On Holy Ground

Mitchell Kowitz

© Copyright 2024 by Mitchell Kowitz

Photo by Narciso Arellano on Unsplash
Photo by Narciso Arellano on Unsplash

A woman with a collectibles shop finds that her house and property are on sacred burial grounds with mysterious powers.

The Minnesota Art Fair is the place to be in the summertime and this year was no exception. It was raining on the opening day of the Art Fair. I fancy myself as an amateur collector of art and was excited to see what treasures I may come across at this year’s art fair. I look forward to this event every year and it has now become an annual tradition for me…a little rain certainly wasn’t going to dampen my spirits and keep me away.

As in past years, this year’s art fair had the usual line up of artists and displays. There were booths of watercolors, ceramics, pottery, and many other original works of art. During my outing, I passed by a booth called House of Redgate. There was a woman named Denise with reddish burgundy colored hair that was piled up on her head in a sort of messy, curly bun. Denise was dressed in a colorful funky type of blouse and jeans accompanied by artsy earrings and other jewelry. Her make-up possessed a certain dramatic flair. Denise had large expressive brown eyes and there was a special aura about her. When she smiled it was very inviting and almost magical. She welcomed me inside her booth and began to show me various pieces of art from her collection. The colors she used in her art were striking and vivid. She worked in several mediums of art and specialized in gothic art and which included vampires and coffins. I remember as a kid going to a lot of horror movies on Saturday afternoons. During the week, there was always some sort of Dracula movie on the theater’s bill. Since I loved this type of art, several pieces of Denise’s art caught my eye, and I ended up purchasing a few pieces from her. I lingered in her booth and talked with Denise a bit longer…For some odd reason, even though I had just met this woman, I didn’t want our conversation to end. I found myself becoming completely captivated by her and her art. Eventually, we said our goodbyes. After visiting a few more booths, I headed back to my car and drove home.

Once I arrived home, I went to work to find special places where I could display my new art. As I was placing one of the coffins, I happened to notice that one of the hinges on it was broken. Fortunately, while in Denise’s booth, I grabbed one of her business cards, so I gave her a call. I must admit, I was happy that I had another reason to connect with her. Denise answered the phone, and I could tell by the sound of her voice that she was happy to have another opportunity to talk with me as well. She said that I could stop by her studio anytime and she would repair it for me. Her studio was in her house in Northeast Minneapolis.

The next day I took the drive to Northeast Minneapolis and arrived at 1926 Mockingbird Lane. It was an old two-story Victorian house with red paint on the side and flowers and shrubs near the entrance. There was a big sign in red and gold in the front yard that read “House of Redgate.”

I thought to myself… well… this place looks like it is going to be interesting.

Denise was there to meet me at the front door. I walked into the small front of the house, and it was like entering Geppetto’s workshop. On either wall were dolls of all shapes and sizes. There were ceramic bulldogs waiting to be painted, and on clay turtles’ jewelry was placed around the feet and neck of each one of them. A real work in progress if you ask me.

Denise invited me into the main room. Once I stepped in there, I couldn’t believe my eyes…there was so much to take in…it was the most fascinating space I had ever been in. There were several displays and curio cabinets that housed many unique collections from various periods of time in history. My favorite of them all was the Egyptian Queen Sarcophagus. There must have been thousands of items in her collection. For some reason, something came over me and I was drawn to the sarcophagus and felt compelled to touch it.

Once my hands touched the sarcophagus, I began feeling lightheaded and as though I was about to lose my balance. The entire room was spinning round and my mind completely blanked out. I felt my eyes roll into the back of my head and my body began to shake violently.

Suddenly, I found myself transported back in time to an Egyptian court with musicians and performers putting on a show for the Pharoah. On either side of the room were huge fires burning. There were large banquet tables filled with a wide assortment of exotic fruits and meats. In one direction women adorned with colorful scarves, miniature cymbals on their fingers and bells on their feet were gyrating and dancing while keeping perfect tempo with the Middle Eastern style of music. In one corner of the room, there were magicians performing various tricks. There was smoke coming from the abundant fragrant incense that was permeating the air. Snakes were also slithering on the ground.

