The events that took place inside the house on 201 Hargrove Mango have long been swamped in mystery, the truly comprehensible facts even wrapped in a tangled bracken of spookiness, owing in no small part to Elliot Thompson’s preponderance for strong drink and little regard for facts or what he would often term “book learning.” There were, in his previous criminalities, numerous examples of bad faith, and several notable intoxicated incidents of the young man preying on Mobile’s traditions. Or “superstitions,” to be less charitable.

Inside the house, a decrepit Georgian Gothic (built several hundred miles from anyone who had ever set foot in Georgia), its stained floorboards had taken on nightmarish aspect, the resting place for restless spirits, or sometimes cited as the prime site for Satanic ritual. What the house was, undoubtably was a decrepit wreck, long abandoned by its long destitute and since obliterated aristocracy, and several stories concerning how it got that way, what might be buried under the house, or squirreled within a hidden room, served the community of children and hooligans entertainment to no end at the expense of the unwary, throughout several generations. But aside from a termite colony and a parliament of owls, no inhuman vermin were known to regularly inhabit the place.

Elliot Thompson was squatting in the house after another night on the lam from his old lady – Madame L’Engle down by Olyphant Street – and there was a commotion, a great green flash. Soon the whole town was awakened to the hoops and hollers of Elliot, his ass on fire, hoofing it up the main thoroughfare screaming about ghosts and witches. His abreaction in the jailhouse only confused the issue. The sheriff chose not to commit his statement to public record, something Mobile questioned but, the lot of us without a page of law amongst us, did not press. Yet it could not but embolden the mystique.

Whatever Elliot saw in the house, and whatever it did to him, only increased the moodiness up on Hargrove Mango. It prevailed, and yet Elliot grew less perfidious over time, and folks, by and large, forgot him and his incontinent manner. Come to think of it, it’s been years since I saw him myself. It’s like he vanished into the telling of that house. The myth of it swallowed him up, like a rotten mailbox consumed by crawling weeds.

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