Friday, October 15, 1880
Welcome to Munson, NY, home to about 2000 souls, located on the Erie Canal 25 miles east of the city of Rochester.
My name is Henry Brandt
, the proud proprietor of the Seneca Hotel
. My family has lived in these parts for nearly one hundred years.
They helped found this town, and I grew up here. It was a much wilder place back then, and still plenty wild now, if you know how to look and have an open mind. Like so many towns, Munson was born and prospered thanks to the canal. But it's different than other places, too.
Don't laugh when I say it, but it's the most haunted square mile in these United States.
I make it my business to know everything about everyone in this town, including its visitors, and I do a right fine job of it. Call it a gift. I also know that not all here is what is seems. Smaller minds find excuses to explain the cries they hear in the night; the fleeting faces glimpsed in upper-story windows; the floating lights in the trees on the horizon; the shadows swirling beneath the water; the howls of something not-quite-human yet not-quite-animal just beyond the hills.
Not all of it is dangerous, though much of it is; but all of it is real. You look around and see all this progress, and money flowing up and down this majestic canal, but we tend to forget that we didn't find this place empty. Oh no. There were things here that didn't want to be disturbed. My parents, and my grandparents before that, understood this and made peace with it. The natives told stories about parts of this land that didn't square with our modern views of science and progress, and we ignore those stories to our folly.
Strange things happen here and no one is innocent. In these pages I will tell you what I know about the town's inhabitants and the places worth talking about. Pay attention, and beware. You can keep your head down as much as you like, but at some point, that other world always intrudes.
How you choose to deal with it is up to you.