The Molly Hutchinson House
The Molly Hutchinson House Investigation
Performed by SUPI in December.
“Holy crap. I’m cold.” Eric said shivering in front of the row houses on the dark quiet street.
“So am I. Where is Johnny?” Kelly said between clenched teeth. She stomped her feet moving back and forth trying to generate some heat in her petite body.
Eric Drexel was new to this paranormal investigation stuff. Having just started school at Strathmore University a few months ago; everything was new to him. Finding out that Strathmore University had a club that investigated paranormal sites was exciting and very cool. He was glad to have signed up at the club fair in September. Now he was investigating a haunted house, or sort of house.
Eric had just turned eighteen in September. At 5’8, clean shaven with short black hair; Eric looked even younger than he was. Majoring in literature and minoring in paranormal studies it labeled him as a nerd, but he didn’t care. He liked reading and things that were strange. Joining the club was a no brainer.
“If he isn’t here soon. I swear I’m going to break into the friggen house myself.”
Kelly Fair, on the other hand, was not a nerd but something altogether different. Petite at 5’ she had purple hair, a nose ring and a unnatural color of contacts to suit her mood making her eyes striking to look at and frightening at the same time. Her small frame and bizarre appearance gave those who meet her the impression of a pixie or faire; either of which may have been her intention. She drew stares and that was what she wanted.
“Here he comes.” Eric said nodding up the street.
John Lee walked quickly down the quiet cold street. The wind seemed to travel through this part of Old Strathmore rushing down alleys and narrow streets as if playing a bizarre game of tag. Momentarily the three young college students were “it”.
“Sorry, I’m late.” John said coming up to the group, “So this is it?”
“Yep.” Eric commented, “The Molly Hutchinson House. I’ve heard some of the stories… so cool.”
“Can we discuss this inside?” Kelly said as she moved towards the door.
The Molly Hutchinson House was known to the locals of Strathmore and to those interested in the bizarre. It was an odd shaped home being considerably smaller than the two houses to either side of it. Known as a spite house it was built with the pure intention of spiting others.
In the early 1900’s William Hutchinson and his family purchased a quaint home along Grace Street. After moving into the structure, they realized two things. The first was that the alley next to the home was a cut through for deliveries to the ice house and other businesses a street over. During the week it was not uncommon to hear the clattering of a wagon or the occasional scrapping of one as it roared through the ally. The second important point was that William Hutchinson’s property included the alley and extended all the way to the next row house. After tolerating the noise for over a year a tragedy occurred that forced William Hutchinson into action.
During a rainy March morning in 1927 a dense fog covered this area of the town; as it does today. A teamster, running late on a morning delivery, decided to cut through Grace Street and use the alley next to the Hutchinson home. The teamster knew his wagon was a tad to large for the alley but, with speed and force, he could drive the horse led wagon through saving him much needed time. As he built up speed coming down the hill the fog along Grace Street became denser. With a crack of the whip the driver urged the horses to pick up speed making for the tight opening. He made the turn in a frantic motion and entered the alley with a crash of metal and timber as it bit into the masonry walls to either side; damaging the wagon as it plunged rapidly through with a grinding groan of an old locomotive.
Unknown to the driver a young girl had been walking through that same alley on her way to school. The driver never saw the young girl and when the morning fog cleared the sound of a woman screaming brought everyone over to the discovery of a small mangled broken body. William decided then and there to close the alley and erected a blockade of wood and stones. People, however, still continued to use it even removing the obstacles that William had placed up. It was soon after the constant replacing of the barrier that William decided to do that which remains today. He built a little house between the two row houses preventing any future accidents.
John produced a key and the three entered the tiny house leaving the bitter December cold wind outside to roam the streets. The house was oddly shaped being that it wasn’t suppose to be a home at all but an alleyway. The distance from one brick wall to the other was seven feet wide. Stretching out arms and legs, Eric could touch both walls. The narrow living area where they stood comprised of a foyer, the living room and a back door next to a set of stairs that went to the upper floor. Being a few weeks before Christmas the current occupants, a graduate student and his girlfriend, had placed a small Christmas tree in front of the living room window. The rest of the small space held a couch, a chair, a lamp and a flat screen TV mounted on the wall. A desk was neatly placed under the stairs across from a tiny bathroom.
“So cold.” Kelly said still visibly shaking. “What took you so long?”
“I’m sorry. I forgot the key.” John replied.
After the Crimshaw Manor investigation word spread throughout campus about the Strathmore University Paranormal Investigators Club and several “clients”, if that’s what you wanted to call them, had made claims about sites being haunted. The Molly Hutchinson House was one such claim.
