Halloween Reading: Grave’s End – A Haunting In Brooklyn

I don’t believe in ghosts, but if there’s one book that has ever made me wonder, it’s Grave’s End by Brooklyn native Elaine Mercado. Seriously – this thing gave me chills.

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In 1982, Elaine Mercado moved with her husband and daughters into a 3-story Queen Anne home in the ominously named Gravesend section of south Brooklyn. Though somewhat run down, they were looking forward to fixing it up and finally having a place of their own.

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Historic Old Gravesend Cemetery, founded in 1658

Shortly after moving in, Mercado began to feel as though she was constantly being watched. Her daughter heard clawing noises in the bathroom. Objects were found in places they hadn’t been left. The usual.

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A gorgeous home in Gravesend (though not Mercado’s house, as far as I know)

But things quickly got worse. A strange mist began appearing in the house. Unexplainable balls of light passed through rooms. Guests sleeping overnight experienced horrific suffocating dreams.

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Another beautiful Gravesend home, this one with a Mediterranean feel

I know what you’re thinking – Balls of light?? Strange mists?? Who could possibly believe this stuff?

Here’s the thing: for the past two years, I’ve been writing a screenplay about a haunting, and I’ve read a LOT of “true ghost” books for inspiration. Nearly all of them have been either 1) insanely boring, 2) laughably farfetched, 3) filled with the shoddiest investigation tactics imaginable, or 4) all of the above.

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“This particular block had many trees, all colored so vibrantly that the whole area had a beautiful orange cast to it.”

Grave’s End avoids each of these categories, largely because the narrator, Elaine Mercado comes across as such a down to Earth individual. She’s never overly excited or fascinated by the strange activity in her home – rather, she’s frightened of it, and simply wants it to go away. She doesn’t believe in ghosts, and rather than jumping to supernatural conclusions at every weird occurrence, she always immediately looks for a rational explanation.

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Another haunted Gravesend home? Nope – just some Halloween decorations!

In fact, as you read the book, you’ll find your own skepticism mirrored by Mercado. Early on, for example, Mercado’s daughter has a frightening experience when her bed sheets are pulled off by an invisible force. I immediately suspected a cry for attention – and so does Mercado, citing the fact that she and her husband had been having arguments, and that it was clearly the most obvious answer.

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Someone is going around Gravesend building crazy neo-colonial houses that make it feel like New England. Seriously, look at this thing!

And this is where things get spooky. About halfway through, as the weirdness grows to¬† unbelievable levels, you’ll realize there are only two possibilities: either Mercado is making the whole thing up, or there is something very evil lurking in Gravesend.

Grave’s End currently has 138 reviews averaging 4.5 stars, making it possibly the best reviewed “true ghost” book on Amazon – and that’s saying a lot. If you’re looking for a spooky tale for some crisp autumn air reading, Grave’s End won’t disappoint, regardless of whether you believe its validity. Get it on Amazon here.

-SCOUT

PS – Can anyone tell me what location is on the cover of the book?? It’s definitely not Mercado’s home.

PPS – In case you’re wondering where her allegedly haunted house is, Mercado doesn’t reveal the address (though I believe it’s pretty well known to Gravesenders).

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24 comments

  1. I agree-That account of a haunting is one of the most real I have ever read. I honestly do not think she made any of it up. I read ghost stories quite frequently; for some reason it seems the English have the best ghosts.

    I also recommend “Spindrift, Spray from a Psychic Sea” by Jan Bryant Bartell. I read it years ago and it always stayed with me-so much I had to find another copy of the book. It happens in a NY Greenwich Village townhouse on West 10th street.

    I just checked Amazon and they have it available-some copies very cheap-it was published in 1974.

  2. I should say that I know absolutely nothing about this book. HOWEVER…Having the narrator be intelligent and skeptical is an old horror writing trick. H. P. Lovecraft specialized in it.

  3. @jenny – Great find. I’m wondering if that’s the Dumbarton estate. (Right then, I wanted to type “the old Dumbarton estate” — maybe I should have, given the Scooby-Doo-ness of this post!)

