Father Matthews impatiently scrolls through last year’s Christmas concert photos on his phone. The blue light from his device reflects off his clerical collar, dimly illuminating the confined confessional closet walls. Light rainfall can be heard trickling off the church roof onto the sidewalk outside. A collection of altar boys change the pace of his scrolling as he nervously pauses listening for the presence of another. Not a peep from the pews, he eagerly zooms in while his pupils dilate against the brightness like a reflecting pool at the shallowest depth of an abandoned wishing well. Abruptly, the church doors open. Father Matthews fumbles his phone to the ground; it audibly bounces on one corner eventually landing flat, screen down. Embarrassed, he twiddles his thumbs awaiting the first confession penitent. As the door closes behind them, drops of water crash onto the service room floor. They’re still. Father Matthews stool creaks as he readjusts his seating position. Finally, the footsteps slog forward bit by bit. Eventually making their way to the confession booth, Father Matthews can barely make out what seems to be a small child’s bare feet outside the red curtain draped over the parishioner’s entrance. They wait; wet and cold, sporting and a pale blue complexion. Drops of water fall from their shivering chin echoing through the vacant chapel. They enter.

Silence resides from both parties as Father Matthews awaits the child’s plea for forgiveness. There’s nothing. The quiet hovers overhead, it’s deafening; unfair even. Father Matthews starts to take a breath about to address the child as they promptly begin sobbing.

“Speak, child,” Father Matthews starts.

“Forgive me Father,” he whimpers in pain.

“Proverbs 28:13 tells us whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy,” Father Matthew recites.

“Confess, and you’ll find mercy,” he commands.

“You first,” the boy’s tone shifts as he begins to snicker.

A thick bubbling mixture of blood and fecal matter begin to ooze between the cracks of the confessional partition. The boiling excretion eats through the faded wood panelling underneath Father Matthews feet as his phone vibrates wildly. Reaching for his mobile device the boy on the screen menacingly cackles as he warps into that of demonic proportions. His screen shatters, shooting glass shards into his eye sockets and neck.

An overwhelming sense of panic takes over Father Matthews while he pulls his feet up from the vanishing floorboards. Reaching blindly around him, the vulgar concoction singes his hand and continues devouring the flesh making its way slowly up his arm as he begins to beg for help.

“Help! Somebody,” he screams.

In aims to stay alive, he carefully lowers one foot towards the floor. Immediately, the rubber sole of his shoe smolders adding the stench of burnt rubber to the already unbearable aroma.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” he begins to pray.

His stool creaks as the structure begins to crumble around him. He quickly shuffles to the furthest edge of the booth bringing his knees to his chest and resting his head against the wall.

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” he continues between spouts of crying.

The boy continues to heckle the priest’s anguish and sorrow laughing at his despair.

“Enough!” Father Matthews shouts.

Barreling both feet through the remaining wall of the booth he crashes through the other side hastily pulling himself through. Landing face first onto the cobblestone service room floor he turns in pain underneath the stained glass portrait of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

Outside, the storm passes and although Father Matthews has been blinded, he can feel the warmth from the sun shimmering off the blood dawned upon his cheeks. The antagonizing simmer of flesh eating sludge fades as it descends into Hell through the pit it created. Grateful to be shown mercy, he takes a breath in coughing as he exhales. The phone from his office begins to ring.

Picking himself up, he wraps the remainder of his sleeve around the open ended limb that once was his right arm. The insufferable pain brings him to his knees as the wound squelches against the gritty fiber and rotted flesh. Nauseous, he rests his forehead on a pew bench vomiting profusely onto the floor. The answering machine from his office picks up.

“Father Matthews?” a woman questions, seemingly distraught.

“It’s Diane, Samuel’s mother,” she states.

Father Matthews lifts his chin in terror.

“He killed himself last night,” she says, barely keeping herself together.

Father Matthews acknowledges the irreversible damage he has done as his tears pool alongside his chunder in a pattern that imitates the evil and ugliness of an early painting by Adolf Hitler.

“Did he say anything to you during choir practice last night? Please, give me a call when you can. Bless you Father,” she concludes.

“I’m sorry,” he begins to apologize.

“Forgive me, Father,” he pleads.

