The Zombie without a Heart

Fortune tellers and psychics sometimes comment that they have a tough time in Keene.  A few have reported they have better readings outside of Keene, and that they sometimes have nightmares after attending a psychic fair in Keene.  Things go wrong, batteries run out of power, lights flicker, things they were sure they packed go missing.  Some claim their dreams are of 2 young men, that are angry at all those that cast fortunes.  Others though dream of what we would now call a zombie, a dead young man, looking for his eternal rest and also very unhappy with those that would cast fortunes in Keene.  Perhaps they have good reason to be angry, if those young men are Seth, Adam, Issac and Samuel who lived in Keene in the early 1800’s.

Seth and Adam’s brother Issac was dying. They knew this because they had recently lost another brother, Samuel, and the symptoms were the same. Consumption, or what we would now call TB, was a leading killer before the introduction of antibiotic treatment in the 1940’s.

The endless coughing, that would bring up blood, was a sure sign that death was near. Since the cause was unknown, except that it would often decimate families, attempts to cure varied widely and were almost always ineffective. Still, Seth and Adam, having lost one brother already, were willing to try anything. Desperate for a cure, they went to a fortune teller in Keene and asked for advice.

When traditional medicine fails, even today people will seek the help of alternative medicine. This however was the early 1800’s and your local doctor could often do as much harm as good. The fortune teller the young men turned to was more than willing to take their money for her bad advice. When the local doctor said there was nothing to do, the fortune teller gave the boys something to do. Hope was bought at a high price for this working class family.

The fortune teller gave the young men a cure that was gruesome, but she swore it would work. Seth and Adam were to dig up the body of their recently deseased brother Samuel. They were then to take out his heart, and feed it to their ill brother Issac. The brother Samuel the fortune teller claimed was not at rest. His spirit was still alive. If they family could feed that spirit, via the heart, to Issac, he would regain his strength.

The fortune teller claimed that Samuel had cursed the family for not curing him, and that only by destroying his heart would his spirit rest and leave not claim the life of his brother. If this was not done, each brother would die off one by one, and the spirit of Samuel would haunt Keene forever.

The brothers followed the fortune tellers directions, digging up their brother from his grave in the middle of the night, to try to hide it from watching eyes. They were shocked to find their brother’s body looking as if they had just buried him. Some versions of the story even claim that Samuel looked even better than when he had been buried an emaciated corpse, Samuel looked like the fit and strong young man he was before his illness.

The brothers worked quickly, cutting into the body and retrieving the heart. The heart itself was not withered and dry, but was plump and wet. The brothers then reburied the body, and went home to make a meal for their sick brother of the heart. When the brothers cut into the heart, fresh liquid, perhaps blood, spurted out.

Sadly, the cure did not work, for Issac soon died. The brothers were angry, the fortune teller had not only taken their money but she had caused them to desecrate the grave of Samuel. They went to demand their money back from the crooked seer, but could find no sign of the fortune teller. The small hut where the fortune teller lived was empty, but it looked as if it had been ransacked with the small bits of furniture smashed and broken and the plates broken and smashed. The brothers were accused of having attacked the fortune teller, as she was never seen again, but they always claimed someone else with a grievance had cheated them of their revenge.

The brothers prepared Issac for his burial much as they had done for Samuel not long before. The night Issac had died, a frost had come and the ground had frozen. As is traditional even today in parts of New Hampshire, Issac’s body was put in a grave vault to await a thaw when the ground could be opened to receive his body.

It was then that that the problems started for Keene. Young men walking late at night would feel a sudden chill, and turn around to find another young man following them. The young man appeared to be normal, except there was a hole in the middle of his body. Since streetlights were not around, the descriptions are based on what could be seen from a carried lantern or just the moonlight. Also since many of these young men were returning from taverns, the stories were treated as a joke.

There was one young man, tipsy enough, to challenge the man with the hole in his chest. The brave ,but drunk, man claimed he was then attacked by a demon, that tried to “tear out my heart!” The sightings stopped soon after this, and people wondered were the stories just imaginings or had something else happened?

Spring and a thaw came and Seth and Adam were preparing to oversee the internment of their brother Issac. When the body was brought out from the grave vault, to the surprise of everyone, Issac’s body was found to have been mutilated. Where his heart should have been, was a gaping hole. The brothers quickly buried their brother, and the story remained buried in family legend until now.

Did Keene have a zombie? Looking to replace his own stolen heart? Also why was the body of Samuel so fresh? It could be the cold chill of Fall weather, preserving his body, or was Samuel one of the New England vampires of legend?

