Thursday, August 4, 2016

Wanda Morrow Clevenger writes

ghosts were a possibility

my street at the housing
the Anderson Mansion
––a towering Mary Shelley throwback

and some backyard instigator
spread hokum
thick as peanut butter 
about the last living Anderson
being a witch to worry
we gullible
but I didn't go for it long

except she did live alone
in a daunting place, if ever was
and for umpteen teenage years
the topmost window pane stared back
at avid vigil

twice in touring the reclaimed property
before leaf conflux devoured time
and place
I gained access to the tower panes
where was revisited a small brick home
from a ghost's vantage

1 comment:

  1. C. H. C. Anderson, a banker in Carlinville, Illinois, began bukiding the house as a wedding gift for his son, John C. Anderson, in 1883. The first floor is in the Italianate style, with tall, narrow windows, an asymmetrical porch with paired columns, paired brackets, and a dentillated cornice. The Queen Anne style second floor, added in 1892, includes a square tower with stick style framework, a multi-component roof with gabled dormers, and a stained glass window with a decorative wooden frame. Italianate buildings originated in England at the turn of the 19th century and were fashionable in the US from the late 1840s to ca. 1890, but the Queen Anne mode, an American archictural form that evolved from the stick style, named after its use of linear "stickwork" (overlay board strips) on the outside walls to mimic an exposed half-timbered frame, began to appear in the late 1870s and remained in vogue until ca. 1910.
    Queen Anne, however, did not rely on any specific formulaic style in its own right but employed a wide range of picturesque, "free Renaissance" (non-Gothic Revival) details and was only loosely associated with the British buildings from the early 18th century or the Queen Anne Revival structures that were contemporaneous with the American buildings. John and his wife Lucy lived there until their deaths in the 1930s. Supposedly, crying sounds have been heard in the basement, and a spectral presence has been felt in the sun room, where their daughter with tubercolisis spent much of her time.

    Mary Shelley was the daughter of the British proto-anarchist William Godwin and the pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, and the wife of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley; she is best known for her 1818 novel "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus." The real “Frankenstein Castle” (Burg Frankenstein) is in the Odenwald ("Odin’s Woods"), overlooking Darmstadt, Germany. On Mt. Ilbes, in a remote part of the forest behind the castle, compasses do not work properly due to magnetic stone formations, and the mountain is the 2nd-most important meeting place for witches in Germany after Mt. Brocken in the Harz. A large felsenmeer ("sea of rocks") near the castle is alleged to be where the dragon slayer Siegfried was murdered by Hagen of Tronje. The castle itself was built prior to 1250 by Conrad II, reiz of Breuberg, who thereafter styled himself “von und zu Franckenstein” (Stone of the Franks). He founded the free imperial Barony of Frankenstein, which was subject only to the jurisdiction of the Holy Roman Emperor. The title and property were acquired by the landgraves of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1662. A decade later, Johann Conrad Dippel “Franckensteinensis” was born in the castle and later worked there as a professional alchemist. In “Maladies and Remedies of the Life of the Flesh,” he wrote that souls could be transferred from one cadaver to another with a funnel, and claimed to have discovered the Elixir of Life and the means of exorcizing demons via potions he concocted from boiled animal bones and flesh. Writing as Christianus Demócritus,” he wrote many theological tracts in which he rejected the Bible as the literal Word of God and promoted a personal faith to replace organized Christian worship, thus strongly influencing Emanuel Swedenborg (who later called him a "most vile devil ... who attempted wicked things"); he spent seven years in prison for heresy and was banned from Sweden and Russia due to his controversial theological positions.


Join the conversation! What is your reaction to the post?