“There is a house in New Orleans, they call the Rising Sun. It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy. And God, I know I’m one.”
—From the traditional song, House of the Rising Sun.
Excerpt from Maria Philippe’s autobiography, “Recollection.”
- ‘And what I really found strange about the place was the lack of character, as if no one had lived there before, ‘though I knew they had. It was as if it hadn’t been finished yet. I’ve explained what it looked like, what it smelt like and what it felt like to be trapped in there, but I could never explain to you how barren the place felt. How abandoned. The house had been empty for 4 hours, but it honestly felt more like 400 years. The dust had settled atop the photo frames that lined the front corridor, the hinges on the fridge were rusted over and a leak had appeared in the bathroom. Honestly, my first thought about the house was, “fuck. It really doesn’t want anyone living here.’ It didn’t seem to suit a person living there. Walking up the front corridor for the first time, my heart almost devoid of any beating whatsoever and my eyes scanning the many photos of past residents on the walls, I didn’t feel at home. I felt like I was in a museum, lugging my case around behind me. For a completely empty house to feel unwelcoming was a very strange feeling indeed.
… RECORDING, JACK COUNTY SHERRIF’S OFFICE. MARIA PHILIPPE AND EMERALD SLOANE #4. /12.03.12
- This is Deputy Ryan Higgins beginning recording at . . . 15 hundred hours and 34 minutes. Interview with Miss Emerald Marie Sloane and Ms. Maria Carol Philippe.
- RH: We’ll start with you Miss Sloane. How are you feeling?
- ES: May I get a glass of water?
- RH: Sure.
- ES: Thanks.
- RH: Referring to our last discussion and recording regarding Jack County Manor, I believe you Miss Sloane asked on behalf of yourself and Ms. Philippe that it be condemned. I can confirm that your appeal has been denied by the council and no further investigation will take place.
- MP: No investigation into the house?
- RH: No, Ms. Philippe no more investigation into the claim. And we’ll get to you in a moment. Er, I do believe that we didn’t actually get to the root of the problem last time.
- ES: That’s because you don’t listen.
- RH: Well, I need to know for sure now, why you two young women want that old house razed to the ground so badly.
- ES: I’m going to say it one more time Higgins and I really hope that your ears are open.
- RH: My ears are wide open Ms. Sloane.
- ES: The house is haunted, Deputy. Deeply, deeply haunted.
- RH: You’ve mentioned this before. Er, many houses are reportedly haunted Ms. Sloane, there’s no actual proof that the house is possessed or whatever you’re implying, and even if it were there weren’t any casualties and no evidence of violence of any kind. In fact, there’s no due cause for the police to -
- ES: To us. No evidence of violence to us.
- RH: …That’s right.
- ES: What about the photos on the walls?
- RH: Well, I’ll admit it was very strange but the police have no place to investigate tradition of any kind. Especially those that may exist in such a small town as New Orleans.
- ES: Tradition… there’s blood and dirt and hair lodged in the foundations of the house. All of the people who lived in that house are all still there, crammed in crawl spaces around the house, writhing around in shit. Maria and I are still there, It won’t leave us. We’ve seen it first-hand Deputy. The house is ill. It’s a tiny house and yet you can get lost for hours on end, one second it will be day and –
EXCERPT FROM MARIA PHILIPPE’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, ‘RECOLLECTION’
- And the next it’s suddenly the middle of the night and you can’t remember what you’ve done in the day or even if there was a day. I remember just being sat at the breakfast table, must’ve been my third day in the house. I was sat with the window open, the afternoon breeze fluttering through the curtains and pulling gently at the corner of my newspaper. I was eating a buttered bagel and reading about Obama. The phone on the wall started ringing, which was odd because I hadn’t given anyone the new number. The phone was pristine and brand new, a bright plastic bucket red. I answered on a mouthful of bagel.
“Hello? Maria speaking.” I thought it best to say my name in case it was a wrong number. As I awaited the response on the end of the line, I began to feel exceedingly shaky and weak. I recall it coming on so suddenly that I began to feel sick, a horrible wave of nausea swept over me. I had to sit down on the floor, the phone still pressed against my ear. “Hello?” I asked, weakly. Nothing. I let the phone go and left it to hang beside my head. Clutching my stomach, I thought it must’ve been something I’d eaten. And then it was night. Just like someone had clicked his omnipotent fingers and made the sun go down. It was the dead of night before my eyes. My first thought was I was going mad. Especially when the voices started. I recall they started that night. I left my breakfast on the table and went up to bed straight away, even though I was sure I’d only been up for a few hours tops. Lying in bed, clutching a pillow against my stomach I began to hear a voice from beneath my bed. I was sure I was going mad and quickly started crying. My stomach felt like it was doing somersaults, my heart pounding so hard I could barely feel it and the voice of a hoarse-voiced, middle-aged woman beneath my bed.
“Can you please get off the bed you fat bitch, you’ve broken my nose. There’s room for you down here, you don’t need to lie on the bed you fucking bitch.”
Then the voices would be in my head. “Open your mouth Maria. Open your mouth and let me get some fresh air.” I’d feel my throat tighten. I’d feel the writhing of what felt like a cockroach in my mouth and have to be sick. Dozens of little tiny legs scuttling across the roof of my mouth. “I can't breath down here” I got up off the bed and went as quickly as I possibly could to the bathroom, trying my hardest to ignore the sound of following footsteps behind me. I made it to the bathroom and sat down on the toilet. What followed, without being crude, was the worst case of diarrhoea I’d ever had. I was sick, I had a nose bleed. I stared in the mirror and barely recognised myself. Something was pulverizing me from the inside. The third night was the worst night of my life. For the first time in years, clutching my ears with vomit in my hair, I cried.
