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.
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.
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