One night, during a long phone conversation, he told me an odd story about an old house,
just a few miles outside of the town he was living in Nebraska.
The local people were apparently very afraid of this house, to the extent that even the local police
refused to go near the road that leads to it.
In his second year of school, a faculty professor was conducting physics experiments having something to do
with local geology, a seeming common study on electromagnetism and its effect on radio waves.
Supposedly this teacher had found that radio broadcast was consistently thwarted by a very strange form of
interference which seemed to come from, you guessed it, the area around the old house.
The house itself had been named the "house of recipe" for a very long time, this was due to a mailbox at the end of the
road with the only the word "recipe" painted on it. Kyle told me that his roommate was trying put together a research team to run a series of test from the property but his professor was having trouble getting permission from the town to gain access to the property. We both had a good laugh about what they might find there, then I didn't speak to my brother for a few weeks after this.
Then, about 3 weeks later and to my absolute shock, my brother called me one afternoon in a total panic.
He said that his roommate had been missing for 5 days and that his parents were on their way from France to try and find him. According to my brother, his roommate's team never got permission from the town to access the property for testing. So earlier that week, the roommate decided to go, by himself, to see what all the fuss was about, but never returned home. My brother said that he told the police everything he knew and that when they found out about the recipe house they became somber and immediately wrapped up the questioning. Later that day the FBI payed Kyle a visit and asked mostly the same type of questions as the police, with one obvious exception, they asked him if he had ever head the term "The Casserole Masters", he hadn't and neither had I. My brother thought, for a long time, that this must have something to do with his roommate being a French national citizen, perhaps he was a member of some french anarchist league, and maybe they called themselves "Le Cocotte Un Maître". What else would compel the FBI, to not only be involved in the investigation, but also to ask such an odd question. The FBI told Kyle to never speak of or divulge any information relative to any of this to anyone, or he would not only be deported but could be detained indefinitely.
When Kyle returned home later that year we sat down and he filled me on everything else that had happened, but was afraid to disclose over the phone. The story kept going for months, and for some reason had been mostly been covered up by the town and the school, like nothing had ever happened. The professor stopped going to work, and wouldn't talk to my brother about what had happened. His roommates parent went back to France months later, broken hearted. Even Kyle himself, in order to pass his classes, had to try and stop thinking about it all, he had become convinced that his roommate had either been in an accident of some kind or was murdered.
Shortly before he left to come back to the UK for the summer, he decided that he needed to know for himself, so he had a friend drive him to the old house. When they arrived, there was a 13 foot high chain link fence surrounding the property, so they never went any further. The mailbox was, just as it was said to have been, labeled "Recipe" in white paint, on rusted steel.
My brother chose to open the mailbox before he left, perhaps out of desperation. Inside the mailbox he found the most terrifying and confusing clue of the entire ordeal. He found an antique Christmas card, old, yellow and faded the inside of which read "Merry Christmas, quite a bit! Sincerely, The Sheriff".
As far as we were ever able to determine the town never had a sheriff, and on top of that it already June.
Was this a threat? a joke? Was it meant for him or someone else? Did anyone still live in the house? Who owns the property?
These questions and thousands more would continue to plague my brother for many years to come, with never even a single answer.
To this day Hastings College faculty rarely talk about what happened back in 1981, and most of the student population knows nothing about it. The specter of the house itself is still strong enough to spawn ghost stories and other adulterated versions of what really happened in 1981, but no one ever talks about the missing french student or the former physics department and their experiments.
My brother still has the Christmas card, he keeps it in a frame on the wall of his reading den, next to a photo of he and his old college roommate Adrien. Even though its been almost 30 years since this happened, his obsession with solving the riddle of what happened to his friend all those years ago still haunts him every day of his life.
Even though there are hundreds of stories out there regarding that old house in the woods of Nebraska, this is the actual event that spawned them all.