215 Lexington Avenue

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Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine

“Tom, is there any decent whiskey or brandy in the house? I sure could do with one right now, I can taste the decay in my mouth.” Fisher asked as Tom led the way into the living room on the left of the house knowing it housed a drinks cabinet. As they walked into the room everyone was chatting and having a drink. Pulling open the drinks cabinet Tom poured his boss a large brandy.

“There you are sir, that should help get rid of the foul taste in your throat, I know I need one, Alan, the same for you mate?” his colleague nodded

“So did you guys find the cause of the smell down there?” Joseph asked.

“No we didn’t but I still feel we’re missing something. I can’t understand why there is a blocked off area under the stairs, unless it was another way into the basement?” replied Alan Davies, now sitting down alongside Joseph Daniels.

Joseph got up and walked around the room and appeared to be deep in thought, “I’ve got it, yes that’s it! It all makes sense now. Well I hope it does.”

“What are you on about Joseph” asked Father Gabriel as he finished off his whiskey and walked back over to the drinks cabinet and poured another shot. “Does anyone else want a refill?” All said yes except Joseph and the priest refilled all the glasses with whiskeys and brandies.

The demonologist looked at everyone in the room, “Right what have we found up to now, a family that lived in a cottage on this site in the 1600’s who were tried and hung as witches. The cottage was demolished and a new house was built on the plot. None of the other families who lived in the house stayed very long as we found out from the records Bill Rodgers sent to Tom a few days ago. Now, here is the crux of the problem. We know that the family that lived in the house, when it was smaller of course, were a father, mother and daughter that were all hung as witches as we’re led to believe from ancient records. We also know that a lot of the families that didn’t stay long consisted of husband, wife and daughter.” Daniels paused to take a large gulp of water and found that he had emptied his glass, and refilled the glass. Placing his glass down on a small side table next to him the demonologist continued with his hypothesis. “We also know from the old records that the area used to be called, ‘Gallows Hill’ it all makes perfect sense.”

Superintendent Fisher was the first to comment, “I hate to sound thick Mr Daniels, but what makes perfect sense, I don’t quite follow?”

“I think I know what Joe is getting at sir.” Tom replied, “Four families of three, possibly all the children were girls, all have been so frightened over the years that they just upped and left. Maybe, just maybe…”

“You’re thinking along the same lines as me by the sounds of it Tom. What if the spirits of the Bartholomew family have been trying to get the attention of all the families that have lived here including the Rodgers family, again a married couple with a child, and a daughter? As we now know, it was Wendy that first heard all the banging and dragging sounds coming from the attic. Her parents didn’t believe her until Tina Rodgers was tidying up in the bedroom and heard the same thing a few days later…”

“And then both Bill and Tina hear the noises coming from the attic as well as they lay in bed.” Tom interjected. “They think its Wendy and her friend Jodi messing around up in the attic and Bill gets up to look only to find the attic door locked and then the girls come out of their bedroom. Jodi was having a sleep over, and as they all stand on the landing they hear more loud bangs. At this point Bill Rodgers calls 999 and I arrive with PC Alan Davies, and two other officers and all hell breaks loose.”

“But why did the doll attack one of your officers?” Jack Temple asked, “Then the attack on Jane by the doll with the knife?”

“Jane can you remember exactly where you were standing in the kitchen that night?” Daniels asked refilling his glass with water once again.

“I’ll show you all, come on.” They all followed Jane into the kitchen and she pointed to the side of the fridge which was next to where the Welsh dresser stood before they moved it.

“That’s it! By god it’s starting to come together now.” Cried a triumphant Joseph Daniels, “Look here, the small indent in the wall, would you say that somehow, whoever was controlling the doll and made the knife move by pure energy alone was trying to show us where the basement was?”

“Come on now Joe, that’s madness to think that, the knife was aimed at Jane.” Replied a less than enthusiastic Jack

“So why did the knife go into the wall and not Jane, is that the table the knife was on Jane?” Jane nodded in response. “I think if the spirit of the young girl, which I now firmly believe it is, was trying to kill Jane, she could have done easily, but she didn’t, so why not?”

“Hmm you may have a point there.” Father Driscoll said now joining in the conversation.

“And furthermore, something else to think about, we have always seen the doll either on the stairs or in the hallway near the stairs, correct, what if we are missing something here. We need to know what is in the basement and then maybe that will give us the answer to why those families fled in fear of their lives and didn’t understand!”

“Understand what Joe, spit it out for Christ’s sake, sorry about that Father’s.” Jack said now getting flustered with his team leader.

“I think that somehow in their own way the Bartholomew family are trying to show us something. They have been trying to show every family that has lived here something! Maybe their spirits are trapped and can’t rest. Father Gabriel I don’t know how much you know about this kind of thing but, if a person is hung for heresy or witchcraft would they be buried in consecrated ground or left to rot where they were hung?” Daniels now steered the question to the priest.

“I would say it would be highly unlikely in the days of Oliver Cromwell and Matthew Hopkins that a person hung for heresy would be buried. They would be left to rot and their bodies dumped somewhere, in a well, a river or in a deep hole in a field, why do you ask Joseph.”

“I ask because I think that the family’s spirits are wishing for release from the world they are trapped in. They want peace and a proper burial. But sadly we can’t do that if we don’t know where they were buried can we?”

As the team pondered they all began to hear faint knocking, which began to grow louder and louder. “Here we go again! It’s coming from upstairs, come on.” shouted Joseph.

