Allendale: A Shunned House Part 24

Our vigil began at 10 p.m. and for a long time, it seemed nothing would happen. We had, along with our weaponry, all the accoutrements fitting of a modern ghost hunter—EMF readers, voice recorders, video cameras, and motion detectors. They made no unusual noises, recorded no anomalies of any sort until they ceased to function. A weak light filtered in from the raining night, the red and green glows from our equipment, and a feeble phosphorescence from the detestable fungi within showed the dripping stone of the walls from which all traces of whitewash had vanished, the dank, foetid, and mildew-tainted hard earth floor with its obscene fungus, the damp and broken, uneven brick area, and even the someone new concrete had a sad, tired appearance. The heavy planks and massive beams of the ground floor overhead, the rickety staircase with the ruined wooden hand-rail, and the crude and cavernous fireplace of blackened brick—these thing and our austere cot and camping chairs and the heavy and intricate destructive machinery we had brought all seemed to emerge from the darkness according to the vagaries of the passing lightning.

We had, as I had done so many times before, left the basement door to the outside unlocked so that we had a direct and practical path of escape, should we be dealing with forces too great for us. It was our idea that staying overnight, continually, if necessary, would lure out whatever malign entity lurked there. And that, since we were so well-prepared, that we could dispose of the thing as soon as we had recognized it and observed it sufficiently. How long that might take, we had no idea. It occurred to us, too, that we had no idea how safe this whole adventure was, because we had no idea how strong the thing might be, in whatever form it might take. But we thought it was worth the hazard, even as we were conscious that, if we had to call for help, we would be a laughingstock and, perhaps, then, unable to secure the house from evil. The only hint we had that we were not alone in thinking that there might be some unexplainable element to Allendale was that the Fitzgeralds had given us a small statue of St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters and the saint to whom one appeals in case of bite. I placed it near my Bible, which was tucked under the pillow on the cot. My uncle was tickled at the notion of a saint who might protect one from the bite of a supernatural being. And though we laughed at this, both of us took some comfort as well. Such was our frame of mind as we talked—far into the night, until my uncle’s growing drowsiness made me remind him to lie down for his two-hour nap.

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Isaac Phillips

I can’t stop thinking about him. Or about how to find out more about him. There may be nothing, honestly. I may have worked for years to inch into a brick wall that is, at the end of the day, still a brick wall. I may have found Luke’s father, but really, be no closer to discovering… I don’t know what. On any other part of my family tree, with enough digging, whole new branches sprout out before you. The Phillips line is still just a very closed off line. I don’t know who Luke’s people are, if he moved to Michigan with siblings, to be near cousins or uncles or what.

And I guess that makes me a little bummed. And the fact that there are two Isaac Phillipses in the area, both very similar in age, means that it’s impossible for me to know how much information on either one of them has been conflated into one person on Ancestry.com.

I think I’m at the point where I need to go out there and sit in some archives and libraries, just to see what might be found.

So, that kind of sucks, because I can’t afford to make a trip to New York State anytime soon. I’m going to email the distant cousin who is a better genealogist than me and tell him what I’ve found and see if he doesn’t know better trees to shake to get information out of.