She didn’t know what it was about the shell of what was left of Haverley Manor that fascinated her. This morning as mist covered it and the surrounding area, giving it a ghostly appearance. Perhaps it was the figure of a man walking across the fields and appearing at the first window which drew her here on this grey and cold morning. She adjusted the bonnet upon her head and drew her coat closer about her.
The man stood at the window still as a statue. Who was he? Was he real? She shook her head impatiently. Of course, he’s real, Hettie, she chided herself. Ghosts don’t exist. They’re just figments of people’s imaginations. She was getting closer to the structure when she heard a man call out to her.
She stopped and turned around. He was stocky with long whiskers and carrying a rifle. His face was ruddy and he looked to be middle-edged. “What is your business here, Miss?” he asked.
“Are you the caretaker?” she asked.
He shook his head. “No, Miss. The name’s Finnegan and I was just passing by on my way to shoot some pheasant when I saw you going towards the remains of the old manor. It isn’t safe.”
“The day before yesterday I saw a man go into the manor. He’s there now.”
The man looked past her. “I don’t see ‘im, Miss.”
She turned. “But, he’s right there at the window on the second floor.”
“That’s impossible, Miss. The structure is nothing but a shell. There’s no way anyone can be up there.”
Frustrated, she turned and pointed. “I’m telling you, he’s there. I saw him go in just a few moments ago and he’s standing at the window now. I can’t believe that you don’t see him.”
The man shook his head in bewilderment. There wasn’t anyone at the window. Perhaps, this young lady had a fanciful imagination. “Miss, there’s only one way to settle this.” He started toward the manor.
She followed him, her heart pounding with excitement as she looked up and saw the tall figure at the window. Now, she was going to get a good look at this mystery man.
Finnegan walked around the back and watched the color drain from her face. “You see, Miss. It’s just a shell. There’s no way that anyone could have been at the window like you said, unless he’s a ghost. What did the man look like?”
It took several moments for her to gather her wits in order to speak. “He appeared to be tall, pale with black hair and a slight limp.”
Finnegan looked startled. “It can’t be,” he exclaimed.
“You know the man. Who is he?”
“He was Abram Chaddesley, the late master of Haverley Manor–”
“The late master? You mean he’s dead?”
“Yes, Miss. He died when lightning struck the manor. It was reported that he was standing at the window on the second floor when it happened. He was the only one who perished.”
“How-how long ago did this happen?”
“Thirty years ago, Miss.” He stared at her. She didn’t look a day over nineteen. How could she have seen Master Chaddesley as he was before he died? It just wasn’t possible. “We best be leaving, Miss,” he suggested. “You look a little peaked.”
“Yes, I feel a bit faint,” she gasped, clutching his arm for support.
“Do you live far?”
“No, no, I live at Ramstead Place.”
“I shall take you there, Miss.”
“Thank you. You’re very kind.”
“It’s no trouble at all.” He steadied her as they left the remains and started across the field.
She wanted to look back but was afraid to. After that day, she never set foot near that place again.
Source: Mental Floss