Everyone piled into the spacious hallway and looked up towards the first floor landing. “What do you want, show us, and we’ll try and help to free you, that’s all we want to do. You have waited long enough for release!” shouted Father Gabriel as both he and Father Driscoll began to ascend the staircase. “Let us help you as priests, let all of us help you…”

Suddenly there was a loud thunderous crash and all the lights in the house started flicking on and off and the stairs began to vibrate as another loud deafening crash could be heard. The two priests stood rigid as the stairs began to crack open from the top down to the bottom. The large wrought iron chandelier began to sway backwards and forwards.

“Get off the stairs now the chandelier is going to crash down on them at any minute.” Jack Temple shouted as they all feared for the priests’ lives. The two priests had seconds to spare, and hit the ground floor running. Moments later the wrought iron light fixture plummeted straight into the middle of the stairs making a massive hole in the middle of them.

The house lay quiet and as the dust settled around them they all looked around. “What was that, some kind of earth tremor?” asked Alexis.

“I think it was the pure energy of three spirits trying to get our attention and it has worked, look.” Commented Superintendent James Fisher as they all looked to where he was pointing they all gasped in unison. At the top of the stairs outside the attic doorway stood three human like shapes that appeared to fade in and out as if their energies were rapidly dwindling.

“Look, whispered Jane, they are all pointing to the middle of the stairs where the chandelier hit.”

Tom looked around and everyone was silent, “I think they want us to take a look, Alan, come with me mate, let’s see what they are pointing at shall we.” As the two policemen slowly made their way up the unsafe stairway, they stopped and looked at the three spirits, “I think that we are about to help three spirits who are a family and want peace together, come on.”

As they got to the centre of the staircase they peered down at the gaping hole the chandelier had made. As Alan shone his torch into the deep hole under the staircase he asked Tom if he could see what he was seeing. “My god it’s another room down there. That’s the reason for the entrance way under the stairs. They had two entrances to the basement, not one and two large rooms!”

As they descended the stairs and joined the others they all looked up at the spirits of the Bartholomew family. “That poor family tried and hung as witches, which they probably weren’t. Matthew Hopkins you were the evil one not this family!” Alexis shouted out in anger and sadness.

The team decided that it would too much of a risk to try and get down the gaping hole and the entrance under the stairs was bricked up solid. They the all heard an almighty bang in the kitchen area and rushed through to see what it was that caused it. Nothing seemed out of place, they then heard it again, this time in the basement. “I think they are leading us to their burial place.” Joseph shouted as he rushed forward into the basement, no longer afraid, no longer smelling decay, just wanting to help the spirits find peace. “It’s got to be that wall over there.” He shouted as he grabbed a sledgehammer and with all his might he hit the wall dead centre. A multitude of bricks and plaster collapsed instantly to the ground. “Yes, where through to the other room, now look for any signs of a well in here, search the whole room.”

“A well, why a well Joseph?” asked Alexis.

“I’ll explain all later after we find it, I promise.”

The team searched high and low moving old furniture and other items, they found nothing until something caught Jane’s eye. “What is that over there guys, near the far wall, it looks like a raised stone slab just showing under that large wooden cabinet?”

“By god that could be it, quick everyone let’s try and lift it as it looks heavy.” Joseph cried out now starting to feel excited.

Four of the men took a corner of the wooden cabinet each and as one, lifted it and moved it away from the stone slab that lay underneath. “This could be it Joe, this could be it! Get the crowbars Alan, we’re going to need them now!” Tom shouted to his colleague. Alan raced back with the crowbars and together both he and Tom pushed the flat ends of the bars under the slab, “It’s moving guys, keep going Alan, that’s it we’ve done it.” Throwing down the crowbars, Tom and Alan pulled out the torches from their pockets and switching them on, shone the beams down into the darkness of the deep well. At the very bottom floated the remains of three bodies. “I’d say we have found the Bartholomew families remains, wouldn’t you Joe?” Tom said as he motioned to Joe to take a look.

“I’d say you are right with that assumption Tom. Now the family will be able to rest in peace forever. But first of all we need to figure a way to get them out of there as they will need to be buried properly.”

Pulling his phone out of his pocket Superintendent Fisher informed everyone that he would deal with the situation as it would be his way of helping the deceased family. “Hi Superintendent Fisher here, I’m at 215 Lexington Avenue with two of my sergeants and their friends. I need Roger Packard and Julian Edwards here with their block and tackle, and they may need their wet gear too. Yes I want them here straight away, thanks.”

Tom and Alan looked at their boss and in unison said, “Two of your sergeants’ sir?”

Fisher just smiled and shook PC Alan Davies by the hand, “Well I will need a new sergeant once Tom retires won’t I and the way you have been throughout this whole thing is amazing, you never once showed fear, I can’t think of anyone better suited for the role Alan. Now come on everyone let’s get back upstairs and wait for the guys to turn up with the block and tackle. We’ll have the family’s remains out soon enough.”

As they waited in the living room for Packard and Edwards to turn up, Jack and Jane made two pots of tea and served them out to everyone. Joseph walked out into the hallway and then called the others excitedly to join him. “Look everyone, look.” He said pointing up to the first floor landing, the dust had now settled and as they looked they could clearly see three solid looking spirit forms looking peacefully down at them.

“My god, I have never ever encountered anything like this in my whole life, this is a very special moment for us all.” Fisher replied looking in awe at the three spirits up on the landing.

“They know they are free now and that they are going to get a proper burial and I think they are showing themselves like that as a thank you for helping them.” Alexis said as she wiped tears from her eyes. “It’s a beautiful sight to behold and one to cherish in our hearts forever.”

Two hours later the remains of all three members of the Bartholomew family were raised from the well, and taken to the coroner’s office, where their remains would be cleaned up and then plans for a Christian burial would be performed by Father’s Gabriel and Driscoll, both had insisted they would hold the ceremony together and give them a great send off into heaven, where they had always belonged and not dumped in a well.

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