The Lady in White

This story appeared, although a little differently, in my first book Ghost Adventures.  As a few more details have come out over the years, as well as being further removed from the situation, I’m now able to reveal that this story takes place in my old house.  The people involved are my parent, but I had changed their names in an attempt to avoid that old idea that peole who look into ghost stories ALWAYS have stories that involve their experiences.

Linda and Leo lived in their Goffstown, New Hampshire, home for eighteen years.  Located in a rural section outside of Manchester, it seems the ideal sight for something supernatural to happen, but it wasn’t until the death of a close family member that they were visited by a mysterious and comforting presence.

IMG_E4678“It wasn’t her.  Even when she was young, Millie had a chubby face.  Always had that heavy look.    She was dainty.”

Shortly after the death of Leo’s aunt, Linda was lying on the couch in the den when she felt someone in the room with her.  After a few seconds she looked up to see a young woman dressed in white standing at the doorway, looking up with a blank expression.  “She looked like she was lost and she didn’t realize what was going on.”  After a few minutes, the woman moved a little backwards and disappeared.

Linda described the woman as all in white, wearing a nightgown of see-through linen.  She was in her thirties, was of average height, with long curl red hair that came out the bottom of a scarf or something else on her head.  Linda most remembers the expression on her face, “like she was just passing through,” and the fact she could see through her.

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The location of the stain…and me back in my rock and roll days.

Over the next year and a half Linda saw the woman about ten more times, always at night, always at the doorway of her den.  “I would stare at her.  I would try to figure out what she was doing there and then she’d be gone.”  Linda says there was nothing that would preface the woman arrival and it happened during any season.  She would just appear.  The woman never tried to talk to Linda.  In fact, Linda says the woman never seemed to see her there and never tried to interact in any way.  She does say that the appearance of the ghost was comforting and soothing.

Linda had had other experiences but she had explained them away.  Once, when her husband was in trouble while taking a trip in West Africa, she had sensed something was wrong and, “sent my guardian angel to help him.”  When he arrived home safe he said he had felt something at the moment she had sent it.  Then there was the mysterious stain on their ceiling that remained although they painted over it several times, bleached it and investigated to find no pipes or trails of water leading to it.

Leo, who is in security, is much more of a cynic and still has trouble explaining away his experiences with the woman in white.  He saw her several times, at the foot of his bed and in the same den and his description of the woman is the same.  She never looked at time but stared straight ahead, with a blank expression, and then be gone in a few seconds.  He doesn’t like to talk about it.  Neither Leo nor Linda mentioned it to until they moved to Nashua, New Hampshire, two years after the appearances started.

Village-Augustina-Postcard-2.pngBoth feel if they had not moved, the woman in white would still visit them.  This leads me to believe the spirit must have something to do with the sight.  When Leo and Linda moved in the house was only two years old.  The first owners have moved out shortly after moving in, but Linda claims it was not under any unusual circumstances.  Before that, the land was undeveloped and owned by a local Catholic school.  The school had a convent which housed several dozen nuns although over the years their numbers have reduced.

goffstownCould one of the nuns who enjoyed walking in the woods behind her convent still remain tied to the land?  Linda feels this might be a good explanation, but is quick to dismiss the head piece as a habit, or the woman, while comforting, as particularly religious.

The current owner of the house says the only trouble with the house has been trying to plow the rock driveway in the winter during their early years there.  They have added a garage to the property and have nothing but good things to say about the property.

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The Ghosts Come at Night…Two True Stories

The ghosts come out at night.

That’s what they all tell us at least.  Whether it’s an old ghost story, and legend, or a talking head on a paranormal show, there’s something about a dark and stormy night that sets the table for an encounter.  Reasons are sometimes provided.  Pseudo-scientists, obsessed with explaining the paranormal using the idea of waves will talk about the sun’s radiation being lessened and how that allows other energies time to shine.  Other will say that with the lack of light our other senses are heightened.   The truth may be we’ve been told ghosts will come when the lights go out, and so we’re ready for them.  Either way, there’s something about being defenseless, in your bed, that makes those shadows or creaks come alive and reveal the dead.

