This is the backstory I created to explain the hauntings in Greenwood.
“Oliver leaned back in his chair and recollected the conversation with Babyface. In particular, the author’s account of the mansion fascinated him. He had to admit, Babyface could weave quite a good story – so good, in fact, that Oliver didn’t care whether it was fabricated or not. He allowed himself to relax as he recollected the man’s tale:
“Greenwood was originally built in the early twenties by a rather well-known silent movie star,” Babyface began in his nasally voice. “He traveled the world collecting objects used in notorious crimes or bizarre rituals. The star built the mansion in part to house this collection, but he also incorporated some of his pieces into the house itself. For example, the chimney included bricks from Hawkridge Abbey, which, as you know, was well-known for its poltergeist activity before burning suspiciously to the ground in the late 1800’s.
“The star ultimately spent his entire fortune on his macabre hobby. Unfortunately for him, his career ended when talkies replaced silent movies. He lost everything, except the house and became something of a recluse. Eventually he shot himself – and here’s the weird part: his body was found in an upstairs bedroom, lying at the base of a mirror that was rumored to show people how they were going to die.
“The estate was auctioned off with all of its furnishings and sold to a banker, who moved into it with his wife and two young daughters. There was a horrible accident two months later when a fire broke out one night. The two little girls were trapped and burned to death in their attic nursery. Their governess swore she saw them outside and so did not think to go back to look for them. Nobody realized they were missing until the fire had consumed their nursery. The governess was found poisoned in kitchen the next day. The authorities said she was overcome with grief and ruled her death a suicide, but I’m not sure about that. Not too many people choose to drink lye willingly – it’s a really ugly way to go. The banker and his wife moved out soon after and abandoned the house, again with all of its cursed furnishings inside.
“The mansion was empty for several years and apparently nobody ever went inside, because everything in the house was still there when a family bought it in the mid-thirties. They stored all of the furniture in the attic, repaired the damaged wing and lived peacefully in the house for many years. They didn’t experience anything strange or suffered any bizarre accidents until a few months after WWII was over and their oldest son came home. Apparently the young man suffered from some kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome or something from the battlefield – the neighbors said he ‘wasn’t quite right’ after he came home.
“One night, almost a year after his return, the young man took an axe and murdered everyone in the house – his parents, three younger brothers and housekeeper, as well as his own wife and child. Their bodies weren’t discovered for several weeks, and by then the son had disappeared without a trace.
“There was a long, drawn-out legal battle over the ownership of the mansion and so it was again empty for many years. The house was finally sold in 1966 to Tony Green, a B-list, horror-movie producer who bought the Mansion specifically because of its bloody history. He reinstated all of the original furnishings – renamed the house ‘Greenwood’ and then held a horror-themed housewarming party on Halloween for about a hundred of his closest friends.”
“You are of course aware of how his party ended. It’s one of the more infamous Hollywood murders. Ten people stayed over that night and nine were dead the next morning. Only Green was spared, but he was stark raving mad when they found him. The two starlets that were sharing his bed were horribly mutilated, almost beyond recognition and the rest of his house guests were similarly hacked to pieces and scattered throughout the house. One in particular – the young, eligible bachelor son of one of the state’s richest winemakers – was found decapitated, his head floating in a cask of wine in the wine cellar. Nobody could figure out why Green was left unharmed. The producer never recovered and died sometime later in a mental institution, still babbling about what he saw that night.
“After Green’s death, the mansion was donated to a local church by his family. The church still owns it, and from all accounts nothing inside has been touched since the police concluded their investigation into the murders over forty years ago. As I said before, nobody from the church will even set foot inside.”
Oliver felt a tickle in his mind and a voice from somewhere deep inside rumbled. “Good,” it purred. “This place looks suitable for our needs.” He resisted the urge to relax into a trance. There would be time for that later.