In the seventies, Charles who worked as an associate professor in a medical school lived in an old mansion in Chicago. It was a crumbling tomb that required constant care and an endless supply of money to maintain. Located in a disintegrating neighborhood that Charles considered an urban ghetto, the only pleasure he derived there was working in his small backyard garden and watching the local wildlife, which included rats, drinking from his garden pool at night.
Joey his partner of 17 years despised city life and anything modern. He twisted the electric cords so badly they looked strangled. An accomplished cook he longed to create upon a woodstove and to live a rustic life.
At the age of fifty Charles inherited a small estate which provided him about $200 a month, an income which he believed he and Joey could turn into a lifelong dream. He resigned from his job and auctioned off any belongings they didn’t need. He sold the mansion .He then bought a small camper, a jeep, and a station wagon. They loaded up their two English mastiffs and headed to the Appalachian foothills. And found their piece of heaven in the form of 40 acres of hardwood nestled in the wilderness of Georgia which was surrounded by a national forest filled with humming birds, whippoorwills, butterflies and bobcats. Great and ancient oaks brought a shady peace to their new frontier. After purchasing the land, they had a 160 ft well dug. They had cement and bricks delivered along with all of their belongings which they stored under tarps. Arriving in the dead of winter, they camped out in their station wagon and braved the cold winter’s snows.
They dug and built outbuildings. First they finished the foundation for their “castle”. Using 45,000 bricks, without having ever laid a brick in their lives, they began. They made the walls 3 bricks thick with space in between for insulation. The building was curved with no corners whatsoever. There were two floors reached by a curved staircase. On the second floor a balcony was created so that Charles could be served tea each afternoon. And it was all topped off by a stone gargoyle, painted pink.
It was a mini medieval style castle tucked away from prying eyes and protected by their two Mastiffs, weighing 100 and 150 pounds. Using more backbreaking work they created a huge stone boulder signpost with a wooden sign in olde English letters that read “Beware The Thing.” They jokingly said it referred to Beelzebub the 150 pound mastiff. Others believed it was a reference to the magical beast they created to intimidate and frighten strangers away.
Charming and disarming the two befriended many locals and had wonderful meals with several of those close to them. Many knew of their spiritual beliefs but felt they were harmless and stayed to themselves. They planted a circular rose garden at the end of their driveway, raised their own vegetables and created a small vineyard from which they bottled their own wine. They shared and sold it to the neighboring folk.
At night after dinner Charles sat in the courtyard. He enjoyed playing his own musical compositions upon his classical golden harp as they watched the bats fill the darkened sky .To some the duo had a master and slave relationship with Charles as the master. But in reality they had a great love and respect for each other.
To ensure safety, they created many protections to prevent others from illegally entering the property; but they frequently threw open their arms and made many local friends who are still loyal to this day. Charles even allowed a few to hunt within reason as long as none got hurt.
Eventually a couple of good old boys who had come to the castle property to hunt began a friendship with Charles with ulterior motives in mind .Deciding they had “a castle to play in” the two men, one 17 and his uncle 30 saw the mansion and believed they would never have to worry about another thing if they could steal the vast treasure that was surely hidden inside its mysterious walls.
Grabbing a 16 year old cousin and his date they headed toward the unsuspecting couple’s home .The small group of friends dropped by to visit and hunt (the excuse for the impromptu visit). Charles borrowed a cigarette for Joey and invited the guests to the tower play room to sit, drink wine and chat. When he saw one of the guys carrying a rifle he went “bang” joking around, apparently used to locals carrying their hunting guns with them.
As they sat talking Charles rose to adjust an oil lamp when the elder man put a knife to his throat. They tore up a sheet and bound his arms and feet and the younger man rushed to take care of Joey. Joey was finishing cleaning up the dinner dishes when he heard someone call him to come outside. The 17-year-old shot through the kitchen door window striking Joey in the face and arm.
As Joey crawled away, the young man hastily entered the kitchen, stepping over Joey and shot the two mastiffs that were curled around the woodstove asleep. Next he brutally shot Joey once more, with another shot to the face.
Their stone fortress had suddenly become a deathtrap. The murderers dragged Charles through the kitchen towards the library, stepping over the bloody corpse on the floor. Distraught upon seeing his one and only true friend lying in a spreading pool of blood, Charles crumpled upon the library chair calling to Joey, hoping to see him still alive.
