The Case of the Falling Bones
People who live here in Birdseye Ridge say the old deserted Cranshaw place has ghosts — and noisy ghosts at that. They won't go near it no matter what Sid Parkman has to say about it. For a long time, and until the recent hurricane storm, because of all the thorn bushes and vine growth, no one could actually GET near it.
The old mansion got its haunted house reputation shortly after Tom Cranshaw strangled his wife, Jane, back in 1992. Well, Tom had found out about her and Jim Peck. No one actually witnessed the murder, but testimony given by the cook, the Cranshaw sisters and Jim Peck himself at the coroner's inquest pointed straight at Tom.
But Tom had disappeared!
Then Mable and Sarah Cranshaw, Tom's twin sisters who came to stay in the house, began to hear strange noises — slitherings in the walls and clicking, clacking sounds.
"It sounds like bones falling to the floor," Mable Cranshaw told Sid Parkman, the town Marshal. Sid said later that Mable's quavering voice made shivers run up and down his spine.
Well, Sid looked for bones and never found any and listened for noises and never heard any. He didn't tell the sisters right out that he suspected their imaginations had been working overtime, but they got the message. Right after that Mable and Sarah moved out.
Not long ago, the worst hurricane storm that's ever visited these parts tore off a part of Cranshaw Mansion, revealing the exterior doorway to a secret chamber. Some people saw Tom looking out; others saw Jane.
The sisters began to hear strange noises — slitherings in the walls and clicking, clacking sounds.
So Sid Parkman asked me to bring my hedge cutter to the place. I work as a handyman around town, but I have never tackled a worse tangle of growth than I did that day. It took an hour to hack through the brush and brambles so we could reach the front door.
I put down the hedge cutter and followed Sid inside. We crossed warped floors and climbed some creaky stairs. In a wall of an upstairs bedroom we located the hidden entry to a small anteroom.
That's where Sid found the ghost of Cranshaw Mansion. Whether Tom Cranshaw had killed his wife or not, he certainly had killed himself. A pile of bones lay in a white heap on the floor.
And in the hangman's loop of a hemp rope strung from a big hook twisted into the high ceiling, we saw Tom's skull caught there waiting its turn to fall to the floor.
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