  4. Hmmm. Written by Elaine Mercado? Why is that name familiar? Rosemary’s Baby – the real name of the satanic leader next door was Steven Marcato. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary's_Baby_(film)

  5. Interesting that you can’t find out which house in Gravesend it is by googling.

    • There are some clues in the book – it’s described as having a large tree that seems to press against the front. It’s a 3-story Queen Anne located a few blocks from the Gravesend cemetery. It’s about 125 years old. Tree-lined block. Seems like that should be enough, but I drove around and wasn’t able to figure it out. That top picture actually seems like a contender – note the chopped down tree in the front yard. But that part of the street doesn’t have any trees…

      The author no longer owns the house. All incidents have stopped following a “housecleaning” as described in the book.

      • She might have tweaked a few details in order to thwart just this sort of find-the-house detective work. With enough time and inclination, it probably would be possible to track down the address through the land records.

      • Brooklyn streets lost a lot of their trees in the 80s and 90s, and into the 00s. Insect infestations, fungal growths and simple weather-born attrition cost us a lot of hundred year old trees. It wouldn’t surprise me that a street which was “tree-lined” in the early 80s could be down to just a few saplings in 2011.

        As far as the truth about ghosts goes, I try to be of a logical mindset, so I don’t quickly accept the supernatural as the cause of certain events. However, I have had four incidents where I have seen or felt someone who couldn’t have been there, and for which no logical source could be found. Two in Brooklyn, one on Governor’s Island, and one at Fort William Henry in upstate New York. Skeptical as I normally am, I have to give some credence to the idea that there are some things we just can’t explain, and which may be supernatural in origin.

  6. I love hauntings, thanks for the tip. I am almost done reading my current book “The Pacific”.

  7. I love a good ghost story, especially this time of year. Just purchased ‘Grave’s End’ on Kindle. Thanks for the tip!

  8. The real house is on E 9 St, between Aves U and V, on the odd side of the street. Do not remember the address, but in the middle of the block. Friend lived across the street and had no knowledge of septic holes in her backyard, as book had.

  9. Just finished reading this book and I am not sure that I am convinced.

    Being asked to believe that (what seems to be) a perfectly rational and well educated person knows nothing about the situation she finds herself in (even though she claims to have watched her psychic investigations television programmes) is a bit far fetched.

    She portrays herself as completely ignorant of all facts, theories and information in the paranormal world and seems very hesitant to actually go and do some research. I am willing to bet that even if you don’t know the first thing about something you can usually dredge up a few facts simply through the things you have seen on TV and Film and the things you have read in books, the author couldn’t produce anything and seemed surprised every time something new was revealed. This complete ignorance seems a bit too much you, cannot live in this day and age with picking up a bit of information on the paranormal even if you don’t believe it. This, coupled with her lack of research on the house (the first thing I would want to know is the history of my house), research that is left until what can only be called the 11th hour, I just feel that something doesn’t sit right.

    I also question her refusal to let her tutor investigate the disturbance and then her reluctance to let the psychic investigators
    ‘clean’ the house. If it was so bad surely that would be the first thing you would want to do, she was prepared to sell the house to get away from it but not to remove the entities inside it, that seems just a little bit rediculous to me.

    The ignorance of the paranormal world, the reluctance to do any research along with informing the reader that she would do anything to stop the disturbance but then didn’t really want the house to be ‘cleaned’ left me with too much disbelief to really believe the whole thing to be true.

    That said, it is a good book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and the lack of shock tactics made the whole thing an excellent read.

  10. It does resemble this house which may have been reconstructed at some time.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001/5928920132/

    I’m sorry to say that I am quite skeptical regarding this particular account.

    • Lisanne,

      You know what I find odd? Your picture and the one of the front of the book is quite similar when you look at them. You may have hit the nail on the head! Thanks!