Contact was made with the current renters and after a brief interview and hearing what they claimed they experienced; permission was given for a small investigation to be done. Having other commitments and not wishing to say no, Stephen Davenport the club’s academic adviser, asked John Lee if he was interested in heading it up with two other students. John eagerly agreed and here they were.
“So what’s the plan?” Eric asked setting down the box containing the team’s equipment.
“Well,” John began, “I guess we’ll get the feel of the place, decide where to set up the equipment and then start the investigation.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Kelly said finally taking her black overcoat off. John and Eric momentarily stopped what they were doing and gawked at Kelly. She wore a flimsy white silky shirt that feel off her shoulder; it was obvious she was still cold. Kelly rubbed her arms warming herself and walked into the living room looking about. “This is cool. I’ve heard some of the stories; the noises, screams, shadows. How long to we have to investigate?”
Regaining his composure John spoke up, “Only tonight. The occupants agreed to be out all night but will be back first thing in the morning. Let’s see what’s upstairs.”
Leaving the equipment in the foyer, Eric joined John and Kelly as they walked up the stairs to the second floor. Similar in size to the first floor there was a small kitchen at the top of the stairs followed by a closet and a bedroom.
“Wow. This place is small.” Kelly remarked.
“It is. I don’t think we could have had many more people in here and be effective.” John said. “Let’s go back downstairs and discuss the allegations.”
Once in the living room the three sat down. The lamp’s soft light combined with the Christmas trees gave the tiny space a homey feeling. John glanced over to Kelly sitting in the chair in the corner of the room. Her silky loose-fitting shirt, tight jeans, boots and purple hair really attracted his attention. He didn’t know Kelly at all except for the one or two club meetings that she had shown up to. Robb did know her, had groaned and stated, “Be careful around her” when he heard she was going on this investigation. Robb did not elaborate on what that meant.
John pulled out his notebook and quickly averted his eyes towards it. When the occupants had been interviewed, they had stated that since moving into the tiny house in August they had experienced several strange things. A lot of the strange sounds they had experienced came about late at night and at first, they believed it was simply noise coming from one of the other two homes or from outside. Some of the sounds were of the creaking of the floorboards which sounded like footsteps but they had dismissed it as possibly being the settling of the house as it heated up throughout the day. Approximately a month ago objects started to be misplaced or moved around within the home. Nothing monumental but small objects such as pens, keys, etc. had been moved. The final straw came when they heard a late-night blood curdling scream that could not be explained and had prompted the idea of a haunting and the solicitation of the club to investigate.
John spoke up, “Ok. The occupants claimed that they have heard strange sounds, footsteps and a blood curdling scream…” John made air quotations, “… during the last few months since they moved in.”
“What exactly does curdling even mean?” Kelly asked with a smile.
“I guess really scary.” Eric remarked, “Also, they had stuff moved on its own.”
“That’s right. So, I guess we can set up our cameras down here, do some EVP sessions and see what happens.”
“Sounds cool to me.” Eric agreed.
“Yep. Sure.” Kelly concurred.
It was close to midnight by the time they had set up the two cameras that were to cover the first floor. Not having the desired space, a decision was made to run the cables upstairs to the kitchen area. Once in the kitchen area the team sat up a monitor in order to view and record anything that occurred on the first floor where the activity seemed to be.
“Eric. Why don’t you and Kelly begin downstairs. I’ll man the command post.”
“Ok… What am I supposed to do?”
“I got this.” Kelly said, “Come on Eric. We’ll do an EVP session, sit and listen. Easy peasy.”
John sat at the table and watched the monitor as Eric and Kelly went back to the first floor. Kelly turned off the lamp leaving only the Christmas tree lights on to illuminate the space.
“Pretty.” She said. “So, Eric what do you know about this place?”
“Well, I know that a young girl was killed by a horse drawn wagon... Somewhere right about here.” He looked right and then left. “That’s a little unsettling. I also know that the Hutchinson’s daughter, Molly, died in a fire after the house had been built.”
“Really? No wonder this place is haunted.”
“Yeah. Some people believed back then that teamsters who were angry at the construction having been done, started the fire. I think the official cause was determined to be accidental.”
“All the same, Molly still died?”
“Alright. That gives us at least an idea of who might be here.” Kelly pulled out a recorder and turned it on. “Hi. Is anyone here with us?”
“What is your name?”
“Can you make a noise or move something to let us know you’re here?” Kelly asked pausing between the questions.
Nothing moved and any noise heard could have came from the outside or the neighbors to either side. After about forty minutes the distinct sound of footsteps began to be heard from upstairs.
“What’s that?” Eric asked sitting up quickly.
The footsteps sounded soft at first and grew in intensity as they sounded from the rear of the house.
“Do you hear that?” Eric asked with wide eyes.
“I do.” Kelly replied in all seriousness.