I finally released my hands from the sarcophagus and immediately fell to the floor. I had difficulty catching my breath and sweat was pouring down my forehead. My hands felt as though electricity had just gone through them.

Denise rushed over to me and asked if I was okay.

I said, “I have just been to ancient Egypt!”

Once I regained my composure, the two of us sat down in the dining room for a cup of coffee. Denise explained that when she bought the house several years ago, the neighbors told her that the house was haunted. She said that she believed that without a doubt, the house had a strange and powerful energy. She went on to tell me that most of the land around here had been used as an ancient Indian burial site. No one knows exactly where these sites are and how many of them exist.

I said to her, “I really don’t feel so well…”

At that point, Denise had me lie down on the couch for a while…she then shared with me that this was not the first time that something like this has happened. Many people who have come into her studio and home and picked up a piece of art, say they have experienced a sort of out of body sensation.

I have often wondered about this house and its origins,” she said. “I believe that this house possesses a special energy and mysterious properties.”

As I got ready to leave, she informed me that the sarcophagus was one of her favorites and was not for sale. On the way home, I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened at Denise’s studio. I thought perhaps I was just dehydrated and needed to drink more water.

Then I realized that what happened to me was not a result of me just being dehydrated…something out of this world took place in that house. I know what I felt and when I touched that statue, my hands were filled with electricity. Something’s going on in that house that I just cannot explain…but I vowed to find out!

Days went by and I just couldn’t stop thinking about the “House of Redgate” and Denise. None of the small gothic art pieces that I bought did anything when I touched them. It was not at all like the sarcophagus.

It has to be that house” I thought to myself. “There is some kind of energy there.”

Time went by and each day, I found myself thinking more and more about Denise. I really wanted to call her but couldn’t think of a good excuse that would be believable. As luck would have it, I ended up getting a promotion at my job resulting in my move into a new larger, corner office. There was room for a large art piece on the left corner side of the office. This was the excuse that I needed to give Denise another call. I quickly went to the phone and dialed her number. When she finally answered the phone, I felt my heart begin to beat faster. Truth be told, this was more than just wanting to buy additional pieces of art. I found myself very attracted to Denise, and I felt a strong chemistry between us. I definitely wanted to see her again. She said that she would be in her studio tomorrow afternoon and that I could drop by anytime. I was excited to be able to see her again and I arrived promptly at the House of Redgate around 3:30 p.m.

When I arrived, Denise welcomed me in and asked, “What exactly are you looking for?” I responded, “I really don’t know.” I began to walk around looking at statues of animals, trolls, witches, gargoyles, clocks, there was such an odd assortment of so many different creations.

She then asked me, “How much room do you have for the piece?”

I showed her the area with my hands, and she said that I could do one piece or a display.

As I walked around her studio one thing caught my eye. It was a huge, hand carved and detailed Grandfather clock. It was majestic in its size and stature and had a wood inlay on the top that went out into a canopy over a horse and carriage. The sides had detailed carvings of angel faces and near the bottom were vines and a tree in the center of the base.

I walked over and slowly put my hands on the clock.

Once again…A strange feeling began to come over me. I felt dizzy and lightheaded. I began to sweat and felt my eyes rolling back into my head. I started to hear people talking and the crackle of a roaring fire in the background.

Suddenly, I was thrust back to a house at the turn of the century. There was the smell of fresh baked bread in the kitchen. I could see in my mind horse carriages through two big stained-glass windows as I looked outside. The house had a large fireplace, two couches and three chairs. Each chair had a small reading table and glasses for whiskey beside it. I started to scream out.

Then…in an instant…Denise grabbed my hands and released them from the clock.

What did you see?” she asked.

Where am I?” I asked.

You are in my home…the House of Redgate.

