Hodgepodge by Charlie Hodge
Lost Souls of Lakewood – The History and Mystery of Blaylock’s Mansion
It’s been close to five years in the making. Countless sleepless nights, mega hours of research and interviews, a lot of fun, lots of stress, and finally Lost Souls of Lakewood – The History and Mystery of Blaylock’s Mansion is ready for bookshelves.
I feel giddy. Like a kid at Christmas. Book launch is Saturday, June 5th at Mosaic Books in Kelowna.
Unfortunately my book writing project partner Dan McGauley died recently and is not here today to hold an actual printed copy in his hand. Suffice to say after so much time and work together this joy I hold feels a bit hollow.
Regardless, Danny Boy would want the world to enjoy our effort. More on the book prior to launch – but here is an opening tease from the book.
I’ve been around here for a long time; that’s for sure. Guess I qualify as a native of the area or a pioneer. Certainly I’ve been here all of my days and nights and most of the time have been grateful for it. Sometimes though I ponder what my existence would have been like had I made different choices. How would my world have spun had I refused the simple assignment presented to me that fateful day so many long years ago? The day my dreams met reality and evolved into a state of, well…this.
What is this anyway? Limbo? Many times during these lonely years I’ve contemplated my fate had I gone somewhere else when I could when I was young and free. Now I can only wonder. And wait. For what I do not know but wait I must.
There is no question I am good at waiting. I’ve been doing it for what seems like forever. Waiting for my release. For my chance to see the rest of the world. A chance to get away from this prison within paradise. Time to be like the wind.
On the other hand, this is a lovely place in which to live, love, laugh, work, play… If one has to “be” somewhere on this planet, certainly here is a good spot. This is one of the finest jewels in North America. That’s how it feels to me and how it impacts everyone who visits this beautiful, special place.
A special place indeed.
This saga may be titled Lost Souls of Lakewood – The History and Mystery of Blaylock’s Mansion; however, the mansion is only part of the story. This tale is about much more than a building or even the various fascinating people who lived in it. In fact, it is even bigger than all the stories about all of the people who lived in all of the homes that shared this special space.
It is about this spot itself. This place. This piece of land.
Even today many who visit Blaylock’s Mansion gain a sense of it. Perhaps while wandering through the marvelous mansion as a B&B guest or ambling within the lush meandering gardens while attending an outdoor wedding. Perhaps while taking a gentle stroll alone to a quiet spot, relaxing and allowing it to happen – the ambient magic settles in. Regardless of where, when, or how, nearly everyone who spends even a little time at Blaylock’s Mansion eventually feels its uniqueness.
There is an energy source to the land that cannot be defined. It is beyond power, beyond dimensions, all-encompassing yet clearly a portal to something or somewhere else. It’s addictive, this piece of land; a soother to some, a threat to others.
It draws you back. Subtle yet firmly embracing, holding, haunting – it penetrates you. There is a sense of something healing, powerful, and revitalizing. It’s as if the earth literally takes hold of you.
Another emotion that sometimes overwhelms visitors is a sense of sorrow.
Last, yet certainly not least, are those who sense unease or outright fear and foreboding while visiting certain parts of the mansion. It stops them in their tracks, too terrified to venture further.
For me, Blaylock’s Mansion has always been a place of peace and serenity, despite the sorrow inflicted by some; a magical, powerful, calming place. A spiritual sanctuary.
My heart stopped when I first saw this spot, long before the mansion. I’d been told of its beauty, its uniqueness, and its energy, but I never fully comprehended it until I actually embraced it.
My grandmother was a wise woman – a bit of a historian, I guess you could say. When I was just a young lad, she half-jokingly told me, “In the future history tellers will never get the stories right, so you had better remember everything I tell you.” Which, of course, I did not do.
Regardless, I digress. Grandmother was born in this area, now known as the Kootenays, and therefore, familiar with local legends and folklore. She spoke of the amazing sense of healing and serenity on Blaylock’s land being well known long before Blaylock himself was even spawned …