Maplewood Inn, Fair Haven Vermont
In a recent letter we sent out to innkeepers listed in our TravelAssist Register we asked for stories that might make their properties unique or interesting beyond the descriptive information in their ads. We received many enjoyable responses that will appear in TravelAssist from time to time but we were surprised to receive the following account. To our mind it is one of the most convincing accounts to date of unexplained visitors and "things that go bump in the night." We reprint it here as we received it, and in its entirety. All the following incidents took place in the Maplewood Inn. Editor: Larry Benedict (This incident took place on Saturday, February 13, 1993 in the Hospitality Suite of Maplewood Inn.)
It was between 11 and 11:30 at night and our whole group (8 women) was reading scripture and praying by candlelight and soft music. Most of the women had their eyes closed. I happened to have my eyes open and suddenly a young couple with a little girl walked from the bedroom entrance into the living room of the suite where we were all seated, continued to quietly walk through the living room, then headed down the stairs as if going to the first floor. It was extremely vivid. The man was wearing a black suit and was carrying a carpet bag. The woman was wearing a long blue dress, with a shawl and was carrying her hat in one hand. She was holding her little girl's hand in her other hand.
They were dressed in 1800's dress. I was not frightened, in fact it was a comforting feeling. One of the other women, Barbara Tietjen, also saw the couple and a third lady, Rose Ronda said that she felt "at peace" for the first time since her husband had passed away, less than a year before. The next morning about 5 AM I got up and went downstairs into the Gathering Room where there is a small library and I smelled cigar smoke. No one in the house smokes cigars, and they are not permitted. I also felt what I would describe as a "strong aura" about the house the moment I checked in. This was in no way a negative feeling - it was, on the contrary, very positive and comforting, but there was definitely some presence.
INNKEEPERS' NOTES: Shortly after opening the inn, I remember one particular evening that we were hosting a woman and her young son. They retired early and did not make use of the common rooms. As far as I recall everything was in place when I went to bed. The next morning, I entered the parlor which adjoins our living quarters. There was a smell of cigar smoke and the chess pieces were moved around as if there had been a game during the night! I remember being so struck by the cigar smoke smell that we called the previous owners of the house and asked if any of their deceased relatives smoked cigars. They were unable to recall anyone who did. Of course the ghosts in question most certainly come from an earlier era than the folks who most recently lived in the house!
We have also had other "odd" occurrences. One evening I was sitting in our TV room (directly under the bedroom of the Hospitality Suite) and I was reading. There were no guests in the house and my husband was asleep in the other part of the house. I heard the distinct sound of (what sounded like) a ball being bounced and then trailing off. I immediately went up to the suite but saw nothing.
(This incident took place in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 24, 1994 in the Oak Suite of the Maplewood Inn.)
I got up around 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning to use the bathroom. I then got back in bed and was settled when, at the foot of the bed, rising from the trunk placed there, I saw a man-sized and shaped "white form." It was not very clear, but I could see eyes and the vague shape of a man. He was about 6 foot tall. He seemed to come from the trunk. At this point I called to my husband, who was asleep next to me. He simply rolled over and put his arm around me without fully awakening. I closed my eyes and thought "this can't really be happening." I did not look again and I assume the apparition left. I was not really afraid and I told many of my friends about the incident.
INNKEEPERS' NOTES: It is interesting to note that the trunk at the foot of the bed had originally contained old 1800's clothing: several women's jackets, a few skirts and a man's coat - all black. This suite was once an attic and was converted into a room in 1988. The trunk was found, with the clothes inside, in that same attic. When we decorated the room, we refinished the trunk and placed it at the foot of the bed. Several of the ladies' fancy jackets hang in the hallway and one hangs in the living room of the Oak Suite.
I have a set of photos that my brother in law took of the upstairs hall including views looking down the stairs, all in the area where these jackets hang. As you can see, there are very strange white streaks, etc. near the jackets in each photo. Possibly a coincidence, but definitely thought provoking. One photo also has a dark shadow. There were no windows backlighting any shots that could have caused these strange white forms. The bedroom of this suite is located directly over our living quarters and on several occasions, we have heard loud bangs, as if something fell or someone had jumped on the floor upstairs, when there was no one in the house. We always went up to check and never found anything out of order. Kathy Jackson also related to me that she had earlier tried to open the trunk to see if there were blankets inside and could not budge it. This trunk has no lock and it very easy to open had no trouble.
I have also often felt weird cold blasts of air while sitting in the TV room downstairs (directly under the Hospitality Suite). My husband never felt them although to me they were stronger than your average drafts in old houses! They were very localized near the same loveseat I always sit in. This wing of the house was originally a tavern/tenant house which used to be located across the street. It dates back to about 1795 and was moved to this site and attached to the main house (1843) sometime around 1880. Several times, while working at my desk in our quarters, with the door to the parlor open, I could have sworn someone was walking in the hall, since the boards squeak. I looked, but no one was there!