Frank Turnbrook, who would eventually become General Frank Turnbrook, left his wife and children to enlist in the Civil War in 1861. Mrs. Turnbrook fled with her children into Maryland, where she thought they would be safer. They moved to the small town of Glenwood. Glenwood is in Howard County, between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Mrs. Turnbrook was fortunate enough to find a large house with reasonable rent. She had no idea the home was affordable, for a shocking reason.
Mrs. Turnbrook relied solely on her husband’s check to pay their expenses. When the first arrived, she submitted it to the bank as she had with her previous bank. She directed the staff to deliver the cash to her new house. The staff hesitated when she told her address. She heard them whisper about a haunted house, but demanded they bring her money to her home. They eventually agreed.
She dismissed their reaction as utter nonsense and continued with her daily tasks. The bank delivered her money, as promised, and life resumed normality. Two weeks later, the main housekeeper visited Mrs. Turnbrook with ominous news. The housekeeper said two other servants notified her that if the strange nightly noises didn’t cease, they would leave. Mrs. Turnbrook still didn’t believe anything was wrong with her house, but she didn’t want to lose what help she had. She moved them from the second floor staff quarters to the bedrooms near her own.
She explored the upper floors to see if she could locate what made the unsettling noises. She went from one room to the next, but couldn’t find anything unusual that might issue ghostly sounds. The floors didn’t squeak or groan. The doors were in relatively good condition. She eventually came to a spacious room she hadn’t noticed before, an abandoned bedroom. The strangest element was a massive iron cage in the center of the room. She thought about it a moment, but assumed the previous owner must’ve kept their dogs in the room.
She continued her inspection, but didn’t find anything else. Things again seemed to return to normal.
A week later, the servants who issued the threats left due to the noises. She was aggravated, but believed their imagination had run away with them. She couldn’t understand why so many people were so suspicious of a simple house. Her disbelief and skepticism ended soon after.
One night, she heard someone walking upstairs. They walked towards the room with the cage, and then the steps receded. Someone was pacing. She listened as the individual paced for an hour. She suspected intruders, but couldn’t figure out what they were doing. It didn’t sound like someone stealing valuables, but there weren’t any valuables upstairs to take. They didn’t seem to care if anyone heard their steps or not. She grew suspicious herself. She didn’t want to wake the house for no reason. There was a chance there wasn’t anyone there at all. She resolved to keep it to herself until she could decide what to do.
The family sat down for breakfast the next morning. She was tempted to confess what happened the previous night, but held her tongue. Her eldest son walked in and she remembered his late evening. He had come in far past his curfew and she chastised him for his disregard. She thought he would dismiss her irritation as he normally did, but he didn’t. He was not normal. Something was very wrong. He seemed almost despondent. He said he couldn’t sleep because people kept knocking on his door and looking in on him. He thought the servants didn’t trust him to put his candle out before he went to sleep. It made him nervous so he got up to take a walk.
Suddenly, the verbal gates opened and everyone had a story. All her daughters had seen and heard things, as had the rest of the staff. Mrs. Turnbrook was ready for one or two tales, but everyone had them. She was speechless. She visited to Mrs. Adkins after breakfast, a family friend who lived close by. She told her about the situation. Mrs. Adkins was a stalwart skeptic. She thought the family was suffering from nothing more than bad dreams and indigestion.
She volunteered to sleep in the most haunted room in the house, even brought her cocker spaniel to spend the night. She didn’t believe there was any truth to the haunting. Upon arrival, she inspected the entire room from ceiling to floors. She then inspected the entire second story. When everything was to her satisfaction, she unpacked her things. That night, she lay down in the bed with her dog at her side.
Only minutes later, the animal howled. Her door suddenly opened and a pale, sickly boy entered the room. At first, she assumed it was Mrs. Turnbook’s son. It couldn’t be. He was far too thin. She knew it was a living person, whether he was related or not. He walked into the cage in the middle of the room, and then back out. He eventually left the room altogether. She followed him, determined to discover where the stranger had entered the house.
She started down the main steps after him, but he disappeared. She waited a moment to see if her eyes had just played tricks on her. They weren’t. The boy was just gone. Adkins promptly packed her things and left.
Mrs. Turnbrook was irate. She confronted the property owner, who said it was no time for Virginians to allow their imaginations to run wild. He said she’d signed a legal document and had to stay until the end of the terms. Mrs. Turnbrook found a loophole to the agreement. She rented out the old house to other people, while she and her family rented another. The landlord knew about it, but didn’t care. He just wanted the matter quiet.
It wasn’t long before she knew the real story behind the room with the cage, and then she wished she hadn’t. A neighbor finally confessed to what the entire region knew. A terrible man owned the place before the landlord. The previous owner took in his orphaned nephew, who also happened to be wealthy. The uncle deceived the entire the community. He said the child had no discipline and needed constant punishment.
The boy was tortured throughout his life, even before the cage. His “punishments” only became more brutal and heinous as he grew older. Ultimately, an iron cage was ordered and installed in the house. The boy was threatened with imprisonment if he “misbehaved.” Then, he was imprisoned. Eventually, life in the cage was a common, everyday experience. The uncle kept him locked up for days at a time and just brought him food and water once or twice a day. Then, he was locked up for days with no food or water. He eventually died and the uncle got everything.
The boy now had his freedom and paced the time away until he could have revenge on the uncle that tortured him.