||Sep 1, 2006
In the small village of Buffalo Brook, Vermont stands Taylor Manse. A stately Victorian mansion built by the Reverend Michael Mariah Taylor in 1880, its living room floors stained with the blood of at least nineteen people, has just been purchased by Wade and Anne Robinson. Wade, a rehabber, has purchased the manse as a fixer-upper, an investment property he hopes to flip at a large profit, as soon as the rehab is completed. What Wade was not told when he purchased the property from the TRI Group was the violent history of the manse. He also had no idea that the TRI Group was Taylor Realty Investment Group, comprised solely of the grandson of the Reverend Michael Taylor, and that he is the first owner from outside the Taylor family in the manse’s one hundred and twenty-five year existence.
But, in a town the size of Buffalo Brook, it wouldn’t be long before Wade would learn of the manse’s history. Now, he had just five months to finish his project, or face the unsettling thought of still being there in December, the month in which all the previous murders had taken place–every twenty-five years. This coming December would mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the last murders, the fiftieth anniversary of the murders previous to the last, and so on all the way back to 1905. If history could be considered a predictor of the future, he and Annie needed to be out of the manse by the end of November, or face whatever came this way every two-and-a-half decades.
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“You never fail to creep me out, Dolph. I’m gonna check down at the courthouse and if all this is a bunch of bull, you’ll never be welcome in here again; comin’ in here, creepin’ out my customers like you do. If this is all bull-crap, you’re finished here.”
Dolph smiled, a wry smile, and said, “Check all you want; it’s all true.”
“Yeah,” Hoolie said, thinking about something that had him wondering, “then why is the place known as Taylor Manse if it was that Major Pike that first lived there? You never mentioned anyone named Taylor.”
“I never said Major Pike was the first person to live there. I said his family was the first family to die there. He didn’t build the house; the Reverend Michael Mariah Taylor built the house.”
“Where’d he go?” Wade asked.
“No one knows. He started construction of the manse first, plannin’ to build his church followin’ the completion of the manse, but in 1880 after completin’ the home, he moved in and immediately put the place up for lease. Major Pike leased the place in December of that year. The granite pillars at the end of the drive, each bearin’ the inscription ‘Taylor Manse’ were left there, unchanged, by agreement between Taylor and Pike. Ergo, it has always been known and referred to in that way. The story goes that Taylor offered Pike a very big discount on the first year’s lease in exchange for leavin’ the Taylor Manse pillars in place. Pike had mentioned to Taylor that he wanted them removed and replaced with red granite pillars bearin’ his own name. It was subsequently written into the lease that they were to remain unchanged, as a condition of each and every exchange of the house for a period no less than, but not to exceed one hundred years. And so it has been ever since, throughout each lessee’s residency there.”
“Lessees? Do you mean to tell me that I am the first owner of the house since the Reverend Taylor, or his heirs? Everyone else who ever lived there was only leasing the place?” Wade asked.
“Yes, that’s right. And, it has been empty for the past twenty-five years and went on the open market for the first time, ever, back in January this year.”
“So, that explains the amount of work I need to do there; why it was so run down. But–Taylor can’t still be alive after one hundred and twenty-five years. So, who’s been collecting the lease payments all these past years, and who owned it prior to me? My paperwork on the house merely states that I bought it from the TRI Group. All the details were handled by the bank, so I never met the seller.”
“Dolph smiled, and replied, “Taylor Realty Investment Group.”
“O–kaaay, so who comprises the group?”
“Hiram Taylor, the Reverend Michael Mariah Taylor’s grandson. He’s ninety-five years old, lives alone in Milford in a modest home there, and from what I’ve heard he’s broke, or was before the sale of your house in February.”
“Maybe I’ll go talk to this Hiram Taylor,” Wade said with a smirk of a smile. “It could be interesting. Maybe he has some insight into the infamous reputation of my house.”
“What you had better do,” Dolph warned, “is finish that place up and get out before December. What happens there–every twenty-five years–always happens in December. I’d sure as hell be quit of the place by then.”
by C.H. Foertmeyer
189 pages at 13.95 paperback
2021 Pine Lake Rd. Ste. 100
Lincoln NE 68512
C.H. Foertmeyer is the author of ten previous books. He favors fictional stories
about the unknown, the mysterious, time travel, and the courage of honorable humans.
With Taylor Manse he incorporates all these but adds a new, frightening twist: a hair-
raising battle between good people and the ultimate Evil.
Wade Robinson is a skilled craftsman who buys, rehabs, and resells houses for a
living. In the tiny hamlet of Buffalo Brook, Vermont he finds the ideal fixer-upper,
a 19th century Victorian home named Taylor Manse. Several months into the project,
Wade is beginning to suspect his wife Anne is "nesting." She's tired of moving from
project to project and hopes to settle down in Taylor Manse for good. Two occurrences
convince Wade that living at Taylor Manse is not in their best interest. First,
locals at his favorite pub share the mansion's dark history: every 25 years on
December 27th, gruesome murders and vanishings occur. And second, before Wade has
time to investigate the mansion's history, his renovations uncover a trap door to
nowhere in the center of the living room floor. At least, he THINKS it goes to
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the last gruesome murder is fast approaching. Wade
needs to finish rehabbing Taylor Manse so he and Anne can move on before December 27.
But strange findings in a crumbling carriage house on the property distract him from
the renovation. The impossible and unimaginable threaten his life and Anne's, and
even moving thousands of miles across country can't protect them now.
In all his books, Foertmeyer writes about good vs. evil. In Taylor Manse our hero
learns that once evil takes hold of a life, it does not let go without a fight. A
supernatural, ancient horror stalks them and Wade must be the one to stand against it.
I've read every one of C.H. Foertmeyer's books and thoroughly enjoyed them all. All
are imaginative, entertaining, and sometimes scary, but I think Taylor Manse may just
be his best so far.
review by Laurel Johnson
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