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The Archaic Archive Archive: 2012
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Archive: 2012

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Updated: Feburary 7, 2020

January 2012
February 2012
March 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
October 2012
November 2012
December 2012

January 2012

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy New Year!

Project junk out continues. My postings are gathering on various platforms -- so I need to dig them out and get them organized. It is actually April 14th 2012 and I'm on the Amiga 1200 ES doing a live edit while doing some NC house cleaning. More to come. Meanwhile I have been clearing stuff out of the garage and barn, moving stuff to the second hand store and eBay.




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February 2012

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Happy Birthday!

April 1982 a set of game chips makes its way to a box.

This coming April marks the 30th anniversary of the commodore 64 micro computer. What a machine!

I got my hands on one when the machine was 6 months old . I had been told by sales people that the machine was awesome but there was virtually no software for it and that I should get a VIC-20 instead.

One guy, at K-Mart said this, but added that the software was coming and he showed me the Vanilla Software rack. It was loaded with software that did lots of cool stuff! Graphics packages, music, disk manipulation, games, word processing - and the prices - $5.95 each! K-Mart also had the best price for the computer. $218.95.

That commodore got lots of use. I had already started programming on the Timex Sinclair 1000. But with this machine, I was set on fire!

The commodore 64 has a feel all its own. There is something magical that keeps us C64 users coming back to this now antiquated machine.

Think about it.

As a commodore 64 user, living in the vastly high-tech 2010s, you are using a computer that is thirty years old. Thank goodness it was made in the time before the disposable age (marked by HP creating the disposable printer)! That computer is older than some of its users! Wow.

It still holds the magic.


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March 2012

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Camping. That is what it seems to have been. The secret to my productivity. Who knew? On the farm, my mornings are filled with planning, checking the weather -- getting ready for the storm that is my day. But here, in the trailer, I find myself at the keys with nothing to plan. There is no WiFi, I can't check email or get lost on Facebook. All I have is an open mind and a blank document.

I am on the X41.

Now, if you have ever used the Franklin Covey Planner, you know what a great life asset it is. When the Kyocera came around June of 2003, one of the chief inspirations was that I have the Franklin Covey Planner on a Palm device (see earlier AC to see who devised that).

It was nice. Moving over took a day or so, as I had to make sure I was not leaving anything in the real world. The planner worked well. Initially, I sanc it with the IBM 760ED ThinkPad.

I soon learned to do full planning on the ED then sync for field access on the Kyocera. When I got access to a bigger screen and faster CPU, I still sanc with the ED, but moved the Franklin Covey's db over to the 700 via WiFi to plan on the larger screen.

It worked really well and there was a geek element there that expanded when I stopped using the serial cable and sanc via the IR to the ED -- then WiFied and planned!

Things changed, an A22m was used and the Kyocera fell on it's face, breaking the digitizer :( I really needed to move to one device (rather than a cell phone, plus a pda) and couldn't get the second Kyocera activated as a cell phone due to the new-then law that it had to be E911 ready.

That was when the Palm 700p came.

I had been programming in HotPaw BASIC on the Kyocera; HotPaw followed the Franklin Covey Planner to the 700p.

Something new came. I had an audio player on the Kyocera that was akin to something on the C64. It played digitized sounds, but they were usually short and sounded a lot like white noise (it really was cool, but ate up memory!).

On the 700p I can play mp3s. Lots of them. It has an mp3 player. It has a digital camera and video recorder. I can watch full length movies on it. And -- I can run Frodo on it -- a commodore 64 emulator -- all in full color! (This device came with 64megs of RAM, plus I added the full amount of SD card it could take -- 4Gigs.)

Back to Franklin Covey.

This has been one of the highest geek factor things on the farm. I now hotsync in the evening to the A21p, move the file for the planner to a thumb drive. I put the X41 and the thumb drive next to my chair in the family room. In the morning I stoke up the fire and power up the X41.

Then, I kick back with a double espresso and a warm, cozy fire to plan my day on the tablet. The X41 looks like a laptop until you turn the screen around backwards and close it back down. Then it is a tablet with a stylus. Using the Franklin Covey software on the tablet is just too cool!

Initially, I just used the A21p by the fire, but it's battery only lasts about 20 minutes, so I set up a PS on the end table by the chair. Then I thought it would be cool to use the R30. Then, I thought, "Hey this software begs for a stylus!" So now it's the X41.


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April 2012

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Things on the farm are crazy busy. Lots of projects are always waiting. We are Homeschooling during the weekdays. We have been in waiting mode for adoption placement. It has been nice having a morning fire. It eases us into our day.

I have been into the eBay thing again. I have been moving a fairly steady flow of things out the door. This is nice as there are many more things in my garage than I need. Unfortunately space is not among them.

With the days warming up, I can get out to the garage without feeling like I just want to curl up in that chair by the fire and wait for summer. eBay has been filling much of the afternoon. I have dedicated Tuesdays to be my full out working- on- eBay- day.


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May 2012

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Well, everyone got this cold that just slowed us all way down. Projects have come to a crawl or a complete standstill. Meanwhile, we have moved to the Foster Respite list in March or February, meaning we are now licensed to take care of foster kids while their foster parents take a break.

It was soon after having provided respite care for a 2 year old that we decided that was where we needed to be. So we got licensed to do general foster care. We have now done both respite and fostering. We seem to be in a constant wait mode.

My second oldest daughter and I had been doing Java via Standford University's online program; CS106a. It was a blast. But after we got away from it a while during the holiday break we never quite got back to it fully. My daughter was taking it as supplementary to AP Computer Science Java. She no longer needed it and so dropped it. The Stanford course used the American Computing Machine's Java 6 as an educational standard and in real world Java, things are different. The course is actually Programming Methodology, and it's goal is that and not learning the language of Java, per se.

I plan to return someday; it was just too much fun.


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June 2012

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Well, I have been trying to clear off various thumb drives and I found a folder full of waycool Halloween pictures that I had been collecting. So now I want to make a slide-show with Halloween music to put on DVD and then I can delete them from my 8Gig thumb drive. Oh, did I mention I won a White Paper drawing? I periodically DL VeriSign's various white papers on net security. They usually introduce the existence of these white papers with a card to enter a drawing for a thumb drive. Well, I have dutifully entered and I won this time!

It is an interesting drive. It requires that a 5 volt line be present. Or at least it tells the iMac it needs 5 volts. All the USBs on all the other ports apparently have the line, but the Kb does not, and therefore reports that the device requires it. Interesting.

Well, due to this folder of pictures labeled "H," I have done nothing eBay or writing wise. I need to get them animated. There are a fair amount of GIF files that are animated, and I want them to play, but I also want them to be blowup to fill the screen. So far, anything that animates them will only blowup non-animated-GIF files.


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July 2012

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


I did it!

I got "H" off the drive! I realized I have been sitting on a couple of monitors I need to get posted because I was obsessing with this stupid slide-show. I even paid money for video software from DAK to get the project done!

I was looking at Drew's 66th birthday celebration sale ad. Get 5 programs free. Well, you have to buy something -- I'd have rather just bought the free programs as I didn't want the things for sale -- hello, wait a minute! Here is one that makes slideshows with music and transitions and saves it as an AVI. And it can also make an AVI file of anything you can display on the screen!

I bought it. The slide-show is a total dud. You have to load each picture one at a time. One at a time! I had around 135 pictures to load. Then you have to pick transitions. You have to or it won't play. You add them -- one at a time from a menu you have to open every time you add one. I finally got it done the first time and the PRG just disappeared. I get it done a second time, but it only plays one song. Plus -- it didn't fill the screen with the smaller pictures. The transitions, however, are amazing! There are also no options for any of the programs in the suite.

Major bummer!

I tried Irfenview, but it didn't animate all the GIFs, only some of them for some reason. Then I decided to use only the DAK Screen Memories PRG and the XP slide-show viewer - the one built into the OS. I setup the screen to the lowest resolution to blow up the smaller images since it didn't blowup GIF either.

I used the DAK recording softs to record the music that XP on the other machine was playing. This is the sound suite mentioned briefly in AC 2012.04.

I then used NCH's PhotoStage Slideshow Creation to merge the resulting AVI and the audio tracks, saving as yet another AVI.

I loaded it all in my DVD softs added menus, etc and it merged everything nicely.

I am now finally free from the "H" folder!


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August 2012


The last month of summer always brings a melancholy feeling over me. I think it is the mourning of summer's passing. It may seem a bit like I'm jumping the gun, since August just began. Never the less....

I have been backing up Noesis Creation's .net site. At first I planned to simply us an older version of IE. I recall my friend Al telling me how much he liked IE5 for backing up sites and 6 lost the nice clean save. That was in the back of my mind when I explored Firefox's abilities. FF can make a site available offline as can IE6+ but you can hardly call it a backup.

