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I was visiting Philadelphia, on a trip through eastern United States cities. I have previously visited Raleigh, Fredericksburg, Boston, and I am now here. I am studying the history of these cities, learning of past leaders who helped to build them. I am fascinated by U.S. history, and am taking a college course. So why not just visit the places I’m learning about myself?
So far, Philadelphia has had the tallest buildings I’ve seen. Back in my home town of Saint Augustine, barely any buildings stand half as tall as some of these. When looking straight up, it is as if the buildings are going to collapse on you. Most were made of glass, which reflected off everything, making them like two hundred foot tall mirrors.
On my personal tour around the city, we looked at the Franklin Institute, named after the famous inventor, Benjamin Franklin. Later in the day, we visited the area where Franklin’s house stood. The underground viewing areas showed vases, and plates that were used by the family two hundred years ago. Remnants of the kitchen included knives forks, spoons, and a leftover ceramic sink.
After leaving Franklin’s house site, my tour persisted to viewing the Phillies stadium, to eating my first “real” Philly cheesesteak. I looked at all the memorial’s, which fascinated me at what people have done in this city. As I walked through the city, some memorials began to creep me out. Many with mean faces carved in to them. The eyes seeming as if they are always staring at you.
As the day was beginning to end, I passed by a graveyard with only one headstone contained in it. I tried studying the stone, but gates, with vines draping over the top, blocked my view. Around the headstone, I spotted two angels carved into the wall. The presence made the visit eerie. Leaves piled around the headstone, seeming like no one had raked in years.
“You!” a man called from a nearby apartment. “What are you doing there?!” He yelled.
I told him, “I am studying this grave! Do you know of its history?” I yelled to him.
He told me in a less of a tone, “Oh, that grave…. It certainly has a history. If you would like, I can tell you it’s story. Also, I have coffee prepared, if you would like to sit down. I’m afraid the story is quite long.
I decided to go up to the man’s apartment. He was about six feet tall, with a beard. He was wearing a plaid shirt and jeans, what many people I saw today were wearing. I saw pictures in what I guessed to be the living room. They were pictures of the man. He was smiling in all of them. He looked the complete opposite right now. I thought I saw something in the picture I was looking at. As I was staring….
“Two sugars?” the man said, startling me.
“Yes, please.” I said.
“Okay. Here you go.” He said handing me the coffee.
“Thank you.” I replied.
“Now, that grave out there is one of the most haunted objects of Philadelphia. It has been there for over one hundred years, and is made to a most evil man.”
I sat back on the couch and relaxed. I could tell this was going to take a while.
“So the man buried there, he was a scrooge. He loved his money. He counted it three times a day to make sure not even a penny was stolen. He had maids who hated him, they were complained to about every mistake made. The man owned a large house (now demolished) in the middle of town. He was a tax enforcer, who took more money from people than needed for the city.
He did have children, two of them actually. A boy and a girl. His wife had committed suicide to get away from the man’s greediness. The children were taken care of by the maids. They only got to speak to their father twice a day, saying good morning and good night. The children though, were, treated finer than most of the kids in Philadelphia. They were able to get a good education and eat whatever they wanted. They easily came to be accustomed to a life, basically, without a father.
One year, a plague swept throughout the city. Many hundreds of people died from it. The disease would cause the victim to become bedridden, and not long after that, dead. So, many of his maids had caught the sickness, and once the man had heard this, he fired them. They were never allowed to come back, in fear that they would bring the sickness to the man.
So, that year’s plague swept in and swept out. The man felt no sympathy for the maids he fired, knowing that they had probably died. The next year, that same disease swept over. This time, it did not take as many people. Though, two people it did take were his children. Most of his maids had spread the disease to each, causing them to be fired. After his children had passed, he still had no caring for them. He felt no sympathy for them.
The blight had passed through.. The man was still happy, because his money was still with him. The next year though, the disease came back again. The man, who had no sympathy for the others who had died, caught the sickness. Though, now, he had no maids to care for him. He felt the feeling of being alone. So, he had become bedridden.
One day, he heard the front door open. One of his maids came in to help. She walked in as she always would, greeting the man nicely. He looked at her, and then looked away. She walked on into the kitchen. The maid had prepared the man a lunch, but then, she heard screaming.
As she went into the other room, where the man lay, she saw a lifeless body. Not moving, staring straight up. The man was dead. He was foaming from the mouth, a greenish white color, looking like sea foam. She did not scream. She looked at the man to make sure he was dead, and then smiled with joy.
The rest of the living maids came to the house to see what had happened and celebrated the death. What they didn’t know was that they were being watched. The man’s soul stayed inside the body, and saw how they celebrated. He knew he would get revenge.
The day after his death, a small ten by ten foot patch of grass was used as the man’s burial site. No one came to the funeral. So the coffin was put in, covered up, and left there. That night, the man rose from his coffin in his ghost like form, ready to take his revenge. But little did he know that small angels were carved around the wall. They glow and form small angels in the three dimensional world. ”
The man sipped his coffee.
“It is said to this very day that those angels hold the man’s ghost back from reaching the gate.”
I stared at the stranger, waiting to see if that was the end, and so it was. I thanked the man for the story and the coffee, and on my way out, I did noticed something in every picture. Little angels were carved on every wall behind him.
“Hmmm.” I said while walking out the door. I went down the stairs and out the door, partially looking at the small graveyard as I past it. It had grown dark, and I felt uncomfortable getting back to the hotel I had earlier checked into. When I got there, I took a shower, then rested from today’s long walk.
I awoke in the middle of the night, startled. I was thinking about the graveyard. I was curious about the man, and the angels. So, I decided to pay them a visit. I walked down to the small patch of grass, with only myself, a flashlight, and a foldup chair. I could not see anything different. I sat down, turned off the flashlight and waited.
I became tired again, and started to fall asleep in that chair. As my eyes started to close, I began to see glowing on the wall. I smiled. I was safe.