The Ghost of Lake Tapaho
Summary: A “ghost” is terrorizing the Parr Hotel resort at Lake Tapaho, located about 120 miles north of Watertown. Mr. Parr has solicited Jeckerson and Seckatary Hawkins to investigate, and the whole club, along with Doc Waters, drives to Lake Tapaho to stay at the resort. The “ghost” turns out to be a slick make-up artist and deep sea diver named George Cornwall, who disguises himself as a Dutchman named Mr. Von Huten who is staying as a guest at the resort. Cornwall dons a sea-diving outfit that looks something like a walrus, and emerges from the lake to frighten people at the resort. Cornwall has been hired by Joisah Dirks, a local man who owns substantial amounts of the land around Lake Tapaho. Dirks' plot is to use terror to achieve two things. First, he wants to convince Parr to give up his hotel and land, and sell them to Dirks. Second, he wants to frighten away an elderly Native American named Chief Two Feathers. The Chief has a document that shows he has the title to all the land around Lake Tapaho. Jeckerson and Hawkins expose Dirks’ plot and the ghost. In the end, Chief Two Feathers signs over the land title document to Parr’s son, Robert Parr, who has befriended him. Robert Parr feels that it would not be fair to take control of all the land this way, so he burns the document, leaving all property owners around the lake with clear title to their land.
There is something scary in the water that is ruining the rental values. Seck comes just in time to solve this mystery and set things right. But, who is responsible?: "Aleck" Parr? - Owner of most Tapaho cottages / Spike Givens? / Evelyn Crail - Eva La Veliere? / Old Iron Man, 100 year old Indian Chief?/ Roger Mallory? / Mrs. Callas ?(really Mrs. Cornwall) / Harry Loderman ?/ Orlando "Orlie" Weeks? / Honorable Josiah Dirks? / Fred Finsterness? / Dr. Chambless?/ Mr. Von Huten?- the pretended to be big, old German? And who has the stolen black Opal?
By The Shadow 4.29.03
Seck is sitting at his desk thinking that school was out for summer and that it was peaceful and quiet on the old riverbank. He is interrupted by Jeckerson, the detective from Watertown who comes in to see him. Jeckerson brings a letter from a man named Alexander Parr from Lake Tapaho. Parr is discussing a mystery at the lake that is ruining business and tells about a $5,000.00 reward for anyone who could stop the trouble. He also mentions Seckatary Hawkins and how he thought that Hawkins would be of great help in solving the mystery.
There is some little negotiation, as Hawkins wants Doc Waters and the rest of the boys to come along for a vacation up at the lake. Jeckerson eventually takes care of it and they are all going. They closed up the clubhouse and drove up to the lake in two cars. Doc Waters big sedan and Jeckerson’s smaller car with a “rumble” seat. The trip takes 4 and half-hours and when they arrived they made a tour around the big lake and the amusement park. There are cottages and fishing camps all around the lake, but most of them were empty due to the problems with the ghostly mystery. The last ghostly scare had happened around suppertime the previous day.
They meet Alexander Parr, resort owner; ands he fills them in on some of the details of the ghost that is scaring people away. . He tells Hawkins that his son Robert will be glad to seem him and the other boys. Mr. Parr tells Hawkins that he built a cabin for Robert down on Wolf Island and that was where the boy spent most of his time. He tells Hawkins to take his boys and go down to see his son. They found Wolf Island and the cabin but the boy is not there. They sit down and Hawkins tells them about the real reason they are there – to help Jeckerson solve the mystery.
Robert arrives sliding down a tree where he had been playing Tarzan. He introduces himself to Hawkins and the boys and then takes them in to see his cabin. It is filled with Indian relics, stuffed ducks, animal horns and a couple of flintlock rifles. There are many books and under a table is a huge pile of newspapers that describe the adventures of the Fair and Square boys down on the riverbank. He expresses his dream of being a member of the club and they invite him to join, at least for as long as their vacation lasts. He accepts.