I was on Dampier at the time, so I opened IE. Hm, IE6. Ok, lets go over to Strider with Windows 98. IE6. Ok, how about Hawking, also Windows 98? IE6. Ah, Einstein will have IE5. Nope, I upgraded all my Win98 installs to IE6. Crap.


I came across HTTraker. This program allows you to set up certain parameters, many I don't need to change -- many, there are lots of options.

I went 3 deep.

I chose to follow links 3 deep on my site. The program looks at your base location, in this case,'s index.html and follows all the links on that page, all the links on those resulting pages and one more time for a total of three link jumps.

Everything is neatly organized into folders based on where the files originated from. There are links that were off site and those just got ignored. Anything from Angelfire got put into a folder.

There are some links that are not important as they are not part of my site per say, but part of angelfire. Since my site is, there are folders in the back up that are: "angelfire," "id," and "noesis."

Inside "noesis" is all the info I want to backup. All the HTML files and a folder, "images," where all the pictures are.

Now, this archive is for emergency recovery. Angelfire puts some stuff on top of the page that they separate out and say remove, so you know it was added by them. In the event I really mess up a live edit or some other disaster falls upon a page, I should be able to simply remove the extra code and basically cut and past what's left (many of the page are too long to simply cut and paste the desired part -- way too much holding a mouse button and scrolling.

The archive also lets me know how I linked objects, as I can open the files in offline mode of FF and if pictures don't show up or pages are unavailable, I know I coded the link as a hard link ( vs aa13/html).

Needless to say, I'd like to soft link as much as possible since that makes the archive more fully readable off line. That of course requires more time. Well, I'm off to cook the bacon....


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September 2012


Back at the lake. No surprise? It is indeed a wring place. Mostly a writing time. Mean while back at the ranch....

Still using HTTraker to back up sites. One thing I found was, at least with Lycos, I had to use 5 and 3 for the internal and external links saved to get the images of issue 2 of dieHard. I tried 2 and 0 -- thinking those were the logical settings as that is how many folders in the pictures are.

Looking back, I should have examined the HTML of the pages that link to the images. I was not counting links, but directories. Two different things. The funny thing is, I used this same logic on the Angelfire account and it worked. The difference is the Lycos account has thumbnails of all images with a link. So the first link (from index.html) leads you to the page that links to the individual pages, an index or table of contents kinda thing.

From there, the links lead to pages that display the issue as thumbnails. Clicking on a thumbnail, then leads you to the actual graphic.

BTW, when the scanning was done (on the Amiga 2000) I did some editing of the images. I corrected typos. I probably missed a few, but I did find some. Hopefully I didn't create new ones.

kindle fire.

Having reached a milestone in the Space/Time continuum, my Brother thought I should catch up on this new millennium; be got me a kindle fire for my birthday.

My first thoughts were, cool!, new geektoy! I have Mobi Reader, Adobe Reader, Comix and To Go on the Palm 700p, and have been reading many things on that little screen. We even watch full length movies on it. It is really a fun device. It is also a tool I really need, with the Franklin Covey Planner and my notes right on hand. It is also my phone. So what would I need a kindle for? Fun, of course.

I looked into some books and that was cool. In the time line, however, of owning a fire, I was reading my real world books and a couple of Audio books on the 700p, so I didn't really start reading anything on the fire, right away.

You see, the fire is an Amazon branded Android. The screen is as large as some of the portable DVD players that you can put in cars for long trips. Lots of Droid apps run on it. It came with a FACEBOOK link with a browser (Silk), also an app for the weather channel, iMDB, and a slew of others. This Droid's access to the outside world, is via WiFi. I found some really cool games and various other PRGs.

It wasn't until I got the Bubble Level app from ActionXL, that I realized that this new toy was turning into a tool. You may think that ruins everything, but that is far from the truth, cos now I have a need for this little machine.

After planning my day, I can put my tablet on the charger and hotsync my pda. Mean while, I can check the weather, check email, and if time allows, get on FACEBOOK. It makes things in the AM go smoothly. I can also check eBays during the day, without having to run downstairs to my computer.

Vectir WiFi Remote.

I was looking at some media player type apps, when I saw Vectir WiFi Remote. At first I thought it was to basically use you desktop PC as a file server to stream your media to the device over your LAN. I had DLed it and didn't have time to mess with it and kinda forgot about it/put on the back burner. One afternoon, I decided to mess with it and fired it up. I knew I needed the PC portion of the softs, so I went to their website and DLed it. It was a trial thing, I believe.

I stated messing with it and found I could not only access my computer's HDs, I could see the computer's desktop on my device! I was running the mouse, via my fire! I decided I wanted to checkout purchasing this waycool softs. It was on sale for $4.95 regularly $14.95. I decided now was a good time to buy it as any. Registration was easy and I have enjoyed being able to do work down stairs while I was upstairs via the fire.


I have used FACEBOOK mobile on the Palm TX for sometime now and it was Ok on that device. But on the kindle it was not fun. True to FACEBOOK's nature, when you just barley get used to how things work, they mess it up buy taking out any intuitiveness. Getting pictures on FACEBOOK shouldn't be hard. Sharing is impossible from mobile (at least it was). I had been able to simply type in the URL for regular FACEBOOK (within Silk) and all was well. But now, those days are gone. Even in the Maxthon browser I installed, FACEBOOK redirects you to mobile. I even installed an app that opens your browser directly to the regular page, making it really easy to access. But that only worked a couple of times and now staying in non-mobile on the fire is impossible.

Well, using Vectir WiFi Remote and the fire, I have been able to get onto the R50p and open up Firefox and use good old regular FACEBOOK! It is really nice.

Some of the other features, let you use your device as a remote or wireless touch pad (like a wireless mouse). It has an area for moving the mouse along with two buttons for left and right mouse clicks. In between those buttons is a set of arrows to scroll up and down.

WIN - Remote.

WIN - Remote is a free app that lets you use your device as a remote as does the above software, but also lets you have software specific remotes (the above does as well, but I cannot access the those features to write about them without physically accessing the R50p), like PowerPoint, and WinAMP to name a couple. You can also make your own custom remotes and share them with other people, as well as install other people's remotes on your device. Kinda cool!

One thing that sets this off from the above and below softs, is that I can select play on device and sounds, picture, and videos will stream to and play on my fire.


I don't think you can access you computer from the Internet with Vectir WiFi Remote or WIN Remote. You can however, with Teamviewer.

Teamviewer is a commercial product aimed at IT professionals to link to a remote computer to run diagnosis, among other things, i.e., basically accessing a remote computer or computers from over a local network, or the iNet. They also let you license it for free for non-commercial, private use.

I put this one on the Win 2000 machine, then thought, why not the XP machine as well? So why not the Win 7 machine?

At one point I was upstairs in a recliner accessing the Win2000 machine and needed to get something on the XP machine, so I accessed it via the 2000 controlling it all with the kindle! I had kinda lost track of what machine I was on when realized what I was doing. :)

The audio does not make it off the source machine, and since the video from a video player is on another layer, it too will will not be seen (this is true on the Vectir softs as well).

The moment I realized I was controlling multiple layers of my own computers was definitely a Geek Moment. A bigger Geek Moment awaits, when I am at some remote location like a coffee shop doing that remote access.

Gotta tell ya, I was temped to leave my computer running when we left, in hopes of slipping over to the camp ground just north of here that has WiFi....


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October 2012

An Introduction.

This year I have a special treat for my late night readers. Tonight, I present, not one story of the macabre, but two. These are sister stories in that they originated from the same beginnings. Let me explain.

As a story teller I have often had the kids start a story, then after they setup the premise, the characters and place, I tell the story. Well, this is an example of how one premise can lead to more than one story.

I had started "A Night In A Haunted House" a while ago. I had called the house in the story the Bentley House. In my mind the story became "The Bentley House." I recall, on many occasions thinking I need to finish "The Bentley House."

Enter a camping trip where I had time to get back to my writing. I came across an earlier version of the file: "A Night In A Haunted House." Not realizing it was the same story as the "Bentley" story, I continued and finished the story.

It wasn't until a few weeks later that I found the more complete story and realized it was the Bentley story. All this time I was looking for a file called "Bentley House," or something close. Having seen it was well into another story, albeit very similar as far as the two central characters go, the Ghost-Mystery part was very different.

So here now, are those two stories presented as two different possibilities. The first story is from the older file that got mistaken as the "current" version of the story. The second one, of course, is the one I had almost finished. It is completed here.


Night in a Haunted House


Brian Crosthwaite

I recall that wonderful autumn day, like it was only yesterday. I recall that fate filled night as well. I was nine at the time.

It was late October and the weather had stayed nice and warm. Sweaters in the morning and tees in the day. Niechell and I were planning out our science fair project, rather we were getting ideas. We met at the corner where our two streets intersected.

