Some anglers will pay any price, travel any distance and bear any burden to catch a few fish. But messing with the undead? In his short story, “The Haunting of Jameson Hollow,” writer Fredrick Pfister thinks that this is somehow a good idea.
In December, 1933, Hiram Vance was startled from his sleep at the Pasque Rooming House in Yankton, S.D. He woke his wife Clara and asked if she could hear the drums. She confirmed the rhythmic pounding, shuddered in fear, and pulled the sheets over her head as she sat upright on the double bed. Hiram pulled his Model 10 revolver from the nightstand and crept quietly down the stairs into the cold darkness of the night. He was never seen again.
There was much speculation in Yankton concerning the disappearance of Vance. But Clara had experienced enough. She quickly loaded their furniture and other possessions onto a flatbed Ford, sold the rooming house to a steamboat company, and moved back to Minnesota where her family still lived. She often proclaimed how terrified she was of the ghosts that haunted the house on Riverside Drive. As long as she lived, she vowed never to set foot in the Indian Territories again.
Unknown to Hiram and Clara, the Pasque Rooming House had been built atop an ancient Nadowessioux burial ground. They were equally unaware of the stories of other houses that violated sacred land. In most cases, the residents would hear chanting and find items in the house moved or missing. Dogs would bark at unseen visitors and, of course, Native American ghosts would be seen moving about the rooms. Regardless of the particular manifestation, the common report from all of these observers was the same: They sensed they were unwelcome. They felt as though they were being watched. And they had an overwhelming urge to vacate the dwelling immediately. As their stories gained notoriety, all who had heard them stayed clear of the haunted property. It was certain bad things would happen to the fools who tempted these unseen and unhappy forces. Hiram should have been warned. And Clara did not need a second encounter. The drums visited her nightmares for her remaining days.
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