Fortune tellers of the time were known to recommend such remedies for curing illnesses. There are many written accounts of this happening all over New England, but this family story of what happened next is especially chilling. Let’s hope Samuel continues to rest in peace.  Even if fortune tellers and psychics of today may still be haunted by the brothers!

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The Blood Stained Floor

The history of Keene is like that of any older city. There has been crime, fortune tellers, bars, gambling, and tragedy mixed in with commerce, churches,education, pride and growth.

All cities have a dark side, and perhaps hidden in a home is an unwritten story that is part of the past history of almost all towns.

The home is older, but perhaps only 1920’s. It is currently empty, though there are plans for it to be rented out soon. I met the owner, a man in his early 40’s, at the front door. Mark assured me the home was ”safe”, but wanted me to see the bloody floor. I had assured him I was fine with just hearing his story. My goal is just to document ghost stories as folklore, not prove or disprove them. Mark still insisted I needed to see the floor. It seemed important to him that I believe the story of what his family went through.

Mark said he bought the home as a “flip” about 4 years ago. “I was going to do most of the work myself, I grew up doing this kind of work. I figured, a year, at most two, I’d make an easy profit.” Things didn’t quite go as planned. “My wife got pregnant, and then she couldn’t work. I had to take as much overtime as I could at my job to make up the income. We gave up our apartment and just moved into the home while I worked on it. It was slow going. I worked on the bathrooms and kitchen first so we could use the place.  The bedrooms were just ugly, so they were going to be last.”

Mark claims as soon as they moved into the house, his wife started having nightmares. She would wake up at night, claiming she heard “women crying”. Mark said he figured it was “just being pregnant”. Mark decided with the baby coming, he might cheer his wife up if he skipped some of the downstairs, and worked on the baby’s room.

Mark explained, when you work on a room you work from the top down. The last thing you do is remove old carpet or refinish a floor. The nursery was stripped of ugly wall paper and repainted when Mark decided to tear up the old carpeting. “It’s like the lottery” he explained “you don’t know what’s going to be under there, but you hope it’s good wood flooring you can refinish”.

Mark found good wood flooring, but he also found a lot of deep brown and black stains. “There were some spots where it looked like it had been a lot of something, I dunno, like it had dripped all over. It wasn’t like those crime scene splatters, this was a lot of dripping.” He found one area near the center of the room had the worst of the stains. “There was this old coconut matting under the carpet, that had a lot of stains, but the stains in the one area of the wood flooring were really deep. I refinished the floor anyway, but I bought a rug to cover the stains in the center of the room.”

Still, Mark’s wife kept having dreams about woman crying and also, began to see things. She kept seeing a middle aged woman out of the corner of her eye and also an older man. Mark described it as “almost there” and “she knew when they were around, they let her know.”

Mark’s wife felt sorry for the crying women, but she wasn’t afraid of them. The older man and middle aged woman scared his wife. Mark hoped once the baby came his wife would calm down. He said he didn’t begin to get worried until he went and started to clean out the crawl space attic. “I found stuff up there I didn’t like”. Mark showed me some of what he had found and later brought downstairs. I saw what seemed to be doctor’s equipment from the 1920’s. there was a green metal folding table, some old clamps and what appeared to be surgical instruments. There were also some lights with large metal bowl like shades.

Mark said he then figured the room had been some sort of doctors office, though he thought it was odd to have a surgery in a bedroom rather than on the first floor. Mark said he was talking to one of his neighbors, asking about the equipment, when his neighbor told him an old rumor about the house.

The rumor was that at one time, abortions had been performed at the home by the couple that lived there. Mark said he felt a chill go through him when he heard this. Mark assured me he and his wife aren’t against abortion. “I know that my wife’s pregnancy was a real surprise for us, we wondered how we could afford just one baby. I can’t blame someone, long ago, how did you keep having kids? There wasn’t much choice back then. I wondered though about someone that would perform abortions. My wife, it wasn’t the women that upset her, it was that couple. I decided not to tell her the rumor.”

Mark said he knew the last thing his wife needed was to hear anything about abortions or confirming her anxieties while she was pregnant.  “We had to live here”, he points out, “I didn’t have the money to move us.  I still didn’t believe anything was going on.”

The baby came, and Mark said things just became worse for his wife. She insisted the baby sleep in the room with them, and seemed afraid to leave the baby with a sitter. “My mom, her sister, family wasn’t allowed to babysit, my wife had to be with the baby in the house. It was only when we took the baby outside the house she relaxed. She talked to her doctor, and thedoctor thought maybe she had some of that baby depression. He put her on some pills, told us to put the baby in the nursery, get out more.”