DSCN1211Maybe those sleeping moments are the reason.  You’re subconscious and dream world bleed into reality and create hallucinations.  Maybe you’re more awake when you’re asleep.

Over the years I’ve collected dozen of stories with two common elements; beds and ghosts.  These are not moments of sleep paralysis or Old Hag Syndrome; they’ll be another post about those.  Instead here are two stories of people who put their head on their pillow expecting a good night’s sleep, but something happened on the way to dreamland.

The Bedroom

Jason is an eighteen year old son of Portuguese immigrants who have lived in the Fall River/New Bedford area since their arrival in America.  Members of his family have had numerous experiences, including a ghostly kidnapping of sorts in a chapel near Isben, but Jason remembers what happened most in the second house they lived in when he was only ten.

The landlord told them the three bedroom apartment on South Main Street in Fall River had a history of “weird” things happening, but Jason’s father didn’t believe in that sort of thing.  There had been reports by people living in the apartment of and neighbors had said things were found moved and there were sometimes noises coming from the kitchen when no one was in there.

For the first four months nothing unusual happened and the whole family ignored the cold spots that occurred randomly in the house.  “It was summer, and sometimes you’d have to wear a coat in the kitchen sometimes,” Jason relates.  He and his family were never sure what rooms would get cold or for how long.

It was Jason’s room that became the source of tension in the house.  One night, around 1:00 in the morning, Jason got up to go to the bathroom.  When he returned to the room the window was open.  He remembered having closed it but shut it again and returned to bed.  He tried to go back to sleep, but he opened his eyes again when he heard his window slowly opening again.  He raised his head and there was no one in the room.

DSCN1200“I was too lazy to get up and close it, so I tried to forget it and went back to sleep.”  He couldn’t though.  As soon as he put his head back down, the window slammed shut.  He sat up and watched as the window opened and closed four or five times while he watched.  He ran out and slept on the couch.

Over the next few days he begged his parents not to make him stay in the room and they eventually broke down and moved his little sister in there.  After a few nights she experienced the same thing and “flipped out.”  Jason says he was young at the time and there might be another reason, but the family moved out less than a month later.

Goodbye

After arguing over where we would live, I decided in 1999 to move from Boston to Orlando, Florida, to be with my fiancé.  Jenna and I were living on Park Drive in Boston with another friend of ours, Amy.  Nothing had ever really happened in the apartment, although we would often have the feeling we were not alone or that we were being watched.

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Also, Karma, Jenna’s cat, would attack the walls.  I would photograph her when she would do this, but I never picked anything up.

 

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After we loaded all my things into a moving truck we went to bed because Jenna and I were leaving in the morning to start the twenty-one hour drive to Orlando.  Because my bed was packed, I slept on our comfortable couch.  I was woken up at about four in the morning by a kiss on my cheek.  At first I thought it was Jenna or Amy, but it seemed odd for either of them to come out and kiss me.  Her face was right next to mine, close enough that I have kissed her back.  I remember thinking my face was even still wet from the kiss.  The only word I can use to describe her expression is bittersweet, like she was going to miss me but was happy for me as well.  She had these intense, squinted eyes, like when someone you know is trying to send you a message without saying anything so other people don’t pick up on it.  I turned to get a better look at her, and instantly she appeared across the room near the girls’ bedroom, like she was on a sliding dolly.

IMG_E4683The girl now standing by their door was slightly shorter than either of them with her hair coming down off her shoulders.  I could not make out her face, and as I was about to say hello, she turned to leave and disappeared.

The Backroom

Back in the day I posted stories of my experiences or rumors I heard about haunted locations throughout the state.  Eileen (I’m pretty sure that’s not her real name, but more than 15 years later I have a hard time remembering what it might actually be) e-mailed me concerned over strange experiences she was having that she had no real frame of reference for.  It was my first time talking to someone who was coming to me for help, and it was a trial by fire to get to the heart of what was happening while trying to confort her and help her understand what might be going on.

