The A3 was a massive highway project across southeast Transylvania. It was among the first projects Romania undertook in a move towards westernization following the events of 1989 when many communist countries moved peacefully from the oppression of communistic rule, to a more democratic state.
Romania’s transition was not so peaceful, riots left over a thousand dead. Communist dictator Nicolai Ceausescu tried to flee but was captured. He was executed on Christmas day 1989.
Only a few years after these events we found ourselves in Transylvania, at the request of contracting giant Bekenthal Corp. Beyond our operations expertise they also wanted our experience with cultural, religious, and racial issues, all of which are synonymous with politics, as far as I’m concerned. There was at lot of change going on though, and it wasn’t easy for people, especially people with gray hair who hadn’t seen much change since the country signed the Warsaw pact in the mid 50’s.
We had been staying at B&Bs along the route. There aren’t a lot of decent hotels in that area. Nothing, though could have quite prepared us for what happened at Savadisla. We could have taken our first clue from the name; Mysterious B&B. The owner, Matai Constantinescu, was a robust man with graying hair and his wife Oana was stocky and wearing a blue babushka. Both were dressed in traditional Romanian manner.
The old house was charming as a postcard. It was as if we were taken back to the old world. They caught us admiring them “We were at the Martisor festivities this mornink, we don’t always dress like this!” Oana clarified. We were all laughing and it seemed to break the ice and we always felt quite at home there.
We stayed for several months while the project moved through the area. Matai made his own wine, and the grape arbor was built over the el- fresco dining area, a patio off the dining room, providing a beautiful spot to eat, have a drink and maybe catch up on some work in the evening. Sometimes Matai would join me for a glass of wine, actually he would slam a bottle wine on the table, sit himself down, and start talking about whatever was on his mind. There really wasn’t a choice in the matter. I was Matai’s drinking partner now. Any plans I had would have to be rescheduled.
One summer evening, an elderly man walked awkwardly down the sidewalk – he was yelling what sounded like construction speak. Matai and I had already had a few. I was shaking my head at the old man. “He was a bricklayer, but now he lives at the sanitarium around the corner from here”. Matai pauses for a second then adds; “It was a long time ago, the legend is that an asteroid or something, fell from the sky. It was blue and green and glowing, beautiful beyond words. Trouble started when people got close to it. They would say you could feel it tugging at your soul when you were near it. Everyone would go up to the hillside where it landed. just to be there, near it. Eventually the novelty wore off but for some they just couldn’t pull themselves away.
They camped out with the asteroid, as if addicted. One afternoon some teenagers went up there on an adventure and found all of them dead. They raced back to tell everyone. There was an investigation and so on. It appeared they had run out of food and starved to death.
Scientists came out and did some studies in the 50’s.They found that at a certain distance, the stone had little effect, it was more intense the closer you were to it. There were other on-going issues – every once in while someone would get too close, and there’d be another problem. At a town hall meeting they decided something had to be done”
“What about the old bricklayer?” I asked
“They decided to build a brick wall around the whole thing, at the point were it was not too powerful. ‘De Blocare’- the lock-up, it was called. It is still there but falling into disrepair.
It was a huge undertaking, bricklayers were brought in from all over. The stories they told were very scary, it seemed the souls of all the people that had died had never left, they were so addicted, even in death they couldn’t leave. Workers would tell of climbing a ladder and feel someone going down the ladder through them. Many workers heard the howling noises the souls made as they swirled around.
The old bricklayer had fallen off a scaffold and landed up close to the stone, workers accounts were terrifying – the dead souls attacked the bricklayer , and even though you couldn’t see – the workers all said you could hear the howling noises and like a sixth sense, new what was going on –souls repeatedly swooping down at him, smashing into him. They were able to lasso him and pull him to safety but he was never the same. An local Archeologist had experienced a similar incident in Africa, there the Vodun described what was happening to him as the souls trying to push his soul out so they could take over his body. The bricklayer just after being rescued said he felt his body had been possessed. He described it as feeling out of sorts at first,but it got worse over time, and eventually he went mad, completely and continuously at odds with himself. But that’s not the worst of it. All of the bricklayers on ‘de blocare’ started going mad. They had to build a sanitarium.” Matai concluded
“You said this ‘De Blocare’ is falling into disrepair?
“It’s getting old, and no one will maintain it. They’re afraid.”
“Really?” John asked
“Wait a minute here, I know that tone, John…” Finally, Rebecca looks up from her novel.