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Fiction Funny

I *do* believe in spooks, I *do* believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do, I *do* believe in spooks, I *do* believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do, I *do*! That’s what Myer Wetherbee whispered under his breath after reading a letter that informed him that he would be inheriting $3,900,000 from an nasty mean spirited Great Uncle Raphael G. Wetherbee in which he never knew existed.

The only conditions to collect the money was that Myer had to stay one night in the 3 haunted places his Uncle specifically chose. Everyone in the small town of Bangor, Maine, knew two things for sure. One Stephen King’s House was spooky and creepy and two, Myer Wetherbee was basically afraid of his own shadow.

Although Myer was what his childhood friends referred to him as a scaredy cat. He was also one of the smartest people in Bangor.

His wife Eloise couldn’t wait to cash in on the inheritance. She hated living in Bangor and had her cheating heart and disobedient soul and conniving mind on residing in Hollywood, California. She was once crowned Miss Bangor and represented the State of Maine in the 1999 Miss America Pageant were she came in 47th places behind eventual winner Miss Virginia Nicole Johnson. Many on TV believed she would have had a better placing had she prepared better for the very important Beauty Pageant question: How would you have helped Harriet Tubman doing the Underground Railroad Movement. With the professional poise and self-control of any beauty Queen she replied, built a better subway.

The first haunted place on the list was: The LaLaurie Mansion, New Orleans. Marie Delphine Macarty or MacCarthy, more commonly known as Madame Blanque or after her third marriage, as Madame LaLaurie, was a New Orleans Creole socialite known for hosting ritzy soirees in her lavish French Quarter mansion in New Orleans during the early 19th century. Guests gorged on fine food and champagne, unaware of the grisly scenes that unfolded two stories above. When local police responded to a kitchen fire in 1834, they discovered the bodies of several horribly mutilated enslaved people in the attic. When the public learned of LaLaurie’s grotesque secret of being a serial killer, a mob stormed the mansion, prompting her to flee to France. Soon after LaLaurie disappeared from New Orleans, people claimed to hear the phantom screams of her victims spilling from the house in the dead of night.

Myer wasn’t too keen on spending a night in that place but one look at Eloise’s beautiful face and he knew that he had to take a chance and spend one night. It was Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday at the time so he told the lawyer who was there to witness him enter and exiting the place in the morning if he did, that he would dress in costume to swear off any ghost. The lawyer had no problem on what Myer chose to dress up as. In fact, Mr. Wildwind thought to himself he could dress up as a jackass as far as he was concerned. At 2am the lawyer and company heard screams and noises to the insanable likes in which they themselves were consumed with fright. While they slept inside of a expensive limousine van a hundred yards away from the scary Mansion. In the morning Myer tapped on the van door to reveal to all of them that he survived spending a night in The LaLaurie Mansion. All the lawyer and other two scared witnesses wanted to do was to get themselves the hell away from that place. Myer’s knew better or dared to venture in that place and paid a drunken bum to spending the night wearing the exact costume that he purchased. Although there wasn’t any missing person report on the drunken bum. Seven years later a man who called himself Pierre Billingsly wrote a best seller on how he lived in The LaLaurie Mansion for 6 years partying with those decapitated headless party people.

The second haunted place on the list was: The Queen Mary. Resting in Long Beach Harbor is the RMS Queen Mary, a colossal ship that was bigger, faster and more powerful than the Titanic. The 1,000-foot ship began her life when the first keel plate was laid in 1930 at the John Brown shipyard in Clyde, Scotland. For three years the grand ocean liner hosted the world’s rich and famous across the Atlantic including the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, David Niven, Mary Pickford, George and Ira Gershwin and Sir Winston Churchill, just to name a few. Considered by the upper-class to be the only civilized way to travel, she held the record for the fastest-ever North Atlantic crossing. Internationally recognized, the historic floating hotel and museum attracts thousands of visitors every year. It has also attracted a number of unearthly guests over the years. In fact, some say the Queen Mary is one of the most haunted places in the world with as many as 150 known spirits lurking upon the ship. Over the past 60 years, the Queen Mary has been the site of at least 49 reported deaths, not to mention having gone through the terrors of war, so it comes as no surprise that spectral spirits of her vivid past continue to walk within her rooms and hallways.