Doc and Jeckerson and the boys are given two big cottages on the edge of the lake. Doc stays in one with half of the boys and Jeckerson takes the other half with him. Robert Parr had fixed up another cottage that they could use for their meeting room. It even had a little dressing room where Seck could do his writing. As they were getting ready for bed on their first night, Jeckerson comes in to show Hawkins a note he had found it on the windshield of his car when he went to put it into the garage. It said very simply, “Go back to Watertown and say nothing of this note if you value your life.” They both agree that the “ghost” knows all about them. But they also agree that they are not going to let it frighten them away.
They have an enjoyable first day at the lake and in the early evening a fog had arisen and the night had turned chilly. They were gathered in the living room of the owner’s house. By the fireplace. Mr. Parr comments that it was a bad night and that the horn would be blowing soon. He was referring to the horn on the Queen, a boat that brought guests over from the railroad depot across the lake. Doc takes the rest of the boys to their cabins to get some sleep while Jeckerson and Hawkins wait. They are going to sit awhile to see if they could get any additional information. Mr. Parr returns from having seen Doc Waters and the other boys out. They ask him to tell more of the ghost.
He tells how prosperous the investment in the place had been up until the previous summer when the problem had begun. Many of the guests had not returned this year, and after the scare of a few days ago all but one guest had fled. The first time it had appeared was when two of his guests had been out doing some night fishing. Their boat was overturned by something they could not see. Later, a group of young people from three cottages were having a moonlight party when something they could not describe came at them and frightened them so much that they left. Then his son Robert was having some of his young friends in for popcorn and marshmallow roasting when they saw, down near the lake, a great glossy shadow.
The Queen arrived with a load of guests. A young man named Spike Givens came in. He was the last tenant that Parr made mentioned. Givens tries to convince Jeckerson that he would be better off leaving, but Jeckerson rejects that thought. Jeckerson shows Givens the note and asks if he recognized the handwriting. Spike says that he does not. Parr called for someone named Cabbett, his general man of all work at the resort. Cabbett is a bent over dwarf with wild hair and popping eyes. His hands were constantly clawing and his breathing was loud and his voice was raucous. Mr. Parr sent him to help the guests with their luggage. As they wait for the newcomers to come in, Jeckerson tells Hawkins to keep his eyes open, that the person behind the trouble is there.
While they are waiting Hawkins and Jeckerson are sitting by the fire talking about how different this mystery is compared to others they had solved. Here it seems that everyone knows who they were and why they were there. Mr. Parr was busy signing up the new guests and he mentioned each name as they did so. There was a man named Mallory, a lawyer from Chicago. Frederick Finsterniss, a man who had been an actor, Harry Loderman and Orlando Weeks who claimed to be fisherman. There was a Dutchman who said that he had come “all“de vay from Hoboken and now it giffs spooks on the lake.”
There was a wealthy looking man, his wife and their daughter named Evelyn. The last guest is a big man named Burleigh Jones, claiming to be an actor who said that he was running away from his vast audiences. It seems that Burleigh Jones was a star in a travelling medicine road show. When the guests leave for their rooms Mr. Parr expresses surprise that so many people are there despite the ghost. Jeckerson tell him that his guests are all there precisely because they are interested in the ghost. Mr. Parr exclaims, “Then I am surrounded by my enemies?”
At that time there was a pounding at the door. It was a sour faced woman with a birdcage containing a sorry looking parrot named Aristophanes. It seems that she was a little slow getting to the boat and she had to walk all the way around the lake to get to the resort. She signed in and Cabbett showed her to her room. She calls herself Mrs. Callas. As Hawkins and Jeckerson are walking to their cabin they see what looks like a great gray wraith fade into the light fog over the lake. As they are looking towards where the wraith had vanished they hear the parrot screaming from a lighted window. The parrot was screaming “Odd’s Blood! The dagger!” As they looked at the parrot, the room light went out.
