My Obsessions >The Haunted Crypt

The Story:

After years of painstaking and exhaustive research, Professor Jack Wexford has at long last revealed the terrible age-old secrets behind...The Haunted Crypt.

Before the creation of Little Seneca Lake in what is now Black Hill Regional Park, there existed a pastoral, rolling countryside.  On this land lived and worked generations of the Graves family.  Farmers, blacksmiths, and millers, they toiled in near obscurity. 

Their troubles had begun when a member of the family dared to romance and wed the daughter of the town's chief law enforcer.  Insulted that someone of limited means would attempt to "marry up", the personal animosity of the Constable towards this man grew into an intense hatred.  He disowned his daughter and encouraged an isolation of the family by the larger community.  Shunned by neighboring villagers, the Graves family relied on extended family for their meager existence.

As was common at the time, the Graves' lost many a beloved family member to the ravages of illness and disease.  When Mordecai Thaddeus Graves finally rode into town to seek desperately needed medical assistance, he found no doctor willing or able to help.  Rather, the town commissioners laid their seal to an order of general quarantine of the Graves property.

Forsaken by the cold-hearted townspeople, the Graves family numbers dwindled at an alarming rate.  Mordecai Graves's final months consisted of laying the dearly departed family members to rest.  When Mordecai's wife Victoria passed away, leaving her husband as the family's sole survivor, Graves made a final trip to the village to pay a visit on the town's lone stone carver, with the purpose of obtaining a beautiful monument to honor the Graves name.

What he learned shocked and infuriated him, however.  As he rode his horse into town, Mordecai was confronted by the Constable with a writ of eviction.  His family home and land were being condemned, to make way for the rapidly growing B&O railroad line!  Graves struck down the Constable in a fit of temper and fled.  The officer led a band of deputized townspeople to confront his attacker, who had barricaded himself in his tiny cabin.  During the ensuing confrontation, a rifle shot hit a kerosene lantern inside the dwelling.  Mordecai Grave's home became engulfed in flames; there was no means of escape.  Now whipped into a rage, Graves's furious voice could be heard, cursing those he blamed for destroying his life and bringing his imminent and ghastly demise.

* * * * * * * * * *

The railroad expanded north and west yet did not disturb the Graves family burial plot.  The center of town shifted away from its original location and Germantown developed and grew in amazing and unexpected ways.  Still, the Graves cemetery lay at peace, its very location lost to memory, slowly taken over by creeping vegetation, no caretaker to preserve its existence, the Graves name long forgotten.

A century later, progress again came to the Germantown community in the form of a man-made lake, built as the single largest source of drinking water to the Washington Metropolitan suburbs.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveyors stumbled across a startling discovery that raised an unexpected obstacle.  A single sandstone marker displayed a solitary name.  'GRAVES'.

Researchers and historians descended on the spot, determined to delve the nature of the gravesite.  They knew that the county is dotted with private cemeteries.  Surely where one grave lay in this wooded area, there must lay others.  Initial readings using the most modern technological instruments confirmed suspicions.  This family cemetery held the remains of no less than two dozen bodies!  Persuasive and determined Historical Society officials diligently raised funds for a planned mausoleum built in the Graves name, to finally give these poor souls the common decency and respect they deserved.  Secure in the knowledge that the bodies would be carefully exhumed for permanent internment in a proper resting place, the Society members turned their full attention to the pending memorial's design.  

The lake's construction continued at a furious pace - progress would not be slowed or halted.  And though "officially" the Graves family was said to be carefully removed to a temporary holding location, the truth was altogether different.  The simple grave marker was preserved...the rest covered by the deepening waters of Little Seneca Lake.

They were never moved.

* * * * * * * * * *

The mausoleum had been completed nonetheless, and was built on land donated by Professor Wexford in a community now called Stratford Knolls.  "Re-burials" were held in a grand show to conceal the fact that the original cemetery was never excavated.  Thus have official inquiries and moral outrage been avoided as the truth is known only to a very few. 

Given the tragedy of the Graves saga, it should come as no surprise that reports of strange lights, noises, and ghostly apparitions in the vicinity of the mausoleum have begun to swirl and gain credence locally.  Concerns that the area will be inundated by paranormal investigators, thrill seekers, or just the morbidly curious have caused neighbors to remain silent when asked about the place. 

Once a year, in the late autumn, cautious parents accompany their children as they gravitate towards this haunted crypt, drawn by the unexplained cacophony, capped by the maniacal voice of a frenzied madman.  This is the legacy of Mordecai Thaddeus Graves, finally, to torment and frighten those who dare approach the empty tomb.  Be warned - do not trifle with this place if you wish to preserve your peace of mind...

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