 

Eileen belongs to a generation that sees the paranormal as fiction.  Ghosts are fine for the movies and eerie stories on Halloween, but the only true spirit is the Holy Spirit and tales of demons and things that go bump in the night are more cautionary tales for people who invite bad things to happen to them.  She believes there are powers that cannot be explained, but if it happens to you then you wanted it to or it is a sign that something is wrong with you.  That is what her Catholic upbringing taught her, and that is what she believed until she started to experience things that challenged what she felt about the other realm.

Eileen moved into her three family duplex in Chelsea 23 years ago with her small daughter and husband.  Almost immediately she experienced things.  The first night she had trouble sleeping and sat awake next to her husband.  She was beginning to dose off when she noticed a figure in the room.  Although there was no sound a dark shadow figure moved into the room and to her husband’s side of the bed.  Although she could make out no features on the form, she got the feeling it was female as it bent over, picked up her husband’s pants and went through the pockets.

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Although Eileen noticed something odd about the feeling of the house, it was not until her three year old daughter began to tell her there was a ghost in her room that Eileen started to get suspicious and remember that first night.  She would run from her room screaming, Ghost in room.”  Soon after her daughter developed an imaginary friend named Ekky who spent four or five years with them until she “moved to Florida”.  Eileen did not think too much of it because she understood it was normal and healthy for a child to have such friends.  Over the years her daughter would bring up the subject of the ghost in a nonchalant way, Eileen believes mainly because people did not believe her and Catholic did not believe in such things.

But other unusual things happened.  Items would disappear and things would be misplaced and Eileen would tell herself it was her own fault.  She had just forgot where she put it down.

Eileen’s daughter entered her late teens and she became more and more uncomfortable in the room.  She refused to sleep sometime, never saying why, but it was clear there was something there she did not like.  Once when she was twenty she went to sleep in her mother’s room.  When they woke in the morning there was a cat at the foot of the bed although they did not own a cat and the house was locked up and secure.  They opened the door and shoed the cat out with a broom.

IMG_4281.JPGIn 2002 Eileen moved into her daughter’s old room and the occurrences began to happen more and more.  One time she woke up to find her house sweltering.  Sometime during the night the thermostat and been turned up and the cover had been thrown across the room.  Another time she came home to find the orange juice she had left out spilled over her calendar and some papers she had on the kitchen table.  The table was soaked but the glass was sitting straight up.

Although she does not feel the ghost is threatening, it has recently began to touch her.  Once she felt her hair being lifted as she lay in bed.  The most disturbing incident involved another night time meeting.  Eileen was again lying in bed when she felt her leg being lifted up by her big toe.  She closed her eyes and regained control of her leg.

There have been renovations that might account for some of the occurrences.  The duplex is three floors and has been shared by family members over the years.  At one point the house was gutted out and evidence of a fire was found, although she has not been able to find any account of it in old newspapers.  There has also been construction on the second floor as her brother prepares to move in, although he is now giving it second thoughts.  He led Eileen on a few goose chases after making up stories about the ghost in the house, but now he is finding it more and more uncomfortable to do the work to repair the house.  He will not say why, but he does not like to be in the house alone.

IMG_4297Either does Eileen’s daughter.  She still gets uncomfortable in the room, although she does not feel afraid.  According to Eileen, she seem more upset by the whole thing, as if she had convinced herself that the things that had happened to her as a child were her imagination.  To hear Eileen now talk of those things makes it seem more real.

They have reversed roles because Eileen does not fear the female spirit in her house.  Nothing has happened in a while and the spirit is most obvious when she is not thinking about her.  Eileen wants to talk to her, but does not know what she will say.  She is now convinced she is not going crazy in her old age but that now, maybe because everyone has moved out, she has found a new roommate.

Scary Story a Day…The Glen in Woburn

Old true stories that are meant to just give you a little chill as you go about your day…
Keep checking in to see the new one every day…
We’re going to start this week with a series of stories that all take place in an area of Woburn, Massachusetts, know as the Glen.  We already told one story that’s related to the neighborhood, and our story on Horn Pond has gotten some interesting feedback, but there are several more we’ve collected over the years.
It makes you wonder if certain places are more haunted for a reason, and what those reasons might be.
If you have a Woburn story or legend, contact us at spookytripping@gmail.com.

