The Ghost of Little Elm Lake

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1 The Ghost of Little Elm Lake by Shelley Bingham Husk Book One of the American Apparitions Series Based on the true ghost story Lake Pleasant s Haunted House Original story appeared in Tales from an Adirondack County by Ted Aber and Stella King

2 Newport, Maine

3 2015 by Shelley Bingham Husk ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher or the author s representative, except for brief passages quoted for review purposes. First Edition(CS) First Printing ISBN-13: (Leicester Bay Books) ISBN-10: Kindle Edition: 2016 Leicester Bay Books P.O. Box 536 Newport ME

4 Contents Prologue 1 Chapter One -- The Camp Out 3 Chapter Two -- The Investigation 8 Chapter Three -- Miss Libby 15 Chapter Four -- The Archives 23 Chapter Five -- My First Fib 27 Chapter Six -- The Whisperer 34 Chapter Seven -- Rhinelander s Haunted House Chapter Eight -- The Lake 50 Chapter Nine -- Mary Rhinelander 54 Chapter Ten -- The Mansion 59 Chapter Eleven -- The Book 69 Chapter Twelve -- In Plain Sight 74 Chapter Thirteen -- Tadpole 79 Chapter Fourteen -- Toad 84 Chapter Fifteen -- The Perfume Bottle 87 Epilogue 93 Lake Pleasant s Haunted House 94 by Ted Aber and Stella King About the Author 101

5 acknowledgements To those who believed in my writing from a young age, three educators stand out: Sally Moore, Jim Gilchrist (Mr. G.), and my mentor and dear friend, Brent Pierce. I don't know that teachers truly understand the impact they have on young lives, and most will never know how they may have rescued those lost souls during times of crisis in their young lives. But for these three, I am privileged to be able to let them know the important role they played in lifting me up during the awkward and difficult times of youth. For that, Sally, Mr. G. and Brent, you will always have a special place in my heart. To my dearest of friends, who have known me, good, bad and ugly, and loved me in spite of myself, Susie Roose, Cathy Vick, Cyndi Engstrom, Chris Capretta, Michael Jensen, Michael and Barbi Flynn, Marshall and Michelle Moore, Teri Lyndsey and Vicki Silva. And finally, to my husband, children and grandchildren. You bring joy and love into my life that is beyond words.

6 Dedicated to the love of my life, Dale To my children Breanne and Joshua, Jeremy and Nicolette, Brittany and Jacob, Aubrey and Austin, Christian and Gabe And my grandchildren Carter, Paxton, Dylan, Dalton, Wyatt, Tristan and Sicily

7

8 Shelley Bingham Husk PROLOGUE THEY SAY IN THE woods by Little Elm Lake, when the harvest moon is no more than a sliver, if you listen very carefully, you might hear it. Sometimes, on those warm autumn nights, when the wind was still and the lake was calm, I heard it. It sounded like a baby animal calling for its mama. I always thought the chill coming off the lake was because it was getting dark. I didn t know there was something else out there, until the night of my first camp out. Whenever my mom heard it, she d come running out of the house yelling, Paxton, time to come in! I was never quite ready to stop fishing. So I didn t. Before I knew it, my mom would come running at me with a wooden spoon in one hand and a clenched fist in the other and I had no choice but to gather up my fishing gear and head into the house. At dinner my dad would say, Paxton, did you give 1

9 The Ghost of Little Elm Lake your mom a hard time about coming in off the lake tonight? I never lied. I told my dad just how it was. I was just finishing up my fishing. When your mom calls you in, you don t wait. You come right in, got it? Yes, sir. I said. Except this time it didn t end there. I was ten now, and I wanted to know why I had to come in before dark. So I summoned up all the courage I could and asked, Dad. Why does mom get so mad if I stay out on the lake a little late? It was like he had the answer ready before I asked, She just doesn t want you near the water past dark, that s all. I knew that wasn t all. I also knew that was the only answer I was going to get that night. 2

10 Shelley Bingham Husk CHAPTER ONE The Campout I FOUND MY SPOT in the tent and unrolled my sleeping bag. It was my first real camp out. My mom said I could spend the night at my best friend Carter s in a tent in their back yard. Carter had been my best friend since I moved to Lake Pleasant from Texas, two summers earlier. Carter s dad ran the old sawmill for the International Lumber Company. They lived in a house on the property of the old Rhinelander estate by the Little Elm Lake. Just about everyone in Lake Pleasant worked for the paper company, including my dad. We lived outside the woods on the other side of the lake. If I could, I would spend all day every day fishing on the Little Elm Lake. Why does your little brother always have to tag along? I asked. My mom said we can t camp outside, Carter took out his flashlight, if Tadpole can t come, too. 3

