Haunting Melodies

Peter started collecting musical instruments used by famous deceased musicians when he became rich on Wall Street.

His ongoing collection, not open to the public because some of it was stolen, was his pride and joy. Only people he trusted implicitly got to visit his Music Room, located in his 19-bedroom mansion, in upstate New York.

Peter was a mystery man with no known surviving family members. He was a self-made man, and a wizard. His ability to predict when stocks would go up, or down, or even the future, came from long years of training by the Coven that raised him.

When the witches sent him out on his own he was 21-years old and savvy in the ways of the world. Getting rich was easy. Entertaining himself was more difficult at first. Until he discovered a love of music.

It became all-consuming. He went to operas and rock concerts for years before developing a passion for musical instruments.

Then one day a Wall Street trader acquaintance asked him if he would be interested in buying a rare piano?

How rare?” Peter asked.

“It’s been hidden for seventy-five years, and it’s owner no longer wants it. It’s the last Grand Piano Sergei Rachmaninov played on Russia soil before the Leninist regime seized his estate near Tambov in 1917, ” his acquaintance explained.

“He moved with his wife and two daughters to Denmark before relocating to New York the following year. Left behind was this European-made Grand Piano hidden by a first cousin who later smuggled it into the United States, and a safe warehouse,” he added.

“It’s condition?”

“Excellent. An expert has kept it in tune.”

“Why sell it now?”

The owner is old, and perhaps getting a little senile according to his grandchildren. It seems he’s been visiting the warehouse for years “listening to Rachmaninov play,” and telling his grandson that the famous musician is the one playing the Grand Piano. 

Peter smiled. the biggest smile he had for decades and asked, “How do I get this piano? Money is no problem.”

To Peter’s delight, the story was true. It wasn’t long before he was striking up stimulating conversations with Sergei. It didn’t take him long to go in search of other famous musical instruments whose owners had died.

He worked with all of his financial and magical connections to hunt down the objects of his newly discovered hobby.

His next acquisition was Jimi Hendrix’s favorite black 1968 Fender Stratocaster with a maple neck. Despite playing many different guitars, including some Gibson Flying Vs and Les Paul Customs, the Stratocaster was his baby. He was buried with it in 1970 after dying from a drug overdose.

It took black magic to retrieve the guitar, and to entice Jimi to play it once again.

Keith Moon’s second drum kit – A Ludwick Black Oyster Super Classic – with 2 toms and a bass drum plus, the previously lost – but now found – original snare drum, cost Peter two million dollars.

Moon, who died in 1978, was another restless spirit recruited by Peter, to play his favorite instrument. Peter found that he had a particular fondness of drums and managed to buy Jon Bonham’s first drum set – a four-piece Trixon in Sparkling Red.

Bonham, who died in 1980, got along great with Moon, and the two played competing solos deep into the night.

The real score in drums came when Peter had to pay a thief to steal Buddy Rich’s original drum setup.  It included a 14×24 bass drum (with a moleskin patch and a wooden beater), a 9×13 rack tom, two 16×16 floor toms, and a 5×14 snare drum.

His Avedis Zildjian cymbals, which included a 20″ ride, two 18″ crashes, a pair of 14″ hi-hats, and a 6″ splash, shimmered as Peter looked at them. The set had his preferred wood-tip sticks—slightly heavier than a pair of 7As.

Buddy, who died of heart disease in 1987, completed the trio of drum-playing ghosts. To Peter, the cacophony of noise they all made was the music of the spheres.

All he needed was a brass trumpet. He found just the right one made by Henri Selmer of Paris for Louis Armstrong. Of course, he got Louis, who died in 1971, to play it.

Peter eventually decided to share his unearthly collection and invited special friends to spend the night and hear the poltergeists play their favorite instruments until the dawn.

As It Stands, this tale evolved from a conversation with a friend about haunting melodies from beyond the grave.

Author: Dave Stancliff

Retired newspaper editor/publisher, veteran, freelance writer, blogger. Married 43 years. Independent thinker with a sense of humor. Give my stories a try, you might like them!

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