It was a typical summer evening, approximately 7:00, as I finished the repairs to the plumbing and packed up my tools to put them away. I was working in what was the converted farmhouse of our business property and decided that rather than carrying all of my tools to my truck, I would store some of them upstairs for the night. Other than the installation of the necessary fire and safety equipment needed for a commercial property, the second floor had escaped the large renovation process we had administered to the rest of the property and remained as it had been when we bought it two years prior and was now primarily used for storage.
As mentioned in my previous posts, the property is highly active. Having traced the history of the area, we discovered that the tract this building sits on, and the acreage our home, three miles away, sits on; were both part of what was once one large farm. So we often have similar experiences with what sometimes seems to be the same forces, at both properties.
A month prior, I had been told by a clairvoyant that a Native American girl was buried somewhere in the woods surrounding our home, and had an experience with her (see "The Hunt") the previous fall. Since that encounter, many unusual and somewhat menacing events had taken place.
One such occurrence happened one evening, after my family had retired for the night. I was lying in bed watching television. My wife had dozed off so I was surfing the channels with the "mute" on, looking for something worth watching. It had been an unusually hot day for late spring in Maine so we had the bedroom windows open to cool off the house. Other than the occasional draft, the night was dead still. I could hear the frogs and crickets chirping, and the occasional rustle of small creatures that were rummaging about the forest floor, which begins a mere ten feet from our side of the house.
On about my third cycle through the channels, I heard a fairly large stick break in the woods outside our window. Presuming it was a deer; I stopped what I was doing and listened. The leaf litter and brush in the woods near the house rarely allow for silent passage, and on many occasions I had heard animals outside our bedroom as they skirted the small opening our house sits in. Whatever I had heard had now fallen silent, as had the frogs and crickets. After several minutes I decided that whatever it was must have been smaller than I had first presumed, and had snuck away silently. I was just about to resume my hopeless attempt at finding something worth watching on television, when I heard the crunch of what sounded like someone stepping on the gravel path along the side of the house.
I quickly turned off the television and slowly lowered my feet to the floor in the darkness. Just as I was standing up to take the two steps to the window to take a look, a quiet rustle began in the distance. I listened as it quickly grew louder, shaking the leaves and branches of the trees, transforming into a large wind gust that blew through the open window directly into our bedroom. As I reached for the window to close it, I heard the front door of the house, which is directly at the bottom of the stairs blow open and slam against the wall. My wife woke up understandably confused and disoriented and asked me what was going on. By then I had stood up and pushed down the sash of the window, and outside, the wind had subsided as quickly as it had commenced. I told her that the wind had blown open the front door, to which she responded with a sigh and rolled over to go back to sleep. I walked out of our room and turned left to the staircase and descended.
The front door to our home, when left unlatched, had blown open in the past; and I presumed that the last of our teenagers who had arrived home a couple of hours prior had forgotten to turn the lock in the doorknob to secure the door. Arriving at the bottom of the stairs, a light in the living room immediately adjacent lit the doorway enough for me to see. I reached for the door, and just then heard a loud noise which sounded like our dining room table being slid across the hardwood floor from out of sight in the next room. Seemingly too loud to be one of the cats, I hesitated briefly and looked in that direction. Hearing no other noises, I reached for the door and inspected the handle. The lock was indeed engaged. Presuming it had just not been pushed closed fully, I guide it towards the doorframe to close it. When it had gotten about one third of the way from being closed, the door was ripped out of my hand and slammed shut with enough force to make the house shake.
Knowing that what had just yanked the door from my control was more than just a gust of wind; I stood in front of the door, looking at it, not knowing what was going to happen next. Turning away from the door, I walked across the living room to the dining room to investigate the noise I had heard a minute earlier. Our aging, overweight, but extremely territorial Shetland sheepdog, had managed to wedge himself halfway through one of our dining room chairs and had gotten stuck between the seat and the cross member. Normally friendly but assertive towards any visitors to our home, he had on similar occurrences met me at the bottom of the stairs when the door had been left to blow open. He was now stuck, trembling, standing in a puddle of his own urine. Whatever had caused the door to open and yanked it from my hand had frightened him significantly.