You just put your hands on the grandfather clock and began to go into some type of trance.”

I need to sit down for a while.” I said.

I sat down on the couch and Denise said, “You know…not everybody sees things, but I have been told by people that do.”

So…once again… Denise asked, “What did you see?”

I began to tell her about the house and fireplace and the horses that I saw outside.

That’s simply a gift.” she said.

How is this possible?” I asked.

She said, “Energy.

I believe there is an energy curve in this house that can somehow distort time.”

I don’t know about that” I replied, “but I do know what I felt and what I saw!”

We arranged a day and time for me to send movers out to her home to pick up the grandfather clock. After an awkward silence, I finally got up the nerve to ask Denise out for a date. I let her know that I really enjoy her company and that I would like to see her other than just buying art from her.

Denise looked a bit taken back then smiled at me and said, “I would love to.” We made plans for that Friday evening to go out for dinner and a movie.

The clock was delivered on Tuesday, and I had it placed in a side corner in my office. The clock looked so majestic standing proudly in the corner. Several people walked by my office and commented on the clock’s amazing wood carvings…especially the angels, the tree, and the vines.

Again, I started to think about what had happened in Denise’s home. I walked slowly over to the clock. Took a deep breath and put my hands on it expecting to go back to that old turn of the century house.

Nothing… Nothing at all.

I stood there with my hands on that clock for about five more minutes. Still nothing. I thought… this is so odd.

I had a lot of work to do, so the rest of the day became refocused on work…totally consumed with paperwork.

While working, I thought about what Denise had said about the energy in the house. Perhaps it was true. She did say that all on the property and all around it were supposedly sacred Indian burial grounds. Perhaps this holds the key to the power in that house.

A friend of mine, Peter Jones, a tall drink of water type of man who was around six foot, five inches tall, was a psychologist at City University. He also had a huge hobby of exploring paranormal phenomena. I called him and during our conversation, told him all about the House of Redgate and the experiences I had there. I asked him if he would consider exploring this house in more depth with me, permitting of course that Denise would be agreeable to this.

Peter said that he didn’t have to think about it… he was in!

After I hung up with Peter, I called Denise and explained to her about my friend Peter and that his hobby was paranormal phenomena. I then asked her if it would be alright for us to set up a time to come over to do a sort of paranormal investigation to check the house for paranormal energy and activity. Denise agreed and we set up a time to come over the following day.

Once we arrived at the House of Redgate, Denise welcomed Peter and I in. Denise took us to the main room and made us some herbal tea with honey and lemon and brought us some of her freshly baked scones. Over the tea and scones, I asked Denise, “Do you know how old the house is?”

Denise said that she had no idea but knew for sure that the house was at least 100 years old.

Before our meeting on Wednesday, I had gone downtown to the courthouse to look up the history of the house and the property it sat on. My research revealed that dating back to the early 1600s, several square miles of the land had belonged to the La Cota Indian tribe. I wondered to myself if the house could in fact be on or near holy ground. That is a terminology often used to denote a religious or burial site. No information pointed me in that direction but nonetheless, it had to be a possibility I thought.

Peter had brought some equipment with him that was able to measure sound waves and distortions as well as thermal energy. We set this equipment up in specific areas of each room.

I asked Peter to touch a Statue of David…” nothing” he said. Peter started to take readings and once again, Denise said to me, “Sometimes people feel something and sometimes they don’t.”

There are definite wave patterns that I am detecting.” Peter said. “Some are quite different than others.”

Peter then took some of the equipment with him and walked out into the yard. I heard him yell out, “Very strong readings out here and several places have spiked the machine.”

The Indian tribe of the Lakota is said to have many unmarked burial sites in Minnesota” Denise said. Perhaps this could be one. Denise went on further and said, “There were many shamans or “Holy Men” in the Lakota tribe. Could it be that this house is sitting on energy from shamans who have passed away?”

Peter came back into the house and noted that there were energy discrepancies and said that we now know this from the readings.