We really didn't have any ideas, I think it was because we weren't particularly interested in the science fair this year, but we met just the same. We could have been meeting to play -- it would have been the same.

Niechell and I thought we'd go to the library. It was a short distance from our neighborhood. We had a great layout for getting places fairly fast. There was a park, a library, and a burger place with a large candy counter -- all within 30 minutes from our personal meeting place; the corner.

Niechell was there when I walked up. I didn't know why we were so unenthused about the project idea. It was not required, but felt like something we should do. I was thinking we could make a rocket or something. When I saw Niechell, I knew deep down inside why we were not enthused -- Halloween was right around the corner!

"Well?" Niechell inquired half greeting, half asking in earnest if I had come up with a brilliant plan.

As I approached the spot where I'd stand, if I got to the meeting spot first, I replied with, "How about we make a rocket?"

She nodded, it was true, it was a good idea, it would be fun, but then she said, "I think we should build a Frankenstein Monster! Why is the science fair right around Halloween? I mean, don't the teachers know kids? -- kids and Halloween? -- Halloween and kids?" she gestured with both hands together as if dividing the air in half twice, and the kids and the Halloween were together each time. "Why don't we just forget the whole thing?"

"I know, I'd like to do it, but there is enough to do in school as it is and the more you do at home, the less Halloween prep you have." There was a silent pause. I added, "Say, maybe we could do something paranormal, like ESP or ghost hunters or something."

"Yeah, maybe.." It sounded as indecisive as what I had just said.

"Well, let's go to the library and if we find something, then fine. I am looking for a book on ghost stories."

As we walked off in the direction of the Library, Niechell added, "Maybe we could find something on local legends or something."

The walk to the library was really a fair distance as far as time and space for a nine year old. We didn't exactly go straight there. We took the shortcut through the old, neglected Rose Vine Cemetery, or the "Graveyard," as we called it. It wasn't really much of a short cut since it was not in the path of getting to the library, but it wasn't too far of a detour. And at this time of year, it was kinda required.

We spent far too long in the Graveyard, but if it were not for that time and the strange stories we had heard and shared with each other, it is possible our project might not have had the boost it got.

The trip from the Graveyard to the Library was short, as we all but ran there. Niechell had recalled hearing about a haunted house down on West Millstone Drive. We asked the librarian for help after failing to find anything of consequence in the card catalogue. Oh sure, we found some books on local legends and haunting and such, but they were not local to us.

Mrs. Dansheers was always helpful, and she was never too busy to help us out. She managed to find a newspaper article on microfiche dated October 13th 1959:

`It was just nine short years ago, here in Almond County, that Jack Wellus took his own life. Jack Wellus, a predominant business man, destined to greatness, had just lost what amounted to well over half his estate in a deal with a black market company posing as an investment firm. He had put forth just about all his working collateral and signed almost all of his worth as a measure of good faith to invest in what he thought was a sound investment in the future of this vary city. When it turned out it was a sham, he worked with authorities for months to recover his good name as well has some part of his fortune.

'But by then, depression had set in after loosing the woman to be his wife, his fiancee, Wilimeana Harper. It was too much for him, and he ended his life on the night of October 13, 1950, nine short years ago. Some say they can still hear his wails of grief on the 13th of every October.

'Over the years, many a predominate citizen has claimed witness to this strange phenomenon of cries of sadness echoing from the old house.'

"It's a little like `The Ghost and Mister Chicken,'" Niechell began as she pointed out the size of the article as a `small filler item.'

"Yeah, there isn't even a by line."

Well, that was it. We both loved that corny, old movie - this was our house - our project!

* * *

What does a kid pack to spend a night in a haunted house? What does anyone pack? We had brainstormed for over an hour and came up with the following list:

Note pads
Cassette recorder
Blank cassettes
Movie camera - if we could get it -- and movie film
Soft sole shoes (we each had a favorite in mind) 

That was the scientific list. Shorts and tee-shirts with windbreakers for just in case, oh and two pillows, two blankets and enough food to feed a small army.

The plan was simple. We'd camp out in the most likely place for a manifestation to occur and record any and all things that might be of interest. We'd sleep in shifts, but only in the late, late hours until dawn and wake the other if a specter should appear.

"Are we really doing this, Mike?"

"I guess so. I hope our parents say its ok."

"They will, this is our science fair project!"

That was it. We'd get permission and we really did need permission, or Mr. Lander's would cream us.

It took a little prodding, but I got permission. I had to play my science project card - it felt like a card, as part of me was more into this "project" for the Halloween of it more than the science. Niechell had gotten permission, and called me about an hour before I got the ok.

My mom used to be a realtor and knew who to talk to to get permission and a key. I don't know who she talked to, but she gave me the key an hour later. I was ready by the time she handed it to me. She said, "Behave yourself," as she handed me the key. I responded in a way letting her know I planned to. I did however, imagine Niechell and I running in the house and maybe even yelling and screaming as we were dodging ghosts, but now that I'm older, I think she might have meant something else entirely.

I packed my camera and film - and my dad's movie camera and one cassette of film - 3 whole minutes of possible film footage! -- along with a blanket and pillow, and what food I had absconded from the kitchen into an old, army surplus duffel bag.

It was 7:30 and already dark when I knocked on Niechell's door. We got to the house at 7:55 - a well planned time. Just enough time in the Graveyard to prep us, but not too late to miss any haunting action.

We talked on the porch for a few minutes and compared parental notes; it seemed both our parents were leaning toward us showing the house was "most likely not haunted." Be we had already decided it was haunted and we were gonna prove it. Not really good science, but oh well.

* * *

That night.

Niechell looked at the door, stepped toward it, took a deep breath, reached out and turned the knob. It was most definitely locked. "How could we be so stupid!? Of course it's locked." Her head sunk in despair.

I put my hand on her shoulder and as she turned toward me, "Only one of us is so stupid." I handed her the key.

Her face lit up like it was her birthday as she took it, then she scowled at me and elbowed me as she turned toward the locked door, "And that would be you." We both laughed.

The key turned quite easily for Niechell and when it clicked our laughter froze on the cool night air. She turned toward me. Suddenly the Halloween side of the night would have to be blocked out and the science side would occupy our minds, for behind that door lay a void filled with the uncertainty of the unknown.

Niechell grabbed my arm and pulled me over to her as the door creaked and groaned, echoing into the house beyond. I felt a coldness coming from inside the house we were about to enter. It was thick and musty. I found myself pulling her toward me as well. Together we stepped into the darkness. Niechell had a flashlight in her hand but in the moment neither of us had thought to turn it on.

The entry was dark. It felt like it was 10 degrees colder than outside. I felt a shiver run down my spine. We had stopped just inside the door. Neither of us spoke. Then Niechell turned on the flash light. There, right in front of us stood a ghostly apparition!

We both jumped and gasped, but that was the only noise we made as it slowly dawned on both of us that it was a sheet hung over something. It did not move. It was as tall as a grown-up, but if it had been someone wearing a sheet the head would be smaller. We glanced at each other, still arm in arm. Niechell's glance was more of a "go ahead and remove the sheet" kind of look, as mine was a more of a what-to-do kind of look.

I stepped forward alone, and reached out slowly. I felt like I was shaking, but my hand didn't show any sign of quivering. I grasped the sheet and slowly pulled. The sheet started to come off, then it slid to the floor revealing a bird cage. We both gave out sighs of relief. The cage was empty and despite the cover, was fairly dusty inside.

I turned back toward Niechell, walked over and closed the door. It creaked and groaned again, making an additional popping sound. Surely if anything slept here that night, it was now awakened. This was a thought I did not share with Niechell. The door made a final clicking sound as if it had locked itself and it was closed. "I'd better lock it," and I did.

We made our way inward, standing together well behind the light. It was like a powerful room clearing device that empties anything we didn't want to see in the dark from our path. It was safe. We came into a large room that must have been the living room.

We stood there as Niechell panned the flashlight around to explore our space. It was a large house. There was a stairway off to the left. Past the stairway was an opening that led to a hallway. The house still had furniture in it, all covered with dust covered sheets.

We decided this room would serve as our base camp, until we found a better place. We put our bags down and got a couple of things out: I grabbed my flashlight, the rope, the camera and an extra roll of film, flash, tripod and shutter release cable. Niechell grabbed the cassette recorder and extra cassettes and a pad and pencil.

From there we made our way to the stairway. Our evening's abode, being a little less unknown, the Halloween aspect came back without terror, bringing the ghost searching spirit back to us. It was agreed that all the good action would happen up stairs. We never really said anything out loud, but as nine-year-olds we instinctively knew that was our best bet for a scare - deep within the bowels of the house. The stairs all creaked with their own individual voices. One stair, in particular made a very unique and loud squeak. So loud it echoed back from down stairs. At the top of the stairs we had another realization. This house was huge.

