The Gold Bars is a spooky ghost story about an old man who is rumored to have a fortune in treasure hidden somewhere on his property. This old American folk tale is sometimes known as The Accursed House or The Isle of Pines.
There was an old, dilapidated house that stood on a hill near Gallipolis, Ohio. For many years, it was the home of an old man named Herman Deluse. He had lived there alone as long as anyone could remember. He kept to himself mostly and only ever ventured into town to buy supplies.
Although the old man never worked and the house was falling apart, he always seemed to have a lot of money. Nobody could understand where his wealth came from and rumors began to fly around the town. People said he had a fortune in ill-gotten gold stashed away somewhere on his property. Some said he robbed a bank years ago and had been hiding out from the police ever since and others said he came across a treasure map and murdered his accomplices to keep them quiet.
One night, the old man died in his sleep. It was days before his body was discovered and it had already begun to rot. He was buried in the cemetery, but not one person in town bothered to attend the funeral. He didn’t have any family, so the house was locked up until such time as his distant relatives could be contacted. Everything inside the house was left just as it was when he died.
A few nights later, a teenage boy was on his way home when it began to rain heavily. He happened to pass by the old, dilapidated house, so he climbed up the hill and took shelter under the roof of the porch and waited for the storm to pass.
Just then, the boy saw a light moving about the house. Peering through the window, he watched in amazement as the old man came in, carrying a candle. When he saw the ghostly figure coming towards the window, the teenager was scared out of his wits. With a yell, he jumped off the porch and raced down the hillside. He didn’t stop running until he reached home.
When he burst through the front door, his mother and father asked him what was wrong.
“I just saw Old Man Deluse!” the boy panted.
“Old Man Deluse is dead and buried,” said his father. “Didn’t you hear?”
“I know,” said the boy. “But I was just up at his house. I saw him with my own two eyes… I saw his ghost.”
“What was he doing?” asked his mother.
“Just walking around the house,” said the boy, trying to calm himself down.
“Did it look like he was searching for something,” his father asked.
“Maybe,” the teenager replied.
His father thought for a long while, then said, “I’ve read about this kind of thing before… Someone dies, leaving a hidden treasure… Then, their ghost returns… It can’t rest… That’s the reason they come back… They can’t rest until they lead someone to the treasure… I’ve read about many cases where that happened… The person saw the ghost pointing at something and when they dug it up, that’s where the treasure was buried.”
“Well, there were all those rumors,” said his wife. “About the gold…”
“It scared me half to death,” said the boy.
“Don’t be scared, Son,” said his father. “Ghosts can’t hurt you. I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. You and I are going to go up there and investigate. If I’m right, we could be rich.”
“OK,” said the boy, not wanting his father to think he was a coward. “When should be go? Tomorrow morning?”
“Tonight,” the father said, his voice tinged with excitement. “There’s no time like the present. We’ve got to get there before anyone else starts poking around. Maybe Old Man Deluse can lead us to where he hid his gold.”
Together, the father and son drove out to the Old Deluse place and parked by the side of the road. It was almost midnight. They made their way up the hillside and, as they neared the house, they saw a light moving inside the house. It appeared at one window and then another. They watched until the light disappeared.
The father took out his hammer and bashed the lock a few times until it broke off. When he opened the door, the house was in darkness and everything was silent. All they could hear was the beating of their own hearts. He tried the light switch, but it didn’t work.
“The electricity must have been cut off,” he whispered.
“I wish we had brought a flashlight,” said the boy.
The father picked up two candles, struck a match to light them and handed one to his son. they proceeded to explore the place, passing from room to room. Dust lay thick on the floor and nothing was disturbed.
When they came to the last room in the house, the father opened the door and a strong gust of wind blew through the building. Their candles were suddenly extinguished and they were plunged into darkness.
In the pitch black, the father retreated and fumbled for his matches. His hand was shaking.
“Hold on, Son,” he whispered. “We’ll be OK. Ghosts can’t hurt you.”
He found his matches and struck one, but it wouldn’t light. All of a sudden, there came an unearthly scream, followed by a dull thud as if something had fallen.
“Don’t be scared, Son,” he said. “We’ll be fine. Just give me a second to get this lit.”
He struck a second match and managed to light his candle. That’s when he realized that the hallway was empty. His son was nowhere in sight. The father began to panic. He hurried to the last room and opened the door.
By the light of the candle, he could see a large hole in the wall. Inside the hole were stacks of gold bars. Then, he looked at the floor and saw his son lying there. The boy was clutching a gold bar in his hand. His hair was white, his eyes were wide and his face was twisted in a silent scream.
The father dropped to his knees and touched the boy’s forehead. Then, he staggered back in horror. The boy’s skin was icy to the touch. He was dead.
Days later, the police performed an autopsy on the teenage boy’s corpse. There were no marks on his body and they couldn’t figure out what had killed a perfectly healthy youngster in the prime of life. His heart had just inexplicably stopped. It was as if something or someone had simply scared the boy to death. When they buried him in the cemetery, it just so happened that his grave was located next to that of Old Man Deluse.