Monday, August 6, 2012

Garth Manor- The History and the Mystery


Garth Manor is a blend of Second Empire and Richardsonian Romanesque style.

It was built by Raymond Garth as a wedding gift for his beloved Lilian. He had made his fortune in shipping during the industrial revolution and wanted to reflect his success in a proper mansion for his newly emerging family.

Lilian was pregnant with their first child when construction began in 1874. Raymond had strict orders to not allow Lilian anywhere near the site until the day it was completed. Lilian had always dreamt of raising many children, and she always envisioned them living in the height of modern style in a fanciful Second Empire home. Her humble beginnings fueled her desire to show that she had achieved status in life. No longer was she just the pub owners daughter, but the wealthy and respectable wife of a shipping magnate.

Raymond Garth had come from a wealthy background and his parents were not fond of his choice for a wife. They felt he should marry into society, not marry from outside polite circles. He loved Lilian with all his heart but his heart could be as cold as stone at times.

He had originally intended to build her Second Empire home she dreamt of, with it's gingerbread trim and mansard roof. However, 3 months into her pregnancy she miscarried. This sent the controlling natured Raymond into a fit of rage and he ordered the builders to "build a fortress against the world". He demanded that the plans be changed to reflect the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Heavy, imposing stone would now swallow up the fanciful details that were Lilian's dreams. If only to protect her.

Upon completion of the house, Lilian was able to view it for the first time. Like a twisted, distorted fairy tale,  the house loomed above her. When she squinted her eyes to gaze up at the dominating tower, she could see her dream home but when she relaxed her eyes, all she saw was heavy stone and sorrow. She had an uneasy feeling about this house, like she was viewing a fairy tale but only as a reflection on a warped mirror. It made her nauseus.

Raymond promised her that her dream home would be built when she bore them a son and heir. To their delight, she was pregnant again in the Spring. She gave birth to a lovely daughter with flaxan hair and eyes like the sky. Unfortunately one who could neither hear nor see.

She became pregnant again. A son this time, but a horribly disfigured child who was never able to speak above a grunt. He would, to Raymond's disgust, clomp around the hallways while bellowing inanities and dragging his one good leg.

 In their desperation they tried yet again to have a "normal" child. Raymond was now at his wits end with Lilian. And while he still loved her, the pressure to produce a "normal" child was becoming the main focus of his life (to the neglect of everything else, including his business and family).

It was at this point that Lilian became desperate and sought the help of a local "Wise Woman", a Witch.

This woman promised that if she helped Lilian produce a healthy child, Lilian would be in her debt and servitude for eternity. Lilian agreed and soon found herself bathing in all sorts of "herbal remedies", sleeping with noxious herbs and roots under her pillows, and placing candles by the family crypt at midnight while chanting some sort of foreign mumbo-jumbo.

They were soon blessed with a son named Andrew that Lilian carried to term and was born of "normal attributes". However, as he grew older, it was observed that Andrew had a fascination with hurting others. One day Raymond was outraged to find Andrew torturing a helpless bird.  He was sent away to private school so they could deal with him since Raymond and Lilian couldn't take it anymore.

However, he was soon expelled after forcing the head of a fellow student down into the marsh and nearly drowning him. When Lilian confronted the Witch about Andrew's condition she was told that the deal was still valid, that Andrew was essentially "healthy" and that Lilian's soul was hers for eternity.

And there was the Garth Family. Raymond, who had become a complete recluse due to his shame, Lilian, driven mad by failure as a mother and wife, and 3 "shameful children, all of whom had "conditions" which kept them isolated in their manor.

Until one night......

Raymond Garth had been surrounded by this "freakshow" for so many years that it had effected his entire life. His business was bankrupt, his family was a shame, and he had become sick with a fever he could not shake. Opium was his only release yet it came with the price of wracking pain when he missed a dose, and the visions, when he had it, were like glimpses into Hell.

One night Raymond Garth could not take it anymore. He assembled his whole family into the living room. He had given the servants the night off so he himself prepared  the brandy. Only this Brandy had an added ingredient. One that would give him the solace he so deeply desired.

As the wracking pain speared through t he bodies of his entire family, he pointed the shining pistol under his chin and pulled the trigger. The last image he had on this plane was that of his beloved wife Lilian, writhing on the floor in agony...........

The property went uninhabited until the late 1960's when a group of young idealists leased the property from the city and tried to turn the house into an commune type facility.  They worked for months trying to restore the place to it's former grandeur as well as modernize some of the outdated plumbing and electrical. As the idealistic tenants moved in, though, problems soon began.

The place had always been draped with a negative energy, like a wet blanket of despair. This soon manifested as violent mood swings among it's new inhabitants. Perversion, drugs, witchcraft, drug addiction, disease, and jealousy soon became commonplace within it's walls.

Then one night it all exploded in what police described as an "orgy of violence".

The scene was "Indescribable. The worst thing I have ever seen." as one officer was quoted as saying.

The property has since stood empty.

In the end, Garth Manor stands not as a once stately home, but a monolithic tombstone, an eternal crypt for anyone who dares to enter.


  1. What an errie story! Well your house will certainly be imposing with all of that stone! I can't wait to see how you light and furnish it!

    1. I can't wait to see how I light it or furnish it either!

      What will make it a challenge is the early seventies influence that will be included. When the "hippie" types took it over, they tried to update some things (which did not please the controlling Raymond Garth!). It'll be interesting to get the look just right. A fine line. The lighting is going to be minimal, however. Since the house has been abandoned for all those years, there naturally wouldn't be electricity still on. I will have to figure it out.

      The one thing I will say is that there will be a story present in the furnishings and accesories. I want people to look carefully and find "clues" as to the story and history. It'll be a bit before I start working the inside so I have plenty of time to think things through carefully.