- Photo By: Kevin Rosseel
Years and years ago something very bad happened in a little house on a corner of a street called Litman Avenue South.
The house was just a house- built mostly of wood because back in the day Seattle was a logging town- and the glass windows weren’t the sort of windows that opened which meant the little white house with the wide doors and very big basement always smelled like flowers, even after everyone was gone and the house was full of dust because the little house on Litman Street was a Funeral Home.
It had never been used for anything else, two men Conry Kelsev and Semple George built the house themselves and when they were finished they opened for business almost a week later and two weeks after that Semple George and his new wife the former Herma Dawn Bishop moved in.
Conry met Herma Dawn for the first time in the kitchen of the Home where she was making a pie. She had a streak of flour across her forehead and she was whistling which was something Conry couldn’t say he ever heard a lot of women doing- mostly they sang he thought.
” So it doesn’t bother her, ” Conry asked Semple as they left the kitchen for the basement ” having those bodies downstairs and such. “
” Not a bit ” Semple said with a smile ” she says she really feels at home here.”
And it was right then, at that very second Conry knew something bad was starting to happen in that house.
Conry and Semple had been friends all of their lives, and the only time they were apart was for the six years Semple had moved to the Midwest to take over the family business, which was a funeral home home in Iowa.
By the time Semple came back, Conry- who was a carpenter by trade had decided to spend the summers out in Iowa making caskets was already doing more work in the Funeral Parlors around town- decided it wasn’t such a bad line of work and readily agreed to open a Home right there in Seattle.
However, work was work and Conry knew for a fact that he would never be able to live in the place he worked, especially if dead bodies were involved.
So when Conry was done for the day, he went home two miles away and if for any reason he had to go down into the basement of the house on Litman Street after dark he was quick about it because he was sure that after dark the dead and the living had no business being around each other.
Conry turned out to be right.
The true story about the infamous Kelsev And George Funeral Home, and the story that led to a group of people who wanted to turn an old buidling into a dance club with a gothic theme ( what could be more perfect then a Goth Club in a real Morgue? ) strays from the Reality Street to Fiction Ave- starts right here.
One night Conry got called out to the O’Hara’s place on the bluffs, Mrs O’Hara had lost her second child as she did the her two others to burns from a fire that her children had been in over the weekend.
The last child to die was the youngest and Conry carried the little girl, who’s hair had been burned away ( she had always kept it braided he remembered and someone had tied a silk bow around her skinless forehead ) wrapped in a blanket carefully against his chest down to the basement and he nearly dropped her when he pushed the door open and heard voices coming from below.
He called himself a fool when he realized he recognized the voice as Herma Lee’s and he guessed as he made his way down the steps she was talking to Semple.
Only the voice that answered Herma Lee’s wasn’t Semple’s voice it- was a child’s voice and by the time Conry got into the basement he realized that there were two children down there with Herma Lee.
The children down there with Herma Dawn were Darlene and Violet- Darlene and Violet were Herma Dawn’s and Semple’s children.
” Will it take long?” Violet was asking her Mother as Conry stared into the blackness that was fighting for space in the well lit room.
” No. It’s almost done .”
And then Conry let himself look and there was Herma Dawn with a streak of flour across her forhead and a knife in her hand and on the embalming table, head to foot were two small bodies.
And on a small table next to her was a pie.
Herma Dawn was making a pie
And her daughters were helping her.
Conry guessed he had to do something.
The first thing he did was to walk up the stairs and out to the hearse where carefully laid the little girl across the front seat. After, he closed and locked the door and then he went out to the shed and found an axe and then he went down into the basement.
When he was finished he waited for Semple, he never did find out where it was Semple had been all night because he didn’t show up until after sunrise.
But there was dirt under Semple’s finger nails- which Conry saw as he swung his axe down and Semple threw his hands up…and Conry also saw it was in Semple’s hair and teeth too.
When he was done Conry couldn’t bring himself to bury the George Family in a graveyard, he wasn’t sure he would burn in hell for what he did to them but he was sure there would be a price to pay for putting them anywhere near a dead body.
So Conry took all four of them- piece by piece to the new building that was going up across the street- some people said it was going to be a hotel one day-and he buried them in the basement.
And he wondered if that would hold them.
He doubted it.
In all of the years he knew Herma Dawn he was sure of one thing-he had never seen her outside of the house- her or the girls.
He figured no matter how long it took, they would find their way back to it.
And they would keep finding a way to make pies.
That’s probably why he went home, to his house and hung himself in his attic.
So Conry Kelsev left behind a mystery, nobody ever figured out what he did to the bodies, the legend that the Club Owners built their Halloween House and future business on says Conry burned the George Family alive in the Funeral Home’s Crematorium but anyone with common sense realized the home didn’t have a crematorium, still it was a morbid story and that was the one that gets repeated the most.
However, the locals who fancied themselves as Detectives of sorts guessed that he buried the family in a cemeteries that Semple and Conry had access too, or more then likely somewhere on the grounds of the Funeral Home itself.
And then because Kelsev and George was not the sort of story you want floating around while you are trying to get funds for Urban Renewal Projects all the theories went away until the Morgan Group decided to open the club up in the Kelsev and George Funeral Home.
The problem the Morgan Group had was this: they had a good story to build on, but when Jeff and his brother Val went out to look at the Kelsev and George Funeral Home ( it was still there and still empty ) they were disappointed.
” Damn, it looks like a house a regular old house- are those flower boxes under the windows? Damn it to hell…”
Jeff was pointing to something across the street.
There were tears of joy in his eyes.
He was pointing to a sign, it was partially covered by Ivy and the paint was blistered and peeling
but none the less the sign said this building, with the fancy lentil work above the windows, the crumbling gargoyles peering down from the roof and the rusted iron bars running up and down over all of the windows and doors was for sale.
And the name of the building was still visible above the doorway.
It was the Dennison Hotel.
The Dennison did well for awhile and then it closed down and during the 1960’s it’s lobby was turned into a series of offices, it’s upper floors went the same way and eventually it was turned into a meat packing plant.
I kid you not.
So the Morgans opened their club by hosting a haunted house there, which they called the Kelsev and George Morgue.
Soon after they bought the house across the street to use as offices and while he was out on the road Val called and said he had moved into the old house, that he was going to start refinishing it and that he aslo had a surprise.
The surprise answered the door and it had a streak of flour across her forhead and she said as reached out for him, ” Jeff, it’s so good to meet you at last.”
” And you are? ” He asked.
” Well, when I worked for your club they used to call me Chef but now days they just call me Val’s wife.”
” My name is Herma Dawn.”