What is it about the New Hampshire psyche that thrills to tales of mysterious sounds,
doors that open on their own, scratching sounds in the attic, and specters that silently move about? Some believe that the glee we feel when books go flying off our shelves by themselves is a throw-back to our puritan ancestors. They were overly absorbed with devils, witches and evil silhouettes. And so are we still.
New Hampshire history is especially ripe with tales of ghosts and hauntings. Did you ever notice that coincidentally many of New Hampshire’s haunted places are restaurants and hotels? I can’t help but think of how horrifically marketing-savvy the owners must be. Regardless of the food quality, I might be tempted to visit a place where tables and chairs move on their own, or my dinner plate might go spinning off into space at any moment. The sensation of the hair on the back of my neck standing up, makes me feel wonderfully alive.
Not that I think all of these for-profit “haunted” sites fabricated those stories. One night at a famous inn in Newport Rhode Island, my window flew open during the night with a huge bang. Nothing like getting my attention! And I fondly remember a visit to a haunted Goffstown home, where the extremely loud and moving sound of rustling birds wings could be heard between the walls at various times, day and night. Trust me, it was the kind of noise you could not attribute to water in the pipes.
And so, as we move through these lovely autumn days, there is something quite reassuring about ghosties, and beasties, and things that go bump in the night. Like my ancestors, perhaps I’d rather believe that these specters and demons are responsible for our world’s ills.
(Updated October 2014)