The next night we needed answers. We weren’t going to find them without doing more exploration, so we trundled inside armed with a few new tools in the toolbox.
We typically kept very clearly on the side of the modern paranormal investigator. Everything can be explained. Everything has a rational reason for being. But if that’s true, there’s a reason that ancient explorers believed in the power of witchcraft and worse. There must be a reason. And there’s a balance to everything, right?
So we called up our magic expert at home, Madame Heller. She is an older lady who took the mantle of “hexe jager” or “witch hunter”, learning all about the mystical arts. Heller did some homework on keeping evil at bay and came up with a few things…
First, we would carry actual candles in addition to wearing headlamps. The combination would use the power of fire and heat to make spirits more visible and hopefully keep them at bay.
Second, we would burn sage and “smudge” as we progressed through the house. This may settle the ghosts. And it may settle our nerves.
Third, we would use salt to block the entrance of any room we enter. This will hopefully keep the negative energy out.
Fourth, we went to a nearby church and had ourselves blessed by an ordained priest with holy water.
Lastly, we needed to remain calm. If our thoughts are jumbled and excited, it tends to excite old spirits. And these spirits didn’t need any more excitement.
This time it was the intern who we left in the van to monitor communications. And we headed back into the creepy building. And… we hit nothing strange at first. We splashed as quietly as we could through the basement and made it to the main floor. On the main floor, we got as far as the stairs before we heard loud footsteps from the floor above.
With our modern devices and ancient magicks ready at hand, we actually backed away from the bottom of the stairs. That’s when things went very strange.
One of the bundles of sage we were smudging with caught on fire and burned like the devil. We all stepped away and watched as it flared brightly and with furious smoke as if it was made of magnesium. As the smoke rose up the stairwell and in it we saw a form in the smoke standing on the first landing.
Though we couldn’t see his face, his silhouette was unmistakeable. It was the giant man with a brace on his leg. When we mentioned this over our comms, our intern piped up with a bit of news.
His name was among the few papers she had from the holding company. Apparently he had been a child patient of Dr. Curry’s not long after the facility opened. He was a model patient and eventually left the facility to rejoin the world. During this time he gained an education at a local college as a medical orderly, eventually coming back getting a job at the asylum that helped him so much.
Gary Ballard was the man’s name. He worked for the facility right up to the time it was forcibly closed and was the poster child for the successful work the hospital did with the patients who came to stay there.
But towards the end, there were rumors of violent incidents… control lost with other patients and staff. And now the ghost of that troubled soul was coming down the stairs towards us… drag, thud. drag, thud. drag, thud. At the bottom of the stairs, it stopped. Waiting.
We remained as still as we possibly could, until a member of the team broke.
Our scientist. A man of reason. Lost his mind.
“You cannot exist!” he screamed over and over as he charged at the shape, stopping at the spirit’s feet. And for a moment, the world stopped. Then, with impossible speed, the spirit grabbed our friend’s head with his arms extended and lifted him off the floor. And we watched as those impossible hands crushed his head into a pulp.
We fled at that point. There was no reason as we all ran aas fast as we could to find our freedom and maybe some safety. But we would never be the same again…
Other than a random name generator (random-name-generator.info), this all flowed pretty easily from what had come before. And it’s scary how easily it did.
The Crunchy Ghosties crew is now down a man. Will they come back? We’ll find out tomorrow… I knew things were going to get bad during the 31 Days of Halloween challenge… we’ll see how much worse they get before the end.