For the last hundred years, people had stated that the Donner mansion was haunted. People claimed ghost lived there and that’s why people never went there anymore. Professor Marcus Stevens and his assistant Vanessa arrived in town just to check out the mansion, in order to put to rest the legend of the so-called ghosts. Professor Stevens was not a believer of the supernatural and was decided, in his spare time; to debunk any silly beliefs people might still have around the globe. He had chosen the Donner mansion because it was a very well known place, not only in the region but nationwide. People talked about how real the experiences there were and the professor wanted to end all of that.
To be honest, he had personal reasons. Silly beliefs had left his grandfather helpless. When he was younger, his grandpa was suffering from a strange disease. He asked his mother and practically everyone in the family to take him to the hospital but they wouldn’t, saying it was the will of God and that if He intended grandpa to be cured, it would be done that way. Even as a child, Marcus was restless, even trying to sneak into the house a doctor he had picked up from the phone book. But to no avail, as his parents forbid it and his grandpa died days later.
When he grew up, he decided to study science and prove everything, make the world a more realistic place, getting rid of all the magical creatures, the folk tales and the silly beliefs that took lives like his grandfather’s every single day around the world. Since he was eighteen, he had left home and didn’t talk to any family member but he soon made lots of friends in the scientific circles, so there was no sadness or longing for the past. He hated his pasts, his family’s beliefs and all that had to do with that. He decided he could live very well without his parents or anyone else from his family close to him.
The first thing they did was travelling to the town of Rensal, where the mansion was locate, and talk to many people there. The idea was to make something like a survey, in order to better understand the phenomenon that people claimed happened often in and around the mansion. They set up their headquarters in a small hotel room and they would interview people in the lobby. It was an old town in the mountains and now it was a ski paradise in the winter but it was not yet that season so there were not many people around.
Many told them that the mansion got “more active” during the summer, when less people were visiting. This was odd as, in many other towns, the occurrences happened always in the months when tourists were in larger numbers. Anyway, that didn’t mean it wasn’t a hoax, it just meant people in this town were probably not manipulating the events occurring in the house, or at least not in a large scale. In one week, they had already interviewed more than one hundred people and that was more than enough to make a survey that showed which were the most frequent activities inside.
Apparently, people saw lights inside the house despite the manor being disconnected from the power grid, many people also testified seen people there wearing old clothes and ignoring them and the small group of people that had entered the house told him that the walls were covered in some strange goo, yellow in color and with a terrible smell. Besides that there was the usual: voices, lights that went in and out, strange sounds, the feeling of being touched… Marcus and Vanessa knew them all from their other experiences and were ready to debunk the tales of Donner mansion.
The following week was used to enter the house. The plan was to go into the mansion every afternoon, three whole hours. They would carry special equipment to detect metals, radioactivity and other events that may seem strange but were very normal in a old house. They had done it a million times. The first day, on Monday, they entered the house with care as the front porch seemed to be damped and the wood that formed it seemed to be in the verge of breaking into several pieces. They went along with Xavier, an old friend of Marcus who loved the whole hunted house experience. He wasn’t a scientist but gladly helped as he thought it was a very cool thing to do.
The first thing they felt was cold. Despite very warm temperatures on the outside, the house remained as cold as in the winter. They measured the temperature, noted it down, and proceeded to another room, crossing a large hall with care. The place was not dark as the afternoon light entered the house through the high windows all around the hall but it was very strange as the glass was not transparent but had various colors. It was like walking around a circus fair ride.
The first room they entered after that happened to be the kitchen. It smelled awful, as if someone had left food to rot there. But that didn’t make sense as no one had lived there for the last hundred years. Vanessa put on some gloves and took out the food that was rotting in the fridge. There was a moldy cheese, meat and a chicken breast, all covered in green and smelling awful. However, Vanessa was able to recover a plastic covering from behind the food and put that in one of their own plastic bags.
Vanessa had been with Marcus for a long time. She started as a student of his in a physics class back in the university but they had formed a nice friendship that had consolidated just after she had graduated. In the blink of an eye, Marcus had hired her to be his assistant in the university and proposed her to be his assistant in these trips too. Vanessa did not hesitate, as she thought it was a very cool thing to do and she confessed that she had always been bored out of her mind when friends started talking about the possibilities of life after death, ghosts and all that supernatural crap. She even had proven to them how the Ouija board was all about conditioned thinking, a fake in simple terms.
After finding the rotten food, Xavier stepped on a weak part of the kitchen and the floor broke beneath his feet. He twisted his ankle and both Marcus and Vanessa had to help him out of the mansion and to the medical center down in town. It was good that Marcus had asked a local to be there with a car in case they needed help, so he took Xavier away and they had to cancel the rest of the exploration for that day. They spent the night in the hospital waiting for the doctor to tell them about their friend. He was ok but he was going to have a cast and crutches. So there was no way for him to join them anymore.
The rest of the week, Marcus and Vanessa would go into the mansion and test every single apparatus they had inside. They used the electromagnetic device to prove that the house was actually not fully disconnected from the power grid and just walking around they found thousands of small gaps and holes, which were used by the wind to enter and make strange noises. All very natural. The cold feeling inside the hosue was explained because of the location of the house, just in the way a small air current that went down the mountain, covered in snow all year, towards the valley were the town was located.
The only thing that hadn’t been able to prove wrong was the presence of unknown people inside the house; even some wearing old robes, from the times when the mansion was built. They decided to plant several cameras all around the house and stay one more week. Marcus wanted to go away as soon as possible because, although he found it all to be very interesting and even funny, he also wanted to properly rest this summer before the classes began again. He didn’t have much time to spare and this time he wanted to think more about himself than about work or others.
However, the cameras didn’t show anything. She stayed in front of the monitors for hours, even falling asleep in front of them but they had not picked up anything, not a real person, not a floating person, nothing. On the last day, the moment they were packing, something happened. One of the cameras picked up kind of a shade crossing the front side of the house, apparently entering the mansion. Back in his home, Marcus checked the video various times. He could explain the shadow; it was probably the sun and the surrounding trees. But there was a moment when a face seemed to appear and the door opened a bit, and it was a heavy wooden door.
For the first time ever, Marcus decided he didn’t care. He didn’t believe he was a ghost and he knew there was an explanation to everything that happened in that place and in places like that all over the world. But the truth was he was tired, growing fed up with filling his life with meaningless things. He had to admit he still resented their family but that, however, he was in need of someone to hug and that feeling appeared to him, like a ghost, every single morning.
There was nothing supernatural in Donner mansion but there was something missing, something rather natural, from Marcus’s life and he didn’t know exactly what it was or how to get it.