Laura Haley-McNeil

10/29/17, BOO!

Hello, Everyone!

The end of October is nearing and with that comes Halloween, a very popular holiday in the States and not just for kids. Employees in my office building dress in outrageous costumes and makeup. Some of my friends love to visit the haunted house events and search town to find the scariest haunted house. I’ve never been much for celebrating this day, though as children my sisters and brothers and I did enjoy dressing up, I never as anything scary, and trick or treating in the neighborhood. Back then, it seemed safer, with no worries about receiving a dangerous treat. When we returned to the house, my parents threw a party for us and the neighborhood children—we lived on a cul-de-sac. We’d play games and eat treats and had so much fun. My parents were great when it came to taking pictures and movies of parties and other events, so these parties were recorded, though they seem funny now with the clothing and the hairstyles we wore back then.

For today’s blog, and in celebration of Halloween, I’ve posted a picture of an abandoned house I found on the internet. Abandoned houses fascinate me, especially mansions. I think of the people who had planned these homes and how happy they must have been when the home was completed and they could occupy the house. I have searched the internet just to look at pictures of these homes and wonder—what happened? Why are these magnificent homes now abandoned?

One day, I found a Rothschild mansion, which is in Paris. I wish I had known about the mansion when I had visited Paris because I would’ve loved to have visited this house. It amazed me that such a magnificent home had been abandoned and those in the neighborhood ignored it. The article accompanying the photo explained that the Rothschild heir was obligated to pay taxes, which he forewent, thus the architectural masterpiece now lies in ruin. Vandals have covered the walls with graffiti, the roof has collapsed, and weeds and trees grow through the floor and cover the sweeping staircase. Though I don’t write paranormal or horror, this home would be a wonderful setting for such a book or film.

My favorite film is Gone with the Wind, and one of my favorite scenes in this movie is when Scarlett escapes the burning of Atlanta to return to Tara. She drives past the Wilkes plantation knowing someone there will help them, give them the latest news concerning the area and provide a meal. When she arrives, the mansion has been destroyed and abandoned. The grave of the owner is near the home marked with a crudely engraved tombstone. Inside, the sweeping staircase where Scarlett had stood when she first noticed Rhett is a shambles. One can only assume that those mansions eventually fell into ruin with nature reclaiming the property. I once searched for abandoned southern mansions on The one that fascinated me most stood next to a highway. A filling station had been built in its front yard. The forest had encroached the land. The front door of the mansion flopped in the wind and banged against the paintless house. It was a sad scene, but impressionable. I love reading southern romances and would love to write one someday. I need to keep this mansion in mind. There has to be a story in there somewhere.

If you celebrate Halloween, I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday, and if you’re someone who enjoys being frightened on that day, I’m sure there’s a venue out there that will oblige. For everyone, celebrants and noncelebrants, I wish you a happy, safe and blessed week!