When the baby was put in the nursery, Mark would find his wife sleeping on the floor near the crib in the morning. “She would swear she didn’t remember how she got there. She would sleep walk.” Still Mark just thought it was baby blues, until the one night he awoke to hear his wife calling out his name.

Mark found his wife standing in the nursery holding the baby, and Mark swears he finally saw the couple for himself. “There were these dark shadows, near the crib. The one shadow, it seemed to be reaching out toward my family. I just lost it.” Mark shares he didn’t feel scared, he felt this huge black anger overtake him. “I just yelled at them to leave my baby alone, and ran over and picked up the crib. I picked up this heavy crib and just threw it. Everything went all over the place, it was crazy. Just crazy.”  Mark said he still can’t explain his anger.  He just knew all at once that he believed his wife, and he had to protect his family.

Mark says he packed up his wife and baby, and they  went to stay with his parents. His wife and baby have not been back to the house since, and they are renting a new home. “We’re renting a new home, it’s only about 10 years old. I’m done with old homes, I don’t know what happened here, or what is happening, but I’m done with this place.” Mark is finishing the renovations as he can, getting the home ready to rent until the housing market picks up again. “Then I’m selling this, I’ll get what I can out of it. I have to make back something.”

I asked if he’d be selling to a young family, maybe a family with baby. Mark shakes his head. “I have to take care of my family, so I’m not going to promise anything. I hope maybe the next family is Catholic or something, or they can get some of those ghost people to figure this out. I’m not doing that, I’m just telling you as I want someone to hear this story. There is something bad here. It’s not my problem now, but it’s like a war story. Do I believe in ghosts? I don’t know what is in this house, I just know my family isn’t coming back.”

I looked at the nursery. The crib is still half broken resting on its side, but the rest of the baby furniture, clothing and toys are gone. Mark rolls back the light beige area rug that covers most of the floor. Sure enough there are dark stains. Mark shows me where he gouged into the wood, to see how deeply the stains went. He suggests maybe “Some of that crime scene stuff, maybe that could show if it’s really blood. I don’t care anymore.”

Mark reports his wife and child are doing well now. Everyone finally sleeps through the night.   Mark says he’s going to install wall to wall carpeting in the old nursery soon.

Beware of Anna Banks, cat, dog or demon

Beware of Dog

There is a lovely house near Gilsum street, with a small printed sign in the window near the front door that says “BEWARE OF DOG”. The sign is slightly faded from the sun.  If you ring the doorbell you will not be greeting by a barking dog, maybe.

The house is home to yet another Keene animal ghost, but just what kind of animal this ghost is depends on who you are. If you are a friend, you will meet Anna, a lovely jet black cat of very undetermined age.  If you are a foe, beware.

A lovely family lives in the small white house, mother, father and 2 young children. They are the second generation owners, the mother Nora, grew up in the home. “There was always a black cat when I was growing up. When my parent bought the house, they were told that a cat came with it. So, when my parents moved in, Anna the cat was already here.” She assures me she isn’t sure if it’s the same black cat, but every since she was born there has been a black cat at the home. When one of the Anna’s gets old and dies, soon enough another black cat shows up. “This has only happened twice since I’ve lived here, but my mother said it happened once also before I was born also.”

Nora said she asked her mother for more details about the black cats associated with the house. Her mother claimed that when the house was bought, the cat was “part of the package”. Nora’s parents liked cats, though they probably would not have picked an all black cat. The cat was a bit standoffish but good pet, until one day the cat grew thin and died. “Mom thought the reason the cat came with the house was that Anna was pretty old already. The family probably thought the cat would be happier not moving.” Nora’s mom buried the cat in the backyard, and to her surprise found another black cat, this one not more than a kitten, sitting in the backyard near the old cat’s grave a few mornings later.

The cat was thought to perhaps have been dumped by someone that heard the family had lost their cat. “Plus,” Nora said “not everyone wants a black cat. Mom figured someone knew she’d accept another one.” This cat was also named “Anna” for no reason anyone can remember, as have all the other black cats. Oddly enough, each death of a black Anna has brought a new Anna to the home “usually within a week.”

Nora tried to trace the history of the black cats, she wondered if it extended even farther into the history of the house. She found old photographs of the home, and sure enough, in many of the photographs dating back to the 1890’s, there is a black cat. One elderly neighbor remembers a black cat named “Anna” at the home in the 1940’s.

