by Chloe Ellefson, living history museum curator
of the Chloe Ellefson Mysteries
by Kathleen Ernst
All I wanted was a pleasant week away. Was that really so much to ask?
I work at a huge living history site called Old World Wisconsin. I love the museum. I love my job. My boss, not so much. He excels at making life miserable.
So I was pleased to be "loaned" out to a sister site called Pendarvis, in Mineral Point, southwest Wisconsin. Many Cornish immigrants arrived in the 1830s to mine lead. They didn't leave many artifacts or written records behind, but a handful of original log or stone cottages have been preserved.
|Two Cornish homes preserved at Pendarvis Historic Site.|
Pendarvis is comprised of some great old structures. I'm eager to learn more about the Cornish families who made Mineral Point their home.
Equally exciting, my friend Adam Bolitho owns a fantastic old stone cottage that dates back to the 1830s. He recently inherited it from his grandmother, and he's doing a major restoration. How cool is that?
My boyfriend, cop Roelke McKenna, drove me to Mineral Point for my week of guest curator duty. We came a day early so we could see Adam's place, and give him a hand with the restoration work. He helped us fix up Roelke's old family farmhouse, so we're definitely in his debt.
But things got into a bad start almost as soon as Adam took me and Roelke inside. The ground floor is a single room, with a root cellar dug into the hillside behind it.
I took one step into that cellar, and--wham. I'm sensitive to strong emotions that linger in some old buildings. Let me tell you, something evil left a powerful layer behind in that cellar.
|An example of a Cornish home in Mineral Point built right into the hillside.|
It didn't take long to get a clue. After I beat a speedy retreat, Roelke settled in to help Adam shovel away a layer of dirt and sand that had, over time, filtered into the cellar. Suddenly I heard Adam exclaim in obvious horror.
I darted to the doorway and found Roelke crouching in a back corner, gently brushing sand away from something. "What's wrong?"
Adam pointed. "We were just going along, and then we found..."
"Found what?" I demanded. I couldn't see.
Roelke stood up slowly. "And then we found human remains."
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To learn more about the award-winning Chloe Ellefson series, see Kathleen's website or follow her on her Facebook Author Page.