A White Mountain Ghost Story

The wind whistled mournfully around the hotel as the story was being told, and the

Monument to Lizzie Bourne on Mt. Washington, pre-1900

Monument to Lizzie Bourne on Mt. Washington, pre-1900

hearers involuntarily clustered nearer one another and waited the next gloomy reminiscence. It came from an elderly gentleman who wouldn’t vouch for its truthfulness, but who was ready to swear that the friend who told it to him was an eye-witness and could be relied upon always.

Photograph of Lizzie Bourne Monument on Mt. Washington, showing how close she was to the Tip Top House when she died.

another photograph of a pre-1900 Lizzie Bourne Monument on Mt. Washington, showing how close she was to the Tip Top House when she died.

The story was in relation to the death of Miss Lizzie Bourne, of Kennebunk, Me., who died in a blinding snow-storm on the Glen bridle path on the night of Sept. 14, 1855. The traveler, who rides up in the little railway car, has the pile of stones pointed out to him, as marking the spot where her rigid body was found. One is surprised to find that it is so near the Tip Top house, that is not much more than a stone’s throw. So she must have shrieked and shouted in her despair, but on such a terrible night, with the wind blowing like a hurricane, and howling like a million fiends, who in the hotel could have heard her or have distinguished her voice before it was swallowed up in the tempest. There is a well-founded rumor, said the old gentleman, that every year, on the night of the 14th of September, the ghost or spirit, or whatever you may call it, of Lizzie Bourne may be seen flitting about the mound. Henry J. Howland and a party saw it last year, and were almost frightened to death, continued the story teller. It was a clear, moonlight night, and Howland and his party were roaming over the summit to see whatever was to be seen They had got down to the Bourne monument, and being somewhat fatigued with their scramble over the rocks, they all dropped down for a few minutes’ rest. Naturally enough, the monument suggested the tragic death of the poor girl, and they fell to talking about it. A heavy bank of clouds rising from the West threatened to obscure the moon altogether and give the party some trouble in finding their way back to the hotel, and they rose up to start. At that moment a filmy cloud shot across the surface of the moon, and surrounding objects on the landscape lost their clearness. A shriek from Howland startled everybody and they turned to see him pointing at the monument and wringing his hands as if he was in the greatest agony. He seemed to have lost his voice after that one shriek, and there he stood horror-stricken like. The whole party turned to the monument, and there, if you’ll believe it, continued the story teller, glancing at his now awe-stricken listeners, was a whiting figure rising up through the stones, just as if she was coming to the surface, borne upward by some mysterious stage mechanism. Then, as she got to the top, she assume a defined shape, that of a pretty girl, with a sad face, and flowing robes and hair. She appeared to point her right hand toward the glimmering lights of the Tip Top House, and then suddenly dropping on her knees she clasps her hands as if in prayer. In another instant she cloud scudded away, the moon looked down as bright as ever, and the ghost or spectre, or whatever you may call it, was gone. Howland, however, was prostrated by the shock to his nervous system, and didn’t get over it for two days. “No, Sir,” wound up the old gentleman, “I don’t believe in spirits, and I don’t believe my friends untruthful. I Believe there is a something or other to be seen there on the mound, and if I’m alive to see it–alone if I can’t get any of my friends to go along.” Such a story, listened to with the hotel joints creaking like a ship’s and a fierce tempest in progress outside, had a marked effect upon some of the ladies, causing them to shudder and cling closer to the gentlemen, who figured either as husbands or escorts. But blow high or blow low, the old hotel is as safe as any hotel in the valley below, for it is anchored to the rocks with great chains which no amount of tugging at by the great gales has even seemed to effect in the slightest degree. — Boston Post  [printed in New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene NH), Thursday, August 25, 1881, Vol. LXXXIII, Issue 34, page 1]

 

This entry was posted in Haunted New Hampshire, History and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A White Mountain Ghost Story

  1. Pingback: Death on Mt. Washington: The Tale of Lizzie Bourne | Cow Hampshire

  2. Al Stoops sent me a link to your blog this morning and I’ve been enjoying it very much. Thank you.

Leave a Reply