“Anna, or rather the Anna’s” laughed Nora a bit nervously, “is very shy. She’s always a she, and she likes only certain people.” While I was visiting, I was delighted when the current Anna came over and allowed me to pet her. Nora smiled and said “Do you own a black cat?” I told her I now own a calico stray, found on the streets of Keene, but at one time I had owned a black cat named “Othello”

Nora just nodded her head, “She really likes people that own or have owned black cats. We joke she’s a demon cat, but we can’t help but like having her around.” Nora then shared other peculiar things about the Anna cats. “For one thing, if the cat goes in the yard, all the other animals leave. You won’t find birds or squirrels around. Even dogs and other cats leave her alone. None of the Anna’s have ever been in a fight. Anna seems to like to be alone.  We just never have had another pet, Anna seems to be happiest alone and I’m busy enough with 2 children.”

 Still, who needs a dog when you have Anna cat? Nora points out clearly this is just what she’s heard from others, but people claim that her family must own a black dog. “I’ve gone away, and some of the neighbors say they heard our dog barking in the middle of the night. I know we don’t have a dog, but they swear they’ve heard ferocious barking and even come out to see if everything is alright. Once a couple of teenagers were seen running away from the house. We think maybe they were going to break in, but they heard this dog barking and left.”

 Anna the cat just looked at me for more petting, as if proud of her barking abilities. “We even get those door to door religious people”, Nora pauses, then decides to share the rest. “If I’m upstairs busy, I sometimes hear barking, and I’ll look out and it’s those Bible people, you know who I mean.” They quickly leave she said when they hear the “demon dog”. Nora assures me to her it’s only a quiet barking and growl. Nora says that the door to door salesman of anything from candy bars to religion must hear something much more frightening than she does judging by their quick exit from her front door. Nora says even if Anna is a demon and not a ghost, she seems to have the best interests of the house in mind.  Nora also joked since her daughter is a Girl Scout, Anna never growls at those that stop by selling cookies.

 Nora started putting up the “Beware of Dog” sign years ago if they were going out of town. “I want to give anyone wanting to break in here fair warning. There aren’t any ‘Beware of Demon Cat’ signs that I can find. I can find joke ‘Beware of Cat’ signs, but I need one that really means stay away!” Nora assures me the sign was just put up for my visit, so I could see “I really have one!”  Anna seemed just fine with my visit, especially as I brought her one of my hand knit cat nip mice.

Anna the black demon cat seems happy to stay near Gilsum street. “Black cats may be scary to others, but we enjoy taking care of her” Nora assures me. Her mother has heard rumors that the first Anna was saved on Halloween eve from children intent on tormenting it, by a fortune teller that used to live in the area named “Anna Banks”.

 Nora isn’t so sure, “That would have had to be a long time ago! Long before this house was built!” But perhaps the spirit of one of Keene’s most famous fortune tellers, Anna Banks, still resides in the shape of a never ending series of black cats. If so, Nora and her family say any new Anna cats will always have a welcome home with her family.

Arch Street Tunnel, Skull Speeder

Arch street is known as a quiet drive to and from Keene for those wishing to avoid Route 9. Going to Keene you pass Stonewall Farm, and then pass under the old railroad bridge, through an arch tunnel. It’s a bit tricky, you have to slow down as there really isn’t room for 2 cars to be in the tunnel like opening at the same time. Still, it’s a popular short cut to get to the high school or west side of town.

It is not popular with everyone, as many people have reported they avoid driving there. The reasons given seem to be all concerned with safety. Certainly ,in winter, the slope of the street near route 9 is a reason for concern. It becomes slick quickly in a snow or ice storm and is best avoided then.

The concerns reported though all center around the railroad bridge tunnel. People seem to feel there have been a lot of “deaths” there, and that there is something that makes them feel very uncomfortable about driving there, even in the daytime. I drive this road often, and found most people are very careful when approaching the tunnel, and slow down carefully. It does appear to be an area you would want to be very careful, but certainly not someplace to avoid.

My own odd experience with this road happened when I was pulled over for speeding. My family jokes that I was born driving like a “grandmother”. My fear of speed was learned at a young age when I was told what a speeding ticket would do to my insurance. I was informed by my family that if I got a speeding ticket, I would have to pay for all my car insurance. Since I knew I could not afford that I began my life long habit of driving slightly under the speed limit at all times. This annoys people, so I even have learned to pull over every now and again to allow people to pass me. It’s a habit I can’t break.

Only for some reason I did break the habit one day while driving by stonewall farm. I even zipped through the tunnel, without even stopping to check for traffic. The Keene Police were even confused, “you didn’t even slow down!” was the first comment from the officer that pulled me over. I blamed it on day dreaming, I was obviously not drunk and ,while confused, apologized. The officer let me off with a verbal warning. He joked people just seem to like to speed up on the road for no reason. Still, he did say “You have to be careful here, I don’t know what it is, but people drive different here.’

At the time I didn’t think much of it, other than being shaken up for being pulled over. The main worry was my simply blasting through the tunnel, as that was an error in driving judgment I would not expect even the newest 16 year old with a learners permit to make.

