Kristin Eckhardt, under the name Emily Thomas, is the author of If Walls Could Talk in the Secrets of the Blue Hill Library series.
My house likes to “talk” at night. The walls creak. The roof groans. The pipes gurgle.
When we first moved here, two years ago, these strange noises in the middle of the night often had me warily peeking out the bedroom door just to make sure nothing was amiss. Now I’m used to the way the house settles in after a long day, and the sounds are even comforting in their own way.
It seems the older the building, the more it has to say. Which isn’t surprising when you consider how many stories exist within the framework of our homes, schools and offices. Sometimes clues to those stories are even buried behind walls and underneath the floorboards, just waiting to be found.
In my husband’s small hometown, one big secret was discovered in 1915, when workers were building a new schoolhouse. While digging a foundation to replace the old, framed schoolhouse with a bigger, brick building, the workers found something unusual–the tip of something that looked like an elephant tusk.
Experts were called in and an excavation began that ultimately revealed two full tusks belonging to a 20,000-year-old mammoth, along with the mammoth’s partially intact skull. The tusks measured more than eleven feet long, weighed 498 pounds, and were 30 inches in diameter. The discovery attracted quite a crowd, according to the field notes made by the paleontologist who conducted the excavation.
“From 500-1,000 visitors a day, ” wrote one E.H. Barbour. “Greatly interfere with work.”
I find stories like that fascinating, and it makes me wonder what secrets might be lying beneath the floors and behind the walls of my own home. That curiosity inspired me while writing If Walls Could Talk, another installment in the Secrets of the Blue Hill Library series. When Anne unearths a shocking discovery in her house, it leads her to family secrets that have been buried for decades.
I haven’t searched for any secrets buried behind my own walls yet, but after writing If Walls Could Talk, I might just be curious enough to start.