Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 8 of Halloween: The Haunted Tour of Rose Mansion

For months you've had your tickets for the haunted tour of Rose Mansion.  It's only the most talked about, haunted attraction in all the region.  Of course, the large house gained it's notoriety from the old stories about the tortured spirit of Madame Rosie.

The old legend states that upon her wedding day, her groom was killed.  Spectators and wedding guests say Rosie lost her grip on reality shortly after the news.  Then, suddenly one day, she vanished in the night.  Right into thin air!  Some say she killed herself, others think she accidentally locked herself in a secret passage somewhere in the house...some even say she's still alive inside there, hiding away from the the reality of the real world, living in the continued fantasy of her dead lover's arms.

Whatever the mystery, you're about to see the house first hand!  The wait is finally over, the gates are opening, your tour guide has arrived!

The gates creak open and you slowly make your way to the stairs of the dark mansion...
 
 As the old house comes into view, you experience a deepening sense of foreboding.  The fog adds an eerie effect to the abandoned tombstones that surround the house.  You almost feel like turning back, but you are afraid you might look foolish....so you meander on...
The front doors of the mansion are covered in cobwebs.  You can't begin to imagine what creatures (real of alive) await you in this rambling old icon of history...
 The first stop is the foyer.  As you stand looking upon the remains of a room that once housed the hushed, lively footsteps of visitors, an apparition appears...

