Fredrick adjusted himself in his chair. “What did Atherton tell you?”
“Well …” Joseph swirled the Brandy. “Unexplained activity such as footsteps waking him in the small hours in the morning, misplaced objects, voices, children playing in specific places in the house, and a feeling of being watched.”
“Did Atherton also mention furniture moving around?” Fredrick asked.
“He did not. Although, he did claim of a baby crying on one of the upper floors. The second floor, if my memory serves me right.” Joseph took another short sip then continued, “Could this be residual activity or an intelligent haunting? Whatever the outcome may be, my devices will solidify what was said to be true or nothing more than fictional.” He tilted his glass to Fredrick and said, “Nevertheless, I do enjoy a good ghost story, Mr. Tuttle,” then pressed his lips to the brim of the glass and finished what was left.
“All the claims Atherton told you were true,” Fredrick admitted.
“If so, why aren’t you a little spooked?”
“There’s no sense.” Fredrick shrugged. “If I suffer the same fate as my brother, so be it. My legacy is not this house, but my children are. Now that they’re grown and have children of their own, the Tuttle family will live on.”
“Fair enough.” Joseph nodded then asked, “What did you mean when you said, ‘if I suffer the same fate as my brother?’”
Fredrick looked about the room and then back at Joseph. “The manor is more than just a house, Mr. Caldwell. It’s more of a living thing.”
“How do you mean?”
Fredrick leaned forward in the chair and said in a low tone. “The Atherton Manor has a personality of its own.”
Joseph thought about the feeling he had when gazing at the attic window. “You mean the spirits in the house?” He gave a light chuckle.
“A living entity.” Fredrick leaned back. “My brother died in this house.”
Not expecting to hear what Fredrick just said, Joseph’s interest in the house heightened as he sat quietly and listened to the man speak.
“It started with the children. Tabitha and Atherton excused the children’s behavior and chalked it up to child’s imagination. First, it was their six-month-old daughter’s death. Then soon after, their other two daughters, Sarah and Dianna. All three children died suddenly in this house, six months apart from each other.”
“You don’t say?” Joseph’s voice hinted curiosity.
“Tabitha went insane. Six months later, on the sixth hour of the morning, she took her own life by ingesting poison. Six years after his family’s deaths, I found my brother lying bloody at the bottom of the staircase.” Fredrick pointed to the foyer behind him. “When I found him, Atherton was on the floor...” Fredrick paused to collect himself, cleared his throat then continued. “His eyes wide open and with a God-awful expression as if something or someone terrified the life right out of him.”
Could this be the workings of vengeful spirits or the house itself? Joseph thought.
“All of them died in this house, Mr. Caldwell, one way or another. One would say, these events are nothing more than coincidental, but I know otherwise. I can feel in my soul, Mr. Caldwell.”
Joseph leaned forward. “To have a clear understanding of your testimony. Are you suggesting the house itself had something to do with their deaths?”
Fredrick’s eyes skimmed the room once again as he took a leisured breath. “Yes. I know the manor gave them an unmerciful fate.”