Anatomy of a Haunting: The Nightmare on Baxter Road by Lee Strong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Review of Anatomy of a Haunting: the Nightmare on Baxter Road by Lee Strong
Reviewed for GMTA Reviews
“Anatomy of a Haunting” is a real-life accounting of an actual haunting in a farmhouse in rural Iowa, a haunting so terrifying that many individuals and families could not live there. Indeed, one person postulates that the house “chooses” its inhabitants; one family spent part of a day there and then left without even reclaiming the deposit they had given to buy the property. It’s not only the house itself, built a century and a half earlier; the barn and tack room, fields, and garden are haunted, and not with pleasant memories or simple energy emanations left behind by the passage of hard-working lives.
During the massive emigrations to America due to the Irish Potato Famine of the early 19th century, a young couple came to Iowa from Ireland. What seemed like a storybook romance soon became abuse, alcoholism, and gratuitous violence and deaths. What was evil in these individuals lived on, inhabiting the house, causing fires and possessions.
In 1981 Jon Summers, a professor, and his wife Carrie, an attorney, inherit the property from her deceased aunt, who died in one of the many fires in the house. Carrie immediately loves the house, but Jon hates it. However, he agrees to move in, which proves to be the worst mistake of their lives. The story is worked out in multiple layers, as the Summers try to investigate the occurrences in their new home, which include sightings and nightmares. Through the reading of the journals of the original housewife-journals which Carrie is inexplicably led to discover-the history of the house and property come forth, and it is abusive and violent. Evil does “live on” after its demise.
Author Lee Strong does an admirable job of putting together the story of this Iowa farm property, both past and present (as of 1981), and a terrifying story it is.
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