The two investigators went back to the hotel to do a little more looking around. As they look in through the glass pane of the door, they see the figure of a man over in a corner near the big grandfather’s clock. It is Mr. Parr. He is frightened when he sees them, but opens the door and they come in. They ask him about the woman \with the parrot and he says that he has never seen her before. Jeckerson tells him about the great gray shape and Parr says that he had never heard of that kind of a thing on the lake.
They hear three loud thumping sounds from overheard and a figure comes clumping down the stairs. It is Cabbett. The man is a sleepwalker. Mr. Parr says that he was told this by a Doctor Chambliss who lives at the lake. Cabbett goes out the front door. As they are talking about him, they see a great glossy shape outside the widows. Hawkins sees a flipper like hand jerk open the window and something comes bouncing into the room. The glossy shadow is gone and they examine what was thrown in. It was a stone with a note on blue paper. It was the second warning to get off the lake. Cabbett comes back in and goes up the step to the second floor. He is apparently still sleepwalking. Jeckerson suggests to Mr. Parr that Cabbett might have just played a part to get outside to take the part of the great glossy shadow and to throw the note into the room. But at that instant they see the glossy shadow at the window. When they run outside, it is gone again.
The next morning Hawkins gets up early for a swim and a bath. He sees a big bird fly away suddenly as though frightened. Then he sees a man come out of the woods. It is Mallory, the lawyer from Chicago who had signed in as a guest the night before. Mallory warns him that they should leave the lake but when Hawkins tell him that he will not give up, Mallory tells him to go ahead and that if he ever needs help, he can call up on him. Mallory collects ferns as a hobby and he shows Hawkins a number of the plants that he had found in the woods. He invites Hawkins to his room to see a book on collecting ferns.
Jeckerson comes in from a night spent roaming around the lake without anything new. Hawkins tells him about the lawyer and the warning. Jeckerson informs him that they are closing in on the game. A little later, Shadow and Harold bring an idea to Seck that there is no ghost, but instead that Robert Parr is amusing himself by scaring the adults. Seck rejects that idea. Mrs. Callas’s parrot flies in the open window of Seck’s writing room screaming, ”Get to it! Odd’s Blood! The dagger!” The parrot’s owner knocks on the door and comes in to get her pet. When she leaves, Seck sends Shadow and Harold to follow her and to report back. Seck thinks that she had been listening outside the window to what they were saying. Later he tells Jeckerson about the boys’ theory. The detective also derides the idea that Robert Parr is the ghost.
That evening after the other boys went to bed, Hawkins and Jeckerson went up to the hotel to talk to Mr. Parr again. While they were talking, Mrs. Callas brings down a letter and asks that the innkeeper put a stamp on it and get it out in the morning mail. When she leaves Jeckerson checks the envelope and it is the same blue note paper that carried the last warning.
The next day at their meeting, Hawkins sets up their spy system where each of the boys was to watch a certain part of the area ands to make daily reports to Hawkins. Seck would then take the reports to Jeckerson for the detective to evaluate. Seck gives Shadow the job of sitting in the hotel lobby with a book. He is to pretend to read but instead he is to watch and report on all activities. Harold gets the big job of watching activities on and around the lake. Robert Parr comes in after Harold leaves and Hawkins gives him the job of reporting on activities at the hotel.
With the spy system set up, Hawkins paused to write a letter to his folks. While he is doing that he hears voice outside the window and he jumps up to see who it is. But whoever it was is gone in the bushes. The last thing Hawkins hears is one of them saying. “Tonight when the moon is shining, I will try it again!”. Hawkins hurries down towards the lake and on the other side of a thicket he hears two men talking. They are planning some stunt for that night. They leave and head for the lake. Jeckerson comes out from where he had been listening to the two. He identifies the two as the two “fishermen” who had come over on the Queen with the other strange guests.
