The Brass Buttons is a true ghost story about a haunted house in Philadelphia and a little girl who claims to see the ghost of a little boy in her attic playroom.
Many years ago, in Philadelphia, there was a pretty but old-fashioned house that stood in Stuyvesant Square. The house had been empty for a long time, but in the Winter of 1883, a man decided to purchase it and moved into it with his wife and their six-year old daughter.
The couple set about renovating the house and there was a lot of work to do. While they were busy working, they allowed their little girl to go up to the attic and play. Years before, the attic had been converted into a playroom.
After a few weeks, work on the rooms downstairs was almost finished and the mother had more time to spend with her daughter. However, the little girl kept stealing back up to the attic alone to play. Finally, the mother asked her why she liked to go up there so much. The child replied that she liked to play with the funny little boy in the attic.
“What little boy?” asked the mother.
“The little boy with the brass buttons,” the child replied.
The mother brought her daughter up to the attic, but it was completely empty.
“He went in there,” the little girl insisted, pointing to the boarded-up fireplace.
The exasperated mother was concerned that her daughter was telling lies and threatened to punish her for it. When the father came home, he gave his daughter a stern talking-to and warned her about making up stories that weren’t true.
However, the little girl kept insisting so strongly that she saw the “funny little boy with the brass buttons”, that the parents began to believe her.
The father was curious and decided to investigate the history of the house. He found out that it had previously been owned by an Englishman named Cowdery who had had three children – two boys and a girl.
The youngest boy was born mentally handicapped and, although the neighbors said he was a sweet and innocent child, his father was ashamed of him and never allowed him to be seen outdoors.
One day, the poor little boy’s cap was found floating in the East river. The police assumed that the mentally handicapped child had accidentally fallen in and drowed. However, his body was never recovered.
Shortly after the little boy’s disappearance, Mr. Cowdery put the house up for sale and moved West with his wife and surviving children. Nobody knew exactly where the family had gone.
When the little girl’s father heard this story, he was suspicious and decided to search the attic thoroughly. He brought his little daughter upstairs and asked her to show him where the little boy came from. Again, she pointed to the boarded-up fireplace.
Her father tore off the boards and demolished part of the wall beside the chimney. After removing the bricks and cement, he was horrified to find the skeletal remains of a little boy. He was wearing a dark blue jacket with four rows of brass buttons down the front.
Further examination revealed that the back of the child’s skull had been crushed by a violent blow.
The little boy had been murdered by his own father!
The family ended up moving out of the house. The poor little boy’s bones were given a decent burial and the affair was kept quiet.