Macabre Mummy

Back in the sixties my younger brother and I used to play in the woods near our home after school. Set back and invisible from the road was an abandonned villa, now overgrown. Of course, it was haunted and it looked the part. Old colonial style with a balustrade running right around the first floor, crenalations and fancy woodwork. Oddly, it was several years before we ventured to explore. Fighting through the undergrowth we found the front door ajar but stuck. Going round the back the door was missing so we went in.

The kitchen was pretty intact but had no appliances, just a mummified cat on the counter-top. A sitting room or lounge sported a grand piano with vines circling its pedastals. The adjacant room must have been a library and its shelves were still stocked with mouldering books. There was a grand staircase but it was underneath a huge hole in the roof and rain had long ago rotted it and made it impassable.

We were to return to explore over the next few years. Gradually the lovely old house rotted and fell apart. I was into photography at the time and took many photos which sadly are long lost. Except for a macabre shot of a doll’s head lying amongst leaves in the middle of the lounge floor. I’ve still got that shot somewhere, as I have the poor cat! As a young teen, the macabre was an attraction.

To cut a long story short, I returned to the house a decade later with my brother but found the house totally derelict and unsafe. Exploring the overgrown grounds however we found a crude concrete block shed with a corrugated roof. There were no doors or windows. I climbed onto the roof and pulled away a corrugate sheet and peered in.

I will never forget that moment. I cried out in shock and my brother came running. I was looking down into a glass topped lead coffin and the dead eyes of a corpse.

I was spooked but managed to take a photograph before jumping down, breathlessly telling my brother what I’d see. He didn’t wait to see for himself but bolted back to the road with me. Back home we told our parents who didn’t seem interested so I rang the police. After a bit I was put through to someone who said “Ah yes, the old Berger place! We know all about that. It is his mother. She died when they were living in the house and he refused to bury her. He kept her, professionally embalmed in the lounge in her favourite chair. There was nothing we could do at the time even under public heath concerns, since the proper authorities had been notified of her death and a death certificate issued.

Berger later left the house and disappeared. When he didn’t reappear, the authorities contacted the estate manager and they built this shed and put her in a coffin. After my report however, contractors were sent and poured concrete through the roof, sealing her in a tomb forever.

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