There was another flight of steps leading up and one more beyond that. We did a preliminary getting familiar with the layout. We cruised the halls on all four floors. We were at what we thought the top of the house, at the end of the hall, when we found a narrow stairway. The walls were unfinished, simply slats of wood with 1/4 inch spaces between them. This was a find! We immediately went up. It led to an attic filled with wooden boxes and trunks and old stuff. All neatly tucked out of the main central areas all around the edges where the ceiling was too low to walk anyway. This was a really fun place to explore, but it held no ghosts, at least not the kind we were searching for.

We spent some time in the attic and decided it might make a good base too. But before we could really decide, we heard something. It was a door. In the quiet of the house, we clearly heard a door swing shut and close! Our hearts jumped and we found ourselves by the doorway of the attic at the top of the steps. Someone was in the house!

"You locked the door! Who could have come in? The door was locked when we got here!" There was a moment of uncertainty and disbelief. It was hard to not know that there was a living human being in the house. It felt obvious, it was the only explanation. The wind could not have blown it shut. In fact, on our preliminary scoping out of the house, we found all the doors closed and we opened none. I felt like someone was taking our experiment, our fun, our night in a haunted house away.

I grabbed Niechell's arm and led her down the steps. As we got to the bottom, we could hear foot falls echoing from the hall down stairs as if whoever was down there was pacing. It didn't occur to us that we should be taping this sound.

"It's a grown-up." Disappointment sunk in. We'd been discovered and we'd be asked to leave. Our night was coming to an end. We took the defeat in stride. We walked as if we were leaving. As we neared the stairs, it occurred to me that I had thought my mom had permission to let us in here. I grabbed Niechell and we both stopped. "My mom gave us the keys; maybe they are just here to see if we're doing ok. We can be here. It's ok."

This changed our general attitude. As we descended the next staircase leading to the second floor I called out, "Mom, we're on the second floor."

A door creaked open again then closed. It was on the third floor! We turned and zipped back up. Foot steps echoed again. We arrived at the top of the stairs just in time to greet no one. We could still hear the foot falls but there was no visible sign of anyone there!

* * *

There was a long moment when we simply froze in our tracks, listening and looking into the empty corridor. More than anything, I remember the cold. It was so cold. At first I had the thought of an open door and a cold breeze blowing in that was responsible for the door sounds we had heard as well as the cold. I was about to relay these thoughts to Niechell when a strange realization hit me. The footfalls were now behind us on the stairs! The air had returned to its normal coolness.

We turned, Niechell aiming the light toward the empty space that was filled with the sound. The stairs gave the same signals as each one in turn was stepped on. Stepped on by something that was, and yet, was not there!

We looked at each other in dismay. We knew our project was going to be a success! But it was going to take us a moment to regroup. Neither of us had actually thought there would be anything so blatant, so clear, so real. This was really close to being tangible!

So naturally, our first response past the gasps we must have made earlier was to just stand there as what ever that thing was walked off.

"The camera," was all I could muster. I wanted to say something more intelligible, along the lines of us getting some sort of equipment for recording ghosts involved, but that's all that came to mind.

We both just stood there. It was one of those times when the young brain fumbles and then starts to spin like a bike tire not quite getting traction yet, then it catches - "The tape recorder!" We both said it at the same time. Our minds were now back on!

We made our way as quietly and as quickly as we could back down to the living room where our "equipment" lay.

As we moved toward the last flight of stairs that loud step gowned and reported throughout the house, Niechell caught my arm. Our specter was on the last run of stairs. We'd have to wait or risk interacting with it. At the age of 9, interacting with a dead guy just seemed like a bad idea.

We could feel the cold moving with the sound. Niechell jotted that down in her notebook. We heard the footfalls on the main floor of the house, and now there was another sound. It was kind of like speaking. It was hard to describe; sort of a vocal sound, almost a sobbing sound.

We made our way to the living room and pulled out the recorder. I hit play by accident; the recording was loud - two kids making funny noises. Realizing what I had done, I hit stop. The house was absolutely dead silent. No foot steps, no vocal sounds - nothing.

A sense of relief that it was over came across me, but was washed away by the despair that I may have messed up our project and it would be a year before this haunting would take place again. Niechell was not phased. She was focused, she had the camera in hand and thrust the movie camera at me. I was back in action as I tucked the recorder under my arm and readied the movie camera. "I'll need a light for this," I relayed as Niechell put the rope on her shoulder - this time we were ready!

I grabbed the tripod and cable extension and we set off in the last known area of sound. We moved to the corner of the entry where we could see everything.

We waited. Nothing seemed to be happening. We decided to turn the flashlight off to conserve battery and perhaps not scare off the ghost. It seemed like an eternity waiting in that cold, dank, old house. This was the best Halloween ever! There seemed to be an agreed on hope that this was all; that it was over and we'd share what data we had collected without further need to see or hear any more ghosts. Or ghost, in this instance. But there was also a feeling of disappointment that seemed to come over us.

Perhaps it was the gloom of the place. Maybe it was the newspaper article echoing around in our minds. But we really didn't want it to be over so soon. In the silence, we started talking to each other more and more. We whispered. We voiced our concerns that this was all we had to present and the feeling that we had somehow messed everything up. That, I, had messed everything up. Niechell took responsibility for not erasing the tape before hand and that helped me not feel quite so bad.

I hit rewind to put the tape at the beginning, then hit stop, we had just consoled ourselves that it was indeed over and we were good with that, when a chair in the dining room slid out, cutting the silence like a hot knife in butter. Then it was silent once again.

I hit record and Niechell turned on the flashlight, aiming it toward the floor in front of us so as not to spook our host. What a thought. We were trespassing in this, the final relived hours of this man's life. That was when the thought must have it us. This was the anniversary of his suicide. There was excitement up to that point, but a strange feeling that bordered on fear came over us both. There came a sobbing and I could see the silhouette of a man sitting at the table. It was Jack Wellus! Niechell brought the light toward him with out aiming it directly at him. And there at the table sat a man sobbing. The sobs turn into ghostly wails that filled the halls of the old house.

I started filming while Niechell took several pictures. Some with flash, others without. While it sounded like a free spirit floating throughout the house, his bodily form still sat at the table. Before him was a bottle of wine, and a glass. There was a smaller bottle sitting on the table that we didn't notice at first but it sort of came into light on its own, as if it had materialized there.

"Poison," Niechell whispered. "He must have poisoned himself."

Thinking back, the article back at the Library hadn't really said. His form lay his head on the table with his arms out stretched. Despite the terrific thought of what was about to unfold, we got everything: photographs, sound recording and motion film! This was a Science Fair project I could throw my heart into fully.

I noticed Niechell pausing for a moment the camera still raised, but she was looking over the top, almost as if she had forgotten it. She was looking intently at Mr. Wellus' form. Her focus of attention drew me to look at him again. He sat back up sliding his hands back toward him. He let them fall to his lap. He sat only a moment frozen in time, unmoving, then he reached forward, and poured some wine. I could smell it! Niechell was still paused, looking at him over the camera. I had him in my frame and was filming as Jack Wellus reached out for the small vile, unstopped it and poured it's contents into his wine. As he had done this I heard Niechell taking pictures and I refocused my energies into the filming.

Would the film last? Three minutes is all you get. How long had it been? Jack Wellus' form sat erect for a moment staring at the drink that sat before him. He reached out, lifted the glass and held it for a moment. Then he turned his gaze upon his surrounding. He surveyed the room, as if it was the last time he'd see this place.

This place, it had grown more dreary than when we first entered it. It now seemed icy in comparison to the cold we felt earlier. Then, Mr. Jack Wellus drank the contents of his glass. His arm dropped to the table and the glass shattered spreading shards all over the table. Niechell seemed to be capturing it all. The figure before us seemed to glow. It took on a new shape. As if we were looking through water, distorting as the surface wriggles in a breeze.

The camera stopped running, indicating my 3 minutes was up. Niechell squeezed one last photograph out of the roll and the ghostly apparition before us vanished. It was simply gone.

We stood there silently in the darkness for a few moments. Partly to take in what just happened. Partly, I think out of respect. This person, whoever he had been, must have been in a horrible state to have done such a thing. But it was over now. He seemed to be gone. In fact, the house now seemed warmer.

* * *

Yes, Mr. Jack Wellus was gone. Perhaps he was not really there and what we saw was merely and echo of events that happened long ago. Niechell and I were writing notes and sharing insights as to what we had just experienced. We had turned into a team of scientists -- paranormal investigators!

It didn't even register that we were in a spooky, old house. It didn't seem so spooky anymore, after having encountered the ghost.

The ghost! We had seen a ghost! We were eyewitness to it! We had seen it replay the last moments of that poor man's life. While it was exciting to get it all written up and sorted out. There was a certain uneasiness about the place. There was a new cold entering the house.

