Beyond the Western
The Haunted Hillburg House
Scott A. Gese

He had heard the rumors but didn’t believe in ghosts. That was a mistake he would live to regret… or not.

The Charles and Haily Hillburg house/Image source: Pixabay

Beyond the Western

Ashton Crofton had just purchased the historic Hillburg House for pennies on the dollar. He hadn’t a clue about what he was getting himself into. Researching his potential purchase was not a high priority. He just saw a good deal and grabbed it.

The Hillburg house had a long history and none of it was good.

It was built in 1879 by a sea captain named Charles Hillburg. He built it for his beautiful and charming wife, Haily. It would be fair to say that Charles financed the project, but it was Haily who actually had it built. She was the one who had the plans drawn up for this three story Victorian home. She oversaw the carpenters, the bricklayers and the landscapers. Nothing got past her keen eye for detail.

She made more than one enemy as the list of “incompetent” contractors continued to grow before the project was even half finished. They either did it the Haily way or she moved them on to their next job. There was no room for compromise.

Charles Hillburg was oblivious to the process as he spent most of his time at sea. The home would be his and Haily’s retirement residence once it was complete.

Charles was always a faithful husband. He passed up many opportunities to be with beautiful women when he was in a foreign port. Haily, on the other hand was no angel. She had a string of affairs leaving many bleeding hearts and broken men in her wake, except for one.

Thomas was different. She actually fell in love with him.

Together they devised several plans to do away with the Captain once he returned home.

In the meantime they hoped a severe storm or other unforeseen mishap would take care of the problem for them.

It didn’t.

Prevailing winds helped Charles arrived home well ahead of schedule. The house was complete. Charles was anxious to see the finished product as well as spend some quality time with his wife. With a bouquet of fresh picked Spring flowers in his hand he slipped in the back door hoping to surprise her.

He did surprise her, but not until he entered the master bedroom where he found Haily and her lover, Thomas in the throws of passion. The scene shocked him to the core. He lost all control and pulled a pistol from his jacket.

They begged for mercy but he had none to give. He shot them both.

Charles was distraught. He went down to the formal dining room and found a bottle of apricot brandy. He drank it and then turned the pistol on himself. The bodies rotted where they lay for three full months before they were discovered.

With no formal will or next of kin to leave their possessions to, the house and everything in it was boarded up tight. It was left that way for years. Over time it became the talk of the area. The neighbors all saw strange things taking place at the house. Oftentimes gunshots and muffled screams could be heard from behind the boarded windows. On two occasions, smoke was seen coming from the master bedroom chimney.

In 1930, the first rays of light in fifty years streamed in through the front door.

The house along with its contents had been auctioned off by the city to pay back taxes.

Ashton Crofton was thrilled to be the high bidder. He had heard the neighborhood stories but shrugged them off. He didn’t believe in ghosts and he wasn’t interested in what had taken place those many years ago.

Ashton hired several women to clean the house for him and he had the mattress on the bed in the master bedroom replaced. He was confident in his belief that the house was free from ghosts. So confident that he announced to all of his new neighbors that he would not only spend his first night in the house alone, he would spend it in the very bed of Haily Hillburg.

That night the neighbors witnessed strange noises, flashing lights and shadows in the upstairs windows of the newly occupied Hillburg house.

The following day, Ashton’s new neighbors grew concerned when he hadn’t come out to proclaim the house to be as he suspected… free from any such talk of being haunted and perfectly livable.

That evening the police were called to investigate.

They found Ashton still in the bed of Haily Hillburg. He was as white as the beds new sheets. His eyes and mouth were open wide. His heart had given out. He had been scared to death, apparently in the middle of a scream.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.