Shadow is complaining that their spying is accomplishing nothing. Jeckerson comes in and they talk over some of the clues and the suspects. Jeckerson mentioned that they had sat up in the moonlight the other night, following up on what Hawkins had heard, and nothing had happened on the lake. He notices Shadow’s report and reads it. It contained a number of things that Shadow had noted involving the lady and the parrot, the dwarfish porter, Burleigh Jones the actor, and also that Mr. Parr had received a phone call from an Honorable Josiah Dirks who said that he would come to see Mr. Parr at 2:30. Parr had gone into the phone booth and Shadow could hear him talking to a Dr. Chambliss.
Jeckerson knows of the Honorable Josiah Dirks and he says that the man owns most of the land around the lake excerpt for that on which the resort is located and that he had sold that piece of property to Mr. Parr. Jeckerson also wants to be in the hotel at 2:30 to get a look at Josiah Dirks. The other members of the spy order come in to drop off their reports. Roy Dobel mentioned that he had seen Frederick Finsterniss rowing around the lake twice. Jerry Moore reported seeing a man, a woman and their pretty young daughter riding in a motor boat that did not make a sound. Lew Hunter reported that he had seen Burleigh Jones, the actor, taking some fishing tackle out in a rowboat. Johnny McLarren noted that Orlando Weeks and Harry Loderman had gone out on the lake in a longboat of their own with a lot of tools in it. Johnny also reported that he had learned that the two men had been at the lake several weeks before and had stayed at a deserted cabin on one of the islands known as Spider’s nest.
Jeckerson said that it was time to visit the hotel to see the Honorable Josiah Dirks. When they arrive they meet Dr Chambliss who asks about their results. He wants to know what sort of a person would Jeckerson suspect and the detective tells him that he thinks that it is a trick being played upon the owner of the resort by someone who professes to be a good friend. Spike Givens comes in to announce the arrival of the Honorable Josiah Dirks, an elderly man who is always talking about money. Cabbett rushes out to help the new arrival. Parr and Dirks chatter about the situation and then Dirk’s makes him an offer to buy the property back for twice what Parr had paid for it. Parr declines the offer and Dirks leaves.
Hawkins and Jeckerson are waiting down by the lake and the detective tells Seck that he is expecting two of his men, Phillips and Olaf the Swede by rowboat. They were not coming by way of the Queen to avoid having anyone seeing them. Hawkins tells Jeckerson that he had had another report from Johnny McLarren. Johnny says that he had found an old boat he can use and that he will meet them later near the bathing beach. They see a boat approaching and thinking it is Phillips and Olaf, they start out. Jeckerson stops them saying that it was not their boat. They hide and watch the actor Burleigh Jones comes down to meet the boat. In it is the other actor Frederick Finsterniss. The two actors walked up the path. As they do so, Spike Givens appears and follows them,
Phillips and Olaf approach in their boat. They land and mention that they had seen a boy in a rowboat out on the lake. It probably was Johnny. The Swede also says that they had seen something big and round and glossy just before they had seen Johnny. They run to the bathing beach to wait. Jeckerson and his men go to search the bathhouses while Hawkins waits. When they are gone Seck sees something come up out of the water, a big round glossy shape like a sea lion. Johnny arrives and his shout scares the thing away. As Jeckerson and his men come back, the thing vanished in the water, sinking out of sight.
Robert Parr invites Hawkins to spend the night in his cabin where they can talk and examine his books and relics. Back at the hotel Seck finds Jeckerson and Doc Waters talking to Johnny McLarren who had just finished telling them all that he knows. Johnny left to go to their cottage. Jeckerson says that all but one of the boys had been turning in reports and that boy Is Robert Parr. Seck tells him about the invitation to spend the night at Robert’s cabin and the detective agrees that he should do that. He also tells Hawkins to take a long nap in the afternoon and when they go to bed, to stay away and listen and watch.