Dawn. The sun was rising and the sky outside was no longer black. We had spent the whole night there! We were both glad dawn had snuck up on us. Having finished our information gathering and getting things squared away, it really felt like time to leave. Since we planned to spend the night it was rather serendipitous that the sun was high enough to make it truly time to go.

* * *

It was a week later that we got our film and pictures back from Eastman's Camera. We had made posters and arranged to get a small film editor to show our film on for our table for the science fair. The pictures hadn't turned out as clear as we had hoped, and despite using the flash light to film the scene, there really wasn't much to see. We did have a fully written report of the events and despite the many skeptics, our presentation was done well and well received. Our teacher voiced no opinion considering the existence of our ghost, nor any ghost for that matter. But he did make a comment about how there have been many strange stories about the place. We got an A.

Niechell and I got more than that. We got to live out a childhood fantasy of spending the night in a haunted house! It was a perfect Halloween, but something was different about both of our views of the holiday. We were less focused on ghosts. Ghosts seemed to leave our games and mayhem around the middle of the each October. That is, until Mrs. Dansheers showed us an article that reported a sighting of a strange glow in The Rose Vine Cemetery - the Graveyard!

The End.

Night in a Haunted House


Brian Crosthwaite

I recall the wonderful autumn day, like it was only yesterday. I don't like to, but I recall that fate filled night as well. I was nine at the time.

It was late October and the weather had stayed nice and warm. Sweaters in the morning and tees in the day. Niechell and I were planning out our science fair project, rather we were getting ideas. We met at the corner of our two streets -- they intersect.

We really didn't have any ideas, I think it was partly because we weren't particularly interested, but we met just the same. We could have been meeting to play, it would have been the same.

Niechell and I had thought, maybe we'd go to the library. It was a short distance from our neighborhood. We had a great layout for getting places fairly fast. There was a park, a library, and a burger place with a large candy counter within 30 minutes from our personal meeting place: the corner.

Niechell was there when I walked up. I don't know why we were so unenthused about the project idea. It was not required, but felt like something we should do. I was thinking we could make a rocket or something. When I saw Niechell, I knew deep down inside why we were not enthused -- Halloween was right around the corner!

"Well?" Niechell inquired, half greeting, half asking in earnest if I had come up with a brilliant plan.

As I approached the spot where I'd stand if I got to the meeting spot first, I replied with, "How about we make a rocket?"

She nodded, it was true, it was a good idea, it would be fun, but then she said, "I think we should build a Frankenstein Monster! Why is the science fair right around Halloween? I mean, don't the teachers know, kids -- kids and Halloween -- Halloween and kids," she gestured with both hands together as if dividing the air in half twice, and the kids and the Halloween were together each time. "Why don't we just forget the whole thing."

"I know, I'd like to do it, but there is enough to do in school as it is and the more you do at home, the less Halloween prep you have." There was a silent pause. I added, "Say, maybe we could do something paranormal, like ESP or ghost hunters or something."

"Yeah, maybe." It sounded as indecisive as what I had just said.

"Well, let's go to the library and see if we find something. I am looking for a book on ghost sightings."

As we walked off in the direction of the Library Niechell added, "Maybe we could find something on local legends or something."

The walk to the library was really a fair distance as far as time and space for a nine year old. We didn't exactly go straight there. We took the shortcut through the old, neglected Rose Vine Cemetery, or the "Graveyard" as we called it. It wasn't really much of a short cut since it was not in the path of getting to the library, but it wasn't too far of a detour. And at this time of year, it was kinda required.

We walked along the well travel path, meandering between the graves. The path was mostly over grown -- the grass was shorter than the other grass. Since the graveyard was not tended to, the weeds grew pretty high in most of the other places, giving a really cool, creepy look to the place. It never occurred to me to wonder who walked this path besides us. I'd never seen anyone on it besides Niechell, and of course, myself.

We walked along at a slow meander, then we stopped. There, behind several old trees, almost forgot, was the old Bentley House. It was this huge house that lay hidden in the trees for most of the summer, then makes its magical mysterious appearance as the leaves fall, revieling it's presence. The place was simply creepy looking. We stood looking at it, the stories of odd and unusual things happening in and around the place echoing in hour collective imaginations.

"That's it!" The words were out of my mouth before I even had a clue as to what I had said, let alone any idea what I was even thinking about. Then it kinda hit us both -- there before us stood our paranormal study. It had Halloween written all over it!

"We could spend the night, take pictures, make observations, record sounds, take notes... ...and if nothing happens, so what. We just debunked all the old stories about the place." Niechell seemed very sure of herself. Otherwise she would have spent sometime trying to recall words like debunk.

"What if we prove them to be true?" There was this eerie silence after I said that.

We stood a moment staring then Niechell added, "Maybe there's a newspaper article on it."

That sorta saved the day, at least we didn't have to go over to the old place right at that moment. Best to let things stew. Perhaps we'd warm up to the idea as it aged a little.

Many of the leaves had all ready fallen and were nice and dry as we crunched our way through the old graveyard. This was Halloween at it's best! The place just seemed like it couldn't get any spookier -- and it was a nice bright, warm day!

We suddenly stopped dead in our tracks and turned toward each other, "Did you see that?!" It came out of my mouth in almost a screech but my pitch didn't seem to take Niechell by surprise -- how could it? We were reacting to having seen something dark, and large that had stepped behind a huge tombstone over towards the old house!

"I think we'd best get to the library." We turned our course toward the direction of the library; toward a low spot in the wall were it had crumbled. Walking didn't seem to do it and we started at a swift trot, but were soon at a paced, bolting speed.

On the outside of the graveyard we just about laughed ourselves silly for having frightened ourselves so much. It must have been some one trying to scare us. But you know, it had worked.

We were at the library, despite our taking what was really the long way, in no time. We looked through old newspapers on micro fiche. It seemed like there was nothing. One of the librarians took interest in what we were doing and soon had some really old papers -- several of which were in plastic sleeves with thin metal bars to help hold them safe. They were different. They were a from a newspaper that had been gone for over 50 years and almost forgot, until the library had cleaned out a back closet. She said they were going to make copies of them soon, but as long as she was there to handle them, we could look at them.

One paper that caught our eyes almost immediately, had a front page photo of a big house -- the very one next to the graveyard! The librarian beamed as the realization of what we were looking at hit us both.

The story was a strange one and much of the paper had been damaged. Parts of the paper were missing as it was speckled with holes. It told of a mysterious murder, but anything more specific was riddled with missing parts of paper and thus the story read as much. But one thing was clear, three people lived there. Three people died there.

This was a freezing point for us. It was melted by the Librarian, "Oh my." She looked at Niechell and turned her glance to me, then added, "I suppose there is a reason that old house looks so grim." Her attention was taken by another patron and Niechell and I were left to our thoughts.

Niechell broke the silence, "We're gonna need a camera, a tape recorder, some pencils and paper.... ...maybe a sketch pad. ...something to eat.... "

"In case it's our last meal." It was intended to make us laugh, but we both just sat there.

"Do you still have that old army backpack?" This was a time when kids carried books in hand. Camera used film and audio recorders used tapes.

"Yeah, I think so." It seemed so final.

"We need to write up our experiment and what's that thing again?"

"Hypothesis." That was a reverse. It was I who asked those questions and Niechell who knew them off the top of her head. That made us laugh.

Once the tension was broken, we focused on this new exciting adventure into the scientific realm of the paranormal.

Things were coming together. We wrote up our plans for what we were going to do. This was to be an open-ended experiment. We decided that we could only prove that the place was haunted or not. We could prove that ghosts existed -- if it were haunted, but we could not disprove the existence of ghosts, if the old mansion was not haunted. We could only prove the existence of ghosts if, well, they existed in the old house.

We were not great science students, but we were rather creative. Along with creativity comes an imagination, and by now we talked about all kinds of possibilities. In fact, too many possibilities. That was when we decided local legends must be the ones we look for. So the first order was to ask our parents. "You should ask your Grandma, Niechell. She has lived here a long time."

It was an excellent idea. Niechell's Grandma was our sole interviewee. She was a kid when the murders took place and she had heard of them. She also knew some of the local gossip, as she called it -- we preferred to call them legends, it just sounded better.

"Well, there were many things people had said, but being as I was only a child back then, I got most of my hear-tell from Robert. He was a boy in my school who seemed to know the worst of everybody that had somethin' bad to be known. Oh, could that boy tell a story!"

This was great! She told us of a wealthy couple who had moved to the town. They had no children, but the man's brother moved in with them after a few months. Mr. Bentley was a banker. They were well to do and for the most part lived a quiet life. Niechell's Grandmother didn't know what the brother did, he just moved in one day.

"They must be the three that were murdered," Niechell had spoken almost from a daze.

I don't know if there came a chill in the autumn air, or I was struck by what Niechell had just said, but I got goose bumps all over. I felt uneasy, like the whole thing had been a waste and that we should go back to build a rocket. Niechell must have seen something on my face or was tracing the logic in her mind as well, "This is great, we have more information, all we have to do is finish writing this all up and we're ready."

