Thursday, October 29, 2009

October Special: Part 4

As the October Special began, so also shall it end: with a house that is in every sense haunted.

In my early days of downtown-exploring, before I really knew the causes of small-town rot, downtown desertion and suburban sprawl, I was a lot more fascinated with ruinous buildings than I was the reasons for their ruin. One of the first towns I explored was the close-at-hand Judsonia (which I discussed in my second-ever post). This nearly-deserted town has plenty of charm; there are some brick storefronts, signs of old commerce, a rusty water tower, a picturesque trestle bridge.

And then, there's the house.

It rises from the ground like a recent corpse, shouldering off grasping, earthen tendrils. Some of its windows are blinded by rude plywood, others stare openly through ragged, blanched curtains. The low overhanging roof is tinged with a rotten green.

The front door is bizarrely offset, letting the sickly yellow siding and the crumbling red bricks take precedent. Two chipped and tapering columns barely support the spartan gable. Tentative cats dart in and out of holes in the foundation. The dwelling's most disturbing feature, however, is not located at the front door, but rather on the pediment at the other end of the house.

Positioned neatly over the sagging curtains is an unlikely element on any house: a clock. Probing vines have climbed all the way to the old time-piece's face, gathering it in their arms like a trophy.

The clock is itself an oddity, displaying an unused-for-bygones strip of fluorescent light. The hands have eternally frozen at about 2:14. Was it in the early morning or afternoon? Do the residential spirits take flight at this hour, causing neighbors to flee to their bedrooms, closing their blinds?

This clock presents a vast number of questions, but they will never be answered; neither will the questions raised by what we found sleeping in the old carport behind the house.

This ghastly vehicle is a 1947 Cadillac hearse. It has since vacated the premises, leaving the house alone with its clock and its cats. I imagine it might have departed this world altogether.

The car is at once terrifying and gorgeous. Being a 1947 model, it exemplifies the streamline modern style prevalent on just about everything in that era. Here are a few detail pictures:

The decaying house in Judsonia remains a mystery to me. I've asked folks living nearby about it before, but have never gotten any answers regarding its condition, the rusting clock, or the stately hearse. Though the Cadillac is gone, the house still stands, haunting the minds of the few explorers of downtown Judsonia.

Well, that concludes my October Special. Expect a return to normal postery once we pass into November (the realm of my nemesis: Christmas; that juggernaut of commercialism who has me crying "HUMBUG!" until about a week before its actual date, and who is always poised to strike out Halloween before it has even occurred). Ciao!


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