The cold blooded killers wanted money now and told Charles if he didn’t comply they would torture him until he coughed up what they wanted. Asking him if he had a soldering iron (the torture tool they intended to use) he had to explain there was no electricity or electric tools.
As they ransacked the library Charles rose and hobbled toward Joey to try and revive him. The 17-year-old screamed, “Sit down or I’m going to kill you.”
Charles fell to his knees and continued moving towards Joey’s lifeless form and having given himself up to death said, “I asked for this”. They screamed at him and as he rose they shot him squarely between the eyes sending him mumbling and staggering into bookshelves. They shot four more times to his forehead.
A grisly painting hung in his bedroom. It was one he painted a year before. The man in the portrait was suspended by a pink rope and he had five wounds to his head and his hypnotic eyes leered from his blood drenched face staring blankly into the eyes of the viewer. Charles had said once to a friend “This is me when I die . . . I saw this in a dream.”
After trashing the castle, the gruesome crew found less than three dollars in change and a few rings .So much for living forever upon their loot. Finding a dagger with a precious studded handle and a few other saleable items they prepared to leave.
The girl noticed Joey gurgling. The 30 year old wanted to try out another weapon so he shot Joey one more time to his head. After their two hour killing spree, they left.
They dropped the boy and girlfriend off and then rode to a rest stop in Knoxville. They kidnapped an army man tied him to a tree and shot him in the head. When they were caught they were in the man’s vehicle and wearing his clothes.
The police found the murder scene at the castle. Shocking footage was shown on local news showing the interior of the dungeon complete with altar and real human skulls, and a round stained glass window with a goats head glaring out in full color. The shocked locals then burned the fortress trying to erase a bloody stain upon their names, but the damage was done.
The killers claimed they were the victims, drawn into revenge by alcohol and drugs, but the judge didn’t fall for it.
The two Satanists who’d worked so hard to build a barrier to protect them from the world had brought death across their threshold with their desire for excitement and friendship. Locals then began making trips to the ruins to ghost hunt and party. One trio was climbing the circular staircase when a bedraggled man surprised them from behind “Did ya”ll know these folks?”
“No,” they replied.
“Well, I did”.
With that he disappeared into thin air.
Joey was cremated and his ashes sprinkled in the woods, Charles wanted to be buried there but his relatives refused to do so, burying him in his much hated Chicago. The will left everything Charles owned to Joey, but since he was shot first the families claimed it reverted to Charles so his relatives whom he didn’t wish to have in the first place tried to take it by force.
Historically these are the sorts of stresses ghosts are created from. The stories began when those who stole items from the castle began encountering personal problems and poltergeist phenomena. One neighbor dug up irises from the circular garden and had such frightening noises such as voices and scratching from inside the walls that the next morning she pulled up the flowers. Returning to the scene of the crime she quickly threw them into Corpsewood property screaming “I’m sorry here have them back” and ran for all she was worth hopefully appeasing the troubled spirits.
Others have not been so lucky. Some have suffered from illnesses and even personal tragedies, because of being too greedy to relinquish the ill gotten goods. A stolen statue of Mephistopheles, which appears in photos of Charles 16th century Italian Renaissance bed apparently sold at auction recently for $30,000. The wood sign warning “Beware The Thing” is long gone, stolen by a friend who believes Charles would have wanted him to have it, even though he attempted to sell it for $1000.00 on EBay, but to no avail. Whether Charles wanted him to have it or not, that cannot stop the functioning of the actions of a Servitor.
The “Thing” still wanders its barriers. The phantom English Mastiffs with heaving breaths and vivid glowing red eyes still roam the land seeking revenge upon those who killed their beloved masters, and cowardly took them from their warm and loving lives, transforming them into frightening monsters of the darkness. Where the castle once stood, a round foundation still remains.
Now two souls are suspended between the veil of the living and the dead, taken before they were prepared to go. Now they wander aimlessly trying to figure out what happened to their dream. Now they are seeking a new castle to call their own.
So dear reader, huddled in the darkness, remember: the eerie forms and vile shadows leering over your shoulders crave a warm place to take up residence. Cover yourselves and pray for the light of day.