In the cabin they spent some time looking at Robert’s collections and talking. They went to bed and Robert was asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow. Despite his long nap, Hawkins dozed off and was awakened by a sound. He looks up to see the figure of a tall, longhaired man in the window. Hawkins sees Robert get out of bed and go to the door. He hears Robert call the stranger, “old Iron Man”. He fell asleep again and was awakened by a slithering nose. He looks up to see the glossy black shape at the window. He screams and Robert awakens, grabs a rifle and fires a shot at the fleeing shape. It disappears into the water again.
In the morning they cook breakfast and Seck tells Robert that the events of last night proved that he was not playing the ghost as he was there with Hawkins when the ghost appeared and he had fired a shot at it. Later they are taking a horse to town for new shoes when Robert meets a woman on horseback. He calls her “mother”. At the blacksmith Hawkins asks who lives in a nearby big house. The blacksmith tells him that is Josiah Dirk’s place. The blacksmith went on to say that there had been a gardener but he went away some time ago. Dirks having a gardener is strange since there are no gardens. It is almost evening when on the way back to the hotel they see a rope hanging from the window of one of the rooms. They hear a scream from the hotel and they see the glossy shape of the ghost slide down the rope. Before they can note which room it had been in, the rope is thrown out and the ghost runs to the lake where it sinks out of sight.
As Seck talks with Shadow and Harold, Robert Parr comes in. They talk about a number of the events and Seck asks Robert about Spike Givens. Robert insists that that Givens could not be involved, as he is a good friend and taught him many of his wrestling tricks. They talk about the couple and the little girl and Robert says that they are the Crails from Hollywood where the little girl had been in a movie. They had come to the lake several times and two years before they had bought a fine yacht that had sunk in a storm on the lake. Cabbett and Spike Givens had saved everyone on the yacht before it sank. Hawkins questions why they should come back to the lake after that happened.
Shadow and Harold go back to their spying areas and Seck and Robert head down to the lake. On the way they see Burleigh Jones and Finsterniss crouching down to watch the Crails get into their silent motorboat. They make some comment about the “Crails going after it again”. There is a brief talk about the changes in Hollywood that put them out of the business. Hawkins and Parr are getting into a canoe when the little girl gets out of the family boat and come to where they are. The Crails head out into the lake while the little girl approaches the two boys. Hawkins realizes that the Crails had sent her to delay them until they could get out onto the lake out of their reach.
In the lobby that evening they see Mr. Parr coming down the stairs with the big Dutchman whey had seen when the guests had registered. They asked him where he had been since that night and Mr. Parr answers to say that he had leaned that Mr. Van Huten did not have a lot of money so he put him into a little cabin near an island named Mud Branch. He comes to the hotel only when he needs provisions. It seems that someone had stolen his boat so he had tied his clothes up in oilcloth and swam the lake to tell Mr. Parr what he had seen.
He had gone out into the lake for a late swim when he saw a big boat. He also saw the glossy shadow climb up onto the boat. He did not accuse Spike Givens of being involved, but Mr. Parr does say that Givens is in charge of the Queen and it never goes out without him. Van Huten goes back to his cabin and the rest walk down to the little landing. As they arrive, the Crails are landing their silent boat. Jeckerson asks if they can borrow the boat. They head for Mud Branch Island. At the island they see the Queen out on the lake with some kind of a small animal running around on her deck. They see the grotesque figure of Cabbett pacing back and forth on deck. They approach the Queen and climb aboard where they see a man in a diving suit come up over the rail. Jeckerson steps forward. It is Spike Givens in the diving suit.
There is a meeting in the hotel lobby that morning. Hawkins gets there to find Jeckerson going though some papers. He shows Hawkins a picture of Evelyn Crail in a costume of feathers and jewels. The story mentions that the little girl is wearing the famous Black Opal on a string of pearls. Her movie stage name is Eva La Valiere, which sounds like “LA-va-LEER”, and maybe the girl’s mother decided on the stage name due to the Opal. Mr. Parr arrives with Spike Givens. Mr. Crail makes an appearance. Cabbett and the Dutchman, Van Huten, are also there. When Spike Givens declines to tell why he is diving in the lake at night, Mr. Crail comes forward to explain. His yacht, the Happy Days, had sunk on the lake, carrying with it the valuable jewel. He had purchased the diving suit for Spike to dive to the wreck to find the Black Opal. Jeckerson ends the meeting.