11 The Ghost of Little Elm Lake We didn t really mind, because it gave us someone to pick on and get us stuff from the house when we needed it. This particular night was one of those warm, autumn nights. The moon was a flicker of fire; and the sky was the darkest blue just before midnight. Me, Carter and Tadpole that s what we called Dalton because he just started growing were eating junk food and making funny pictures with our flashlights against the sides of the tent. Tadpole was playing with some kind of puzzle box. What s that, I asked him. Tadpole never looked up. He just said, It s a puzzle box my dad got me when he went to New York City last week. You have to find the trick to open the secret compartment. Carter pointed his flashlight at the box and said, Just a stupid toy. He ll never figure it out. Tadpole hated being treated like a child. Yes I will, he said. You ll see. Carter looked outside the tent. It s dark outside, Carter said putting the flashlight up to his face, the perfect 4

12 Shelley Bingham Husk time for a ghost story. I don t know, Tadpole whined climbing into his sleeping bag for safety. Yeah, I begged, do you have a story? I ve been saving this one for the right moment. Carter said, shoving some popcorn in his mouth. Have you ever heard of Mary Rhinelander? Tadpole snuck his hand out of his sleeping bag and grabbed a piece of licorice, Who is she? You mean, who was she? Carter said, pointing towards the woods for effect. She lived on this property a long time ago, kept prisoner in the burned-out old mansion by the lake, by her rich, jealous, husband. Tadpole pulled the sleeping bag up around his face and Carter continued, The strange part is, that whenever anyone talked to her or got too close to her, they turned up dead somewhere on the property. I heard that Mary Rhinelander s ghost haunts this area. She could be here right now. All of a sudden, there was a noise outside. We heard it 5

13 The Ghost of Little Elm Lake clear as the night sky. Tadpole screamed, What s that? We figured it was nothing, so we took the opportunity to get revenge for having to entertain the little tag-a-long. We signaled to each other to put the flashlights under our chins and said in unison, in our scariest voices, It s the ghost of the lake. That fixed him. He went straight to the bottom of his sleeping bag, crying. We laughed so hard we almost wet ourselves. When we could stop laughing long enough, we told Tadpole we were joking. But he was a big baby and wouldn t come out of his sleeping bag. I figured I d better fix it, or we d be in deep with Carter s mom. Hey Tadpole, I explained, it s only a baby animal crying out for its mom. I hear it all the time when I m out fishing. You must hear it too, living so close to the water. Tadpole came up out of his sleeping bag rubbing his eyes, I guess so. It s just that this is my first camp out. Mine too, I said. But you know there s no such thing as ghosts. That s just an old made up story No 6

14 Shelley Bingham Husk sooner had I finished my sentence when it happened again; and Tadpole went right back into his sleeping bag. It was the same noise we heard before. Only this time it sounded a lot closer, and different. It didn t sound so much like a baby animal as it did like a real live person. Only not so live, kind of hollow, like crying into a tin can; and it wasn t on the lake, it was close. Very close. The sounds of crying and whispers got louder and closer, and closer. By now we were all trembling with fright. Whatever it was, it was right next to the tent. It was whispering, but I couldn t understand what it was saying. I was too scared to talk, so I got Carter s attention, pointed to my flashlight and turned it off. The front flap of the tent moved like something was trying to get in. Carter turned off his flashlight, we held our collective breath, and whatever it was disappeared. We grabbed Tadpole, sleeping bag and all and ran into the house. We slept inside that night. Only no one slept. Our first camp out was a bust. All night we babbled, What was it? 7

15 The Ghost of Little Elm Lake Had to be the wind. Wind can t talk. I was sure we hadn t slept at all, and before we knew it, the sun was up. 8

16 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Shelley Bingham Husk was born and raised in Southern California, where her love for words began at the age of four. Her poetry and libretti have been commissioned by the California State PTA, composer Brent Pierce, artist Alan McMurtrey and novelist Michael Jensen. Shelley recently received the Filmed in Utah Award for her screenplay "The Last Straw" starring Corbin Bernsen. Shelley currently resides in Utah with her husband Dale, where she continues to write and produce films; is working on books two and three of the "American Apparitions Trilogy"; and is on the board of directors for the Park City International Film Festival.