After two years away from his home of Memphis, TN; wealthy book publisher, Marcus Bishop, arrives to find his beloved city a disaster. The economy is sagging, commerce failing, and buildings are being boarded up at an alarming rate.
One place in particular catches Marcus’s eye: An old castle-like structure situated in the Garden District. Once a resplendent mansion, Ashlar Hall now sits empty and destitute. Money and love alone can’t bring this building back from the brink; it will take Marcus’s soul to free the building from the ravages of time and the spirits that haunt it.
A philanthropist and lover of unique architecture, Marcus decides to buy Ashlar Hall and return it to its former glory. What he doesn’t realize is that included in the business transaction is a love-struck, jealous ghost who will stop at nothing to get Marcus into the afterlife.
Gargoyles jutted from cornices and walls, their gruesome faces belying their simple function of draining water from the roof. The mansion was designed in an irregular shape with massive towers rising above the building at multiple places, crowned with stone battlements. Tall chimneys stretched beyond the roof resembling sentry towers. Scraggly vines clung to some of the stonework, further creating a picture of despondency. Marcus got goose bumps every time he saw the old place.
He remembered the local Jaycees used to rent it as a haunted house. Marcus wasn’t familiar with the whole history of the hall; he knew it’d been there since the late 1800s when the Snowden family built it. After they sold the property, it became a restaurant for a while, then sat vacant for many years before it was bought and turned into a nightclub called “The Castle.” That didn’t last long. Area residents complained about the noise, crowded streets, and the number of times the police were called. Finally it was shut down. Again, the magnificent building fell silent.
Unusual as the hall was, Marcus found himself drawn to it. Although he had a business major from the University of Memphis, he took several architecture classes as well. Old buildings were a constant source of fascination. He loved the odd and bizarre; the stranger, the better. Something about this old mansion intrigued him, tantalized him. He found himself drawn to it, almost magnetically, and he wasn’t sure why.
“Can you pull over?”
Marcus held his gaze on the building. “Well, traffic’s at a standstill, and I wanted to check out that old building.”
“Ashlar Hall? Are you crazy?”
“What? It’s just a dilapidated mansion.”
Richard glanced over his shoulder. “Some say the place is haunted.”
“Nonsense! You say that ’cause they used to hold a haunted house there.”
“No, I’ve heard a few local folks say they’ve seen and heard things.”
“Oh? Like what?”
Richard maneuvered the car into a parking lot. “Like the gargoyles screaming.”