There are places where the paranormal events are more extreme and more frequent.  Whether it is because of energy in those places or some event that has trapped spirits due to trauma or joy, they become magnets for activity, like the Bridgewater Triangle or Salem.

An area known as the Glen in Woburn is such an area.

The Glen was originally apple and cranberry bogs when the town was first settled.  It lies close to one of the first Shaker settlement in Massachusetts, a settlement eventually forced to leave.  The houses were originally nothing more than shacks, like bungalows, and as the area expanded, there became less farming and the houses were built on.  There are very few houses that stand as they stood when the town was formed.

Upon first looking at the Glen, you might think the numbers are consistent with other neighborhoods in Massachusetts, but a closer look shows something unusual lies on the street.  Even in a town with a sorted health history like Woburn (read or see Civil Action), there is an unusual amount of cancer in the people that live there.  There is also an anomalous amount of divorce and domestic abuse.  Diane, being more sensitive than the average person, feels the energy around her, and her house has become a weigh station for spirits passing through and for those who have chosen to settle.

One house she used to own is now my sister’s, a house she owned but refused to live in because it felt “evil”.  (Read Mr. Moustache) Although she feels there is something darker in that house, she counts several family members as the unseen residents in her own.  Di often works nights and sleeps during the day and relies on her dog Bo to keep her company.  Bo often walks up out of a dead sleep and follows things with his eyes that aren’t there.  “If you ever had a dog you would know,” she says.  “They have a perception of spirits.”  He takes off down the hallway after things that cannot be seen, but Di doesn’t need to see them.  She hears them.  When she is home during the day, or even at night when she gets home, she hears the front door open and footsteps go into her Mother-in-law’s old room.  The spirit that does the walking has changed though.

When they first moved in they lived with her husband’s father.  Diane would often hear the footsteps and feel that something was watching her.  She even began seeing things out of the corner of her eye.  The father got sick and died in 2000, and the activity became more frequent and took on a slightly different feel.  Although it was a much bigger room, they never moved into his bedroom, instead turning it into a “guest room”. Di and her husband bought the house from his siblings and gutted the place out.  Di feels that her father-in-law doesn’t like that.  They would disagree when he was alive about things having to do with the house.  He struggled when he became sick and did not want to die.  Di believe these two factors have caused an angry man to replace a curious wife in the house.

“When we bought the house we gutted it.  Every time I was doing something I would feel guilty.”  She thought it was in her head, but eventually the feelings become more “odd” than just guilt.    “I know he’s there.  It is a different energy.  He didn’t want this stuff removed when he lived here, I don’t think he wants it out now.  The air gets so thick I have to open the windows.  I Never felt uneasy when it was her.”  She still hears the footsteps and sees things she cannot explain and often wakes to think there is an intruder in the house, and once she even saw something hovering over her bed when she woke up that disappeared when she looked back.

She notices the activity most late at night and in the mornings.  She also feels the two spirits have found each other, and that the mother is trying to help the father deal with the changes in the house and with his own death.  “She would have liked the changes.  I think she tells him to chill when he gets mad.”

People have gotten odd sensations in her house, but no one had heard anything until her husband was home alone one night.   He was watching television when he heard someone open the door, close it, walk right by him and then down the hallway.  He then heard the “guest room’s” door open and close.  He stopped making  fun of Di after that.

Di also feels the energy in the area allows her already sensitive spirit to call upon her father and sister.  She feels the room change when they arrive and sometimes hear them out loud speak with her and often hears there voices inside answer questions she asks.  She knows it sounds crazy, but it makes her feel closer to them.

Old Ghosts at the Almshouse in Walpole

The Almshouse on East Street in Walpole has been the sight of hauntings since a fire in the late 1800’s and may have been the site of more than one tragedy before that.

 

Built in the early 1800’s by the houses original owner, Daniel Allen, the house was transformed into a house for the poor of the town and a weigh station for the homeless who jumped the railroads tracks nearby.  The poor farm allowed people to work in return for room and board and was supported mainly by town funds.  Because many of the people who lived in the house were unregistered with the farm it was difficult to keep track of who was there and tragedies that might have happened to people who lived a high risk lifestyle, but in the late 1800’s a fire killed anywhere between 16 and 26 boarders.  The house switched hands many times after the fire and in the early 1900’s children accidentally set fire to the barn and caused other damage to the property.  There are also rumors of the house being used as part of the Underground Railroad, and as we have seen in other stories, there has been a coloration between these locations and hauntings, often because of escaped slaves caught, but also because of the emotion releases during the tense moments hiding for one’s life.

