Is it possible for a place to drive a person to madness and terror? If it happens one time, you say “Well, it was just him. He must’ve been crazy to do what he did.” But if it happens again–and again–and still yet again ... Is it a curse? That’s what some would say about Scare Farm… It’s Cursed.
Several centuries ago, a sect of the Lenni Lenape Tribe, the Faukgaowe Indians of New Amsterdam, took up residences on all of the lands in this area. It is said that they had many burial grounds, but right here at the Scare Farm site may have been the most sacred burial grounds of the highest chiefs, mystics, and medicine men. There are many ancient stories of dark ritualistic burial proceedings of the tribe, but during the fall of each year when the crops were in and the harvest moon would come, it is said that this is when the ritualistic events turned evil.
From the mid 1500's on, Europeans started to settle the area and drove out the Indian tribe. Although the tribe moved on, the burial grounds overgrew and slowly had been reclaimed by the nature. However it continued to serve as a reminder to those whom believed that something dark, ancient, and mystical still had claim on this land.
Over the next 250 years, many different people would settle on this land. And while the land had reclaimed the burial grounds, strange things would sporadically happen, such as crop failures, animal deaths and people disappearing, all for no apparent reason. Strangely, these events would happen during the fall of the year, under the watchful eye of the waxing or waning Harvest Moon. Was all this by chance, from the frailty of the human mind or does it go back to a darker past?
After all that’s happened on and around this land, you may wonder why any sane person would live here willingly. But that’s just what happened in the early 1800’s when the Atrum Family purchased the land and started their farming operation. Mr. and Mrs. Atrum farmed here and raised their only son, Elias. Mr. Atrum was a hard man and ran his farm and family with a heavy hand, with Mrs. Atrum and little Eli on the receiving end of his temper. With a childhood of solitary confinement and physical abuse under the strictest of upbringings, and perhaps the pull of the dark land, Eli’s sanity began to slip away.
During the 1850’s, the sudden deaths of both Mr. and Mrs. Atrum occurred. Eli, no longer having any anchor to reality, continued his spiraling decent into the darkness of his own mind. Locals tell tales of a crazed farmer, Elias Atrum, who murdered his unfaithful wife and her lover and turned them into scarecrows. As reports of missing local children and farmhands grew, so did the number of scarecrows that popped up in Old Eli’s fields. When the authorities finally put it all together and came to the farm to investigate, Old Eli vanished into the corn laughing like the madman he was. He was never to be seen again... but his laughter can be heard echoing through the fields ‘neath a harvest moon.
The property sat abandoned for years, and then our family acquired the farm in1920. It was hoped that the “old tales” would be put to rest, but new terrors were coming to seed. Between 1923 and 1930, a series of seemingly unrelated fires gutted the farmhouse and burned the barn to the ground multiple times… all under mysterious circumstances, during the Harvest Moon.
Over the years, more and more acts of madness continued to occur. Another farmer named Yankowitz purchased the adjoining property. Land which was also part of the ancient burial ground. Old Man Yankowitz, suffered his own misfortunes. More harvest moon fires occurred as the years passed, first destroying his barn, then later his house. It was said that Yankowitz had the money, but was too cheap to rebuild, so he chose to move into one of the chicken coops like a hermit. The story got ‘round that Yankowitz kept his money stuffed in his mattress in the chicken coop. Not surprisingly, two local farmhands went to find out for themselves, but when they were caught in the act by the irate farmer, something inside them snapped, they bashed his brains in with a cinder block, then tore the mattress (and the chicken coop) to pieces looking for the money, only to learn that it had been deposited safely away in a New York City bank all along. And their ultimate reward for their efforts? They were sent to the chair for their crimes.
Eight years later, two men from a nearby town became lovers, but the relationship was broken off. Understanding that they were still friends, one of the men asked his former lover for a ride to a job interview on a local farm. When they arrived at an overgrown and neglected field of what was now known as the Scare Farm, the jilted lover killed and beheaded his ex, throwing his head about a hundred yards into the heavy weeds...another brutal murder upon this land. Upon his arrest, the man never denied the crime, as a matter of fact he seemed quite proud of it.
So, back to the question: Is it possible for a place to drive a person to madness and terror? Why such a concentration of sick, strange and tragic events continue to occur in the darkness of the cold Harvest Moon, on a piece land, that is about as “normal” a place as you could imagine in the warm light of day?
The answer is frighteningly simple:
Fear doesn’t come from the land. This land...comes from fear.
You see, we used to wince when night fell and folks started calling our place that “Scarey Farm”. But now, we’ve embrace it. The thing about a farm is… it’s where things grow. You reap what you sow. All the fear that’s been planted here over the years we have come to embrace.