Johnny tells them that he had been watching the two fishermen who are working off Crane Island and that they go down into the lake every night. That night they borrow the electric boat and Jeckerson, his two men, Hawkins and Johnny go out into the lake to Crane Island where they find a shack littered with tools and gears and other parts. They see a mysterious black ball come to the surface on the lake. A hatch opens on top and the two fishermen climb out. Jeckerson steps forward with a leveled pistol. It seems that the two “fishermen” have designed a new diving bell and have been testing it in the lake. As they are talking they see the glossy black shadow come up out of the lake, examine the diving bell, the shack with the litter of parts and then it goes back into the lake. Jeckerson tells the two inventors about the Black Opal.
A few days later, Seck, Shadow and Robert Parr are talking and they discuss the Chicago Lawyer and his hobby of collecting ferns. In the lobby they see Mrs. Callas and her parrot. Shadow mentions that he had heard the parrot say, “Where’s the helmet? The helmet, what”. The old lady then slapped the parrot’s beak and it said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Like hallelujah is!” Robert Parr then says that the old lady had only one dress and every time you see her, she was wearing it. Hawkins tells them that after this they are to write down everything they observe and let Jeckerson read through their reports.
Jeckerson talks to Hawkins about the two actors and he says that every day Burleigh Jones takes his fishing tackle and a telescope. He and Seck take the electric motor boat to Mud Island and Jeckerson leads the way to a place where they can see Jones and Finsterniss sitting on the bank with their lines in the water. They are there to watch someone and from their talk it might appear that whoever they are watching is after the Black Opal. Jones sees whomever it is, leave the cabin across the way and head for the hotel. The two actors then go over to search the cabin.
Seck and Jeckerson go back to the hotel where they talk to Mr. Parr. There they learn that the Dutchman lives in one of the cabins and that Mr. Parr feels that he would be happy to help them. They go back to Mud Island and talk to Van Huten. He says that some strange man lives in the cabin they are referring to. They approach the cabin and look in a lighted window. They see and hear Dr Chambliss, Mr. Mallory and Mr. Crail talking about Robert Parr and something about old titles and some thing that is invested in a mysterious Iron Horse.
As they are listening, they see the glossy black shape of the ghost looking in another window. It escapes into the lake again. They go to the Dutchman’s cabin and knock at the door. A voice from inside asks, “Who’s there?” The door is opened and the Dutchman is there in his nightclothes carrying an oil lamp. He tells then that they should not be looking for the ghost in his house.
They go back to the hotel where they find Cabbett in the lobby. They ask him to find Mr. Parr and he says that he will find the owner. He goes out the main door. Jeckerson shows Hawkins a note on blue paper saying that he has only a few hours to live. He says that he found it on the windowsill. Mr. Crail comes in and Jeckerson tells him that he had seen him in the cabin on the point. Crail tells them what he was trying to recover the Black Opal because he believed it means good luck for them in Hollywood.
Mr. Crail leaves and the two inventors come in. They offer to take Jeckerson down into the lake in their submarine diving bell to look for the jewel. Jeckerson accepts and they go down to the island with Hawkins and enter the bell. Down on the bottom of the lake they turn on a bright light and see the wreck of the Happy Days yacht. The dressing table where the jewel had been kept is lying there with its drawer’s open. The jewel is gone. They made a hurried trip to the surface, as their air is almost all used up.
They went back to the hotel and there they met Shadow who told them about the activities of Robert Parr. Shadow had seen the other boy go to another island in the lake called Minnewauken. Shadow follows and sees Robert go to an old tumbledown shack and lay a bundle down next to a pallet of leaves and twigs covered with an Indian blanket. Shadow leaves Robert there and comes back to the hotel to find Seck and Jeckerson. He tells them of the activities of Robert and the three row back to the island.
