Mercy Lake
a ghost story


As it was.

So begins the journals of Emma Swift just as they were found after her death. The journals were found in the library of Norwood House at Mercy Lake in Massachusetts. They were first transcribed in 1989. Their have been ages of stories told of Norwood House. It was built by a Boston native, Christopher Norwood. Mr. Norwood was a successful businessman but thought to be eccentric. That was due to the fact that he built his fortune on the dead. He'd founded Norwood Casket Works in 1793 and over time came to supply almost all the undertakers in Massachusetts and eventually Rode Island. His products, though morose, were considered the finest caskets made at that time. By 1801 Norwood Caskets made up 98% of all caskets sold through out Massachusetts and Rode Island. They’d be asked for by name. The rich of that time would pay any price for a Norwood Exclusive design. Norwood Casket Works would produce this one of a kind casket for the right price.

In 1843 due to health concerns, Mr. Norwood bought a large track of land adjacent to Mercy Lake in Massachusetts and built a mansion as his rural retreat. He named it Norwood House. At that time, there wasn't a township located near the lake so Mr. Norwood decided to open his home to runaway slaves. In such a remote location and with his large track of land, many runaway slaves stopped over to rest at Norwood House making it a major stop on the underground railroad.

In 1855 with his health failing Mr. Norwood returned to Boston and was hospitalized. Christopher Norwood died in 1856 of consumption and was buried with little fan fair in Phipps Street Burying Ground in Boston. Mr. Norwood never married so had no airs to his fortune. He seemed disinterested in the fate of his famous casket company and left no one to inherit or assume ownership. The employees abandoned the company starting numerous casket works of their own but none of them ever achieved the success of the once famous Norwood Casket Works. As with all things, time diminished the memory of Mr. Norwood's accomplishments and he fell into obscurity as did the fate of Norwood House.

Records seem to show that Norwood House continued to be maintained by a few members of the house staff until the O'Malley family purchased Norwood House and adjacent property. They lived quietly there until the death of the families last member, Macy O'Malley. She left the property and the family fortune to her cousin Emma Swift.

The history of the house had been obscured until the passing of Emma Swift and the finding of her journals in the house library. What follows is a true and faithful copy of those journals. Ms. Swift had an unusual habit of writing titles or possibly chapter headings on pages in her journals. The relevance is undocumented so we have left them in place as they were found. We make no judgement as to the content of the journals we only offer them to the world due to the fame Ms. Swift obtained as an author.

The Editors,

Heifer Leeham and Jonathan Atwood
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