Swift’s Hollow, aka Gore Orphanage #Haibun #Etheree #DoubleEtheree


Swift’s Hollow (Gore Orphanage)

It is a cold October night and I am walking through the woods at the bottom of this valley, Swift’s Hollow.  There is a strange noise, just beyond perception.  A muted sound, as if heard from a million miles away.  Is that the snap and crackle of a fire burning?  Do I smell smoke?  Are there screams of pain mixed in?  The children locked into this cruel prison for no other reason than their parents have died are trying to get out.  And now they are trapped, trying urgently to get out, to escape their grisly fate.  Do you hear them?

Dull rumble
Behind locked door
The valley glows red
An orphanage on fire
Apparition of the past
Visit the empty foundation
Souls lost in a conflagration
They speak to us as midnight approaches

Why visit this bloody spot of gore?
Why listen to the loud screams of pain?
Can you stand to hear babies cry?
A local right of passage
Communing with the dead
The poor children burnt
Meaningless death
Lost spirits


A local right of passage in my home town (Vermilion, OH) was going to Gore Orphanage at midnight.  The legend was that the orphanage burned down, killing all of the children.  The truth is that it burned long after the last child had left.  It was a cruel place, and the horror visited on the children was remembered, but there was no mass death scene.  There is also the old mansion in Swift’s Hollow that most think, wrongly, was the orphanage itself.  The mansion was a strange place where the occult was practiced in secret.  Perhaps the evil feeling really does come from it…  I have written about this several times on the blog.  (see here)  As a kid I spent many, many hours exploring Swift’s Hollow.  It was my favorite place in the world…


Written for Colleen’s Poetry challenge.  Each week she gives us two keywords, only we must use synonyms only, not the words themselves.  The words this week are “Ghost” and “Hollow“.  This week I decided to attempt a Double Etheree.  That being said, I added a paragraph and made it a Haibun

29 thoughts on “Swift’s Hollow, aka Gore Orphanage #Haibun #Etheree #DoubleEtheree

  1. Vashti Q

    Ooh! :o Your double Etheree was so sad and creepy. I’m glad you clarified that the children did not burn to death trapped in that place. Phew! It always amazes me how stories like this get started and then linger for decades or longer. Great job creeping us out! ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks, Vashti! The bad news is that a school about 30 miles away did burn, killing a lot of kids. This is the disaster that made it so all public buildings need to have doors that open out, not in. Anyway, some people think that the two things, the brutal orphanage and the school fire, somehow got mixed up in people’s minds and turned into a single event. And since the orphanage had such a name, Gore, it made it stick all the more…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I’m sure there is some sort of aura to this place, though it could just be a huge psychological thing – people expect it to be haunted, so their brains interpret everything the see or hear to the expected story. I like the idea of an aura better, though ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge Recap No. 106, “Ghost & Hollow”, #SynonymsOnly | Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      The whole story behind Gore Orphanage is very interesting, if very creepy. There were also side tales, like the caretaker who locked the door when he went out for a nip and hung himself when he couldn’t rescue the kids. Supposedly you could still sometimes see him over the road. There, does that make it easier to sleep? ;)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Yes, it was a cool place for a kid (I would never let kids play there though!!) Swift’s Hollow was bit lawless, people doing all sorts of things, most not really legal… And then there was Gore Orphanage and all of the stories. Even the name fits, but it was the real name.


    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I haven’t been there in many years. The foundation of the mansion where there at least until the early 1980s. A trail went back there off of the road, but I’m not sure how hard it is to find these days. The last time I went into Swift’s Hollow, two of the three roads were blocked and only one open. You can Google both names to find the general location.



Express Yourself

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s