This was originally published in the now defunct Pagan Edge in October 2011. The theme of the month was, of course, death, dying, spirits, and Samhain. I wrote this pretty tongue-in-cheek. Also, I am absolutely not subtle about it. What can I say? I’ve admitted to freely borrowing from other sources before, and this was just too tempting for me to pass up.
“So, this is the place,” said Mayor Withers. “As I said, the legend is that after her husband died in the War Between the States, Mrs. Beauregard killed herself and to this day haunts the Magnolia Plantation.”
The ghost hunters started to unpack their gear from their van. The sun was starting to set on the ruined antebellum manor house. The house was mostly intact, but it was covered with climbing ivy and other creeping plants.
“You leave it to us, Mayor,” said Rick.
“Good, good, if this place is really haunted, it’ll really boost tourism. But I’ll leave y’all to your work,” he said, and drove off.
“Come on, gang, let’s check this out.” Rick was followed by Norville, Laurel, and Veronica, all of whom were carrying a variety of instruments.
“Oww,” Laurel cried as her foot went through a weak board on the porch.
“Are you all right?” Rick asked.
“Yeah. I think I just twisted my ankle a little. I can keep going.”
The group was more cautious getting through the double doors. They clicked on flashlights to get a good look at the grand entrance.
Norville cocked his head to the side as the others fiddled with their instruments. “Gang, we don’t need all that. We’ve got a live one. Well, you know what I mean.”
“What do you hear?” Veronica asked, pushing up her glasses and poised to take notes. None of them doubted Norville; he was the only true medium in the group.
“I hear a woman. I’ll bet it’s the lady of the house.”
“Then let’s talk to her,” Rick said.
Mayor Withers arrived the next morning as the group was just about done packing up their van. “Well, what did y’all find?”
“I’m sorry, Mayor, but this house is definitely not haunted,” Veronica said.
His face fell. “Really?”
“I’m sorry, but our instruments didn’t record anything,” she said. “No unexplained thermal changes, no electronic voice phenomena, not even an orb on the digital cameras. The house is run-down and I think there are rats in there, but no ghosts.”
The Mayor looked sly. “Well, you know the plantation isn’t haunted, and I know it, but I don’t have to tell the Board.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Rick said. “Laurel twisted her ankle on the porch.” He pointed to Laurel’s ankle, which she had taped that morning. “I’ve been in a lot of run-down buildings, and it’s pretty dangerous to walk through them, especially at night. I guess you could fix it up to code, but that’ll cost a lot. I mean, you don’t want some kids getting in there to hunt ghosts and getting hurt.”
“Oh, no, I really don’t want that. I don’t know even know how to get it up to code. Well, darn it. Sounds like I’ll have to keep people out to avoid a lawsuit. I’m sorry to have wasted your time,” said the Mayor.
“No problem. We never expect to find anything.”
“Alrighty. Well, I’ve got some work to do so I’ll be headin’ out. See y’all later,” the Mayor said, and drove off.
When the Mayor’s truck was out of sight, there was a shimmer of light in the shade of a nearby magnolia tree. “Thank y’all very much,” said the whisper of a woman’s voice.
“It’s no problem, Mrs. Beauregard,” Norville said. “We’re in this business to help people, living or ghost. Do you need anything else?”
“No, thank y’all. I just need some time alone.” With that, the shimmer and voice faded away.