Ready? Ready for what? All this was leading to us spending the night in this creepy old house, that now was growing even more creepy in my mind. Had we not seen something in the Graveyard that day, it still might have been scary enough. Had we not talked to Niechell's Grandma, it still was scary. Had we not gone to the library -- there was no trimming it down, but perhaps the library with the news about the murders -- that might have made it just the kinda spooky thing to do. But at this point it seemed suicidal to even consider it, but we still had a night in a haunted house ahead of us!

Part II

It was still pre-twilight, as we started packing for the night. I borrowed some of my Dad's Snicker Bars and three apples. I got an old rope from the garage, a flashlight, and my camera and electronic flash. I had six pictures left in the camera and a fresh roll of film still in the box.

Niechell had gathered a couple of bananas, some M&Ms and two pixie sticks and a pack of gum, a flashlight, a note pad, and a pencil.

We were ready by the time darkness was settling. Now we had a plan. I knew my folks wouldn't let me stay in a murder house, especially right before Halloween. Niechell said she was sleeping over at her older sister's house; something she had done a few times. Her sister was actually in on our caper -- mostly as an alibi. I had no older sibling who were on their own, so had call in a confident from school, of whom would have loved to be in on the caper had it not been strictly in the "name of science." Our alibis set, we were off.

As we walked down the road, Niechell grabbed my arm, "what if your folks call Nathan?"

"That's easy -- Nathan unplugged the phone. They won't be getting any calls tonight. What about your sister?"

"She sounds just like me on the phone." Niechell looked a little uncomfortable, "besides, they won't call, we are watching the monster movie marathon; "Frankenstein," "Dracula," and "The Wolfman."

"Aren't you going to miss it when you don't get to...." then it hit me -- those were the movies we were planning to watch next week on the Eve Of Halloween, "oh, yeah! Great thinking!"

There was a pang of guilt that I'm sure we both had, but we didn't discuss it -- this was all in the name of science.

There we were, standing in the only place we had ever seen the house from -- the old abandoned graveyard. There were clouds in the sky obscuring what little light might have been coming from above. Somewhere, was a full moon, but it wasn't helping, at least not at the time we were making our way through the graves. We stood in the center of the graveyard looking at the ominous structure that stood, revealed by the now parting curtain of the trees as they shed their leaves.

More of the building was visible than we had seen that afternoon. There were several flashes of light coming from the clouds illuminating the side of the house. It seemed to look creepier than it ever looked before. There was something foreboding about the place. Even the surrounding yard looked uninviting. There seemed to be something in the windows looking out. It seemed to jump from window to window. But when I asked Niechell about it, she said she hadn't seen anything and that I must have been seeing reflections or shadows dancing around from the storm that had been forming around us.

This was too cool. But it was also very scary. On one hand, with the excitement of Halloween in the air, here we were entering into our own scary story. We were in an old run-down graveyard, looking at a house where something gruesome had taken place, a storm building up around us. The clouds opened up a little and the full moon peaked through!

On the other hand, we were trespassing without permission, to spy on what could be happening there -- a place we had never been before and, if caught, we'd be grounded for life. Plus, we had no way of knowing what dangers lay ahead.

It was exciting on more than one front.

I was standing and Niechell started forward. I still stood, Niechell still walked forward, towards the old place. Niechell finally stopped several yards ahead of me and turned. She just stood there, looking back at me. I couldn't tell what she was thinking, except what I was, which was we were out of our minds to do this on purpose. People find themselves in old haunted houses by accident. At least they do in the movies. We were walking in, in a premeditated way.

I started toward her, "We gotta be bonkers."

"Bet we get an A." Then, it all came back. The excitement, the science fair, the library, but mostly the excitement. We were really gonna do it.

Even if our experiment was a failure, kids would really respect us after this. We would be the nerdy kids that had dared to enter -- and spend the night in -- The Creepy Old Bentley House. Especially when they found out that it was a murder house.

It was a longer walk than expected. It took quite a while to get to the edge of the property. The grounds surrounding it were enormous. The rot-iron fence was very tall, but a huge grave stone had sunken into the ground, and tipped into part of the fence pressing up against it. A nice ramp up we could easily traverse. A way in.

It took still longer to get to the front door. It seemed really strange. There we were standing on the porch of this giant citadel of a building and it just felt like every one behind us could see us and was looking at us. It hit us at the same time, as we both turned slowly in a circle, scanning the houses that surrounded the Bentley House. It was almost comical and there was a sense of relief that hit us both as we realized that there were none. The front yard stretched on. The only things you could see beyond the fence were trees. Nothing faced the old place. It was secluded from everything.

This seemed good, at first. We would go in under cover. No one knew we would be there. At least no one would call the police on us, or come yell at us.

We turned to face our nemesis. The first obstacle was the door. The door! What happened if the place was locked up?!? Our whole operation was in jeopardy of coming to a quick conclusion. Surely, the front door was locked. And it was. My heart sank, it was over. I guess a secret part of me was happy though. I would soon be home safe, or at least, at Nathan's house. "Are you gonna go to your sisters?"

Niechell looked at me with a curious look, "I'm gonna try the window." My heart sank again. I had already mourned the closing of our project, imagined my self laying comfortably asleep some where not haunted, seen the F, heard the jeers of classmates. I had moved on. Meanwhile, Niechell was prying up on the windows along the enormous porch.

But reality slowly crept back in as Niechell slid the very last window up. She struggled as it must not have been opened for many, many years, but still, it went up. She turned to me and smiled. The game was afoot!

I was at her side again, ready to continue on our voyage of the fantastic!

We were inside in no time! It was amazing to see the inside. No movie set could match the enormity, and it certainly held it's own in the creepy zone! This place was definitely haunted. It had to be. I am not sure of my enjoyment level at this point, but I can say, I was definitely scared. I pulled off my army surplus issue backpack, and fumbled around for the flashlight. I turned it on and -- notta. "What!? This thing worked when I packed it!" I shook the thing and it came on. It was a bit dimmer than I remember it being at home, but it lit up much of our way.

Niechell started, "Let's assume, the murderer was a robber. That makes the most sense. Where do you suppose they entered the house?"

"They!? You think there was more than one?!"

"No, I mean, 'They' as in the person -- he or she."

"Oh." I walked with the light in hand to the center of the room we were in, and turned. "Maybe the front door?"

"No, I'll bet they broke in and the man went down to see what was going on."

I interjected, "that spooked the burglars and they shot, or stabbed him."

"He was stabbed, the paper said something about a large amount of blood." When she said that it chilled us both. There was this strange silence that told the tale of terror inside of each of us.

I broke the spell with, "You can bleed a lot from a gun wound," struggling here I added, "but the woman would have heard the shot and called the police."

"If they had a phone, I suppose rich people would have had a phone back then."

I continued our supposition, "the robber made his way upstairs where they found the woman and brother and killed them, or do you suppose they witnessed the first murder making the robber have to kill them to keep them silent?"

"He? The robber could have been a she." The vastness of the house spread out before us. "We need to figure this out, I mean if a haunting occurs -- this place is so large we could miss it!"

She was right! What if we were in the wrong place at the right time? Or the right place a the right time? "We should scope the place out to get the best vantage point." I think I had just heard that on "Mannix" the night before. It was not often you can use a good line like that in real life!

"That was great!" Niechell was referring to the show we had watched together. "That's a good idea."

We explored the house for upwards of an hour. We got lost at least twice and had to get our bearings again before continuing. It was so eerie, it was a warm night and the lightning display only added to the festivities! The storm was getting worse, and really made this a night to remember. Flashes of light would fill a dark corner long enough to sorta see something there, only to drop to darkness before comprehension of what was there set in.

Then things seemed to change. The house suddenly became cool. Niechell thought it must be the storm, it had been raining almost since we entered. "I think we should set up and get ready, just in case the coolness is something else."

Niechell looked at me and I realized, that for the first time, she was scared. Perhaps, it was the cool, or she was getting tired, but she agreed we needed a place to sit and observe.

We had decided that the landing at the top of the 3rd floor was perfect. We could see the hall were all the bedrooms were, we could see the large living room down below and we could hear anything that was on the second floor. We had a great panorama of most of the downstairs. We slid a desk onto the landing along with two chairs. Note pad was out -- we split it in half, we had our pencils and camera at the ready. There was only one thing to do. Break out the pixie sticks!

We sat for quite a while, then took to exploring. Taking turns being on camera and flashlight.

"I should take pictures of 'before' and switch rolls so we have a full 36 shots and don't have to mess with the camera when it's all happening." Niechell was in agreement and I took the final six pictures. I rewound the film and swapped rolls. I got the camera ready, checking to make sure the film was not only loaded right, but advancing as well. I had just bought new batteries for my electronic flash, so we were good to go.