 

The house has been known to be the spot of several hauntings, the most regular of which is known as Uncle Joe.  He is said to be responsible for tickling people on the back of their necks and misplacing thing.  There is a bit of sadness in his haunting, as he seems to play out his failed escape from the fire by opening and closing windows and rattling windows.

 

There have been various investigations of the hauntings at the Almshouse, but they have yet to produce anything more than medium impressions and scary stories.

 

The majority of information for the Almshouse came from a 1970 article by Janathan Kannair and an Article in The Walpole Times which ran on October 31, 1985 by Steve Mackinnon

 

Thank you to The Walpole Public Library and librarian Warren Smith for the information.  Libraries and Librarians like them are vital to the research I do and proved most helpful.  Help them keep up the work they do by checking out the Friends of Walpole Public Library and giving what you can.

Revisiting Charlesgate

This was one of the first articles I wrote on Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads, even before it was called that.  Part of this appeared in Jeff Belanger’s Encyclopedia of Haunted Places and was “borrowed”  by several other books.  Charlesgate is where it all started for me, so it holds a special place in my heart.
Two things hit me upon reading the article.  The first is that I hope my writing has become better since this was first published around 2002.  Not sure I can say that’s true.  The other is that so much of what I was putting out there about the building and its history was based on things I was told and information passed down rather than researched.  I think that works sometimes.  Natalie Crist of Tripping on Legends was going through the story and asked me questions about the dates and times things had actually happened.  I had no answers for her.  I don’t think I need them.  So much of the legend of Charlesgate comes things that cannot be verified.
Before I left Boston, I took a haunted tour of the city that went by my old dorm.  The person giving the tour retold my stories back to me, not knowing I was the one who had experienced them or at least had written them down.  They were mixed and matched, with details added that had never happened.   The Federal Government story was its centerpiece and almost none of the details were right.
In that spirit, I offer you the unedited original story.

 

The old Charlesgate Hotel is one of the most haunted buildings in Boston. Over time the building has taken on legend status, making it difficult to separate the truth from the mystique that surrounds it. It was built in 1891, supposedly by the Mafia, although there has been no connection between the original contractor and architect and organized crime. From the outside you can’t see the eighth floor, where some of the illegal activity was supposed to have happened. There are several areas that are boarded up or filled in, revealing hidden rooms that were once used but that you cannot see unless you follow the slight cracks in the wall. One such room on the sixth floor was the sight of a suicide. Walking through the halls, checking out the rooms and then comparing it to the original blueprints (on file at the Boston Public Library) shows many inconsistencies and points to potential areas of hauntings.

After serving as a hotel it was sold and sold again until it eventually became a BU dorm. The lore began with the influx of students. BU sold the dorms and it became a tenement, serving some of the worst tenants in Kenmore. At that time, students began to move in as well, often charged far more than the other people living there, creating an interesting mix of college kids and sketchy “adults”. Emerson College bought the building in the 1980’s and renovated it back into dorms, placing its foot firmly in the square and extending its influence in the city.

100_0170Some of the legendary spirits that walked the halls are very old. In the basement there are the spirits of horses that died when there were stables there. There is a little girl that haunts the elevator where she died. Often people had seances and weird things would happen, and more than once magic and black magic had been practiced in the dorm rooms. But there were other strange things that went on. Often at night there was scampering in the ceilings, too small to be people, but too big to be rats. There would be voices and light problems. Some student would see a gurney roll by their room.

