Thursday, October 26, 2006


An October Moment...

October 13, 1983

What? That's it?

Are you fucking kidding me?

No, I'm not voicing your reactions after reading yesterday's post (although maybe I am). I'm sharing my reactions for the rest of that anticlimactic summer.

Coming away from our encounter with the Witch Man, I found myself feeling about as dispirited as I ever want to. Our efforts felt like they had come to nothing, had if anything raised more questions than answers. And as the summer wore on, that feeling only intensified. Shawn stayed with us almost til Labor Day, and during that time he never saw or heard one thing in the house that was anything like the phenomena my family had experienced. And indeed, ever since our trip to the Witch Man, my friend had seemed more distracted and distanced than I'd ever known him, like his mind was already turned to another task, one I wouldn't learn more about for a long while.

After a brief trip to New Hampshire in late summer, my family returned to the house and I began school a short time later. Everything remained strangely quiet and I can't tell you how frustrating that was. Every ghost story I'd ever read--including a lot of "true" accounts--indicated that these hauntings ended only after some crucial turning point: the discovery of some piece of information, a séance that released a spirit from its earthly bonds; some culmination of events had to occur. It seemed ordained. But in our case, all we'd done was dig up an old carriage step and spent an afternoon with a crazy old man. And that was the end to it? It seemed a terrible cheat.

Except that I was wrong on one important score. It didn't end.

I first understood this one brisk fall day at school. I was sitting out on the bleachers, shooting the shit with my friends, when I noticed a woman out in the parking lot, waving to me. It was Mrs. A, the mom of one of my classmates, and a friend of the family. She was a sweet, kind, soft-spoken woman, so soft-spoken in fact that I actually couldn't remember her ever speaking to me before, beyond the usual pleasantries.

But today, she was waving and calling my name loudly across the lot. Curious, I hopped down off the bleachers and strode over. Before I could even say hello, she cut me off.

"Do you have ghosts in your house?" she asked. My dropped jaw gave her all the answer she needed.

"How do you know?" I asked.

"I was just over there," she said.

As she explained, she was running some errands in our neck of the woods and decided to stop by and invite my mom out to lunch.

"I went and knocked on your side door--" by this she meant the kitchen door "--and I heard your dogs barking."

I nodded. This was totally common. Pilgrim and Mayflower were excellent watchdogs, despite the fact that neither of them was any bigger than the head of a rag mop.

"And then," Mrs. A continued, "I heard footsteps and heard a woman's voice say, 'Hush now! Hush up now!' Right on the other side of the door."

"But no one was there," I said.

"No," she nodded. "The dogs stopped barking right away and I waited, but I heard nothing else. No voices. No footsteps. Nothing. I knocked again, thinking maybe your mom hadn’t heard me, but after I knocked again, no one came to the door. The dogs didn't even bark anymore."

That news freaked me out more than anything. Pilgrim and Mayflower didn't shut up for anyone, not even my mom.

"Well, no one was home today," I said. "In fact--"

"I know," said Mrs. A, and together we turned to look across the parking lot. At my mom's old GMC Jimmy. She volunteered at the library on Tuesdays and Thursday. She'd been at school all day. Whoever Mrs. A heard, it hadn't been my mother.

Mrs. A, I learned, had some paranormal experiences of her own as a child and was plenty sensitive to that sort of thing. So as we stood in the lot, I shared some of our experiences with her. She just nodded. And that was the end of that encounter.

That's how it went. Every few months, something new would happen. Nothing earth-shattering, but just enough to remind me that I was living in a mystery. And I came to understand that in my life this might become my unfinished business, one that would ultimately lead me to be some frustrated spectre rolling chairs in an attic or wandering across lawns to knock on doors.

It's a frustrating fact--and one I hate to admit--but life rarely seems to arrange itself in neat chapters and episodes. Resolution is a scarce thing indeed, and sometimes when it comes, we don't recognize it for what it is. My day with the Witch Man, our moment digging up the carriage stone, those were as close to true moments of closure as we'd get.

To this day, the house I grew up in remains a hotbed of strange, unexplained activity. And to be sure, there were more events in that house, but none of them were points on a continuum that I could perceive, none of them added up to a complete picture when I connected the dots. I'd love to be able to tell you that I--with the help of folks like Shawn and Mrs. A and Ruth--unraveled the puzzle of this place and put some restless spirits at peace, but it didn't happen that way.

As unsatisfying as it is, that's life.

And it took the dead to teach me that.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

I expect the long deceased would know a thing or two about life. Any notion of what's going in the house or with Mrs. A these days? Also, have you ever bothered to consult with any other mystics regarding your mark?
As always, it has been fascinating, amusing, slightly spooky and an altogether, very MM tale.

With the exception of the ending, which, while is true is the way of life, I just can't help but think that truth or not, you took some.. perverse kind of pleasure of having at least one entry not quite neatly tied up.

Still want to know what the Witch Man told Shawn, and what you learned from his daughter.

Just so you know.

That'll do for me 'til next October. But then I am with heather, I'll still want to hear about the tellings of The Witch Man and what you learned from his daughter.

Just so's you know, again from me too :)

And, now, onto taking care of HLS with you.
I suppose not every mystery does have an easy explanation to it...much like life in general. I am looking forward to more details, though, just like Heather and Melissa. :)
I guess that's part of the beauty of life and death- the not knowing. Think how boring things would be if we knew the answers to each and every question.

But I, like you, are of a curious nature and like to look here and there and ask questions. That being said, what did the Witch Man say to Shawn? What did the daughter say to you? Come on MM, give it up- :)

PS- my ADonna was born w/two extra-I had forgotten all about that until you mentioned yours. Happy Holloween!
its been a while, but after reading 3 months of your blogs ... I can safely say this ... my head is now official numb.

Its always a pleasure to come here and improved my intelect ... :)
Have you ever done any internet research on that old house? It might be a lot easier to find info now than it was then.

I really hope the Witch Man didn't tell Shawn anything that could have turned into a self-fulfulling prophecy. That would just be too sad.
Sharfa- Oh, true :/
As we wait for more details about your October moments (perhaps a whole year?), I can't help but think that some mysteries may be better left unsolved.

The Blaze story was not one of these - we needed the closure and to know that you were all going to be okay in the end.

But these posts have elements that many classic tales lack - no explanation, and no tidy ending. It can be frustrating to never get to a conclusion, but in my opinion the lack of these things just makes the stories more real.

hope I'm not being selfish to hope for one more before the month is over :)
I agree with the rest of the group: We thoroughly appreciate the rounding out of the story, but what about Shawn? And Ruth's advice? I can't help but think you're holding out on us just a tiny bit. You know how hungry we are for more!
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