Monday, October 31, 2011

PARANORMAL PUB: The Fifty Cent Piece

Marion Pellicano Ambrose
This is a tale that has been passed down from generation to generation by the people in the little Upstate New York town where my husband grew up. Folks there swear it is not an urban legend but a true account of one couple’s encounter.
A young man and his wife were traveling in their carriage from a trip to New England back to their home in Albany when a storm came up suddenly and they needed to seek shelter. There was no inn nearby but they saw a light glowing in the distance and followed it to a picturesque little cottage at the top of a hill. It was barely dusk, but because of the storm it seemed like midnight. As they approached, an old man met them at the door with a lantern. “Come in, come in” he called, ”You must be drenched to the skin.” They entered to find a cozy room with a blazing fire. The old man’s wife invited them to sit and have tea and freshly baked cake. “You must spend the night my dears” she said kindly ”You’ll never find your way in this storm.” They gratefully accepted the offer and the woman showed them to a lovely room with a hand stitched quilt on a big brass bed. “I’d like to pay you for your trouble.” The young man told the old man’s wife.” “What? Why we wouldn’t hear of it!” she fussed “It’s been our pleasure to have such fine company. Now you both sleep well.”
In the morning, the young couple rose early and prepared to leave quietly so as not to disturb their hosts. Even though the old woman had refused payment, they decided to thank their hosts by leaving a shiny new fifty cent piece on the table. They climbed into their carriage and headed towards home.
When they reached the town, they stopped to break their fast at a local restaurant. The owner himself waited on them and when they told them where they had spent the night he grew pale. “Where did you say that house was?” he asked. The young man explained that it was the lovely cottage at the top of the hill. “That couldn’t be.” said the owner, ”That cottage burned down three years ago killing the old couple who lived there.” After arguing back and forth, the young man suggested the owner ride back with him to see the house and meet the old couple. The three climbed into the carriage and headed back to the cottage at the top of the hill.
When they arrived, all they found was the burned out shell of a cottage. The road was overgrown with weeds. They approached the scorched rubble and the young man shook his head. “ I must have made a wrong turn somewhere. This couldn’t be the same house.” Just then, his wife let out a scream and pointed to the center of the wreckage. There on the black, charred table was a shiny new half dollar piece.

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