They find the shack and Robert Parr is inside pacing up and down. There is a sound from outside and he shouts, “Ah! Iron Man! You have come back!” It was an Indian, aged and bronzed, with long gray hair and two feathers. He tells Robert that he had been down into the lake to the old boat and there he had found the Black Opal. Robert leaves to arrange the return of the stone. The Indian puts the opal under his pallet. Seck and Shadow and Jeckerson return to the hotel and meet Jeckerson’s two men. As the two men return to their assigned places, they hear approaching wheels of an old carriage. Almost immediately the hotel door opened and Mr. Parr and Josiah Dirks come out. The old man gets into the carriage and Parr says that he will “let the old man know in the morning:”
They go into the lobby and sit by the fire. They ask about Mr. Dirks, but Mr. Parr derides the idea that the old man could be strong enough to play the part of the ghost. As they are talking, Mr. Crail comes down to tell about some scratching sounds he had been hearing at his door. They hear a scream from the upper floor and Olaf and Phillips rush into the lobby. With Jeckerson, they climb to the second floor and they hear a voice saying “Odd’s blood! The dagger! Look mates! There is blood upon the blade! See to it! See to it!”
It is the parrot and the bird is carrying a note in blue paper that says, “You have only a few hours to live.” They hear Mrs. Callas calling for the bird and Jeckerson hands the parrot to Mr. Parr and tell him to take it back to Mrs. Callas and to ask her to step down into the lobby to join them. She does and tells them where the parrot came from and some of its history. Jeckerson tells her about the threats on his life that was all written on blue note paper. Mrs. Callas identified the paper as hers. A blue paper made especially for her with her monogram.
Jeckerson explains about the ghost climbing out of her window and down the rope a few nights before. Mrs. Callas then recalls that her note pad box was on the floor. And then just a little while before she had awakened to find her window open and the parrot gone from his cage. Jeckerson tells her she can return to her bed. Crail and Parr also leave. Jeckerson and Seck and Shadow remain in the lobby. To stay awake they are going to play checkers. They find the checkerboard behind the desk and they also find the old telescope that Burleigh Jones had been using. Hawkins uses it to look across the lake and he sees a canoe with an Indian in it. It is not old Iron Man, Chief Two Feathers, but an Indian with a full headdress of feathers.
On their way to the boathouse they find Robert Parr and he tells them how he had met old Iron Man and that when he leaned how shamefully they were treating the old Indian, he helped him hide until the side show had left. He also tells about the Black Opal and that he had been planning to going out to get it in order to protect the old Indian. They take the Crails electric motorboat and speed across the lake to the island where old Iron Man is staying. On the way they see the see the Indian with the full headdress, landing on the island and they hear the drumming music of the death dance. They hurry to the old shack and looking through the window they see old Iron Man sitting on his pallet staring at the Indian in the doorway. He asks which of his ancestors it is and the Indian answers that he was chief Big John, his haunting ghost.
He demands something of value from Two Feathers to allow him to live until he was a hundred on the following day. Old Iron man gives him the black opal and the haunting ghost takes it and leaves the shack. While he is paddling away in his canoe, Seck and the others ran the electric motor boat into the canoe and the Indian dives into the water and disappears. Jeckerson tells them to head for the hotel and he would explain everything tomorrow and identify the ghost. When Seck and Robert Parr went to their room at the hotel where they were going to stay the night, Seck and Jackson and Mr. Parr went to the lobby to sit and talk. Jeckerson tells Parr that he had no clear title to the land on which the resort is built but that Robert has taken care of that problem. That was why several people had wanted him to sell.