Suicide plays a major role in the mythology of the building, often being the root cause of things that cannot be explained. In the 1970’s there was an alarm clock in a room where a supposed suicide had occurred that would go off at 6:11 am although it was not set. Another time 3 girls moved into a room on the 6th floor. Although each of them wanted the big closet upon moving in, they all had unusual sensations when they approached it, deciding it was better to let someone else use the closet. Research discovered another suicide in that closet. Once a student woke up to see a spirit hovering over him. The ghost was also seen by the RA who ran in to see why the student was screaming.

cgate3It was a hotbed of activity, and if you used a Ouija board anywhere in it, you’d get results (See the Federal Government story).  One night we got an answer to some of the activity. We contacted a spirit that called itself Zena that would clearly write out answers to our questions and offered a detailed history of its existence. It was not a normal spirit because it had never lived, but was more of a spell that had been cast on doorways by one of the original builders to protect those inside. They saw everything and tried to help people and often communicated on the board as different people to make them do what they thought was right. They told me of a spell placed on me by someone that was later confirmed by two psychics who had no idea what I was going in for. It knew things only the people themselves would know, and made a believer out of more than one skeptic that would try the board.

After we left the dorms it was sold again, and one person who lives in the building says he never has had anything happen. I think back to a rule of Ouija boards though. If a spirit is on the board and it is not cleaned, and it is destroyed somehow, the spirit is said to escape. If there was something in those walls, I wonder what might have happened when they gutted the place out to make the condos.

100_0175Recently, while taking photographs for a new book coming out I evaluated some of the designs at Charlesgate. I had lived in the building for two years, but I had never noticed the faces, some obvious and other not so obvious, around the windows and in the rest of the metalwork. There were also scratches which appeared random, but upon zooming appeared to spell things out. Some of the expressions I found, hidden in the beauty, were “No Exit”, “Hell”, and “Gone”.

The Odd Ghost of Federal Government

This is another old post from Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads and one of my favorite Ouija Board stories.  It also appeared in my first book Ghostly Adventures.

 

Federal Government is the strongest proof I have that a Ouija board might indeed be a useful or effective tool in paranormal research, and also a great argument for why you might not want to use them.  He seems to be a powerful spirit with negative intentions, a long memory, and some influence on our world.

In the Spring of 1995 some friends and I spent too much time using the board.  We were living in the old Charlesgate Hotel in Boston, considered one of the most haunted building in Massachusetts.  We had been using the board and getting mixed results when a very strong spirit pushed a weaker one off.  He immediately told us to be scared.  When we asked of what he moved the pointer slowly over the OUIJA label on the top of the board slowly enough to give me goosebumps.

FedGov quickly became obsessed with one of my roommates at the time.  John (name changed) was a womanizer and I had joked earlier that semester that he was sleeping his way through the alphabet.  We asked FedGov why he did not like John and he said because he made girls cry.  When we asked how he made girls cry and scrolled through all the letters on the board in a “z”, movement he would often mimic through our interactions with him.  He said John had to die, and it was his goal to do it.  Whenever we would be talking to a spirit he would force them off and start spelling out John’s name and making a “z” across the letters.

FedGov once caused our fire alarm to go off, but it wasn’t until he almost killed John that we took his threats seriously and understood the kind of power he had.  We were using the board and John went to take a shower.  We were talking to a spirit that claimed it was one of our guardian angels and FedGov came on.  After identifying himself he started to spell out “HAHAHAHA”.  When we asked why he was laughing he spelled out “ACDCACDCACDC”.  We were all confused until John came back into the room.  His hair was wet and the color was gone from his face.

When he had gone to use the shower the light had been out.  He screwed it back in and began the shower.  Just as he was washing his hair, the light went out.  His first instinct was to screw the light in, but he stopped.  He was soaking wet and standing in a pool of water.  He washed his hair in the dark rather than risk electrocution.

All of this could be a coincidence if it wasn’t for Sarah, one of John’s old girlfriends.  They had dated on and off over the years, almost always ending with John doing something horrible to her.  They talked that summer, and John brought up ghosts.  Sarah said she believed in them because she had talked to someone who claimed to be the devil.  She had first talked to him when she was young and he had told her that when she died he would have her.  Her soul was his forever and he was just waiting for her to join him.  When she had used the board earlier that year the same spirit had gotten on, asking her if she remembered him.  She said she knew he was not the devil and begged for his real name.  It spelled out FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.