As stories began to come in about the bridge and the road, and I found the police officer was correct, people do drive differently on this road.  There are over 50 stories detailing mysteries concerning speeding and also skull like features on both drivers and ghostly apparitions near the tunnel.

The stories almost all include a reference to be feeling ”uncomfortable” or ‘finding myself speeding’. One story that stood out took place in the 1950’s. This was from an older woman, that walks with a cane and felt like so many people, it was time to share her ghost story.

Helen was a teenager and she jokes that she never liked Mike until he got a car. Mike lived next door to her in Keene, and she never had time for him. “His parents had money, I thought he was spoiled. When we graduated high school, he went to college and I had to get a job.’ Still, when Mike’s parents bought him a brand new Chevy for a Christmas present his freshman year of college, Helen jokes she suddenly found Mike “Very interesting!”

Mike wanted to show off his new car, and Helen finally agreed to a date with him. “I know our parents didn’t like it, which made it even more exciting!” They went out a few times during his school break, and even wrote to each other while he was at college. Finally summer came, and Mike was back.

“It was really all about the car” Helen shared. “I felt like a million bucks driving around with Mike, my parents didn’t have a car nearly as new or nice. No one I knew did. He was just a kid, and he had this incredible car. Mike was nice, but he really was just a spoiled kid. Still, we were having fun upsetting our parents and just driving around.”

Mike did get his share of speeding tickets, but Helen insists she made him slow down a bit when she was driving with him. “I wanted to be seen, not in a drag race. So when I was in the car, he kept things under control.” Except the one night he didn’t.

Helen explained that night they were returning from a party in Brattleboro Vermont. It was around midnight and Mike turned off onto arch street and instead of slowing down, he went faster. Helen told Mike, even before the end of the slope near Rt.9 “Mike too fast, slow down now!”. She says she was mad, not frightened.

Mike didn’t slow down, he went faster. Helen became even more angry “I thought he was just showing off, trying to scare me.” She says she hit him on the arm and he turned and smiled at her. It was then, she says she saw he wasn’t Mike anymore. The face lit up from the dashboard lights was that of a skull. “He was a grinning skull, it just looked at me. Then the car went even faster.”

Helen wasn’t wearing a seat belt “We just didn’t do that, it isn’t like things are today!” She looked up and saw the RR bridge tunnel ahead. She was desperate, so she opened her door, and rolled out into what she hoped was the soft side of the road. She broke her leg in several places, and is left with a limp today from the surgeries she needed to fix the breaks.

Mike hit the bridge, he lived Helen assures me, but his hospital stay was much longer than hers. She said the passenger side of the car, what she calls the “Suicide seat, that’s what we called it as more people die in that seat than any other in a car!”, was crushed. “I would have been dead if I hadn’t jumped”.

Helen refuses to drive the road. “If I have to get to Stonewall Farm, I won’t go through the tunnel. I’ll drive around. But I won’t go near that tunnel!”

There were other stories about skulls and demons associated with this stretch of road. Helen’s was the most dramatic. Still, is it just an open area where it’s easy to daydream and forget to watch your speed, or are there other forces trying to control drivers that decide to take the scenic route?

John Finds a Home, but Needs his Mother

There is a home in a quiet side street just off of route 9, about 3 miles West of Keene. It is a white 2 story home, a simple box design built around 1840. There is an old barn nearby, slightly neglected, and a small newer 2 car garage. Set off slightly from the road, there are large trees in the front yard, and in the summer their full foliage blocks the sun and view of the windows in the front of the house.

But in winter, when the leaves are off the trees, you can see into the upstairs window. If you look at the window in the upper left corner of the upper left corner of the house you will see light blue curtains. Sometimes you will also see a small boy. Just tall enough to look out, he can be seen peeking through the gap in the curtains. People would sometimes mention the boy to the homeowners, an older couple, asking if a grandchild was visiting. The couple would always claim the viewer must be mistaken, perhaps it was their dog, a large Lab, that had been looking out. The subject was always quickly changed.

doorway

This is the story of a little boy lost in a snowstorm, and perhaps the most difficult of all the Keene ghost cases investigated.

The daughter of the couple that lived at the home decided to share this story, even though it does not take place in Keene. Keene though in involved, as it is where this little boy so desperately needs to go. That is, if he is truly a ghost, and not just the imaginings of a lonely elderly couple.

