THE STRANGE AND DISTURBING HISTORY OF
THE CLIFF HOUSE:
In the year 1882, Dr. Ezekiel Shard was fired from his position at Boston University, and was banned from practicing medicine in the state of Massachusetts, although the specific reasons for this were never recorded. Dr. Shard wasn’t seen for several years, but in the spring of 1895 he purchased a few acres of coastal property near the village of Crag Haven and built a two story brick house atop a rocky weather-beaten cliff that overlooked the ocean.
Records show Dr. Shard paid an unusually low price for the land, partly due to the bleak inhospitable location, but also because of local folklore which told of something evil having been buried atop the cliff thousands of years ago. Native American legends described the cliff as being somehow cursed or tainted. People around Crag Haven had always shunned the area.
In the summer of 1896, the town physician, Dr. Francis Harriston, was found murdered and Dr. Shard promptly took over his responsibilities, in spite of having no license. Records show the local death rate increased rather dramatically during this period.
In the fall of 1902, a group of three hunters were quoted in the local newspapers as having seen ‘walking dead men’ shambling aimlessly back and forth on the porch of Dr. Shard’s house. Although viewed from a distance, the hunters reportedly recognized one of these figures as a relative. Investigators soon discovered several graves had been violated in the local cemetery.
A mob forced its way into Dr. Shard’s home, where several missing bodies were found, along with many strange mechanical devices. Dr. Ezekiel Shard was thrown from a second story window. His mangled body was left on the jagged rocks at the base of the cliff, to be carried away by the tide.
The house sat vacant for many years. In 1924, during an unusually thick fog, a large ship collided with the rocky cliff. Although the vessel was smashed to pieces, it was clear the ship had been a ‘tall ship’ of the type commonly used in the late 16th century. No bodies were found among the wreckage and the ship was never identified.
Its cargo seemed to include a large number of wooden crates. Most of these were torn open during the wreck, their contents apparently being lost to the sea. According to local rumors, one crate was found intact, and when opened, revealed the withered corpse of a very old man, which rapidly turned to dust. But these stories were never verified.
During the following months there were numerous reports of odd lights floating from one window to the next in the old ‘cliff house’ late at night. Some said smoke could often be seen drifting from the chimney, and that this smoke would sometimes take startling and peculiar shapes. Children began to go missing around Crag Haven. Eventually, older citizens began to vanish as well.
Later that same year, local newspapers record the arrival of a man named Joshua Plite, who claimed to be a vampire hunter. His party of seven men said little to the townsfolk before making their way through the woods and out to the cliff house. They were never seen again. But no further citizens were reported missing that year, and reports of lights in the cliff house windows became increasingly rare.
In 1945 a man named Albert Shard arrived in Crag Haven, claiming to be a relative of the late Dr. Ezekiel Shard. He moved into the now ruined cliff house with the intention of restoring it. Three days later he left town with no explanation.
The cliff house again sat vacant until 1967, when it was purchased by a man named Sheldon Dark. In photographs from the time, Mr. Dark appears unusually tall, pale and thin, with sunken cheeks and an angry scowl. His eyes, in the available images, appear entirely black.
Sheldon Dark lived in the cliff house for three years. During that time, no repairs were made to the property and Mr. Dark was seldom seen in town. He was frequently visited by individuals whom the townsfolk described as ‘mystics’ and ‘fortune tellers’.
On Halloween night, 1970, the people of Crag Haven heard continued screaming ringing out from the cliff house. Upon investigation, they found Sheldon Dark standing atop the cliff house tower, covered in blood that was not his own and screaming mindlessly at the full moon. He was judged insane and committed to an institution.
From then until the day he died in 1994, Sheldon Dark always became most agitated during nights of the full moon, during which he would often scream about needing to return to the cliff house, insisting ‘that’s where the focus is strongest’ and sometimes mumbling ‘that’s where it’s buried’.
The cliff house has been uninhabited since that night in 1970. Folks around Crag Haven often report seeing ghostly figures drifting around the house and surrounding area. Some say you can still hear Sheldon Dark screaming on Halloween night. And every once in a while, an odd flickering light is still seen drifting from one window to the next.
The local realtors have been trying their best, but they can’t seem to find anyone interested in the place. This reporter visited the property last week and, although it’s difficult to explain, I can tell you there’s something fundamentally wrong with this house. You can feel it in your bones as you approach the front door. I only glanced briefly inside. The nightmares still haven’t stopped. There was something there in the darkness, staring back at me. I don’t know what it was and I don’t ever want to know. But I’m sure it waits there still.