Today’s writing prompt over at The Haunted Wordsmith is Pumpkin Patch.
For over a century The Pumpkin Patch, located in Chicago’s sketchy west side, has been a popular neighborhood hang-out. But when the first week of October rolls around, curious folks from all over Chicagoland descend on the bar in hopes of catching a glimpse of Zachariah Beldash. Well, not Zachariah himself, of course,—he’d be well over 100-years-old by now— but his ghost.
Legend has it that Zachariah Beldash and his brother Barnabas built The Pumpkin Patch knowing a Kaskaskia Indian burial ground lay beneath. They figured since the Indians were already dead, they wouldn’t care whether they were beneath a bar, or a pumpkin patch. The Kaskaskia tribal leaders counseled against it and pleaded with the brothers to build elsewhere, but the Beldash brothers paid no attention. They continued with their plan and built upon the sacred burial ground.
Trouble started almost the moment the doors opened for business. Glasses sitting on the back bar arbitrarily shattered. Bar stools toppled over while patrons sat upon them. Occasionally, the exit doors would slam shut, not allowing anyone in or out. One time, the long wooden bar suddenly cracked right down the middle.
Oddly, none of these occurrences frightened away the patrons. If anything, it brought in more business. The Beldash brothers were thrilled!
One night after closing time, Zachariah stayed late to do the books. It was a cold October night, so he tossed a few logs into the dying fire. He then poured himself a brandy and commenced to work. It had been a long day though and wasn’t long before Zachariah became drowsy. He’d decided to pack it in for the night.
He doused the fire and double checked to make sure everything was put away. When he as convinced that all was right in The Pumpkin Patch, Zachariah headed for the door.
But it wouldn’t open. He tried prying it, kicking, and slamming his body against it, but the door would not budge. It may as well have been a solid piece of wood; a mere extension of the wall.
Then, Zachariah heard a whooshing sound from behind. A conflagration had taken over the fireplace. The giant flames spread quickly throughout the bar. Zachariah had no way out and burned to death.
Some time later, the surviving brother Barnabas rebuilt The Pumpkin Patch. This time, it was across the street from the burial ground.
Over the years there have been numerous reported sightings of Zachariah, hovering near the burial ground where the original Pumpkin Patch once stood.