His office phone rings once more. Each ring pokes further into him as he continues a blubbering mess surrounded by unoccupied pews. Voicemail picks up.

“Hi, Father Matthews? This is Father Jefferies from Second Light Ministries, I’m calling to let you know that your transfer request has been accepted. Let us know when you can start, I know moving can be quite the task but it seems by now you must be a professional. Eight different congregations in the last decade alone? Impressive. We’re eager to serve beside you, blessings to you Father,” he finishes.

Written and submitted for Cemetery Gates Media March 2021 theme ‘Haunted Church Confessional’

© John Marrows All Rights Reserved

Top 3 Haunted Places in Maine

Grab a lobster roll with your friends and cruise through the dense Maine wilderness. If you’re looking for more of an adventure away from the traditional tourist traps of Maine, be sure to add the following locations to your road trip itinerary.

DISCLAIMER: Remember to receive proper permission before entering buildings or facilities that are clearly marked as private property.

The Bowdoin Cemetery in the Pit

A young woman in the 1800s allegedly practiced witchcraft and was sentenced to death by hanging from the townspeople in the Bowdoin area. This cemetery is unmarked and easily passed alongside the back Maine road it resides upon. Buried around a circle of trees it seems even nature itself is afraid of what may lay below the soil. Many of the cemetery plots are destroyed, however, what frightens most explorers, is not the mass amount of vandalism, but the alleged witch’s grave itself. The soil is soft, almost freshly turned, as if someone recently was digging to find her corpse. If local legends are true, her grave has a curse attached to those who step in, and especially dig into, the burial site. The Bowdoin cemetery is definitely an eerie, and interesting stop for your next journey through Maine.

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The North Manchester Meeting House

Constructed in 1793, this church still serves the small town of Manchester, ME. However, the building itself brings less attention than the cemetery surrounded by old stone walls. Within one of these stones, imprints what’s known as The Devil’s Footprint. Locals claim during the construction of the church a worker stood atop this stubborn boulder swearing he’d sell his soul to the devil if that rock could be moved. The next day, the rock was moved and the construction worker had disappeared. It’s easy to miss the inexplicable imprint while combing the quiet and vacant cemetery grounds. The legend of ‘The Devil’s Footprint’ is one to worth viewing on your next Maine road trip.

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The Central Maine Sanatorium

Originally titled ‘The Chase Memorial Sanatorium’, it opened in 1910 as a hospital to treat tuberculosis patients. As the rate of tuberculosis cases rose, so did the need for treatment. Extending the intimate hospital setting, construction of wooden buildings took place in 1912 but was unfortunately lost in a fire one year later. The hospital quickly bounced back rebuilding with the addition of a surgical wing and children’s unit.

At the time, there were three Maine (pun not intended) treatment centers for patients with tuberculosis. Western Maine Sanatorium, Central Maine Sanatorium, and Northern Maine Sanatorium. In more southern regions of the state, patients who seemed to be responding to treatment and were more likely to be cured were admitted or transferred to Western Maine Sanatorium in Hebron, ME. Otherwise, they remained or were transferred to Central Maine Sanatorium in Fairfield, ME. In northern regions of the state patients with tuberculosis were admitted to the Northern Maine Sanatorium in Presque Isle, ME. The Central Maine Sanatorium closed in 1970 with a portion of its rooms remaining open as the Pleasant Hill Nursing Home eventually closing in 2001.

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If you’re looking for more be sure to follow me on Instagram @iMarrowsJ or check out my page on Haunted History. Did I miss something? Contact Me or comment below.

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In 1878 alongside the Little Colorado River, a Navajo encampment was attacked by a collection of Apache raiders. The planned attack by the Apache left most Navajo men, women, and children dead. As the Apache were looting the encampment, they came across three women whose lives were spared but were taken as prisoners.  Navajo leaders eventually received word of the attacks and they sent 25 men in retaliation. Tracking the Apaches and obstructing the borders to the region, the Navajo men took their strategic approach with caution.