Meyer thought long and hard about going on some haunted ship. Not even Eloise’s disappointing look was going to work. He was even scared of the thought of boarding that ghost ship and spending a night.

Myer asked his late Great Uncle’s lawyer Mr. Wildwind and the two other witnesses if they would be so kind to join Eloise and himself for a short bon voyage gathering a few hours before he dared to spend a frightening night on The Queen Mary.

At first it was his intention to kill the 3 of them, but that wouldn’t prove a thing. Instead he chose to hypnotize them. After slightly sedating all of them he sat them in a semi-circle and convinced them that at 10:01am the following day they will have believed that Myer’s spent a night on The Queen Mary. Then he ordered all of them to return to their hotel suite and return in the morning at 10am.

At 10:01 am Meyer clapped his hands three times and they all awoke and congratulated him on completing two of his Great Uncles ridiculous demands for the inheritance.

Myer vowed to himself that if  he could find a way to get out of venturing in the last haunted place. He and Eloise could live happily ever after.

The last place on the list was a place called: The Haunted Hills of Crosses. The Hill of Crosses, has a troubled and mysterious history.

How could his dead or undead great Uncle know that Meyer suffered from Staurophobia (from the Greek stauro, meaning "cross-shaped") is the fear of crosses or the crucifix. This fear has its religious roots. During the Roman times, crucifix was the symbol of death and crucifixion is the method used in execution. The Soviets repeatedly tried to destroy it. Now, it's become a symbol of the nation's struggles and spirituality. The Hill of Crosses a small mountain of approximately 100,000 crosses is a curious phenomenon. No one manages or organizes it just is. The Soviets razed it again and again, only to have the crosses reappear.

Meyer got to thinking why would his obviously deranged Great Uncle to which he never heard of wanted him to spend a night in such an eerie place. Over the centuries, not only crosses, but giant crucifixes, carvings of Lithuanian patriots, statues of the Virgin Mary and thousands of tiny effigies and rosaries have been brought there by Catholic pilgrims.

Mr. Wildwind was getting impatience with his reluctance to go there.

Meyer even tried to bribe the lawyer with some of his inheritance, but the lawyer wasn’t having any of that nonsense and gave Meyer one alternative, informing him that he had just 30 days to complete his Great Uncle’s will agreement.

Eloise tried wholeheartedly to convince Myer that he didn’t have anything to worry about because crosses represent what’s good in God. Meyers sadly replied that he suffered from Staurophobia (from the Greek stauro, meaning "cross-shaped") is the fear of crosses or the crucifix. This fear has it religious roots. During the Roman times, crucifix was the symbol of death and crucifixion is the method used in execution.

Just as there are no definitive causes of staurophobia, there are also no treatments that are specifically designed for this condition either.

Myer tried Exposure Therapy that is one of the most common forms of treatment for people suffering from phobias. Exposure therapy works by having the therapist gradually expose the patient to their fear over a given period of time. With regards to staurophobia, the therapist may start off by exposing the patient to photos of a cross and then eventually expose them to an actual crucifix that they can observe and touch. This would all be in an attempt to help desensitize the patient to their fear by repetitively exposing them to it. Theoretically, the more someone is exposed to something they fear, the less it will bother them over time.

When that didn’t work he even tried CBT another very common form of treatment that is often used to help people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (ODC), among other conditions. Moreover, it may also be effective at helping to treat people suffering from phobias like staurophobia as well. CBT works by having the therapist help the patient to uncover why it is that they think, feel and behave the way they do with regards to a particular fear or concern they have. Someone with staurophobia partaking in CBT can expect to learn why it is that they think the way they do about their fear, among other things. Understanding such things may help someone with staurophobia to take a more pragmatic approach when thinking about their fear of crosses or the crucifix. That didn’t work on Meyers fears as well.

His last resort would be to try Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Staurophobia. DBT it’s supposed to be a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like staurophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.

Well, Meyer didn’t have 6 months to see if it would work. So he told Mr. Wildwind where he could shove that inheritance up.

Eventually, The inheritance was given to the State of Maine.

Eloise left Meyer for a traveling Circus Ring Master who came through Bangor.

Meyer was no longer feared haunted houses and took a job as a security officer at The Bangor Opera House at 131 Main Street, Bangor, Maine.

December 18, 2020 21:00

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1 comment

Llind Kam
04:50 Dec 25, 2020

I liked the dark humor lurking in your story.


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