now. Haystone has finally surrendered its dark secret. And it is dark. Not evil, just like Peri’s said from the start, but definitely dark. Definitely a reason to close the gates and hide away, to end one facet of life and contemplate ruin should it ever be discovered. I don’t know what I expected really to learn tonight but I didn’t expect this.
It was past 4:15 when I managed to finally break thru the firewall into the medical records. It was a success but Florence and I were too tired to really appreciate it. We were both very aware that time was slipping away so we read the records, concentrating on a specific period, as fast as we could. We got some information but it was terse and had hardly any meaningful detail. Then it was time to pack up and get back to the lodge.
There, over breakfast, Derek raised the question of a séance. They’d all been primed, it was on their minds. Andrew said yes. He couldn’t really say no. We slept. Florence seemed restless but I was tired and I don’t even remember drifting off. We woke earlier than usual, around 1:30. There was a lot to get done this afternoon. After lunch, Florence and I presented our last update and passed on the information we’d acquired. Florentine was the only McFarlane patient in the 18 months prior to the Manor being sold and it was for depression and anemia. It didn’t tell me anything but Rachel had a few ideas. Then Derek told us what he’d learned from the laughing tape. A man’s voice in the background. A murmur. Once we get all these recordings back home, we’ll be able to crosscheck them with the video of tonight’s séance. Finally, Derek, Rachel and I talked thru with Andrew and the others what they should expect, what they had to do and how to prepare for it. They paid attention but their expressions were a little frozen. I think nerves were getting the upper hand. They decided to go out and do their prep in the garden. Nick and Peri had already left to get the library set up for us. After Derek, Rachel and I discussed what we would do, I went to my room and meditated for a couple of hours.
After supper, we came back to the Manor. A haunted house on Halloween night. It felt alive this evening and, now it’s past midnight, that feeling’s gone. It feels like an empty house now. A shell. Maybe we’ve done enough here to end the haunting. I’d like to come back in a year’s time to find out.
Derek and I spoke at length before the séance started, going over the questions we needed answering, but sometimes it’s hard to keep things on track and on schedule. Once the spirits come, they tend to rule the proceedings. We can only guide.
At 8:00, we joined the circle. Nick and Peri sat outside. I was grateful for that. I think I had a premonition that things wouldn’t go exactly to plan. For nearly 20 minutes, nothing happened. Drake and Florence were tense. Carrie was more relaxed but concentrating too hard. Andrew looked ill. Then, maybe because they thought Derek would abandon it, they relaxed and it happened very quickly. I was aware that I wasn’t alone and I surrendered control to the other person. When Derek asked who I was, I replied Clemency McFarlane. Andrew and Drake were Jack and Barnaby, Florence was Florentine and Carrie was the last sister Charity. He asked us to explain the sounds we’d heard. We acted them out in the correct sequence. A dark story of love, hate, and tragedy, shame and horror.
All the McFarlanes were guilty of contributing something but it’s Jack I feel for the most. Florentine is without a doubt a tragic figure, but Jack was innocent. He didn’t know until it was way too late to stop it.