There was a strange breeze that blew through the corridor we were in. Just as it passed us my flashlight went completely out for a moment. Before I could bump it to light, it came back on nice and bright. This was really nice since we had been walking in the hazy light all night long. "Yay," Niechell said it in a low key, but positive way. "Now we can really see things."

"Yeah, but what was that strange..." I fumbled for words, "ah, breeze thing?" I had stopped walking, "I mean there have been no breeze or wind in here all night long!" As soon as I asked I knew the answer.

"Someone has opened the door!"

Part III

It took us a moment to gather the brain power to speak. "It's not the guy from the graveyard?"

Niechell shot back a whispered, "Didn't we decide that was just a trick of the shadows?"

"Well, what if it wasn't? I mean then someone would know we're here." It almost sounded comforting, the idea that someone knew we were here, except that it might be the wrong someone.

Niechell must have read my mind, "Burglars, especially one's who commit murder don't return to the scene of the crime!" She picked up her note pad as if it made it so that we were here all alone.

"You don't suppose they were expecting us?" I'm not sure what I meant by that. It just seemed to continue along the lines that the dark thing from the graveyard was not anyone living and had known we would come into the house on that particular night. Or maybe deep down I thought someone had over heard our plan, perhaps I wanted that person to be there, alive and well, maybe to scare us, but a living person.

Niechell seemed not to hear me and handed me the tape recorder, "put it down over there, she was pointing to the landing below us, "and hit record."

I descended the staircase. I was trying not to make a sound -- you couldn't hear the steps creaking over the sound of the wind and rain outside -- but I was careful nonetheless. By the time I went to set the tape recorder on the floor on the side of the landing I was shaking like a leaf. The recorder bumped the banister a couple of times in my shaking hands. I gave the record and play buttons a good firm press, locking the tape recorder in record mode and smoothing out my shakes.

Having gathered myself, I turned to go back up. Niechell was gone!

"Niechell!" I almost spat as I whispered as loud as I could. She emerged into view with the bag we had left down the hall way. Two scares in one night were enough. My mind had turned to focus on the observation side of this mad experiment. And by observation, I mean the equipment. Niechell had already done that.

We had everything ready. The tape was a 120 minute tape, and with any luck, if we did have to flip it over, we'd hear the recorder shut off, letting us know it was time. We had settled in, rather comfortably, at the top of the 3rd floor stairs. Nothing was happening inside that old house but a strange feeling, a dark foreboding. It felt strangely cold. It must have been the effects of the storm on the old house. Lightning would flash and in the dancing light, the house lit up many different ways. One area, in particular, would catch light over and over. It was the great room downstairs. There was no 2nd floor above it and windows on almost all sides. It drew both Niechell and my attention.

The feeling of dred settled hard and made the air thick. But there was a comforting rhythm to the storm. It was soothing amongst the dank damp interior of the old house. The name came back into my head, almost hypnotically, "Bentley House." I almost felt sleepy. Then as if on cue, amongst the flashes of random light, there on the floor below was a large dark figure!

I was pulled from the lull of sleepiness, by the sight of this dark form and the gasp from Niechell, that told me we had both seen it! Light came from many different angles into the room illuminating the specter from many angles, before fading out into darkness again. But the phantom remained, it was dark, it was black, like it was a hooded monk, it didn't move , but in a moment of darkness, between two brilliant flashes it vanished.

It took us only a moment, then I realized I'd forgotten about the camera, but Niechell started jotting notes. "Twelve o'clock," she wrote as she spoke --

"Midnight!" We'd both said it.

I had the camera at the ready this time, I had turned the flash on and was ready. There was only the sound of wind and rain and thunder. Nothing appeared before us. We inched ourselves down the steps toward the landing below. The wind stopped. The rain no longer pounded on the windows and the roll of the thunder was only distant. I recall feeling like I'd tumble if I leaned any farther forward, as I stood there on the step beside Niechell looking down, with the camera at the ready.

It was quiet. Too quiet, a self-consciousness hit me, I'm sure Niechell must have felt it too. Like we didn't belong there. Like someone knew we didn't belong there. Like we were being watched! The silence was broken by a sound. It was hard to identify at first. It wasn't muffled or anything, but what was it. It seemed familiar.

Then it hit us. Footfalls. Someone, our spectral being, was walking. The sound was getting louder. It was getting closer. It was coming up the stairs!!

I aimed down in the darkness of the stairs below, wishing the lightning would come back and light up the stairway below, I pressed the shutter button and the flash filled the room. Of course, I didn't see anything, but Niechell made the sound one makes when a bright light enters your room-dark-ready eyes, "you could have warned me."

"Sorry, did you see anything?"

"No, but we'd best move up to the other landing."

We slowly turned then zipped up to our previous vantage point. "If it was there I got it."

The footfalls came up to the second floor landing. I felt excitement at the thought of the tape recorder catching the ghost walk by! I also had a thought in the back of my head of the tape recorder getting kicked down the stairs as an all knowing ghost, who had expected us, decided it was not ok to get taped. But it didn't happen. Whoever that was, whatever that was on the stairs was oblivious to everything, including, apparently, us.

The dark figure turned and faced over the railing. It leaned forward and looked down. It just looked like a man standing there, watching, perhaps, but bent over the railing. I got him in my view finder, I could see him! No longer a monk in a cowl that my mind must have filled in a partial image of what had stood at the foot of the stairs, it could have been anyone, just an ordinary man. The moonlight was now filling the house with an eerie glow. He turned something over in his hand, over and over again.

It gave out a glint of light reflected in the moonlight. "He has a knife!" Niechell's whisper drew me back to the moment.

The phantom turned and was heading back to the stairway, I grabbed another shot. Niechell let out a gasp, not from the light, it was from something she saw. "Mitch, let's move over," it was all she said, but it had such urgency that I didn't ask. The landing had a space of about 10 feet by 10 feet that narrowed down to a 5 foot wide hallway.

We moved to the side as the phantom passed, and I grabbed another shot, the eye that was not on the view finder, saw the face. It was grotesquely twisted and pained. Not his face, but his expression. Despite the intense emotion filled face, it looked familiar. I had seen it in the newspaper -- it was Mr. Bentley!

He trudged on, like his walking was labored, as if he carried a heavy load, but all he had was the kitchen knife. He kept the same pace and we both followed. He made his way to the end of the hall. Then he stopped. He slowly reached out for the doorknob. He slowly, ever so slowly, turned the knob. It was like he was frozen in time, he turned so slowly.

"The Tell Tail Heart." I think I said it, but it didn't help." The knob, slowly turned under the force of the phantom. "It's not real." I know I said it, but I don't know where it came from. It did seem to help. I snapped another shot.

I slowly advanced the film in my camera, as if to match the speed of the turning knob in the specter's hand.

Then the door slowly opened. It was too much like the Tell Tale Heart to ignore, but I said nothing. Our specter, who I now had sympathy for, moved forward, slowly entering the room. Why did I feel sympathy for this person? He appeared to be going into this room to kill someone. Or someones. We followed as the specter lead the way. He step more quickly as the obstacle of the door was removed. He stood by the side of a large bed. It was a four poster. There appeared to be two people sleeping in it, a man and a woman.

Our specter's face relaxed at the sight of the woman and he reached out as if to touch her cheak, but paused. The look of fondness left his face as it filled with hatred and rage. He raised the knife and plunged it into her heart with an amazingly swift single motion, he quickly pulled it out and the plunged it into the man next to her!

It was a horrific scene! I recall feeling week in the knees. I was watching this all through the view finder of the camera! I was actually taking pictures while these events unfolded!

Niechell was holding my arm very tightly. Then I felt her pulling me back as if I was about to teeter into a hole! She looked at me, "Are you ok?"

I was stunned, but she looked calm, "Yeah, I'm fine..." I was about to finish with "...considering what we just saw." When she continued, "well there is nothing in here, lets go see if he went into any other rooms." And she headed to the door.

"Wait. Didn't you just see what happened here?"

"Yeah, the ghost walked over here and vanished." She paused for a second, "and then you started taking a bunch of pictures of an empty bed."

Puzzled, I followed her out of the room. Had being a witness to the murder been to much for her, had she blocked it out? I stopped at the door and looked puzzlingly at her. "You saw nothing?"

Then it occurred to her, that I had, "What did you see?" She was demanding and it was refreshing, since I just about shot half a roll of film on what she thought was nothing.

I told her what had just unfolded before the lens of my camera. Perhaps, she couldn't see because of the angle, she stood at, perhaps there was something about the camera. Her experience was one of the specter disappearing upon entering the room. I took a look in the my viewfinder one last time to see if I could see anything on the bed before we departed, which I couldn't, in hopes of the possibility of Niechell seeing it too.

