September 20, 2004
The Insistent SpiritRate this encounter: William J. Corriveau, Bixby Road, Litchfeild, New Hampshire, August 10th or 11th, 1990, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was about 12-years-old at the time, my brother only 8, but the memories of that night stayed with us, unbeknownst to each other, until 10 years later. Here’s our story.
It was early August, 1990. It had been raining on and off for a couple of days, leaving everything swampy and muddy. We were living in a two story triplex house on a tiny little street called Bixby Road nestled between Cutler Road and Woodburn Drive in Litchfield, New Hampshire.
At the time we were occupying the unit on the far left, closest to the dirt driveway that semi-circled from Bixby Road to Woodburn Drive. (It should also be noted that we occupied the middle unit too, prior to moving into the one on the left.)
My mother had left that evening to play Bingo, leaving me to baby-sit my brother until she got back home. She had left through the sliding glass door facing the back yard, where she had parked the car, to avoid walking through our flooded front yard and extremely muddy driveway.
At one point during that evening, my brother and I were settled on the couch watching that old Bill Murray movie Stripes on our VCR, when our movie was interrupted by a series of power outages. It had gone out and come back on three times, with about only a second between each outage.
This eventually left us watching a blank fuzzy screen and nagging at each other to walk to the TV and start the movie back up (no remote control!).
As we were displaying our extreme laziness and nagging each other, our foul-mouthed conversation was severely halted by a rattling sound. Our eyes followed the sound and it lead them to the doorknob on the front door. I remember a curious feeling building inside of me as my gaze focused on the movement of the doorknob, something my mind wouldn’t catch onto until several minutes later.
The doorknob shook back and forth violently for about thirty seconds as my brother and I watched wide-eyed awaiting for someone to open the door and come in. When it stopped, I felt that a prank was being played on us, so to ease my nerves and those of my brother, I started in my usual foul-mouthed manner to invite the idiot on the other side of the door to come in.
Almost instantly, the doorknob resumed shaking. It was about this time that my mind started to comprehend the curious feeling that had built up inside of me. You can't reach the doorknob on the front door when the screen door is closed!
From my viewpoint on the couch, I had an excellent view of our front stoop through the huge picture window on the front of the house. Not only did I not see anybody on the other side of the door, but I could also confirm that the screen door was firmly shut. Our ill-fitted aluminum screen door was not a door easily cracked or opened without a ruckus of noise either.
Trying to hide my intense fear, I continued to barrage our visitor with insults. My brother followed my example.
The doorknob stopped shaking. Actually, paused would be a better word, because for what seemed to be at least 10 minutes, the doorknob would shake and then stop, shake and then stop. Sometimes it would shake for 15 seconds, sometimes 45 seconds. Sometimes it would shake lightly but visibly turning, sometimes it would shake violently.
As my heart was racing, my mouth never ceased and my eyes played back and forth between the doorknob and outside. With the help of our outside light, I remember searching for any sign of movement; somebody above, somebody below, anything. My brother and I taunted each other to get up and open the door, but neither of us took one step near it.
When about ten minutes of this ridiculous behavior passed by, my fear began subsiding. With my courage rising, I declared to my brother and our visitor that I was going to open the door. As I began to stand up, my eyes never straying from my outside view, a sight stopped me in my tracks.
Out upon our stoop, a lantern suddenly lit up the night and swung to and fro in the air. My brother and I jumped to our feet yelling to each other, “Do you see that! Do you see that!”
It extended our field of night vision by adding to the light pouring out from our windows and from our outside light above the stoop. The light never exposed an arm holding the lantern, or a body for that matter, nor a rope or string to suspend it, and trust me, it stayed there long enough for such an examination. It did not shine an incandescent light like a light bulb would, but a fiery one. It blazed and swung as we beheld the sight.
And eventually, as fast as it came, the light extinguished and the lantern disappeared.
A minute later I ran to the door and finally opened it. The screen door was still tightly shut. I went outside and examined the front yard. No footprints in the yard, on the stoop, or anywhere around the front door. In fact, the only footprints that remained on the stairs and stoop when my mother returned were mine from re-entering the house. A horrifying revelation indeed when I found how easily I could make them.
I don’t think our mother believed us when she came home, but she was concerned. Inquiries where made around the neighborhood about visiting the house after the power outages. No one on our block admitted to the visit, and most importantly no one had a lantern that wasn’t electric. We moved about a year later.
As dramatic as it was for my brother and I, no one seemed interested in the events. After a day had passed, none of us would speak of it until about 10 years later. Upon a visit to my mother's new house up north, I approached my brother with the subject. I was curious as to whether or not my imagination had exaggerated the incident over the years, but without prodding, his story was remarkably similar to mine.
Interestingly enough, my mother overhearing the conversation chimed in with a few of her own experiences at that house. My mother is one of those late night readers, and she claims that on several of those nights, while we were living in the middle unit, our neighbor’s dog, who was kept in the windowless basement, would start yelping in fear at certain times in the night.
She never thought much of it until after our neighbors had moved. After the apartment had been emptied and vacant for awhile, my mother would hear a baby crying at the same times of the night in which she had once heard the dog. She would investigate the crying sound and track it to the basement, only to have the crying stop by the time she reached the adjoining basement door.
I live on the opposite side of the country now, but someday I hope to return and ask the recent tenants if they’ve had such experiences.