Submitted by T. Fox Dunham
Pennsbury Manor, Morrisville Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is rich in its history—one of the pleasures of living in this state. During my recuperation years after my hard fight with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I volunteered and eventually worked at a historic site, Pennsbury Manor. This was the country home of William Penn, the Quaker who left England and founded Pennsylvania. He built the mansion and farm on the Delaware River to have a quick route to his dream city of Philadelphia. It’s a beautiful estate, far away from civilization on a little bend in the river. At night, there are no artificial lights, only the moon glowing on the flow and the stars.
We’d stay late for role-playing practice in the winter, and I’d walk the site along the manor house in the dark, enjoying the peace and the absence of loud civilization. It was still like it would have been in 1701. Now places have a way of remembering, and we leave a trace of ourselves as we go. The land, the manor house remembered the Penn family and the all the suffering that took place there. Understand that before modern medicine, children often didn’t survive. Hannah Penn lost half of her twelve children, several at the manor house. One child died a week after being born, so they never named it. He died nameless to wander.
One night walking the dark ground, looking up at the windows, the glass black like obsidian in the night, I saw lights floating past, running, slowing down then flying out. Unnatural lights without an obvious source floated about the grounds. Then, I heard a baby wailing. At first, I thought it was an animal, but the child sobbed, silenced then wailed like a hungry infant or lost spirit. I searched the grounds for an explanation, but besides two of the staff, we were alone and isolated down there.
Old spirits walk those grounds. The house remembered.