The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Monday, July 25, 2005

What's In Your Backyard?

Mr. N, the neighbor that spent two hours of his Saturday night trying to resurrect our truck, told us an interesting story on the way to our house. He immediately peaked our interest when he prefaced it with the comment, "No one I've told this to has ever believed me, you probably won't either."

"I am sure we will," my wife said.

"Well, a few years back I was out working on my hog farm. I had a bunch of new born hogs and I was cutting their tails off, " Mr. N said.

I don't know anything about farming or hogs, and I glanced over at my wife. She seemed totally unfazed. I can only assume that this is normal.

Mr. N. continued, "I was working in my barn under a window looking out over my field. I happened to look up and saw a black panther cutting across it."

"Aw, I believe you," my wife said. "My momma lives on 100 acres down off of Crow Mountain. One night a panther cat came through, you could hear her screaming like a woman. It makes all the hair stand up on the back of your neck. All of the dogs were scared to death, they just huddled up on the porch and didn't make a sound."

"Have you seen any bears," Mr. N asked.

"No, why?"

"A fellow I know down the road from y'all killed one not too long ago."

"That is awful," my wife said. "Why did he kill it?"

"It was after a hog he was fattening up. He heard a racket outside one night, and went out to see what it was. There was a black bear leaning over the fence swiping at his hog. When the bear saw him, it ran off. The fellow asked his wife to bring him his gun. She brought it to him, and he went down to check on his hog. The black bear came back and he had to shoot it."

"That's odd. Black bears usually eat fruit, berries, and stuff."

"Well, this one wanted some bacon I guess," Mr. N replied.

The funny thing about the black panthers is that they officially do not exist in Arkansas. You can ask any of the rangers at the state or federal parks in Arkansas. Supposedly, they went extinct years ago. However, I have heard many credible stories about them. Makes you wonder what else is out in the woods here.

One of my wife's uncles lives about five miles away from the Devil Queen. He recently bought a few acres of property next to his home. It was pretty overgrown with underbrush and it had an old, abandoned barn on it. When he started clearing the brush he discovered a lynx had made the barn into its den.

We've seen foxes and lots of coyotes in the area too. The coyotes are a problem if you have outdoor cats or dogs, they like to eat them. Fortunately that isn't a concern for us.

Aside from all the marauding carnivores, our area is home to several poisonous snakes: cottonmouths, copperheads, and the occasional rattlesnake. All of these have been seen near and around the Queen. Fortunately, the only snake we've seen at the Queen to date is one black, 5 foot long Rat Snake or King Snake (same thing?). It looks scary but we leave it alone. Aside from eating the mice that keep trying to move into the attic, it also eats poisonous snakes. It briefly took up residence in the master bedroom until a worker and it scared each other half to death.

We've found a few enormous Black Widow Spiders too (one in the kitchen wall, the rest outside).

So far we've been lucky (knock on wood). No maulings, no bites, and no bear wrestling. Occasionally, a few deer will cut through our yard, and that worries me the most. Not the deer, but the drunken deer hunters that fill the woods every fall. I heard that 250,000 people go deer hunting in Arkansas every year. All I need is a stray bullet to take the top of my head off while I'm caulking the kitchen. With my luck it wouldn't even kill me. I'd probably spend the rest of my Quasimodo life chained in the attic gnawing on the rafters.

It could always be worse though. One of my wife's other uncles emailed us this picture:

It was found a few miles from his old house in Texas. How would you like to find something like that in your yard? Sorry, dumb question. In case you are wondering, it was 13 feet 1 inch long.


Blogger Greg said...

I have found something like that in my yard. In Florida there was a canal in the backyard. There are canals in every back yard just about in Florida. Alligators were a regular thing. They never went after people, but you wanted to keep the small pets inside when the gators were sunning themselves in the backyard.

That would be cool to see a panther. We have cougars in the local hills. My boss lost is cat to one last year. A few months back a 1 year old male bear came in to the city and was pretty freaked out. As he was trying to get back to the hills the local Fish & Game hicks shot him. There are still angry letters in the paper about that one.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Ralph Lauren said...

It sounded unspeakably horrible.

8:30 AM  

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