"I really hope those pictures come out." We got back to our outpost when there, at the second floor railing stood our ghost. Niechell let me know she could see him, and I raised my camera one more time and started taking pictures as the ghost thrust the knife into himself. His knees bent as if to fall, he teetered forward and fell over the rail then vanished into the moonlight. Niechell had seen it all, and I had captured it on film. The last picture was of him after he vanished.

Part IV

It was an entire week before we got the pictures back from the lab. They were fantastic! What we saw in the pictures told the story of our night in a haunted house! The specter was there, albeit kinda hard to see at times, as he appeared as more of an outline, but there was something definitely there. They were too good to have been faked! That is what our teacher said. It was a rather well done project, despite our clumsy pitfalls throughout the evening.

With a tape recording, my fast film winding thumb and Niechell's ability to take thorough notes, our table got "Notable Mention," and we got a nice solid A in science that year from the extra credit we earned at the science fair!

We had decided that the only ghost we encountered was that of Mr. Bentley. The two other people in the photos were not even ghosts but images of Mrs. Bentley who was having an affair with Mr. Bentley's brother who also lived on the estate. Which is why Niechell couldn't see the two in the bed. It is just as well, real or no I can still see the gruesome images of their deaths.


After that night, the house seems to have settled into a peace. Having grownup in the area, I no longer hear stories of strange things happening in and around the house. The stories I heard as a child have long since died away.

The End.

Happy Halloween Everybody!

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Old and New.

I have AC spread over various devices and some are not at present accessible. For instance I wrote an article 4 years ago on the PX-8. I used to convert them by hand, after emailing them to my email addy. Then I hit upon the easier method of saving to disk and opening the disk with 22disk on the COLT, moving the file over to said machine, then opening in Wordstar and saving as true ASCII.

The transfer got postponed due to the battery on the mother board of the portable floppy. Meanwhile we moved (etc) and upon finally getting to setting the COLT up, I found it would not boot, most likely due to it's mother board battery dying. So I have two batteries to replace.

I was just thinking yesterday how I wish I had the PX at my disposal. I'd go a good month or so on a single charge and got lots of typing done. Great for out in the bright sunlight. How I did it on those dark camping mornings, I don't know.

I have AC on my pda, and on this thumb drive -- I am accessing this text file via the X41 tablet. I finally got around to putting "gather AC" on my list...

The greatest Geek Moments that happen are not always planned. Although the very nature of Geekdom dictates planning. I had thought, it would be cool to go to Moxie and do some PRGing or other writing and, while there, access the computer at home via the iNet. I never seem to have time to run off alone, so it has never happened.

Enter Mr. Maintenance.

I had a list, you know the kind of list that takes you to a place like Home Depot or Lowe's. I was running errands all over and Home Depot was closest to where I was driving that day. Add to that, the two factors of, 1. It is near where my project is (in case I need to get a different part, etc). 2. I know the layout of that particular store really well, making the choice logical.

I had the list on my pda as a note on the Franklin PDTL. I am looking at the list and am wondering, "Did I alter this since my last hotsync?" I pull out the kindle, and launch Teamviewer. The kindle tells me I have a request to log in. I replay OK and Maxthon (my default browser) opens up and there is Home Depot's login. I click the necessary boxes and dialogs, the browser closes out and I'm back in Teamviewer and I log into Dampier, open the Franklin Planner, quickly find the entry that has the note and open it up on my screen.

I'm walkin' around Home Depot with the original complete list opened up on the computer at home viewing it on the kindle via Home Depot's WiFi. Simply2cool.


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November 2012

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


We are at a higher altitude and the season is much later, as a result, this morning's low is in the 30s. Zowie! Hard to believe I was in that lake only two days ago!

Yesterday, Xaby and I had the whole day to ourselves. It was just Xaby, and I, and our cameras.

Xaby's camera was his red and yellow toy camera (an old baby toy) and mine a Minolta SR-1. I have finally gotten a Minolta adapter for my Tamron 24mm wide angle lens. It was a fun day of walking in Pandarosa State Park -- it was high adventure with my little 4 year old!

We went to the docks and we got many pictures. Xaby took some serious pictures. He was really into it. I kinda wish his camera was real, just to see what he was getting the "perfect" picture of.

At one point he was getting frigidity -- I was using a long lens (600mm telephoto made via a Vivatar 200mm and a Soligor 3x telconverter) on a tripod, so we had to be very still. The cable extension was the answer.

The "button."

I asked Xaby to press the button for me. I handed him the cable extension, and let him run it (it was not connected to the camera). He did a great job, telling me he was ready, or not ready, and pressing the button on three; "Ok, on three. One... two... three!" He had a ball! So did I.

The morning before that.

The morning prior to our photo outing, I had logged into a computer at home. Using Teamviewer, I accessed my computer from the furthest distance to date. From McCall to Boise. 2cool.


Once upon time, in the world of Nerdom, there were programs written in basements and bedrooms and garages and wherever you found Nerds at the keys of home computers or university mainframes. The programs were free, as Nerds shared their latest creations with friends and associates.

Slowly the commercial marketplace for selling software took over as more of the general populace got into computers. Users were born. Or more accurately, the definition of the term User changed. Freeware and shareware continued in the shadow of Store Bought Software.

What's Gnu With You?

The free software movement rose from the shadow as projects like Linux emerged. Things were good.

The Device.

Mobile devices entered the market place and the app was born (ST and Mac owners were already familiar with .APP while CBMers knew the PRG). Free apps carried advertising. Pay apps were cheep.

Cheep software.

Is this the destroyer of free software? It might seem so. Now everyone is getting cheap apps. $0.99 or $4.99 for an app. On their desktop, the equivalent is $30 to $70 or more. Is it just a mindset? If it is on a mobile device and therefor doesn't constitute the quality of a desktop machine demands? Are these devices so disposable the apps are cheap? Who's gonna want to spend big bucks on an app for a device you are just gonna dispose of when your free phone upgrade rolls up?

It could also be the market place is being flooded so fast the apps are making a killing -- I don't know. When you look at the number of iPhones and iPads and iTouches being made in bad work conditions, that people are taking their own lives, it would seem true. Perhaps we should step back from the latest and greatest and simply stop at what is readily available. Rather than pre-order and camp out on Apple's doorstep, wait until something is available and purchase it then. Do we need to slow down?

app ...arently

I have seen many apps that are free that carry no ads. There would seem to be some Gnu'ers out there making free software for the sake of creating the software (or app) itself.

Perhaps the shadow does not entirely smother after all.


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December 2012

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Marry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!



Just did an update to the site. I'm at Pondarosa State Park (note that it is August) and they have 20 minutes of free WiFi every 12 hours. So I had everything I could possibly think to edit, edited and cut and pasted most of this years AC.

Of course, there were things I forgot to put in like the link to get back to the top of the page. I had planned to do it when I sat down this morning, but spaced it.

I had a few minutes left so I got on FB and posted a picture of the two steers sleeping. Checkout some postings and posted myself about the weekend -- that sort of thing.

Back in August (when I am writing this) I brought the binaries online on the site ( I have not added any software that was not on the original site, however. I do have some fun stuff I need to dig out. Like the Mandelbrot program for the VIC-20. I have a slew of C64 PRGs that I have just never gotten around to posting.

Meanwhile, if you haven't checked it out, check it out (above link, then goto The Dee El).

Well, bacon awaits my hand in cooking...


The News.

Ok, so I have been busy. We all have. It's been about three years since we decided to adopt. It has also been three years of waiting. Nothing seemed to be happening at first. We took a month of Pride Classes, then waited. More waiting.

Then we decided to get licensed for respite care. We had a cutie come into our home and our lives almost right away. Then we got on the after hours list to get emergency placements. At first there was nothing. Then we got a call and a couple more cuties came into our lives. They happily went home. More waiting. Then there were actual kids available for adaption. More waiting. Waiting for things to get done and happen that didn't involve us or the kids, but we waited nonetheless.

We have been mostly in waiting mode the past year. You find yourself not doing projects that need to be done, not doing much of anything. Oh, sure we really did do things. I got the Annex cleaned up and arranged in the garage. And a few other things of major significance, but life in the outside world slipped by.

The Fire.

Ok, so we get the paper from several friends who give us their newspapers to start the fire in our fireplace. I see all kinds of stuff in the headlines and pictures, but I try not to stop wadding up the paper, and really don't look. Sometimes things catch my eye I can't avoided. This morning, I saw a picture of a 64C at the top of a half page article. I also saw the words, "Obituaries" on the top of the page. That is how I learned of the fate of Jack Tramiel; he died at age 83. I guess I am way behind the times. I recall seeing, earlier this year, a panel discussion concerning the (then) upcoming 30 year anniversary of the C64. Steve Wozniak, Jack Tramiel, and a few other industry heavies were there.

I just want to say, rest in peace, Jack. And thank you, for bringing us commodore.

Jack Tramiel December 13, 1928 - April 8, 2012


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