The vacant eyes stared out amidst glass jars of what she could only believe were once herbs. Admiring the workmanship of such a beautiful antique, Maggie lifted the doll from its shroud of white cloth. As its eyes blinked open to stare unseeingly, Maggie was swamped by the vision of a young, rash-covered, feverish girl hugging her doll tight as she lay delirious and swaddled in soft linens.
Maggie had forgotten that she wasn’t alone until her daughter’s scream brought her back to the moment, but in those moments when she was focussed on the scene unfolding on the edge of her consciousness, the idea behind Here In Spirit was born.
Try as she might, she couldn’t let go of the haunting feeling she had, prompting her and Thomas to research the history of the house and its former occupants and in so doing had unearthed the existence of six-year old Abigail, daughter of Agatha and Benjamin Harrison.
The hand-written notes - that only to the eye of the ignorant could be mistaken for spells - entombed with the doll and the jars of herbs they’d proven had once belonged to Agatha Harrison.
Agatha Harrison was a woman - a healer in the time of a scarlet fever outbreak, an illness she hadn’t figured a cure for before it struck the only child of the town magistrate – tried, convicted and hanged without ever having had the chance to explain or defend against the accusation of witchcraft, as was the practice in some small towns where, in 1861, such atrocities had not yet been put to an end.
Hanged just days before the disease had ravaged Abigail’s body and had her crying out for her mother to no avail. Death came for Abigail without even the comfort of her mother’s loving arms around her and the loss haunted Agatha’s every ghostly step, as the loss of his wife and his only child had haunted Benjamin’s. He’d buried his reminders of them deep in the recesses of the attic floor, sold the house, never to be heard from in these parts again.
Maggie and Thomas, realizing that Blayne was their connection to the other side, worked many a night to right a wrong committed over a century ago, to bring the Harrison family back together.
Finally free from the chains a frightened society had wrapped her in, Agatha was last seen standing on that Halloween night ten years ago, her husband at her side, happily waving goodbye as they held their golden-haired daughter safely between them. And that made spending every Halloween since sending up prayers for the Harrison’s, and the many other families they’d freed over the last decade, worthwhile for the Bardsell’s.
Every so often Blayne wished for a normal Halloween - like her friends had - but then she remembered the history she’d learned and how good it was to live in a time where people may think her odd, and yes, probably judge her, but she’d never be subject to such persecution as her spirit friends had known in their time...and for that she was truly thankful.