      Jason

  11. Hi
    Just came across your article and wanted to thank you for focusing on my book, Grave’s End.
    The events that happened in that house remain, to this day, baffling and disconcerting to me.
    My girls are grown, and I am now a grandma, but memories of that house still linger and make me uncomfortable. Both of my daughters remember their childhood with fondness and fascination and even a quite a bit of nostalgia. What those years left me with was an all abiding interest in anything paranormal. My husband and I view anything and everything on the subject, still searching, I think, for further explanations of what exactly happened to us.
    I can say that every word I wrote was true, events happening as remembered not only by me, but my daughters, husband, friends, neighbors and relatives. I am aware of how unbelievable it all may seem to some readers, and I completely understand that. It was never my intention to try to make anyone a believer. I just wrote down what honestly happened to us. However, through the course of the years, I have received so much mail, almost all from folks thanking me for sharing my story because many of them had similar stories they were ashamed to reveal. This has made me feel so wonderful about writing the book. Also, at readings, signings and talk shows,
    people wait until the end and then share their stories with me. I have considered it a privilege to help in this manner.
    I am not here to convince anyone, but I would ask that some of you remember that when the book was written, I had no access to the Internet , there were no ghost hunter shows on TV, and I was brought up to think this stuff was all nonsense. When I understood something was very wrong I took a class in paranormal psychology to educate myself. Also, I say, probably too many times in the book, that there were many, many respites from
    activity, most of them months long. Otherwise we could not possibly have survived in such an unsettling environment. So in case you are someone who needs reassurance that you are not alone in experiencing the paranormal, know that there are plenty of others like you.
    As for the cover photo, my publisher never told me what area of the US that house is located.
    And the address of the original Grave’s End house is not published in order to assure the new owner’s privacy.
    When we lived there, we actually has people knock on our doors during dinnertime, asking for a tour. The public can also be a bit scary!
    Again, thanks for your article. I am always willing to answer any questions to the best of my ability.
    Cheers!
    Elaine Mercado, RN

  12. I just finished the book last week. It would make an excellent “A Haunting” episode on the Discovery Channel. Elaine, can you post some pictures or video that your brother took during the clensing?

  13. I understand that the author of the book wrote on here & states she is not trying to convince anyone and that this is her true testimony. There are just some things I do not understand… Why did it take her so long to do anything.. Supposedly she lived In this house 13 years with her daughters. That’s a long time. I know what it’s like to live in a haunted place & also know what it’s like to not have the $$ to move. I stayed in a apartment for a year in California that was definitely haunted. And in the beginning I would just try to ignore what was going on until it got to the point where it can be uncomfortable & me and my husband started sleeping in the living room. But after 7 months dealing with this I was trying to figure out what to do to get rid of the negative energy or if I needed to find a shaman or priest. I was told that using a shaman or priest would make it worse so went to a kindred journey store & was told to burn sage and clear all the rooms & open all windows & doors & demand spirit to leave this is your home or they can stay if they will respect that it’s your home & not bother anyone. Unfortunately, I didn’t do this until my last day in the apartment because that’s when I found out about the sage & local store that sold sage & other stuff for super-natural & alternative beliefs. I found out also that a couple apartments down there was a triple homicide.. I don’t know if this has anything to do with negative energy in my apartment. I just don’t understand how she could tolerate that for 13 years with her two kids.. And not have tried to find the history & get her house cleansed sooner.

  14. Lara, if there is a ghost, a priest cant always help it depends on the priest, but a medium can help. Demanding a spirit to leave doesn’t always work either. Most spirits do not even realize they are dead. As far as your apartment goes Lara, of course that triple homicide has something to do with negative energy in your apartment and probably the building itself?

  15. The address of the house in the NY Daily article was 2137 E 9th St
    Brooklyn, NY 11223.

  16. I read the book well over 8 years ago and LOVED it. While watching shows about haunting, her book popped up in my memory (and at other times as well). I also did some searching and found the address to be VERY close to the above replier (Gil who replied on June 23, 2013), only my address came in as 2136 E 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11223 (he has 2137). Either way, it is so close. I checked the photo and it is right on – it’s Elaine’s former home. For me, I couldn’t live in a home that had that history. But to each there own, I guess. By the way, a replier awhile back (years back was helpful in stating Elaine’s house was on the East side of brooklyn and between the Avenue’s U and V). Very helpful. Thanks! This happens to be my fairly close to my dads neighborhood (he is on the west side). Sort of gives me the chills lol Anyway, no matter where we live there are spirits; I believe this.

  17. Elaine Mercato stated in her comment that she kept the address private, and gave a specific reason for doing so. Why then do two people go out of their way to reveal to the address. That’s just disrespectful and rude. :/

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