The Haunting Of Hill House – Robert G. Wertzler

It was not a house on a hill, but more of a hill on the house. A house in a hill might be more apt, with bits sticking out here and there, towers, terraces, decks, doors, and windows. As if a castle was mostly buried, or it had grown from inside like a plant of stone. It was old, very old, even ancient, but renovated inside with modern conveniences. It had been sold and resold, rented and canceled with great frequency. Former owners and tenants never spoke the why. They moved far away. Several had gone quite mad. Two things never changed, the butler and the housekeeper. They were very old, but not decrepit. Nobody in the village remembered them young. Some owners had tried to replace them, but any new staff quickly left, and the two reappeared. It was whispered that they were part of the house, built in, so to speak, its creatures, or avatars, or guardians. Perhaps, they were the only people (if people they really were) the house would tolerate. When the most recent owner failed to pay the tax on the place, the place defaulted to the county. Rather than sell it at auction to some new fool who would only abandon it, it was declared a wildlife preserve and allowed to go back to nature so that trees and such would hide the house. It was securely fenced to discourage the curious. The two caretakers seemed content in that isolation.

Bob Wertzler is retired from almost twenty years in the mental health field in California and Arizona. There are times the title, “Recovering Therapist”, seems to fit. In 2006 he retired to move to Western North Carolina to help and become primary care giver for his father who had developed Dementia. Before all that, there was work at various times as a soldier (US Army 1967-70), community organizer, cab driver, welfare case worker, wooden toy maker, carpenter, warehouse worker, and other things. He relates to a line in a Grateful Dead song, “What a long, strange trip its been.”

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