Unfortunately, their efforts quickly failed as the trails vanished from volcanic cinder flowing through a nearby river. News swiftly spread that yet another Navajo encampment had been raided alerting them that the Apache may still be in close proximity. Vanguards were again deployed to search the surrounding area. Amongst this crew, two were requested to explore the short arm of Canyon Diablo. During their hunt, they were alarmed by an odd breeze of hot air coming from underground. Carefully approaching, they discovered a cavern beneath them able to shelter the Apache raiding party and their horses. With the knowledge of the Apaches whereabouts, the two scouts returned to their tribe to prepare a retaliation attack.

After murdering the unsuspecting Apache guards, the Navajo gathered brush, kindling, and driftwood then proceeded to light a fire on the canyon floor right outside the entrance of the cave. As the smoke began pouring into their cavern hideaway, the Apache began to slit their horse’s throats and used the blood plus what little water they had in attempts to put out the flames. Begging for mercy, the Apache began to seal the entrance with the slaughtered corpses of their steeds. The Navajo people questioned the status of the three women the Apache had kidnapped and when there was no response, they began firing their guns into the cave. Piercing the flesh barriers adding fuel to the fire, the Apaches death songs faded as they all met their ill-fated ends.

As silence rained through the charred carcasses, the Navajo made a clearing, stripping the 42 Apache raiders of their goods and valuables. Since that tragic day in history, no Apache has approached the cave nor considered raiding the Navajo people. Local tribes would warn would-be pioneers of the caves lethal accounts claiming the land surrounding that area was forever cursed. Settlers passed this as superstition but pioneers later reported hearing unexplained groans and footsteps outside their cabins. It seems the folklore and legends that followed the massacre easily left an impact on the pioneer’s that later settled on those very grounds.

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WalkwayWalkway LandscapeRubbled RunwayCanyon KasmDeath Cave EntranceDeath CaveClose-Up

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Addressed in the 1977 book, this home was built in 1927 at 112 Ocean Ave. The book was focused on the fictional happenings after DeFeo Jr. relentlessly murdered his family. Since the murders, the home has been owned by five different families. In 2010, the waterfront home of three-stories sold for an impressive $950,000. The latest research states the home was again listed in 2016 for $850,000 which included five bedrooms, a basement unit, and three and a half bathrooms.⠀

NOTE: This is a home. People DO reside at this residence. If you’re a fan of the book/films and are planning a visit, please be respectful of the grounds and the family that lives there.

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Featured

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Originally dubbed Canyon Padre Trading Post, Twin Arrows Trading Post was put up in the 1940’s motivated by the nearby popular Old Route 66 stop, Two Guns. Tourists and venturers were able to purchase fuel, Route 66 souvenirs, and perhaps enjoy a meal at the attached cafe and diner. Two iconic wooden arrows were erected within the parking lot to lead the way for sightseers and tourists alike. Unfortunately, the construction of a nearby interstate combined with the increasing disinterest of kitschy roadside stops led to the abandonment of the Twin Arrows Trading Post in 1995. The graffiti-ridden rubbled grounds are currently owned by the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino whose most recent refurbishment was of the historic arrows in 2009, still standing to mark this forgotten roadside attraction. No further plans have been announced to reconstruct or reopen the Twin Arrows Trading Post.

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Twin Arrows Trading PostStation w ArrowsArrows w MountainCafeBack EntranceRestroomYou're The Worst

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Built in 1874, the site was originally the city of Phoenix’s first school. Serving the community until 1916 where it was shortly exchanged to become one of the city’s most well-known hotels. Opening its doors on March 28th, 1928, Hotel San Carlos was often touted to hold the finest accommodations in the southwest; including the first high-rise in Phoenix with air conditioning. Less than two months of the hotel’s inception a young woman, Leone Jensen, checked in to her third-floor stay. Traveling across the country, Leone was on a journey to marry the man of her dreams, who, legend states, happened to be a bellhop at another hotel. Unfortunately for her, he no longer felt the love they once shared and this was something she could not bear. In the final hours of her second night, Leone drafted several letters on the hotel’s parchment addressed to a variety of suitors. Out of the many letters she had written, the lengthiest was directed towards an undertaker in Los Angelos stating requests and plans for her funeral.

“Bury me in my tan dress and tan high-heeled slippers,” she wrote.

