Big Brass Bed

June 11, 2011

Just to get in on the thread, here’s one of my own unexplained stories (out of many, but this is one of the earliest and sticks most strongly with me).

When I was young (9 – 15, roundabouts), my parents would take the family..mom, dad, me, younger brother..camping/cottaging every year at the very end of the season, so as to get better locations at lower rates. Invariably, we’d go with a couple or couples that were friends of the family and it would be a nice group-event weekend or longer.

One particular couple..Dave and Karen..went along every year and my father and Dave were, and are, fast friends.

The year of this story, we were in a cottage on a small lake (about 2 miles in diameter) during a near-perfect autumn in, I think, the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes region of Western New York. It was only my family and Dave and Karen, this year.

One thing that is of importance to relate is that Dave and my father fancy themselves amateur architectural buffs and love looking at vintage/old/historical buildings/houses.

Bear with me here…

Often, camping/cottaging as late in the season as we did, the ‘regulars’ would already be gone for the season. Summer homes, fishing cottages and the like would be prepped for the winter and locked up for the season..awaiting the return of the owners the following spring.

To my father and his friend, “looking” meant breaking in to fully check the place out. Never did they do damage, or tamper or take anything..they just found the most interesting deserted home, picked the lock or the latch, let themselves in and looked at all the original woodwork or styling or whatever..then lock everything back up, as it was, when they left.

I don’t recall how old I was, but this particular year it was apparently decided that my brother and I were old enough to tag along for the house they’d singled out, halfway around the lake.

I remember everything very vividly..from the outside appearance to the door wee entered to the whole of the interior. The rear door was locked with a padlock through a bar latch. However, the securing screws for the bar latch were exposed, rather than covered by the bar..three phillips-head screws out and we were in.

We wandered about the ground floor..I recall the place being a bit musty and darkish, but very nice..if cluttered. There were some comic books lying about, which delighted me, so the owner must have had children.

It took a few minutes, but my father noticed something seemed not-quite-right..it took a bit, but it was realized from an almost inaudible background hum that the fridge was still running. Looking inside it revealed about a half-case of unopened Labatt’s beer bottles..and indication that the place may *not* be closed for the season, obviously.

Oh, well..the adults think..we’re already here, haven’t seen any cars or activity the past couple days, and only have the upstairs to look at..may as well finish up..

So we head upstairs..the layout is simple: Stairway goes up one side of the house and tops off at one end of a hallway that traverses the length of the building. It is the only way up or down. Off this hallway, all to the left, are four evenly spaced doors.

We enter the first room. It’s empty save for a MASSIVE brass bedframe. No boxspring or mattress, just the frame..and by massive, I mean just that. My father and Dave marveled over the solidity and craftsmanship of the thing. Wide, high head and footboards with corner-posts that only barely fell short of making it a full-blown four-poster bed..and all welded; no screws/nuts/bolts..the thing was either assembled in the room or the room was built around it. There was absolutely no way it was brought, complete, into that room..I doubt it would fit through patio doors iff’n the entire door assembly was taken out in advance to clear more space.

So, they ooh and ahhh over the brasswork a bit more and we move on to the next room..which is totally empty. Move to the third room..which is totally empty. It’s becoming clear the family only really uses the ground floor while they stay here.

We’re getting ready to move to the last room when there’s this sudden, loud crash. First thought in all minds: the owners are back and we’re waaaaaay busted.

My father moves to the head of the stairs..looks down..goes down..nothing. Nobody there, nothing obviously out of place (from what was remembered, walking in), nothing. Shrugs all around..head off to room four, with the general feeling of ‘let’s look at this final room, then get out before we really get caught.’

We enter the final room to find it completely empty..save for a huge, welded brass bedframe.

Father looks at Dave, he looks back, Dave runs out of the room and down the hall. A moment later we hear him cry out and we all run back down the hall to the first room..which is now empty.

I don’t actually remember us getting out of the house, but I know it was fast and I know they didn’t bother to screw the latch back on. To this day, my father and Dave with both acknowledge the event..but won’t talk about it and my brother doesn’t recall it at all. As far as best I know, that was the last ‘house inspection’ that they ever attempted.

Trick or Treat..? For me, I somehow think it ended up being both….



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