I’ll call the daughter Amy, though that is not her name, her parents will be Sam and Jane. Amy claims that her parents called her from their home one snowy winter night upset that their cat was missing. Amy is one of 5 children the couple raised in the home, and she felt when all the children grew up and moved out, her parents transferred much of their concern and affection to their pets, a cat and black lab. Her parents wanted her to come over, to help look for their missing cat, and Amy refused, saying that it was too dangerous for her to drive during the storm. She advised them to stay home, as the cat would probably find someplace to hide during the storm.

Instead her parents checked the garage and the barn, and then decided to take out their truck and drive along calling for the cat. Her parents later told her what happened next, but only many years later when they were near death.

Her mother Jane first saw the little boy. He was standing near a bush by the side of the road. The bush was covered with snow, but oddly the little boy was not. He was wearing a dark suit, and had an odd dark hat on his head, not really proper attire for a blizzard. No gloves were on his hands, but he did have on high top leather shoes.

Jane and her husband Sam stopped the truck, concerned such a young child would be out so late and in a storm. The little boy did not answer their questions about who he was or why he was out late at night, but he pointed to under the bush. When Sam looked where the boy was pointing, he saw the family cat, shivering and hiding underneath. Sam picked up the cat, and told the boy to get into the truck and warm up.

The little boy didn’t seem cold, and he refused to talk. Sam and Jane rushed him back home, where they sat him down in their kitchen and covered him with a blanket. When Sam and Jane tried to call the police to report finding the boy, they found their phone was out of order. They had lost power, so they lit candles and made up a fire. They made a small bed for the boy in front of the fire, and settled down near him for the night. At first hey could not get him to speak, or even eat or drink anything, but they were mainly concerned about how his family was feeling. When Jane begged him to tell her his mother’s name, he finally spoke and told her his name was John Moore, and said “I need to get to Keene, my mother and I are going to Keene. I think she is waiting for me there.”

The family awoke to no power, but the boy seemed not concerned. He refused to eat or drink, and when they joked he could not watch TV he seemed confused. Jane was very confused by his clothing, which he refused to remove. She also noticed he did not need to use the bathroom. She did brush his hair, and sat him on her lap and washed his face. Sam noticed he seemed clean, even though he had been through a very rough night. They speculated he was from some Amish family, as he seemed to not understand about television. When Sam brought out the radio with batteries, to listen to the news, the little boy seemed scared.

That morning Sam and Jane decided to drive to the police department to report the missing boy. Sam cleaned off the driveway, and warmed up the his truck. Amy went to find an old coat from one of her children for John. When she came back into the living room where he had been sitting, he was gone.

Sam and Jane panicked, they searched the house and looked outside for footprints. There were none to be found. They didn’t know what to do. Instead of driving to the police department, they decided to talk about what had happened. Amy said many years later, her parents told her about that conversation. They talked about how John seemed unlike other boys. How he wasn’t really cold despite the snow and wind, how he didn’t eat or drink anything, how he wouldn’t take off his clothing, and mostly how he just seemed so calm despite being away from his mother. They decided, he was not a normal little boy, but a ghost. Amy said she tried to get more details from her parents, how could they not tell the police about a little boy found in a snow storm! All they could tell her was “You weren’t there, we think we knew the entire time.”

Amy’s parents didn’t give up on John. “For some reason, my parents felt this little boy needed them. I worried perhaps they had gone a little crazy later, perhaps they had invented this little boy as they missed having their children living with them.” The next week, there was another snowstorm, and Sam and Amy went out in their truck. They decided to look for John.

They found him close by where he had found their cat. This time Sam picked John up and just tucked in him the truck between himself and Jane. “You are coming home with us” he told John. He drove back to their house, and this time they had power. Still John seemed happiest with just a candle. They took John up to their youngest son’s room, the front left side on the second floor. They put John in the bed, and left the candle burning by his bedside. The next morning Amy’s parents were glad to find John was still there.

Amy said she began to get suspicious when she would come over to visit her parents, usually about once a week for dinner. Amy mentioned her siblings all lived out of state, and she was the only one still living in New Hampshire. Amy moved back to be near her mom and dad when she divorced, and she has no children. She says she went upstairs once to find an old book she remembered reading as s child, and looked in her brother’s old room. She was shocked to find a candle burning on a table by the bed, and the room instead of being full of her brother’s old stuff was filled with simple toys and a soft newly made quilt on the bed. ‘It was like stepping back in time” she said.

“I felt I wasn’t alone, that I had interrupted someone. There was a teddy bear on the bed, and simple wooden blocks on the floor. There were puzzles on the bookshelf and all the books were old. There wasn’t even a lamp at all in the room, just a simple candle”.

