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The Dark Fantastic

Bellmore, Indiana isnít really much of a town these days. There is a general store, a new hamburger place that recently moved in, and a dozen or so homes at the intersection of highways 36 and 59 in Parke County, Indiana. About the only excitement the residence of this small hamlet have these days is during the 10 days each October when it fills up with flea markets and garage sales galore for the Covered Bridge Festival. But for a period of time in the 1860ís, the people of Bellmore had plenty to talk about.

The house where these events occurred stood about a mile west of Bellmore. It is no longer there. The great-granddaughter of the original occupants of this house was Margaret Echard. A book she wrote titled The Dark Fantastic described the strange happenings in and around this house. The introduction reads:

In my great-grandmotherís house in Indiana, shortly after the close of the Civil War, a series of extraordinary events transpired which were never satisfactorily explained. The house was renown for its hospitality and witnesses were not lacking to testify to the strange disturbances that in time became legend.

Those disturbances are recorded in this novel as the subjective experience of the characters, and to that extent the work is founded on fact.

From the start of the houseís existence, the builders called the house bothersome. The brick chimney would be built during the day, only to mysteriously tumble down overnight. Tools would come up missing over and over, and would be found in out-of-the-way places. After the family moved in, they found similar things happening on a regular basis.

Several years went by with the occasional odd happenings. One morning the family woke up as usual, but soon found that all of their clothing had been somehow sucked out of the house through the open windows, and had been deposited high up in all the huge trees, which surrounded the house. The clothing was twisted and wrapped around branches from top to bottom. Some of the branches much too small to support the weight of a prankster who might have climbed the tree to do the dirty deed.

As news of the event spread, people came from miles to inspect the sight and offer explanations. Some thought that it had to be a tornado that moved through in the night, but none of the family had been awaken, and there was no other damage found. The family finally concluded that it was a prankster ghost who had done this to them. Some of the pieces of clothing were too high to be reached by a ladder and remained in the trees for many years to come. The house became a point of interest of passers-by, but the mystery of the clothes in the trees was never solved.

There were many other strange occurrences that happened in the house though the years to come, but none of them were as well known as the night when the familyís pants and shirts were found decorating the surrounding trees.

The End

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