“Organ music above all things. And can you arrange for two girls to sing, as I have never loved harmony, ‘Nearer My God to Thee.” Leone requested.

Good-by and good luck. Think of me kindly.” she signed.

Much later that evening, around 02:45AM, Leone made her way to the roof of Hotel San Carlos donning her evening gown. Gazing over central avenue she eventually stepped towards the edge, took one last step, thus plunging herself to the sidewalk below.

Hotel guests and passerby’s claim to see Leone repeat her dive from time to time, stating they’ve witnessed a woman in an evening gown on the roof. Other stories claim her lover was abusive and pushed her in a rage, some say the hotel was constructed over an ancient Hohokam village and the grounds were cursed from the very beginning.

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Opened in 1978 on 315 Travis, Treebeards lives within the Baker Travis building, which is the second oldest building in Houston, Texas. Although the reviews mentioned great food and a lively bar atmosphere, reports of cold spots and a bean cooks description of a full body apparition are what caught my teams eye. Making it a perfect lunch stop on my travels through Houston.

The bean cook describes what could’ve been Mr. Danowitz, an elderly tailor that shared the building with Treebeards when it first opened its doors in 1978. Within a building that’s been standing since the 1870s, Treebeards may be hosting more than just customers at their southern cooking cafe.

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Entrance

Gator

Staircase

Above Art

Upstairs Bar

Barkeep

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Constructed in 1926, the Julia Ideson Building located at 500 McKinney stands across from downtowns Main Branch Library in Houston, Texas. Although checking out a book would regularly be on my itinerary while visiting the library, rumors of a past caretaker and his dog’s spirit roaming the grounds are what sparked my team and I’s interest.

Caretaker Jacob Frank Cramer and his German Shephard companion Petey, have been said to be seen roaming the library grounds during their nightly rounds. Sounds of Peteys nails clicking across the tile floor has been enough to keep some believers away from this historical Texas building.

“Unfortunately, we cannot confirm that HPL has a resident ghost – even though we joined Houston Chronicle staff last year in a ghost-hunting exercise. We trekked the halls of the Julia Ideson Building into the wee hours of the night, searching for any sign of Mr. Cramer or Petey. Sadly, we didn’t turn up a single note, click or flash of light. But the legend continues.” – Sandra Fernandez, HPL public relations manager.

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Main Entrance

Side View

Side Door

Front Sign

Texas Historical Mark

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Constructed in 1885 within the heart of Austin, the Texas State Capitol Building stands valiantly atop a hill. Monuments scatter the grounds, with a historical museum and gift shop off to the side. Tours are offered to those seeking a more traditional travel experience. However, rumors of spirits that haunt the grounds and building itself are what brought my team and I to the Texas State Capitol Building.

Murdered in his first-floor office in 1903, Comptroller Robert Marshall Love has been reportedly seen walking up the promenade of the Texas Capitol Building. You may see him wandering the grounds towards the capitol entrance on a misty morning sporting a top hat and coat tails.

An unidentified politician once held secret trysts in a stairwell located on the third floor. His lover, an unknown woman in red, has been spotted by cleaning crews in his third-floor office but vanishes as they turn the corner attempting to approach her. This section of the capitol is not open to the public.

In 1983, despite the heroic efforts of Austin firefighters, a 23-year-old man burned to death in a fire within the capitol walls causing severe damage to the East Wing. Rumor states that however many times you clean the window, handprints appear on the glass when the humidity is high. The very same window firefighters failed to break open in attempts to free the man trapped inside.

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Texas Capitol Building Cover Unedited

Front Yard

Main Lobby

Ceiling

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Against fair warning from locals in 1839, Gideon White decided to build a home in proximity to Shoal Creek. After three years of residency, Gideon was reportedly murdered by passing Native Americans. Once his corpse was discovered, the remains and shallow graves of many more were uncovered in the surrounding area. The majority of the graves were victims of yellow fever and cholera. Reports of unusual noises, cold spots, and vanishing apparitions are common from those who wander through this scenic running and biking route. Authorities claim pedestrians are not permitted on the trail after 10:00PM due to the amount of activity reported.

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Historical Marker

Creek One

Creek Two

Creek Three

Sewer Hole

Boulder Seating

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