By Chloe Ellefson, Historic Site Curator
From The Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series
By Kathleen Ernst
Not long ago my guy, Roelke McKenna, showed me his old family farm and invited me to move in. I've never seen him happier. Buying the farm was a huge step for him. Reaching this stage in our relationship was a huge step for us.
Knowing I need a certain amount of personal space, Roelke suggested that I use the original cabin on the property as my retreat---somewhere to read or paint or whatever. I adored that idea...until I stepped inside. Lingering in that cabin is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness that punched me in the gut.
I've occasionally sensed such a presence in old buildings since I was a kid. My memories of family vacations are a blur of long car rides and visits to historic sites. Sometimes these creaking places gave me distinct impressions of emotions: joy, sadness, loneliness.
Eventually I got used to tuning the sensations out. It's not much different than tuning out background chatter when reading in a crowded coffee shop. I also learned not to speak of my impressions. By the time I decided to enter museum work, it took a real whammy to rattle me.
The old Roelke cabin rattles me.
I hurt Roelke's feelings when I told him that there is something so dark in the building that I can't bear to step inside. I don't know how we can live together if I don't figure out how to get past this.
So I've got some research to do. The cabin was home to the first Roelkes to immigrate to Wisconsin, Klaus and Rosina.
I think the emotion lingering in the cabin was left by Rosina, who lived there the longest. What made her lose all hope?
Can I find the truth, over a century later? And figure out a way to fix the situation? All I know is that I have to try.
* * *
To learn more about this award-winning series, see Kathleen's website.