The footsteps became louder and began to descend the steps; a shadow moving in conjunction with the sound.
“Oh! Oh! Look…over there… its… its...”
“ John.” Kelly said with a bit of a laugh. Eric looked and chuckled to himself.
“Hey guys. No luck I’m guessing.” John said stepping into the living room.
“No, nothing at all.” Eric said a little depressed.
“That’s ok. Sometimes stuff happens; sometimes nothing at all. You want a break?”
“Yea. I’ll watch the monitor.” Eric said and walked upstairs to the kitchen area.
John turned to Kelly who was standing and stretching. “You want a break?”
“No, I’m good.” She said looking at John with those freaky eyes.
“I brought a REM pod and an Ovilus if you would like to try those.”
“Cool. I would like that.” Kelly said coming closer to John. As she came to stand next to him, he became acutely aware of how tiny and cute she was. Standing so close to him he could feel her body heat and smell the perfume she was wearing. She smelled good.
“How’s the Ovilus work?” She asked.
John took a moment and wetted his dry lips. Had it gotten hotter in here suddenly? “It has words in its database and based upon the electromagnetic waves in the surrounding area it creates a word.” John swallowed. “The thought being that spirits can manipulate the electromagnetic energy to say a word.”
“That is so cool. Can I try?” Kelly asked touching his hand and placing the Ovilus in hers. It sent a jolt of unseen electricity through John’s arm
“Sure. I’ll set up the REM pod here on the floor in the center of the room.” John placed the device on the floor and waited. Fifteen minutes went by without so much a word on the Ovilus or a beep from the REM pod.
“Tonight seems to be bust.” John said feeling a bit discouraged. He sat down in the corner chair.
“Don’t be so quick to give up Johnny. It’s only about 2:30. Everyone knows that 3 AM is the witching hour. Hey, I want to try something.” Kelly walked over to the foyer and grabbed the black plastic box the equipment had been transported in. Carrying it over to the center of the room she placed it down and asked John for his flashlight.
“I saw this done once.” Kelly said turning on the flashlight and then slowly unscrewing the cap till it barely went out. Bending over she began to carefully set up the flashlights on the edge of the box. Having difficulty with placing the flashlights just right so they didn’t roll or stay on John realized that Kelly’s flimsy shirt was agape revealing her entire chest. John looked on with locked vision at Kelly’s small but perfect bare breasts.
He could hear Kelly saying something, but it was far away as John’s gaze lingered on the beautiful sight.
“John! Did you hear what I said?” Kelly said standing back up breaking the spell and realizing that he had been staring down her shirt.
“What? Ah no, sorry.”
“I said that we can ask questions and if a spirit is here, they can respond by completing the circuit and turning the light on.”
“Ah yeah, that sounds good.” John said trying to refocus.
“Did you like what you saw?”
John was embarrassed beyond belief and could feel the heat in his cheeks. He responded without thinking., “Ah..Uh.. yeah.”
Kelly walked over to the couch and sat down. “Good. I’m happy to hear that.” She said with a smile.
John was mortified and awkwardly aroused. Not moving from the chair he was startled and relieved when the REM pod gave a short beep.
“Whoa! Did that just go off?” He asked.
“It did. Let me try asking some questions. Can you turn on the recorder?”
John shook his head and placed the recorder next to the REM pod and the flashlight on the plastic box.
“Hello who is here with us?” She paused in absolute silence. “Can you make a noise, touch the device with lights?”
John looked over at the REM pod expecting it to light up. It did not.
“Do you want us to leave?” The flashlight pulsed as if in answer. “Did you see that?” Kelly asked. John nodded his head slowly.
After thirty seconds Kelly turned off the recorder and reviewed it; turning up the volume so that John could hear. Kelly’s voice came through crystal clear. After the second question, however, a strange noise came across the recording that neither of them had heard before.
“What was that?” Kelly asked.
“I don’t know. Play it again.”
Going to the second question again Kelly asked, “Can you make a noise, touch this device with lights?” A strange metallic scraping noise could be heard. It was faint, but there.
“Horse” The Ovilus suddenly said startling both Kelly and John who had forgotten that it was still on.
“Oh shit!” John jumped, “What did that say?”
Kelly reached for the Ovilus and read the screen. “It says Horse.”
“Eric!” John yelled upstairs, “Come down here quick.”
A scraping of a chair proceeded Eric as he practically ran down the wooden stairs.
“What? What happened?” Eric said.
“Something be happening here boyo.” Kelly said suddenly in an Irish accent.
“Eric.” John started, “Did you ever find anything in your research about people hearing horses?”
Eric thought for a moment and then said. “Yeah. People say that sometimes they hear the sound of what they believed was the clip clopping of a horse.”
