Dr. Jonathan Anderson, chair of the psychology department of Dallas's most prestigious university, received a rejection letter on his life's work. The next day, October 31, 2008, he got a second chance, an article confirming the existence of ghosts at the infamous Reindeer Manor.
The current owner, who only goes by the name Andy, has been running the property as a Halloween attraction for years. However, it's not the attraction that is of interest to Anderson, but rather its true history.
Dr. Anderson put down the newspaper. Next to it laid his rejection. He had worked so hard and come so close, now to be stopped was almost criminal. Could this be the answer he was looking for? He thought about it all afternoon; then on the way home, he decided, yes or no, he had to have a look.
Several hours later, Anderson was questioning his decision. It had been raining all afternoon and into the evening. The traffic down interstate thirty-five was horrid. Once he got off on Bear Creek Road, he thought things would ease up. How wrong he was. The sea of cars heading to Reindeer Manor seemed endless. For forty-five agonizing minutes, he inched forward until finally he came upon the entrance. Once he crossed under the iron arch, he thought he was home free, but to his dismay, another long line of cars was ahead of him. Thirty torturous minutes later, he was finally directed into a parking spot.
He stood outside of his car. He was an aging man of psychology, in his middle sixties, slightly overweight and balding. The rain falling from the sky, along with the cold temperature, made the night miserable. In the distance he saw a tractor dragging cars out of their spots. He felt lucky he was not forced to park in the mud.
In the distance, through the rain, he saw a lone lantern. It glowed yellow, signaling all those around, over here, come to me. With their heads bowed, the people resembled zombies, walking mindlessly towards the lantern.
Anderson was cold and his clothes were quickly saturating. He questioned his thought process and choice to venture out on this night. Only the prospect of completing his life’s work gave him the motivation to continue on.
As he reached the lantern, he was relieved to see an awning, just beyond the light. Under the awning stood a crowd of people, waiting for something, transportation of some kind. He thought he would see a ticket booth. That after such a long entrance, surely his wait would end. He was sadly mistaken.
As he walked under the awning, his demeanor was shared by all. No one was talking, instead huddling together for warmth.
The howl of the wind whistled through the trees as a light in the distance broke through the darkness. Everyone scooted forward as the tractor drove past them and revealed a long trailer with seats of hay. Once the tractor came to rest, they boarded.
Because of his bad leg, Anderson was the last to get on. He barely sat down when the tractor jerked and moved forward. The ride was bumpy; Anderson grit his teeth as every bump sent ripples of pain up his injured back.
As the tractor pulled them along, they crossed threw the old cemetery, before plunging into the dark woods. The rain was magnified by the speed, as well as the wind. It was a miserably cold ride on a soggy Fall night.
As they emerged from the woods, they passed another iron gate with the name Reindeer Manor on top of it. The tractor continued on, pulling them along the hayride road, then around back of the 13th Street Morgue, and finally to the front entrance. As the tractor stopped, a huge fireball erupted right above their heads. Anderson looked; the fire illuminated the dilapidated gas station underneath it. Only one pump remained, but the roof of the building had collapsed in and a portion lay on top of the old pump.
As Anderson stepped off the hayride, he noticed the ground here was also saturated and muddy. He had to give credit to the date; this was good weather for a haunted house, even better for Halloween.