Amy talked to her parents, and they confessed about John Moore. They told of bringing him home after the second storm, and setting up a bedroom he would feel comfortable in. “Sometimes he comes downstairs and your father and I take turns reading to him” she said. It seems most of the time John just stayed in his room. “I can hear him playing, and he likes it if I stop in. We’ll build with his blocks.” her father told her. John didn’t like anything too modern or new. He got confused with electronic games, and he would often stare out the window if a large truck or motorcycle went by. The family had learned that John would stay as long as he wasn’t too confused. If the family tried to introduce him to the modern world, they would find him gone. They would then have to wait for the next bad snow storm to find him again.

“He needs us” Jane told her daughter, “We have to live quietly. He needs to have a home.” Amy was upset, and tried to get her parents to talk to their doctor about the situation. They refused. “I think more than the little boy needing them, they needed him.”

Still their life changed. Sam and Amy never went on anymore vacations or trips together. They would never visit their out of state children together, only one would go at a time. They also never had any family but Amy over, she was the only one they shared their secret with. They also became distant from their neighbors. They didn’t like anyone asking about the little boy at the window, their whole life revolved around John, and keeping him a secret.

Amy was sad, but also didn’t want to tell people her parents thought they were living with a ghost. She did worry about why the little boy needed to go to Keene. She finally got her parents to try to ask John about his life, and John said he had been on a train and there was a terrible accident. He could not find his mother after the accident, but he knew they were going to Keene on the train. If only he could get to Keene he could find his mother and go back home. Amy worried, if by any chance John were a real ghost, her parents were keeping John from finding his mother. She said that is when hoped John wasn’t real. The thought of a lost little boy waiting for his mother broke her heart. She was never quite sure while her parents were alive.

One day Amy got a call from her mother, her father had a stroke and was at the hospital. Amy hurried over, and Amy was upset as her mother had to go home to John. ‘I was so angry, here was my father dying and my mom just worried about a possible ghost!” Even more bizarre, when Amy’s father could finally speak, he kept saying he wanted to go home. He told Amy he wanted to die in John’s room “Maybe I could guide him back home. If I could be there when I die, I could take his hand and walk him to heaven with me.” Sadly her father was in no condition to go home, and a few days later died quietly. Amy was alone with her father, as her mother refused to come but for only come a few hours each day.

Amy grew angry with the supposed ghost. Her mother became more feeble after her husband’s death. Jane became depressed that Sam had not been able to guide John to his mother. Amy had many fights with her mother, and threatened to have her evaluated. Amy now says this is something she regrets, as her mother took an over dose of pills after one of their fights, and in John’s room. Amy thinks perhaps her mother wished to somehow guide John, and thought if she died in his room she could finish the job her husband wished to do.

The problem Amy says is that while she never really believed in John while her parents were alive, she believes in him now that they are dead. She moved into her parents house, and soon found she was not alone. She goes to John’s room, and finds the toys rearranged, things in the kitchen and living room move about. If she turns on the TV, it often just turns off. John seems to dislike her cell phone ringing, and she will find it hidden under cushions and even once in the trash can.

The final proof for Amy was looking up at the window of John’s room while raking leaves and seeing him standing there. She knew her parents had been right all along. Only Amy feels her parents were also wrong. Amy worries that perhaps because her mother committed suicide she was not permitted to guide John to heaven. Or perhaps her parents were wrong to bring John back to live with them, perhaps they should have tried to drive him to Keene, or tried to not keep him living with them to ease their loneliness.

She is now investigating a train crash of over 150 years ago, where a little boy from Walpole, traveling to Keene, named John Moore died. She says she’s going to find out which station the train was going to, and where that station is now. Perhaps she hopes, if she can just take the little boy to where ever that train was going, his mother might be waiting. So now Amy also waits, she is waiting for the first big snowstorm, close in time to the train crash. She’s going to drive her father’s old truck and see if she can get John to get in the truck with her and come to Keene. Maybe, just maybe, his mother will still be waiting. Amy says it’s time for John to go back home.

Morning Mystery Moaner of Main street

 

 

Keene’s Main Street is famous for many things. It is perhaps the widest Main street in the United States and people come from around the world to attend Pumpkin Fest where carved pumpkins line the street and town square.

 

Still, lesser known is an odd sight seen only very early in the morning. It seems that people out early on Main Street, before shops open and when the sun is just coming up, share Main street with an unknown spirit.

 

“I go for my walk early during the summer, before it gets too warm.” said one eyewitness. “It was about 6am, and the street was quiet except for one other person. I was nervous as it seemed to be a homeless person, or someone mentally unsound. The person was dressed in rags, and shuffled along making moaning sounds.”

 

Of course, Keene has many handicapped people living near downtown. It’s a good place to live, so close to restaurants and stores that a wheelchair or walker or cane isn’t a problem. The sidewalks and crossing lights make it a very attractive area to live for those with limited mobility.