I helped him loose and cleaned up the mess. He calmed down relatively quickly and after confirming no downstairs windows were open that could have caused some bizarre cyclonic vacuum effect, I went back upstairs. "You didn't have to slam the door, did you?" my wife muttered. I apologized and told her it had slipped from my hand when I was closing it, and got back into bed, my heart and mind racing to try to determine what this event could mean.
Back at our place of business, this previously described event far from my mind, I gathered up as many of my tools as I could carry, leaving several in a pile behind and proceeded upstairs. I set the tools down in what had been one of the bedrooms of the house and turned back toward the stairway to go get the rest. Just as I lifted my foot to descend the first step, I heard an audible metallic clink from below which sounded like my tools being moved in the room I had been working. Knowing I was the only person in the building and that I had locked the front door to our business when I arrived, I stood at the top of the stairs wondering if an employee with a key had returned and would poke their head around the corner any second.
The space at the bottom of this staircase was once the front entrance of the old farmhouse, and had now been reduced to an emergency exit. The exit door was at the base of the stairs about five feet away from the bottom step. As I faced down the stairs, there was the door I had left open to the room on the right and a closed half door, to the left into another room. I stood motionless for several seconds, listening and waiting. No employee appeared and no other sound could be heard. Thinking I must have left the tools piled in a manner that one had slipped off another and made the noise I heard, I again shifted forward to take my first step down the stairs. Just as I started to move, a man, seemingly of Native American descent, walked out of the room I had been working in on the right, crossed the landing at the base of the stairs, and proceeded out of sight into the room on the left. I froze. I did not move, and don't think I could have if I wanted to.
To say this man was menacing, was an understatement. From the top of the stairs looking down, he was so tall that I could not see the top of his head. After this incident, my oldest son helped me with an experiment where he knelt at the bottom of the stairs and raised a tape measure from the floor to see how high it would have to be for me to lose sight of the tip. At a minimum, the man was 6'9" tall. He was not dressed in traditional native attire, at all. He was dressed in a weathered and dusty-looking dark suit, with what appeared to be a collapsed top hat under his left arm. Thinking about it later, he looked like a Cherokee in the Trail of Tears timeframe, when the government dressed the chiefs up to look like Abraham Lincoln and took their pictures to show how "civilized" they had become.
From the one and a half seconds, I got to view him, I recognized from his facial expression and his determined gait that he was not, in the least bit, happy. My first impression when I saw him was "Someone is in my building!" He appeared as solid as you and me. As large as he was, he made no sound on the hardwood floor, even though he moved quickly and seemingly with a purpose, the back of his suit jacket trailing behind him slightly as he walked.
Five minutes after I had seen him, I still was frozen in fear. By now I had guessed that he was a spirit and not a living breathing individual; but he had portrayed such an ominous presence in the brief glimpse I got of him, I wanted nothing to do with him, living or dead. I spent several anxious minutes assessing the building in my mind, trying to decide if there was a way to exit the second floor without going down the stairs. At that point I would have preferred jumping out a window, than going down those stairs. I got the impression that even though he did not look at me or acknowledge me, he must have known I was somewhere nearby. Even though he did not act as if he had seen me, I felt from the experience that I was who he was looking for, or that at the least, I was supposed to see him... And fear him.
After about fifteen minutes, I slowly began to go down the stairs. Upon reaching the bottom, I received the final confirmation I needed to determine this man's form. The room to the left of the stairs that the man had entered had a half-door that was closed... To open the door, the hinges were such that you have to pull the door into the landing at the bottom of the stairs. So a person traveling as this man had, would have to stop, grab the handle and pull the door towards them to pass through the opening. This man did not hesitate in his path of travel and seemingly passed through the closed door just out of my line of sight, without opening it.
I had been told by the clairvoyant that the girl buried on our property was ours to protect. That she had been held against her will, in life, and was still tormented by her captor in death. She had told us that by revealing her presence to me that early morning in the woods the previous fall she had accepted us as her caretaker. She told us a confrontation of sorts, with her tormentor, was imminent... How or when it would manifest, she was unclear.