For Whom Does The Bell Really Toll?
Or… The Story of How Kimber Hollow Found Something Really Cool.
You may already know that throwing salt at a ghost, or “kindly” introducing it to something made of Iron, will push it away from you. For a time. Stronger ghosts can be right back in your face minutes later! Mark and I wanted something that would give the person being harassed by Mr/s Ghostly a bit longer to escape/flee/jump-in-a-salt-ring/punch it/stop-drop-and-roll/etc.
After hours spent on Google and more hours paging through our own library, we waved the white flag. We still had one more avenue: road trip! (Ha ha. My puns crack me up.) We packed the critters into the car and drove to Uncle Bobby’s house. Uncle Bobby has books that rare book collectors have never seen. Forty-seven hours later, we had our answer: an iron or steel bell. Not the little tinkly reindeer bells. We needed one of those bells that you feel the clang down in your stomach.
We called every antique dealer from here to Siberia. With our noses glued to laptops and tablets, we scoured the interwebs, the List of the Craig, and even flipped through an ancient phonebook (gasp!). No luck.
Instead of moping like sad sacks, the three of us hit the local hiking trail before we drove back home. We took a new, to us, fork in the trail and spotted a clearing in the forest a good ways off. Immediately we decided that would be the perfect turn back to the car spot. As we neared the clearing the trail became more overgrown. We ducked and spun and made blood trails on our skin. It was thoroughly fun and it took our minds off the earlier disappointment.
About ten feet short of the clearing I had a klutz attack and stepped wrong: turned my ankle over ninety degrees.
I brushed myself off and began limping. Then I kicked something hard and stubbed my toes.
Back to back clumsy incidents? That’s rare, even for me.
Mark and Uncle Bobby came over to help me investigate which forest item had taken out a personal vendetta against me. We held back fern fronds; pushed aside a mega-ton of pine needless; and spent a few minutes chucking soft fluffballs of deer moss at each other.
I frequently wonder if Mark and I are connected by a noetic field as in this case, we both froze at the same time and said “It’s a bell!” We’d stumbled (literally in my case) on an old farm bell. How it came to be there is anyone’s guess. Fate that we’d walked to this clearing on this particular day? Who knows. But we were all thrilled!
Now Kimber Hollow had its very own old iron farm bell with which to chase off ghosts. The Halloween of 2013 we put it to its first test. Mark, costumed as a member of the Ghostfacers, had the Trick or Treaters assist with ridding Kimber Hollow of ghosts for good. The children (and usually their parents as well) rang the bell. And rang the bell. With each clang of the bell, more ghosts went screeching from the area. It worked!
However with Halloween again approaching, the ghosts have returned to the Kimber Hollow cemetery. So in 2016, we once need the help of our fearless Trick or Treaters to scare away these ghosts!
What’s New at the Hollow?
// The Ladies //
Over 500 years ago, the “New World” was being ravaged by an unknown power. Death rolled across the continent more quickly than colonists could evade. It wasn’t long before entire colonies were disappearing – of which only one is remembered by history books.
The death of an individual colonist barely rattled New World financial investors; however losing entire ships and villages severely hampered profits. It wasn’t long before the Catholic Church & Pope Alexander VI recruited Milo Giacomo Rambaldi who possessed a unique knowledge base: scientist, alchemist, prophet.
The Church outfitted Rambaldi with the best trackers in Europe and the fastest ships available. The expedition made landfall in the Carolinas and immediately began the track whomever, or whatever, was causing the destruction. Exactly four months and seven days after the team’s arrival, Rambaldi & his team cornered three ancient and mysterous beings known only as The Ladies. Rambaldi’s alchemy was put to the utmost test – he managed to trap The Ladies and their vast power in an underground vault-like chamber. He “locked” the prison with a combination of enchantments, temporal locks, and physical barriers of indestructable polymers.
The Ladies and their well of power remained imprisoned for the next 524 years beneath the area now known as Kimber Hollow.
On October 31st of 2015, over 500 adults and children witnessed The Ladies return to their unlimited power. Kimber Hollow’s resident witch quickly erected a Clavicula Salomonis – allowing the everyone to be safely evacuated.
We thought we had survived the horror… we were wrong.