Everyone gasps as the eery outline of a ghostly presence appears...she seems to be searching the room with her candelabra...the hushed whispers of other tourists say it is the restless spirit of Rosie, searching for her lost lover.  But as quickly as it comes...it is gone.  
Next stop is the sitting room.  You feel as if you've fallen through a rabbit hole of time, what with the beautiful midevil mantel place and the vintage decorations.  Wait!  What was that?  You could have sworn the eyes of the portraits were moving with you across the room.  You feel it must be your imagination, that couldn't really happen, could it?
As you move along the room, looking at the various trinkets in their original place-settings, you are definitely for sure that the eyes of the old man in the portrait are real...and they are watching your every move!
The tour guide leads you on into the kitchen, noting that this part of the mansion has fallen a bit into disrepair due to lack of use and the desire to keep the house in it's original shape hinders any remodeling.  You notice the creaky floorboards below your feet and hope it can hold your weight...
As you glance around you can almost imagine how lively the kitchen must have once been, especially on the day of Rosie's wedding...how the fresh birds might have hung from the ceiling, a full pantry full of food, stove full of wood awaiting the servants hands to light.  And beautiful Rosie in her curls and white dress....so excited for a future of happiness to come.  You glance around and note that there are no ghosts in any corners...
The next stop is the dining room.  As the group of tourists take in the eloquently set table with it's fine china and silver spoons, apparitions begin to appear from out of thin air...
As if on cue, the lights flicker and everything goes dark.  Out of the darkness you see hte face of an elderly old woman, grotesque and twisted in death.  She lights the candles of a phantom wedding cake.  The audience gasps...the tour guide explains this is the ghost of Rosie's beloved cook Mildred.  Mildred served as Rosie's best friend, confidant, and cook.  Legend tales that upon the disappearance of Rosie, Mildred soon died of a broken heart.  She was laid to rest in the graveyard at the rear of the houses.  She is said to still walk these halls, replaying the last day with Rosie, baking cakes, fixing the wedding dinner, calling out to Rosie in the abandoned hallways of the upper rooms...
The lights flash back on, the ghost of Mildred disappears, but you watch as the phantom wedding guests eat their meal, their faces veiled in sadness.  A groom is dead, his bride unconscious and blithering...there is no celebration at this dinner table.  You watch a few minutes longer as the apparitions disappear, leaving only the oppressive feel of dense air in a too-hot room.
Next stop is the music room, a tiny closeted room to the right of the dining area.  The tour guide says it's usually kept closed, that cold drafts coming from the room are strong enough to upset the china on the dining table, and cold enough to ice your drink over...if you're carrying one!  Paranormal investigators who have witnessed these events say they are tied to the strangled sadness of so many restless spirits who dwell here, awaiting a wedding.  Onlookers watch in terror as phantom fingers play a few piano chords of the brides march.  The room becomes ice cold.  The tour guide says the picture beside the piano is the last painted portrait of the beloved Rosie before ushering everyone from the room that suddenly has turned winter cold with no warning.
You're still shivering as the tour guide leads the group from the damp darkness of the music room.  You are happier to be in a part of the house that is well-lit and can't help but notice how beautiful the surroundings are, so elegantly decorated.  You feel, with a twinge of sadness, that had Rosie's beloved not been killed, she would have had a beautiful life here for a very long time.  You try to push the sadness from your mind as the tour guide leads you onto the second floor to the bedrooms.
As the group moves down the hallway of the second floor, you can't help but notice the decrepit condition of the floors and walls.  The tourguide reminds you again that some parts of house has fallen into disrepair.  Everyone gasps as the shadowy figure of a male appears at the end of the hallway, near the master bedroom.  The tour guide says it is the weeping apparition of Rosie's lover...legend has it he walks the hall day and night, looking for the spirit of his Rosie, though never able to see her.
The first bedroom is cozy and well-lit.  You imagine how happy a child might be here with the colorful bedding and the shelves full of picture books.  With a twinge of sadness you think of the unborn children of Rosie...how well she would have loved them, what a happy family they might have been...
As the group walks back into the hallway and heads for the master bedroom, a ghastly scream erodes from somewhere between the walls, and suddenly you are faced with the grotesque face of a ghost.  You watch in horror as her twisted face begins to cry.  She howls for her husband, for her life.  Then she fades into the floorboards as if she'd turned to a seeping liquid...and disappears.  Shaken and afraid, but curious and ready to get this tour over....you advance with the rest of the tour group into the master bedroom...
The room is so beautiful, though dimly-lit and a bit eery.  You can almost imagine the peaceful face of Rosie sleeping here the night before her wedding.  Her face framed in a smile, her mind lost to dreams of her soon-to-be husband harnessing a sailing ship, quickly on his way to get her....neither of them knowing the nightmare to come in only a few hours.  A sinking ship, lives lost along with the cargo, dreams shattered...so many people so soon to be destroyed.
You look upon the unlit lamps, the feminine trinkets of this unused room, the unwritten letters of the side desk and can almost imagine another lifetime...
 You are sad for the doll that will be forever left untouched of affection...the water basins that will never wash another face...the chair throw that will never warm another body...
As the group turns to leave, the room is lit of so many cries of terror...for inside an armoire, the ghostly face of a woman appears...followed by the twisted, screaming faces of two ghosts....they appear to be crying out in misery...they reach toward the crowd, then disappear...
The crowd is visibly shaken by now.  Seeing enough ghosts for the night, many turn back.  However, a few remain, one is you...so up the tower steps you go with the remaining tourists.  The tour guide reassures you, it's almost over now...
The first stop on the third floor is the tower room.  It is said this this was the living quarters of Mildred, the cook and best friend of Rosie.  The tour guide says the room has been left in it's original condition from the day of Mildred's sudden passing.  You notice her hanging robe, the rumpled bed clothes, the vintage fan, closet doors never to be opened by lively hands again...
In one corner of the room you spy  a pair of dresses...a beautiful flowing wedding dress, and a bridesmaids dress, both awaiting their final alterations.  With a sickening feeling arising in the pit of your stomach, you realize these dresses are that of Rosie's and Mildred's, awaiting now nearly 75 years to be worn to a gala wedding...ghosts of a time past...
Speaking of ghosts...you suddenly feel a harsh shove from behind....then haunting, evil laughter.  You turn to see the wedding-clad ghost of Rosie looking into your eyes...she reaches out her hands to you...she screams for the return of her husband, of her life.  She begs to be found...and then she is gone!
Everyone is shaking and terrified, many say this is the first time they've had such a close encounter with a ghost.  You are terrified, but still follow the group into the attic.  The tour guide says this is the last stop inside the house.  You are filled with a quick relief as you look upon the dust and web-covered pieces of another life in this room of castaway items.
Your relief is short-lived when a rocking chair in the far corner begins to move on it's own.  At first it is slow moving, then progresses to the point that it actually begins to move toward you.  The group gasps as the rocking chair hurls itself across the room, landing only inches from the terrified tour guide!  You are so ready for this haunted tour to be over as the group makes it's fearful way back down the two flights of stairs and into the basement area...
You are relieved when, at last, you reach the basement area.  Some wonderful halloween decorations await you.  They atmospheric of a haunted house, but it is obvious that these are fake, unlike the terrors that unfolded between the walls of the rest of the old mansion. 
You stop by a few of the amusement stands they have scattered across the dusty, though festive, basement...first you get your fortune told....
Then you get something to eat at the 'hungry happenings' refreshment stand...
Then off to the graveyard you go for your very last segment of the tour...you note the demonic emblem at the cemetery gates as the crowd closes in on the final resting places of the tormented souls said to walk the mansion, looking for each other and the lives they were never able to fully live...
The graveyard is a dark and gloomy place.  And though it is decked out in halloween decorations for the sake of the tour, you know the spirits that dwell there in their pain are real....
As the tour draws to a close, the guide stops by the resting place of Rosie and her beloved friend Mildred.  As you watch, they materialize one last time, almost for the sake of telling you all goodbye.  Both dressed in the wedding attire, sadness outline their ghoulish cheeks, phantom tears rolling down their faces.
Finally the tour is over and the group advances toward the exit gates.  Dark is falling across old Rose Mansion and you are relieved the tour is over, yet you are excited to have actually had this opportunity to witness all the ghostly phenomenon.  
As you enter the street and make your way toward your vehicle, you turn back for one last look at the mansion.  Fog is beginning to fall, enshrouding the grounds in an eery gray.  You whisper one last goodbye to Rosie, Mildred, and the other tormented ghosts before going on your way!


**DISCLAIMER:  NONE of the images shared here are my own.  They were all derived from many google searches.  I do not claim any rights to any of them.  The story and the Rose Mansion are both pieces of fiction created by me, any resemblance to real life or reality would be a huge coincidence.  I really hope you enjoyed this little virtual tour, it took me many hours to create.  Enjoy your stay and come back again soon!

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