Synopsis: Except for the survivors, if there are any, that is, does anyone really know what goes on behind closed doors? If a house could speak, what ghastly tales could it tell? Of course, there’s always a slight possibility that there is one person, still living, who might speak for it.
It’s 1956 and Samuel Hassel is old and bored and ready to kick the bucket. So, when a couple of curious teenage boys ask him a simple question, he grabs at the opportunity to start talking. There’s a house, on Ludington Street, which was built in the early 1900s. Samuel helped build that house, and now, after all these years, he has an audience and he is ready to tell its story.
As the two teenagers sit by his side, Samuel recounts the stories of the families who lived and died in that house from 1906 to the present day. A house that was surely cursed from the day the foundation was laid.
(1906)Von Schmidt reached for the gun and aimed it at the terrified school teacher’s knee. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, the stone mason yelled, “It was me. For God’s sake, don’t shoot him.” Von Schmidt turned the gun away from Flannagan and pointed it at the mason. “You did this? You violated this woman? You confess that it was you?”
(1921) “I ran to help him. He was just lying there. There was blood everywhere. I asked him what had happened and he whispered that it was the ghost. He said the ghost grabbed one of his swords and plunged it into his chest.”
Excerpt From: The House on Ludington Street
Taken from: Chapter Two
“You see, Wilbur Von Schmidt moved here from Chicago because he had been offered a job running the police department. Back in the early 1900s, that was a big deal. The job paid well enough, but Von Schmidt didn’t take the job for the money. He was wealthy enough. I heard once that he was so well off he didn’t need to work if he didn’t want to. Nope, he took it because Von Schmidt wanted. . . he needed to be in charge. Columbus was a growing town, and he figured he could bring in his own guys and make up his own rules. And, he did. He was one mean son of a bitch.”
“Gramps, what does this have to do with the tunnel?” John asked.
Samuel grinned. “You young whippersnappers are always so impatient. Just sit back and listen and you’ll find out what. Okay?”
John smiled back at him. “Okay. I’ll be quiet.”
The brand new 1906 Model K Ford stopped in front of the massive house. Wilbur Von Schmidt shut the engine off and turned to look at his children sitting in the back of the car.
“It’s beautiful,” his wife, Elsie, uttered.
“It is,” Wilbur agreed. “Now, children, I have some instructions for you before you enter your new home. You will always enter through the side door or kitchen door. The front door is for guests only. You will use the back staircase to go to your room, which is on the third floor. We will be renting out the bedrooms on the second floor, so, you are to remain quiet when you are in the attic. I don’t want you to disturb our renters. Is that clear?”
“Yes, father,” the three children in the back of the car muttered.
“All right, Mother,” he said. “You may take the children inside. Allow them to look around before you show them to their room.”
“Aren’t you coming in?” Elise asked her husband.
“Later. I’m going over to the police station and check it out. I may be late, so feed the children early and allow them to read for a while in the sitting room before retiring to bed.”
“When does Petra start?” Elise asked her husband.
“She is already here. I assigned her the back bedroom.”
“Who’s Petra?” Carl asked, interrupting his parent’s conversation.
Wilbur brought his hand back, intending to strike the child. He hesitated, as the boy flinched. “Next time you interrupt it will be the belt. Understand?”
“Yes, Father. I’m sorry,” Carl whimpered.
“Now, all of you, get out of the car. I have things to do.”
Samuel took a sip of coffee and made a face. “I hate cold coffee,” he said. He took another sip and set the cup down.
“Like I said, Von Schmidt was a mean man. In less than a month, he had fired the three existing policemen and had hired three of his Chicago buddies. You have to remember that things were a lot different back then. A cop didn’t have any formal training. Most of them were just normal guys, who wanted to earn a decent living and only shot a gun when they went hunting. But, Von Schmidt and his guys. . . well, they wanted power and money and they didn’t care what they had to do to get it.” He gave a small disdainful laugh. “You got to hand it to him. Every business was paying him for protection. And, the funny thing is, they were paying for that protection to the cops so they could be protected from those same cops. If you didn’t go along, your windows would be broken, or worse. A couple of shop keepers had their buildings set on fire.”
“How big was Columbus back then?” John asked.