// The Apocalypse Pumpkin Gang //
In 2015 the Apocalypse Pumpkins welcomed yet another member: Mummykin who originally sprouted halfway across the planet in Egypt. Even though she’s the newest oddball, the previous Apocalypse members Erlkönig, RootBound, Malice & Chains, Collapse, and Inflation have welcomed her with open vines. These pumpkins are not the typical pumpkin-patch-residents; each one is hand-raised from seedling to adulthood and they aren’t edible either (not that you’d want to with those grumpy looks on their faces!). Instead of the usual tasty pumpkin goodness, a fluke of nature mutated these pumpkins… the Apocalypse gang were born of paper mâché and paper clay. They’re living proof that paper can be tough as nails! To prove this point, Malice & Chains recently took a trip to the local body piercing establishment. He returned home with his lip and one eyebrow pierced through with steel nails!
// The Apothecary //
Since its grand opening in 2013, the Kimber Hollow Apothecary has continued to be an industry front-runner in rare ingredients and unique potions.
2015’s Best Sellers:
- Sparkling Cider of Vampire
- Colorless, odorless, über deadly Dihydrogen Monoxide toxin
- The nootropic Cortexiphan (backordered until October)
The KH Apothecary is run by a very quirky, and slightly geeky, witch. She not only brews Lace Wing Flies and Polyjuice Potion; sells Goofer Dust to ward off hellhounds; but she also loves to write codes in binary (keep your eyes open for secret messages!). She holds three Doctorate degrees in Theoretical Physics, Chemistry, and Limnology – yet her proudest achievement is a bottled potion to Grow Your Own Stormtrooper!
// Cemetery Residents //
We are honored that so many beings chose Kimber Hollow as their eternal slumber spot, yet we still mourn the passing of our most favored humans/critters.
2015’s less-than-warm bodies include: Hoban “Wash” Washburne, Buffy Anne Summers, Milo Rambaldi, Dobby the house elf, and Peter Bishop.
// Mr. Creeper //
You’ve heard people say “he wasn’t here a minute ago, then POOF he was right behind me!”? That’s exactly how Mr. Creeper Reaper came to be Kimber Hollow’s Caretaker. He appeared out of nowhere. When questioned about his appearance or his background – he clams up (well… to be honest, he never talks which is a whole ‘nother level of odd…). Creeper is a tall creature with overly knobby hands, a bare skull, and antlers. He loves to spend Halloween night brewing brightly colored potions over hot, glowing coals. Even though he doesn’t speak, he loves getting his photo taken with Kimber Hollow’s visitors!
How It All Began…
I’ve been creating Halloween scenes in my various yards since I was 8 years old. When I was young, my goal was to scare the older kids. Now, erm… 25+ years later, our goal is to have kids who visit our “set” to remember it years down the road and hopefully inspire them to create their own magical Halloween displays.
When I was 7, my parents took me and my baby sister trick or treating in our just-moved-to-a-new-town neighborhood. It was full dark and I heard spooky music and sound effects coming from somewhere close. I towed my parents down streets until my search landed me in front of a darkened house with a few jack o’lanterns on the porch. As I approached the front door, the lady of the house jumped out of the window just beside the door (they’d removed the screen of course). She was fully costumed as a witch and cackling! Then the man, dressed as a vampire, popped open the door…
Then I peppered the both of them insisting that their house was truly haunted since I’d heard the sound effects. They actually let me inside to walk around and show me the decorations were just on the porch. The rest of that night is a blur. But the impact that couple left on me was immense. The very next Halloween I made my first cardboard tombstones. My Dad strung a line so we could zing a pillowcase ghost from a tree to the front door. Every year we did something a bit different: jump scares from a refrigerator box turned coffin, and a spookified Teddy Ruxpin & Grubby were two of the highlights.
88mph to Now…
I married the man of my dreams two years ago and this will be our third Halloween together. Our haunt, Kimber Hollow, features a haunted graveyard, an ever-expanding patch of “Apocalypse Pumpkins”, the work area of a slightly geeky witch, and an incredibly resonant farm bell. We keep the design geared to all ages and just add some jump scares, by us, for the older kids and adults.
A Bit About Us
Outside of Halloween, I’m a professional blogger, a graphic designer, a website/code geek, and an Android developer. My husband is an architecture design/build guru, hobby woodworker, and currently employed at a non-profit that is working to reduce the American workforce’s skills gap. I love baking gluten-free goodies – especially (bacon!) cupcakes and brownies. Mark loves to cook. The blend of our individual kitchen talents makes for very tasty eating!
To complete our home (& I may be a touch biased here), we’ve got two absolutely amazing, and hilarious, dogs. Woo and Sylvia each had a rougher start in life than any pooch should face… yet those situations led us to rescue them. Life just wouldn’t be the same without our Meatball and Porkpie!
Now that I’ve written a novella, I’ll let your eyes rest… or you can just donate your eyeballs to us!