CRAIG PERRY, SQ. 3334 CC INVESTIGATION. ON SITE. 03.12.12
- “Testing. Okay. Commencing on site investigation 3334 with a camera, on site at Jack County Manor. This is Craig Perry, squad is outside. I am now walking up the front porch to the house. Note to not park up on the hill next time as the car was slipping backwards down the hill. Porch is dilapidated and quite a few of the windows are smashed. Third window across at the front of the house is boarded up with what looks like damp cardboard. I am now going into the house. I am now in the main corridor of the house. Woah nearly every inch of this corridor is covered in photographs. All of the photographs are the angle. I believe, that they are the past occupants of the houses. None of them look particularly happy to be in the photos. Note that Ms. Philippe and Miss Sloane are both here on the wall too. The families are all stood in front of the house. I am now going into the bathroom upstairs. Ms. Philippe mentioned something about the bathroom as did Ms Sloane. Shower curtain is pulled across the bathtub, the medicine cabinet is open. Sounds like the water is running.
END OF TRANSMISSION 3334 CC.
- NOTE ON CASSETTE FOLDER* Please note this investigation is no longer to be filed in Jack County Manor and now in Craig Perry’s disappearance. Please file accordingly.
- … RECORDING, JACK COUNTY SHERRIF’S OFFICE. MARIA PHILIPPE #1. /12.03.12
- This is Deputy Ryan Higgins beginning recording at... 1:11 am. Interview with Ms. Maria Carol Philippe.
- RH: Please try to remain calm Maria. Is there anything I can get you maybe...
- MP: No. No, no, no, no.
- RH: Okay. Okay…
- MP: Can you please tell me if I’m going to be okay? The lady of the house said that she’s going to get me. Oh God, I feel I haven’t started yet I can’t end yet. Is there anyway you can tell me HOW TO GET THE FUCKING VOICES TO CALM DOWN. WHY HAVEN’T THEY ENDED.
- RH: Okay.
- MP: PLE-E-EASE! DEPUTY PLEASE HELP ME STOP THEM HE’S . . . HE’S CLIMBING OUT OF MY MOUTH *wretching* LOOK LOOK!
- RH: Maria, you’re going to be sedated.
- MP: NO! NO! Please no, I’m not crazy! I’m not crazy! I’ll be good, shh I’ll be quiet just please don’t let the house people get me. Please I feel *untranslatable through sobbing* NO! NO NO YOU HAVE TO GET ME OUT OF HERE DON’T PUT ME IN THE DARK WITH IT. GET AWAY FROM ME WITH THAT.
- This is Deputy Ryan Higgins concluding interview with Ms Maria Philippe. Maria has been sedated after a bout of hysteria. Interview will conclude at a later time. = EXCERPT FROM MARIA PHILIPPE’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, ‘RECOLLECTION’
- That was the one hundred thousand dollar question, the one that the fans, the police officers and the press just love to ask. ‘Maria? Who took the photograph of you? Who put it up on the wall?’ Honestly, I didn’t have my photo taken. At first I assumed that it was a lie conjured by the press, hungry to stir an interesting story of a haunted house. Until I saw it for myself. Emerald, my friend Emerald stood gingerly beside me as if she didn’t know me with a half-smile, holding my hand with what looked like extreme fierceness. Then there was me with a grin far too wide for my head, hideously showing every single tooth I have in my mouth. My eyes wide like a child approaching his birthday. My skin as white as snow. I do not remember it whatsoever, I remember leaving the house with Emerald wearing exactly what we were in the photograph, so the photo would’ve been taken on the last day we spent in the house, but by whom? And why on earth would we have ever stopped for a photograph on the worst day of our entire lives, one I still have nightmares about to this day, four years later, but more worryingly, why on earth am I grinning like that? That worried me for weeks, until I eventually refused to stop thinking about it anymore. Honestly, it’s not me in that photograph. It never was.
EXCERPT FROM *EXACT DATE UNDERTERMINABLE, EST: 1st JUNE, 1951 ARTICLE IN JACK’S HERALD NEWSPAPER
The young lady in question who had found the bodies refused to comment. She wandered off into Jack’s County clutching her cross. What the young lady had found was a sight for sore eyes, one that this reporter wished he hadn’t seen. On the morning of the 29th, I beheld three impossibly frail and tiny children hanging by their necks from the oak tree out front of Jack County Manor. The cause of death is so far undetermined, however it is believed the three children were starved to death. The town of Jack County has been shaken by this, ‘though the family that owned the manor weren’t ever seen in town, they were still part of our family.
NEW ORLEANS LOCAL NEWS 15.06.12
‘We are busily readied and conducting a thorough search of Crooked Dam, Jack’s County and Blue Drive, New Orleans for any trace of who may have stolen these documents. This investigation is still open so the information included is of a very delicate nature. Whist I cannot possibly refer to any of the information involved in the investigation, I can confirm that the documents stolen during the break-in and attempted arson of Jack’s County Police Station included recorded on site investigation and high-profile police interviews. It has also been confirmed that the best-selling authoress Maria Philippe has been entered into a protection programme with the city state of Police, following this break-in and also the recent report of the disappearance of Emerald Marie Sloane, who was believed to have also been involved with the case. If anyone has any information regarding Miss Sloane or the break-in at the Sheriff's office, we urge you to come forward.
We urge you to come forward.