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Author Topic: A Ghost Story with an Ortho Twist (right in time for Halloween).  (Read 839 times) Average Rating: 0
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ania
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« on: October 23, 2003, 01:24:13 PM »

Well, my former roommate just called me; she's doing a piece on ghost stories/Halloween for the Russian division of VOA (Voice of America radio, to be broadcasted in Russia).  As I'm from Upstate NY, and quite a few ghost stories that I've heard are from Upstate, (just think, Sleepy Hollow), she asked me to recount one that I knew, & I remembered this one... she absolutely loved it, especially since it's got a Russian Orthodox twist to it.  So I figured you guys might like it as well...
Many many moons ago... lets say beginning of the last century, an estate, with turrets, 10+ bedrooms, ballroom & all, in upstate NY by the small hamlet of Jordanville (before the first Russians came to build their monastery), was owned by the niece... or I think it was the cousin of Teddy Roosevelt.  It's a known fact that he would visit often during his tenure as NY's governor to hunt & relax.  
It was generally acknowledged that this relative of Teddy's was not well in the noggin.  After a particularly fierce argument/breakup with her lover, she went to the highest tower (of which there were several) of the house, and unfortunately, God rest her soul, tossed herself off.  
The estate was then closed, and some years later it was sold to New York State to be used as a mental institution.  This institution became known for it's abnormal high rate of suicides in the inmates, many in the same fashion as the previous owner, and several years later, it was shut down, the house boarded up, and abandoned.  
Here's where Orthodoxy kicks in...
Not so many moons ago...  about 20 years ago in fact, after the Russian monks had built their monastery, and many Russian families had followed them & settled near-by, 2 young Russian (actually Ukrainian) brothers, about 15,16 years old, lets call them Kolya & Seryoja (their real names btw), who lived down the road from the monastery decided to be adventurous & take a look at this house which they had heard rumors about from the local farmers & hamlet residents who's families had lived in the area since the time of the Burning of the Valley (read Last of the Mohicans, or watch the movie, they cover a bit about that, big massacre of white settlers & Indians loyal to the British during the French & Indian War, another reason why ghost stories are so common up there).
Anyway, when Kolya & Seryoja arrived at the house, after riding their bikes & walking through waist-high grass, they found the house in dilapidated state, with all but one window boarded up.  This window was located near the fire-escape on the 3rd floor.  Up they went, crawled through, & started exploring.  At first it was very cool to them, the house was well made, architecturally interesting, & lots of things left over from when it was an asylum.  Perfect to hold the interest of teenaged boys. When they reached the 1st floor, suddenly from the basement they heard a banging.  As they started running back to the open window on the 3rd floor, the doors started slamming & the windows started rattling behind them, and as soon as they climbed out of the window, in slammed & shattered.  
Very freaked out, they boys decided to go straight to the monastery, where they found one of the old heiromonks, Fr. Sergi.  
After seriously chewing out they boys for trespassing, he got permission from the then-owners of the estate (who lived elsewhere, & used the estate's grounds for hunting) to perform a house-blessing.  He, along with several clergy, Kolya & Seryoja's family, several local Russians and several non-Ortho locals who believed the house possessed went to the house, took off the wood covering the door, & started serving a molebin.  
Fr. Sergi started blessing the house from the 4th floor (servant quarters) down, walking through every room with Holy Water.  
In the basement, there were several large rooms, one a wine cellar.  This room was located in the farthest corner of the basement from the stairs.  As Fr. Sergi approached the wine cellar, it's doors slammed shut in front of him.  No amount of manpower could pry it open, and they tried long & hard.  
Finally, Fr. Sergi took the entire bowl of Holy Water, & threw its contents on the wine-cellar door, in the shape of a cross.  The door rattled, & then was silent.  
They left it at that, deeming that the un-holy spirit had taken shelter there, & now was trapped there.
They left the house after concluding the molebin, and a few prayers for the souls of the people who had died on the estate.
A few years later, the house started falling apart.  Up until about 10 years ago, you could see the ruins, but, then new owners decided to build another house on the estate, and had the old mansion dismantled.  
Well, that's about it, I thought people might be interested in a real ghost story.  The estate is located about 2 or 3 miles from Holy Trinity Monastery, and you can see the gates to it when driving up to it via Robinson Road.  
Well, now that it's almost 1:30, it's really time to get some work done around here.
Ania
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Now where were we? Oh yeah - the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...
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