Could this be from past entities that once lived on this land? All of these thoughts were now coming to a head. We now have the ability to measure energy in ways that we never had before.

I watched Denise as she just stood there silently in a corner. She began to tell us that for many years, she has had unexplained dreams of Indian dances and ritual practices. “Over many years and nights, I have dreamed of watching the elders from the tribes’ dance and sing their songs. I feel like I have lived with these people before.” she said.

It’s clear that there is something here… but time mental transportation?”

said a very skeptical Peter.

I then looked at Denise with wide eyes and asked, “Do you see visions when you hold and touch objects in this house?”

She hesitated and then said, “Yes…I do.”

She went on, “As I said, some people feel things, and some do not. The people that don’t feel…don’t believe. The people who do feel…believe.”

Denise went on…” Maybe this energy is a conduit for what we might call faith…if it is strong inside of you, it opens up a place of possibilities.”

Peter exclaimed, “I really don’t know about any of that stuff.”

But I did…and I knew that I wasn’t going crazy.

Something happens to objects in and around this house and property. As in Indian culture, the power of spirts live on to fulfill another destiny.

Before we left, Denise looked at Peter and I in a deep and most serious way. “You must never tell anyone about this…if you do, my life and this house will never be the same.”

Peter and I just looked at each other and knew that Denise was right. We had to keep Denise’s secret and as hard as it was, we had to take this secret to our graves. I thought to myself, perhaps this is why objects already in this house are affected with this energy portal syndrome. In any case, we both promised to keep the secret of this house. We got into the car and didn’t say a word all the way back home.

The next day, I woke up and arrived at work at 7:30 a.m. I made coffee for my coworkers and went inside my office. There on the left corner of my office, stood that majestic grandfather clock.

It beckoned me to come closer. I approached the clock slowly, raised both of my hands and put each one on either side against the clock. I closed my eyes and just stood there waiting for a sign.

Hoping for another gift of a vision, but to my disappointment…nothing…it was just as it was before.

We all use our five senses to make our way in this world. But the sixth sense can be called our sense of faith. And faith, in its essence, is energy.

Friday arrived, and Denise and I finally went out on our first official date. It was a chilly, windswept rainy evening. We ended up tucking into a cute little trendy restaurant in Denise’s neighborhood called The Wharf. We both ordered the fish and chips. Over dinner, we talked and talked, it was as though we had known each other for many years or perhaps in another lifetime. Once we finished our dinner, we walked a block up the street to a little independent theater where they had a midnight double feature. They were showing Rosemary’s Baby and Children of a Lesser God. During the first intermission, several people around us got out of their seats and headed to the lobby. Since Denise and I were practically alone in the dark theater, I reached over and surprised her with a kiss that nearly took her breath away. Denise was so receptive to my affection that she kissed me back and I nearly lost my breath as well. The rest of the movie Denise and I sat extra close to each other, and I had my arm around her.

After the movie was over, we headed back to the car where we held each other and kissed several times. Both of us professed how our feelings had grown and deepened for each other.

More than a year has passed since that windswept rainy night. Denise and I have remained together. I too, now live in Redgate Manor with Denise and all her unique collections. With each passing day, our love continues to deepen and grow, and we are very happy together. Not in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I would be in love with such a woman and living in such a house!

From time to time, I think back on the paranormal events that took place and ultimately brought us together as a couple. I have come to realize that house and property were entrusted to Denise and now also to me to guard and protect. I guess you could say that overall, Denise and I are caretakers of sorts…she has known all along what I finally came to realize…

That we live on Holy Ground.


I am the author of Kosher Cuisine for a New Generation, In the House of Temptation, and Soul MurderOne Man’s Struggle to Hell and Back

I am currently working on stories, poems, and songs. Each story or poem is 3000 words or less and attracts the reader with many possibilities of the life of the character as well as their own. Tales from the World Beyond is the title to a collection of over 30 short stories.

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