He tells Parr that Dr. Chambliss and Josiah were trying to get title to the resort property. As they talked Burleigh Jones and Frederick Finsterniss come in. Jeckerson asks them they have been and Finsterniss tells him that they had missed their chance to get what Jeckerson was seeking. They go up to their room. Hawkins sees the ugly glossy shape of the ghost looking in the window and it runs away. Jeckerson and Hawkins use the electric motorboat to speed over near the cabin of the old Dutchman. They pass it and go to another cabin and enter it. They find the costume of the Indian Chief. As they are looking at it a trapdoor opens at their feet and they see the glossy shape of the ghost. The door slams shut again and locks. They run to the other cabin where they had seen Chambliss and Mallory and Crail meeting. It was deserted. They go to the cabin of the Old Dutchman and he is there, in nightclothes. He tells them that both of the other cabins are deserted.
Jeckerson asks if he had seen Chambliss and Mallory around and he says they do not stay there, only to come to talk. Jeckerson invites him to the hotel in the morning when he will unmask the real ghost. They go back to the hotel. Outside they meet Phillips and Olaf who had just seen someone come from the direction of Wolf Island and go into the hotel. Mr. Parr admits them to the hotel and tells them that his recent visitor is Dr. Chambliss. The Doctor is still there and he is angry at having his name linked to the ghost.
Hawkins and Jeckerson go to their room where Hawkins goes to sleep. The death threat is still hanging over Jeckerson. Hawkins is awakened by an uproar. Phillips and Olaf have captured the ghost who is armed with a knife. They tear away his mask to reveal the big Dutchman Von Huten! It seems that Von Huten is really a Hollywood make up artist and deep sea diver. Mrs. Callas, the woman with the parrot, is his wife. Jeckerson tells them that the Black Opal was part of the plan but that there was something else of greater value involved. Mallory the lawyer pounds at the door and is admitted. He was been wounded by a knife cut inflicted by Von Huten. He had been searching the cabin when Von Huten came back through the trap door after he had left the hotel. They go to that cabin searching for the Black Open and instead they find a hidden box containing a great deal of money.
Jeckerson drives the boys to Josiah Dirk’s house and there they find the old man at breakfast. He is not happy to see them. Jeckerson tells him that he had suspected him all along with his attempts to buy the property on the lake. He says that Josiah knew that there was a document existing that prevented clear title to the land. Jeckerson produces the money that had been hidden in the cabin and tells Josiah that he knows that Briggs, Dirk’s servant, put it into the secret hiding place in the cabin after he had removed the Back Opal. Josiah gives the jewel to Jeckerson for the Crails.
Back at the hotel, Hawkins is saving goodbye to Robert. Then Robert tells him that the mysterious document was a deed to all of the property around the lake, signed over to Robert by Old Iron Man who was the real, rightful owner of the property. With it, all of the land owned by Josiah and Dr Chambliss was now Robert Parr’s. In a generous gesture the boy tosses the paper into the fire and thus the status quo remains the same.
*Robert Tarr really built a clubhouse replica on a lake island - story appeared in the Seck Hawkins mags.
MANY ASK US:
*Why a series about a fat boy? We don't know. RFS was never fat in his childhood and was
a fit figure of a man when the stories were written. He reported that his police lieutenant
father was "portly" and could well have been the model because he had all the other heroic
attributes and lived near the Licking river before RFS did (during the Civil War). Or, perhaps
he was complimenting some childhood friend or sibling or relative who reflected the heroic attributes
of Hawkins. Certainly RFS could have guessed that he would acquire a pot belly in his old age
just like his father. The resultant moral message effect seems multiplied by using a fat boy
who has average, yet honorable abilities and insights and who succeeds through deductive
perseverance and fair play as the central figure. Other oblique advantages can be inferred
from this phenomenon that elevates the universal image of any common boy (or girl) and promotes a
sentiment toward fair play for, among, and by all children. As Seck says, "...there are
no hopelessly bad boys, only boys that have been injured or bent some way in their youth and had
no one to straighten them up and keep them on the right path as they grew".
All children have the inalienable right and the innate ability to do better and to succeed at anything if they just try, try again.