Horror American Fiction

Deep within a state that many a second thought wouldn't have been given, sits a mysterious building. The locals say that in it's heyday it was a grand mansion, but over the decades it has been converted to fit many needs by the numerous hands that held control over the estate. It sits just at the edge of a bayou known for it's slow-moving muck-infested creeks that dart the seemly endless wilderness that consisted of towering, overgrown willows. Their branches created an impenetrable wall, isolating the house from the rest of the world.

The mansion had a long and infamous history, dating back to the 19th century when it was constructed by a wealthy yet peculiar family. Oddly enough, little was known about this enigmatic family beyond the estate's name— "The BlackWood." Some local rumors suggested that it wasn't named after the family but rather the seemingly infinite swamp that cast its eerie shadow over the mansion. Regardless, the tales surrounding The BlackWood Manor were almost comically eccentric. Rooms were said to be filled with odd but harmless curiosities—a legion of antique dolls with unblinking eyes, portraits with gazes that seemingly tracked your every movement, and a bizarre collection of taxidermy animals that were frozen in lifelike poses, capturing the grandeur of their living counterparts.

One chilly September evening, a group of friends whose claim to fame was a series of goofy YouTube videos exploring old haunted places turned their attention to BlackWood Manor. Their playful demeanor and youthful antics often made it clear to skeptics that they were more interested in publicity than paranormal investigations. Eagerly, they inquired around town about the notorious location, only to find that the locals had varying stories to tell about the mansion's past.

Some mentioned that it had been turned into an asylum in the 50s, briefly housing the town's unwanted souls. Others spoke of darker and more sinister tales, claiming that a cult had purchased the house before the Second World War and conducted grotesque rituals in honor of their esoteric deities. The local historical society featured a mural depicting the mansion as the site of a grand furniture burning when it was converted into an inn in the 70s.

The house seemed to be at the center of a whirlwind of strange stories within the community, yet it remained conspicuously uncelebrated. Instead of leaning into its eccentric history, the town appeared cautious, even reluctant, when it came to discussing The BlackWood Manor, almost as if they wished to forget it entirely.

Undeterred by the local superstitions, the group disregarded the tales as mere myth and legend. Their plan was to survey the building and set up locations for staging creepy content for their devoted but polarizing fan base. As they approached BlackWood Manor, an eerie sensation crept over them. The air grew thicker, making it increasingly difficult to breathe. It was as if they were wading through a viscous substance, their lungs lined with an oily residue. Still, they pressed on deeper into the bayou, drawn by a curiosity that refused to be dampened. The colossal willows seemed to close in around them, their branches casting eerie shadows that danced in the dim light of the setting twilight.

Despite their initial bravado, unease began to creep into the group. Whispers of doubt surfaced among them, and hushed discussions turned to unsettling stories they heard from the locals. It was as if the silhouette of the estate made the stories more palpable, almost as if the very environment was conspiring to transform their nervousness into cold terror. 

Collectively they felt as if they were too far gone to turn back, and proceeded to park far from the main house, due to unattended roads leading to the decrepit domicile. The conversation started leading to curious banter if they actually managed to capture something substantial on camera, and it seemed to the first time they actually had to ask themselves the real questions that came with the territory. It was obviously clear even to each other that they could possibly be putting their lives at risk; why else would their entire beings be screaming for them to run in the opposite direction and NEVER look back...

They cautiously made their way to the looming BlackWood residence. The moon cast an eerie glow on the ivy-infested walls conjuring an almost surreal scene. The group's flashlights revealed cracked windows and an old hardwood door that appeared to have been locked for what seemed like decades. 

With trembling hands they approached the entrance and pushed the heavy door open. It made an astounding creak, and a wave of musty air rushed to greet them. The grand foyer of the mansion was a sight to behold; antique chandeliers hung from the ceiling, casting fractured rainbows across the worn threadbare carpet. 

Their initial excitement only intensified as they explored the interior. They ventured room after room, capturing footage of the eerie artifacts and curiosities that were spread throughout. They saw signs of the past lives the house lived, medical rest areas and old dens that seemed to be converted into grand meeting rooms. Hidden within most of the rooms, scratches of rambled inhabitants were found, none brought any solace to the group.

Surprisingly there was moments of brief excitement, random cold spots and noises that none of the equipment seemed to have captured. They were able to quickly explain each as backdrafts from deteriorated holes that seemed to lead deeper into the house, or shifting of the wood in the setting sun. Though why they didn't show up on any of the equipment is a mystery in of itself even to this day.  

As they explored the group stumbled over a room filled with faded taxidermy animals and found a hidden passage way concealed behind a old wooden bookcase. It was as if the Estate was giving them clues...leading them deeper into the guts of the building. Their curiosity overcame their fear as they cautiously descended into the darkness below. 

Their flashlights illuminated the labyrinthian network of tunnels, winding deeper into the earth. To their surprise the further they crept through the winding tunnels, they started to notice strange symbols adorning the walls. The group exchanged nervous glances, and hesitantly pressed on down into the darkness. That's when they came across...the room...

The door was slightly ajar, and as they opened the door sitting to one side of the room was a crib, but it was as if a fountain of red pain, at least what they hoped was red pain, had exploded from the crib and covered the quadrant of the room it rested beside. It was almost too much all at once. long over used candles and chalk circles covered the floor, only slightly noticeable as they were obscured with the mysterious substance that emanated from the crib. All of their flashlights closed into the crib at once and they realized...it was a just a staging. 

The closer they got to the crib they noticed the telltale shine of red paint. The circles were of chalk and in the crib rested a paint soaked baby missing a head. Never the less unnerving, they calmed down and decided to use the room as a end piece for their show, after all the audience didn't need to know it was fake.  

As they packed their equipment and headed back to their normal lives, they couldn't help but wonder about the mysteries that still remained hidden within those dark, twisting tunnels and behind the ivy-covered walls of The BlackWood Manor. The legends and the stories might have been exaggerated, but the sense of unease they had felt was very real, and it lingered in their memories long after they had left the bayou behind.

Many in the comments said that the group really lost their goofy and lovable charm after vising the BlackWoods. The video focused more about the mystery of the area, rather than the near limitless stories that the community seemed to have spawned over the lifetimes. They left the area with a...newfound respect for the locations they visited in the future. For even if the stories weren't true, the group could never quite shake off the feeling of dread they felt on a cold September deep in the bayou. 

September 29, 2023 00:19

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