The Letter

I spent one Halloween night in an abandoned house on Snydertown Road outside of Sunbury, PA. It was rumored to be haunted. Naturally, I had been drinking at the time, and I was filled with liquid courage. I parked across the road, grabbed my flashlight and a couple of beers and headed to the house. There were no doors or windows. I walked in, shining my flashlight everywhere. My main concern was avoiding a collapsing floor. Last thing I wanted was to end up in the basement.

There was no furniture on the first floor. A giant fireplace dominated the right wall of the living room. It looked like marble. The walls were covered with really old peeling wallpaper. The floors were hardwood. The stairs to the second floor looked solid. I headed up to explore the bedrooms.

I went in to the first bedroom. I shined my light on the walls. They were made of plaster. I noticed satanic graffiti spray painted on the main wall. There was a 666 and a pentagram and a goat’s head. I have to admit this was a bit creepy. I imagined devil worshipers meeting here, and wondered if they’d be back tonight on this quintessential evil holiday. I doubt they would be pleased to find me here.

I noticed a staircase to the attic. Ah, here’s where I might find something interesting. I headed up the steps. There wasn’t much headroom in the attic. I got down on my knees and crawled, keeping the path in front of me lit with the flashlight. In the far corner, I found a pile of thirty-year-old newspapers. There were also some yellowed envelopes addressed to what I assumed was a former occupant of the house. One of the envelopes had a return address of the office of the governor. My heart started pounding with excitement. What could this be? I carefully opened the envelope and slid the letter out. The letterhead indicated the correspondence was from the office of Edwin Sydney Stewart, governor of Pennsylvania. It was dated 1908.

The letter was a thank you to Mr. Joseph Campbell, indicating that Mr. Campbell had allowed the governor to spend two nights in the house during his campaign. It provided Mr. Campbell with a private direct dial number he could use to contact the governor “…should you ever be in need of a favor.” This was a really interesting find. My immediate thought was that I should try to find a relative of Mr. Campbell and give them the letter. I was sure they’d find it interesting. Unfortunately, I was never able to locate a next of kin.

I eventually misplaced the letter. How sad is that?

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