“A horse. A horse similar to one pulling a wagon through this alleyway….” John started.
“That ran over and killed a small child.” Eric finished.
“Shite.” Kelly exclaimed.
John was now excited for a different reason. “Ok. So, the Ovilus says horse and the EVP had the sound of something metal scrapping.”
“Oh my Gosh! The sound of the wagon scraping the walls of the alley!” Eric shouted out.
“So, are you saying that you think the ghost of the horse is here?” Kelly asked dropping the Irish accent.
“No. Not the horse but the event.” John replied.
“Cool.” Eric replied.
“Is it a ghost or not?” Kelly asked.
“I believe it would be classified as a residual haunting. A traumatic event that was so imprinted on this space that the energy is still here.”
Kelly and Eric both looked at John surprised and impressed. John himself was impressed with this thought. He must have learned more than he thought in Professor Davenports class.
“Let me check something out?” Eric said as he stepped up onto the couch.
“Dude. What are you doing?” John asked.
Eric reached for the mirror that hung over the length of the couch. It had been attached to the brick wall and with some difficulty he was able to remove it. Behind the mirror embedded into the brick wall was a deep gouge.
“Holy cow!” Eric said softly.
“What is it?” Kelly asked trying to see around him.
“The wagon scrape when it came into the alley.” He replied.
“All these years. Wow. That is so very cool. Good job Eric.” John said.
Eric was beaming. It was very cool, he thought to himself. He started to replace the mirror making sure not to drop it when a chill ran down his spine. Glancing at the mirror he saw his reflection and beyond that the room in the multicolored light of the Christmas Tree. John was standing near the center of the room; Kelly was near him. What made him stare in disbelief and had sent the chill was the shadow figure of a woman walking past and behind John. The REM pod lit up beeping strongly.
“Ahhh!!” Eric exclaimed both in astonishment and shock.
Kelly jumped at the sound of both Eric’s yell and at the sudden noise of the REM pod. Bumping into John the two of them fell backwards into the chair in the corner.
Eric replaced the mirror and turned around pointing to the center of the room. Kelly and John awkwardly entangled in the chair, her on his lap, began to laugh at themselves for being so jumpy. As the laughter of John and Kelly quieted down a single plastic Christmas ornament, red and round, fell from the Christmas tree onto the wooden floor in the living room. Everyone was silent as it slowly rolled across the floor; round and round, until it stopped near the center of the room. Looking foolishly at the decoration the hair on John’s arm stood up as the lights on the Christmas tree went out.
Coldness flowed into the room from the front of the house like a wave pushing through a narrow channel. Although it was dark within the home ambient light from the streetlights made it possible to see a dark mass as it came through the window and proceeded into the living room. Eric had fallen onto the couch and watched in fear and excitement as the black shadowy mass passed by him. Kelly and John watched the large shadow as it entered the room and floated by. Kelly pushed herself into John in the chair as if trying to distance herself from whatever it was; John instinctively placed his arms around her.
The mass moved slowly but consistently. The REM pod exploded in activity as it passed it and stopped once it continued out the far end of the home like a storm cloud. Everyone was quiet and still while the lights on the Christmas tree came back on one strand at a time.
“Holy cheese balls!” Eric said breaking the silence and the spell on Kelly and John.
“You can let go of me now John.”
“Oh, sure… sorry.”
After getting themselves together another hour was done trying to contact either the young girl or Molly Hutchinson who Eric believed was who he saw in the mirror walking past John. No further contact was made. As the early morning hours started to approach it was decided to call it a night. All agreed that another visit to the Molly Hutchinson house was in store.
Retrieving their equipment and making sure the house was secured the three stood outside in front where they had started. Eric yawned and said, “That was so cool. I hope we can do that again. I, however, am beat and have homework to do this weekend. Talk to you guys later.”
“Bye Eric. See you at the meeting Sunday.” Kelly said as he walked down Grace Street. John and Kelly found themselves alone standing near each other assuming someone was going to say something. John spoke up breaking the strange energy that was in the air, “Hey Kelly. You want to get something to eat?”
Kelly pulled the collar of her overcoat closer together trying to keep some warmth in. She smiled and replied, “Not today Johnny.”
“Oh, Ok.” John said trying to not sound disappointed. He started to turn as if to leave.
“But I’ll take a rain check if that’s ok?”
“Sure. Sounds good. Catch up with you later Kelly.”
“You too Johnny.” Kelly turned and as she began to walk the opposite direction she turned and said, “I had a really good time tonight John. Let’s do it again sometime soon,” and then walked away into the morning dawn.
John Lee stood there for a moment in the cold morning air looking at her as she turned a corner and thought to himself, “I had a great time too” and smiled not feeling the cold air at all.