 

However, the morning mystery man has one very big difference than your usual handicapped resident. Whenever anyone gets too close to this person, he seems to disappear.

 

Another eyewitness said that he avoided the moaning shuffler, because he was nervous about him. One day he decided during his jog to stop judging, and go by and say “Hello”. He said when he crossed the street, he noticed to his surprise that the “morning moaner” had mysteriously disappeared. When he looked over across the street, to the side he had just come from, there was the morning moaner. He assumed that somehow the man had crossed the street ,but could not understand how the shuffling moaner could have crossed so quickly.

 

It finally became a game to this 6 am jogger. He was determined to meet the morning moaner face to face. Still he could never seem to get close to him. He did notice that the mystery man was dressed in a dreadful condition. The clothing seemed worn even beyond what any homeless person would wear. He also noticed that the mystery moaner was wearing no shoes. It was summertime, but on some cold mornings the jogger wondered how the man could stand the cold without shoes.

 

Finally the jogger became so frustrated, as well as frightened, he changed his morning run route to avoid Main Street.

 

Most eyewitnesses don’t think the morning moaner is a ghost. They think he is a homeless person, down on his luck yet also wanting to avoid anyone else also abroad so early in the morning. There is much about the man that makes people want to avoid him, his eerie moaning, his shuffling steps, his hunched over shoulders and head might be enough to keep most people away, but there is also something more. The eyewitnesses all said they felt slightly afraid of the unknown man, and it went beyond simple appearance. Some eyewitnesses felt guilty about not going over and offering even just a kind word to the obviously disturbed person, but something holds them back. That something is fear. Viewers describe getting goose bumps whenever they see this sad unhappy spirit, and that fear overcomes their natural inclination to help.

 

The Main street moaner has only been seen on Keene’s wide Main street. Sometimes he has been spotted far ahead or far behind an eyewitness. A few report him as a shadowy bent figure in a doorway, but no one has ever been able to get close enough to see what his features look like.

 

The mystery moaner is also only seen in Spring, Summer and Fall. It could be in winter there are fewer residents out so early, or that in the cold pedestrians hurry along too quickly to take the time to look and see a shadowy figure dressed in rags.

 

If the figure seen is not human, but a ghost, who could it be/ One eyewitness remembers asking another long time resident about the mystery figure. The senior citizen, and life time resident of Keene, gave a laugh and claimed the moaner was the disturbed brother of a local carpenter from long ago. The carpenter would bring his brother along with him on jobs, so that he could keep an eye on him. The brother wouldn’t wash, and was sadly dressed poorly and could only communicate by moaning. The senior remembers stories of this sad brother from his own father, but when he saw the moaner himself he remembered the stories his father had told of the strange brother of the local carpenter.

 

He wouldn’t explain further, other than he has heard of this moaning sad spirit shuffling up and down Main street his entire life. The mystery moaner is either very old indeed, or a ghost.   

Downtown Ghostly Bowling Alley

There is a store on Main street where soft music plays. The music is supposed to be left on at all times, even through the evening, so that when a worker comes to open the store in the morning they do not hear the mystery sounds the music hides.

An employee at the store will offer well known customers a chance to hear the sounds. She turns down the music, and if you stand in just the right area you can hear a sound of muted rolling, and then a sound as if something has been knocked over. If your hearing is good enough, you might even hear muted footsteps and the voices of men. It sounds much a modern bowling alley, only very muted and the balls and pins falling have a distinct sound of taking place on a wooden floor. It’s bowling, but then again, it’s not bowling as we know it.

The salesperson will point out that the floor will vibrate at times. It could be a large truck going by, or it could be coming from down below. It’s down below this business where things get interesting. Opening the door to the basement, there is a distinct smell of stale cigar smoke. The owner of the business will tell you it’s just fumes from cars passing by, or perhaps something to do with mold and damp. However, most people that visit say it smells like someone has been down there smoking cigars, though the odor has faded somewhat.

The salesperson feels there was at one time a bowling alley in the basement of the building. Bowling was a well known early pastime in Keene. Not the alleys such as we know today, with machines to lift the pins back into place. These were simple alleys, simply men gathered together that set up the old wooden pins themselves, which were usually much smaller than those used today. More of a gentleman’s get together, bowling along with billiards, were a popular form of recreation at one time. Possibly even today, bowling is popular with some resident ghosts who still show up at their favorite bowling alley to enjoy an eternal game or two.

The music plays still plays softly, just loud enough to cover the slight sound of the gentleman’s game, though nothing can cover up the gentle rumble that comes up perhaps whenever a strike is bowled.