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!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Curse of the Blowfly

I hate flies. Most don't bite and they don't sting, but I still hate them. They are the personification of filth and putrescence, Beelzebub's vile minions. Blowflies are particularly odious since their favorite foods are shit and decomposing bodies. Rotting meat and foodstuff will suffice though.

About four weeks ago, the Devil Queen started filling up with blowflies. In the few years that Devil Queen has defiled our life, she has experienced a number of infestations and invaders: wasps, king snakes, bats, scorpions, mice, more wasps, moths and even more wasps. Sure, an occasional fly has made it in from time to time, but we've never been overrun with them. What makes it even stranger is that the Devil Queen is sealed up better than she ever has been since we've had her.

It started with a couple of blowflies in the laundry room which I promptly killed. The next day there were a few more which I also killed. This pattern continued for a couple of days. After another orgy of fly crushing, I remember thinking, "wow, this has got to be a bad omen."

The day after that, I came home from work to find all the clocks flashing since the power had briefly gone out. For Russellville, Arkansas, this is not an odd occurrence. I've lived all over the US and traveled around the world, but Russellville (Pope County in general) is the only place I've been where the electrical service was intermittent. No thunderstorms, acts of God, or accidents are required. The power will randomly go off for a few seconds and surge back on with no preamble. This happens at least once every couple of weeks, and it has done so for years. Entergy Arkansas, thank you for the rate hikes and the poor service; you have made my dream of living in a third world county a reality.

One of the great things about these outages, is the power surge that follows when the current returns. Light bulbs, appliances, and other electronics have fallen victim over the years.

I think you probably see where I'm going with this. Later that night, I went to wash some clothes for work, and the washer wouldn't power up. You could hit the power button all you wanted, but nothing happened. That is what everyone wants out of a $650, two-year old machine, right? Yes, the warrantee has expired. We checked.

I also checked the breaker box and the outlet. It was definitely the machine.

After that, the blowflies kept coming and things got worse. The bay window room was randomly swarmed by wasps after a few freakishly warm days. Then the house was broken into and we were robbed.

The flies got even worse after this, but I suspect this was because our front door was standing wide open for at least a few hours. Really, I was probably lucky that pack of coyotes or a mound of hibernating rattle snakes hadn't moved in by the time I got home. Even so, I was getting very tired of killing 10, 15, or 20 blowflies every day. What is even weirder is that they didn't go for any of the stuff you'd think they would. I never saw one anywhere near the cat's liter box or the kitchen trash can. They seem to like the windows in the laundry room, the living room, and the bedrooms.

And now, just over two weeks later, I'm still finding the occasional blowfly, one here, one there.

I'm hoping the curse may be lifting though. Sunday, just for the hell of it, I went and hit the power button on the washing machine. It turned on. I was too suspicious to try it out though. I have visions of it shutting down mid-load with a drum full of water and the door lock, which I suspect is 100% electric, jammed shut. Forever.

I asked Jack, our electronics guru, about it. He said that a lot of new appliances have thermal switches which automatically turn the machine off when they get too hot. His theory is the power surge tripped the switch and it hadn't reset by the time I came home. So far, that sounds good to me. I certainly don't have any answers.

Maybe if the blowflies are all gone by the weekend I'll try running a load.

Or maybe not. I'm not feeling lucky.

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Anonymous Ray said...

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who things the power service in Pope County is shit. Like you I've lived many places and I can't believe I'm paying for this crap. I want part of my usage fees refunded every time there's an outage.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Maryam in Marrakesh said...

oh man, forget about the flies. I am just keeping my fingers crossed on the washer!!!:)

3:50 PM  
Blogger Jenni said...

i just knew that something in the washer was dead.... i was wrong.......again.


7:51 PM  
Blogger Jayne said...

Your electricity sounds like my internet service. I try to deduct a per diem fee for every day I didn't have service from the monthly bill, but the folks at Embarq don't like that too much. Anyway, I too thought something was dead in the washer. It seemed to be where your post, and even your life, was headed. Maybe I've been watching too many episodes of "Ghost Hunters", but aren't blowflies also a sign of paranormal activity?

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just be thankful your electricity only goes out once or twice a week--thanks to Aquila on the KS/OK border it was several times a day...and it was so frustrating because they didn't seem to care when you called in and suggested that they fix whatever the problem was. Suppose that's why they got bought out?

Maybe the same will happen with Entergy Arkansas(?) and then you'll have higher rates, but more reliable service. Sucks that you can't have everything though, eh?

BTW, hopefully things work out on the washer--I'd have your friend look it over just in case. Good luck!

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL @ Jenni! I thought the exact same thing!! ;-)

9:24 PM  
Blogger John said...

Ray, AMEN!

Maryam, the flyies are finally gone and the washer works!

Jenni, funny.

Jayne, actually, it sounds like ours too. And yes, blowflies are allegedly a sign of paranormal activity.

Anonymous, thanks! And wow, that is aweful. Seriously, that is like living in a developing country.

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't say, think or act like the house is haunted. Don't let anyone talk about hauntings seriously or joking. It will stop...and stop calling it the devil queen lol! good luck.

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