Jessie: In New Hampshire, wondering whether boxing up the mittens could be construed by the weather gods as a dare?
We are spending time this week on the Wickeds celebrating Liz’s latest The Icing on the Corpse. This book includes a ghost-hunting thread which caused me to wonder about other ghost stories in New England. So Wickeds, is there a well-known spooky story based in your neck of the woods? Do you use paranormal elements in stories of your own?
Sherry: When we lived on Hanscom Air Force base our house was just minutes away from the Minute Man National Park. The park includes a pathway where the Colonial militiamen battled the British regulars on the first day of the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775. Hundreds of men died that day as the militiamen chased the regulars back to Boston. There are always reports of strange lights and noises in the surrounding woods. This was taken from our front porch. The trees you see in the back right of this photo border the pathway.
Edith: This isn’t a well-known story, but I have lived in antique houses since I moved to New England in 1982 (except for five years in a vintage 1960’s ranch, which doesn’t quite qualify). I have often heard unexplained noises at night, although my experiences fell short of actually seeing a lady in white or having lamps fly through the air. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me to know that the spirits of former residents occupied those homes, including my current one (a newbie at 1888). Because I have the kind of imagination capable of seriously scaring myself, I just can’t think about it.
I also don’t tend to read anything with “paranormal” in the description, but I loved Gigi Pandian‘s recent The Accidental Alchemist, about her new gargoyle friend, and also the Low Country Mysteries from Susan M. Boyer, where the protagonist’s dead childhood friend keeps popping up randomly to give her advice.
Liz: I’ve always wanted to meet a ghost. Only a nice one, mind you. But ghosts have always fascinated me. One of my favorite books is Second Glance by Jodi Picoult, which had a ghost hunting theme. I saw her speak and she talked about going on a ghost hunt in an abandoned mental asylum in Rhode Island to do her research. She said she went in a skeptic and came out with a totally different outlook. I’ve never been on a ghost hunt, but I talked to a couple of ghost hunters while I was writing this book and some of the stories are just crazy. Especially the ones about the evil spirits….
Barb: As many of you know, during the summers, we live in an old sea captain’s house in Maine. My husband’s aunt was convinced one of the bedrooms was haunted. I never believed, until one weekend when Bill and I had to sleep in that bedroom with our cocker spaniel. The poor dog just could not settle. He kept us up all night with his pacing and barking and panting. When we let him out of the room into the hallway, he curled up and went right to sleep. I still think there were squirrels in the walls, or something. But it seemed like an eery coincidence, if that’s what it was.
Jessie: Every now and again I’ll be walking through my house and am sure I see someone going up or down the stairs or along the hall. But just like looking at a distant star, the image disappears when I look at it straight on. I never feel the least frightened of them. I always feel like they are just as at home here as I am. Usually, I wish I could get a better look at but sometimes I think it is more fun for it to remain a little more mysterious.
Julie: I lived in an apartment in Brookline years ago, and we had a poltergeist. My roommate and I both noticed odd things, but brushed them off. Then one day we standing in the living room, discussing dirty dishes loudly, and a can of raid that was on the refrigerator flew in between us. Once we agreed we both saw it, we started to compare notes. Needless to say, it was an interesting year.
Readers, have you experienced any spooky situations in your own life? Or do you prefer your forays into the paranormal to be confined to the pages of a book?
When I was working on a biography of my grandfather for the family, I was going through the letters he wrote to me when I was in college and two photographs from around 1910 fell out of one of the envelopes. On the back he’d identified the sitters as my grandparents in one and my grandmother holding my father in the other. The thing is, I was absolutely certain I’d never seen either picture before. This was around 1980, so only a dozen years after the dates on the letters. Did I just forget, or was something paranormal going on? At the time, I had a very clear sense of my grandfather’s presence. If he was there, at least it appears he was pleased with what I was writing. Years later, I put “The Life of a Plodder” (with photographs) online because it also contains a lot of local history info. There have been no further paranormal visitations.
That is so cool!
My daughter claimed every night that she could not get to sleep because an old woman would not stop sweeping the floor in her room. I chalked it up to her trying to stay up later than her bedtime. While talking with my neighbors one day, I told them about my daughter’s claim. They both stopped cold and stared at one another. It was then I learned the original owner of my house, Mrs. Graf, had died in my daughter’s bedroom. The woman had owned the house since it was built in 1932 and died there three years before we bought the place. My neighbors said that every morning Mrs. Graf came outside and swept the porch and walkway. When she failed to come out one morning, they called her son and he found she had died in her sleep. I try to keep the floors clean because I don’t want her to show up when I’m alone to do her sweeping!
Wow — kids seem extra sensitive to these things!
A ghost that does housework! I wish you could send her to NH for an extended visit!
Do you think it’s because kids are so open to more than we as adults are?
I absolutely believe that kids can see what we can’t as adults. Their minds are not full of all the crap we hold. They don’t doubt or second guess themselves, which is great for ghost watching but not so good when crossing streets!
I’m still hoping to meet a ghost. The house I write about in Granby MA is supposed to have one, that others have seen (when it was a bed and breakfast). Although I’ve stayed in the room where she has appeared, she didn’t visit me. But I think I know who she is, because she’s mentioned in her father’s 19th century will. He split the property among his children (the boys had a carpentry shop out in the barn), and he had to specify in writing that his daughter had the right to pass through the others’ parts of the house to use the outhouse! Think it was a dysfunctional family?
Fascinating– at least the father was thinking ahead!
I still want to meet one too, Sheila! Maybe we should go ghost hunting together.
Liz, you have to read Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time! An amazing book.
It’s on my list, Ruth! Thanks!
Can’t say I’ve experienced anything like that, outside of my overactive imagination.
I grew up in a 300 year old house in New Hampshire with a dirt floor basement and a tombstone in the corner from 1864 for Sarah Putnam. My mom always believed Sarah haunted the house and she was a warm sweet lady. The family always joked around blaming everything misplaced on Sarah. Sadly we had friends, many of them adults, that refused to enter our house out of fear. Then again we had others, including a history teacher, who wanted to excavate the basement and to find her remains. Mom always refused as she liked Sarah and would not disturb what was possibly her grave site
I’d love to visit. I’ve never believed that if any part of a person survives after death, they intend any harm.
I would have loved to show it to you but sadly the house is gone. It was sold when my Mom moved to a nursing home and the buyer tore it down and built two new houses on the lot.
I think that would freak me out a little to have a grave in the basement.
Me too Sherry!
When my husband and I were dating, he lived in an old haunted farmhouse in PA. At first we didn’t realize it was haunted because he had a roommate, who often stayed over at his girlfriend’s house. In the morning, the door, which had to be yanked to open, always opened and slammed shut–at 6 a.m.. We figured it was the roommate–it wasn’t. When we realized the roommate wasn’t there, we’d go to the door. It was locked, but we knew the front door had opened and closed. Nothing else sounded like the front door. By then we were tuned in. Laying in bed, we’d feel cold hands running up and down our bodies. I could especially feel her in the bathroom–not nice. One day I came into the house before my husband got home. The ghost, a she, we just knew, didn’t want me there. I excused myself and went outside to wait for him. Then–my husband proposed marriage to me in the house. When the time came for him to move out, we felt her remorse at having haunted us.
Thirty years go by. We talked about what happened and my husband says, ” I thought you knew.”
Me: “Knew what?”
Hubby: “I talked to the son of the widow who lived there.”
Hubby: “Back in 1982.”
Me: “Did you tell him his mother was haunting the house.”
Hubby: “He figured since she committed suicide.”
Good thing he didn’t tell me then!
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