Our five-year-old got to choose where we spent Halloween night, as his sixteen-year-old sister was going with friends to an organized Haunted House. After giving him the choice of a few neighboring cities, he chose Middlebury. We parked the truck on to Main Street and headed out to gain some treats for our futuristic police officer. He got to pick which way to go, what streets to hit, and all. The town was small enough, that all we really had to do was turn around if we got lost, or simply look for traffic. If there was a vehicle moving, THAT was Main Street.
Children were running up to houses and he was just calmly making his way up this street and down the next, around the corner, and he stopped. He kind of cocked his head to the side as if trying to hear things a bit more clearly, or remember something that is just beyond his reach. We actually had to STOP him to have him go up on the porches for treats. When we got on this one particular street, he broke into a SHINING smile and said "yep, this the street." Daddy and I just looked at him, and Daddy said "but you missed all of those other houses. You only have a few pieces of candy."
"I know. But this is where I need to be today, Daddy." Well, honestly, WHO could argue with THAT?
Up on the porch was Jack Sparrow (I think that is the name of the pirate on Pirates of the Caribbean) and Sarah Palin. Our Police Officer got in line and was heading up the porch when my husband silently grabbed my arm and pointed to a plaque attached to the porch which stated the home was registered on www.hauntedhouses.com. All we had on hand was Daddy's cell phone, but we shot off a photo anyway.
Our son was up there talking to Jack. All the rest of the children had wandered away, and off to collect more goodies, and there he stood, talking to the pirate. He turned to talk with Sarah Palin just as I grabbed my husband's arm and whispered (lack of upbringing here, I POINTED at the doorway) "Look at THAT." And Daddy started toward our son.
"No, wait. Watch."
Our son looked PAST Sarah and into the house. Sarah and Jack (Jack stood up and walked over to Sarah and whispered something to her. BOTH of them were looking between our son and US, still standing out at the street on the sidewalk).
Our son smiled really big and said "Oh, he is Amish." Sarah said "who?"
"The man in your house. I thought he was dressed up, like you, but that is who he was."
"Kin I talk to him?"
"Uh, well, We. See, uh" stammered both of them.
I stepped up slightly and said, in my most calming voice, "It is alright. He will not hurt him; he will not TRY to scare him. He just wants to know why he is here."
"He can DO that?"
About a half an hour later our son says "Thank you! It been a pleasure to meet you. Maybe I see you gain."
Sarah and Jack were speechless, but brought themselves together enough to tell him that would be a pleasure. Our son paused on the step, turned back around to Sarah and Jack and said "Oh, I'm sorry. I liked meeting you, too. CAN I come back?" To which he obtained a standing invitation to return, which we did the following weekend.
When we returned, we did a tour of the house and garage area. I had asked permission to walk through with my son, and to share in the experience, and permission was granted to the entire family. After talking a bit in the house, I started to notice my son's actions. He was basically allowed to do as he pleased, he had made quite an impression on the husband and wife who lived there. While the adults were talking, our five-year-old began to wander.
"Where are you going, Mr. Sam? Can I come too? Oh. Could you stay with us for a few minutes, please, Sir?"
He walked around the living room, seemed to watch someone either stack, or stoke a fire. He wandered out into the kitchen. Wandered back through the living room and then back out in the garage. He was DEFINITELY following someone. In the lull of the conversation, our son came barreling into the house through a side door that WE were not aware of (They had neglected to show us that. It was a "hidden" passage from the workshop to the house in the event that Sam would work late at night on a special design) I thought he had come through the wall.
"Hurry, we have to go NOW!"
So we jumped up and went out in the garage. Sam had let our son know that he needed to go to town to see the banker in his quest to retrace his steps as before. Our son had tried to stop him, but he was determined to find his family. That is when our son ran in to get us. Our son started down the drive and was following. We stopped at a dime store. I asked why he was there. (It was raining, and NONE of us stopped to grab our jackets. We did not think we were going to walk a few blocks) He just pointed straight up.
Above the door, and on the second floor was chiseled Middlebury Trust and Loan. We all stood outside and waited for a total of twenty minutes. We then followed our son as he headed a bit further down the street to the hardware store where we waited outside for about ten minutes. Then our son simply spun on his heel and started walking back to the house. He kind of skipped along, like he was having a heyday. Enjoying himself, when all of a sudden he stopped as if he ran into a wall and grabbed his head and started howling. There he dropped to roll on the ground just making this awful noise.
I will be honest, I froze. I had no idea what to do to help him. I started for him, but my husband grabbed my arm and shook his head no, our teenager tried to squeeze past us all to get to her brother, and Daddy stepped in front of her to block her, and Daddy just pointed down to our son.
We all watched in amazement as a kind of mist rose up (Logically, that COULD have been all in the fact that our son was warm, and rolling around on a cold wet sidewalk) from AROUND him, and dissipated. After a minute or so of stunned silence, he just got up slowly and said "Let's go back to the house; I have to see something." When we got back to the house, he said Sam was home.
After sitting in the garage with Sarah and Jack for a while, our five-year-old asked how important it was that their house was haunted. Sarah said it was pretty important. The town loves that there is such a documented place there. They enjoy people coming from all around to check out a "haunted town", even if the majority of people never make it to the house. The town prospers in the warmer months, when the tourists come to see the Amish crafts and such that the town offers, and an added pull is that there is a haunted house there. Our son asked about the man that walks further out of town, but still on County Road 18. They said he helps, but he is mostly ONLY seen by the town folks.
Our son sat down on a garbage can and said something to the effect of "Here's the thing. Sam needs his wife and babies. They ain't here. They in a much better place, and HE should be too." Jack said "yes, but he is stuck here. We have had investigators here that are much older than you, and THEY left him alone. WHY can't you?"
"Cause that is NOT what Sam wants."
"We like him here. He helps the town."
"He can help no one if he's stuck."
We like him." This from Sarah.
Our son was quiet, and then he whispered "but his family LOVES him."
You could have heard a pin drop.
In the end, we Cleansed, Smudged, and Blessed the house. We did the same with the garage. As we were getting ready to leave, there was a sadness to both Sarah and Jack, but they still let our son check out the gutted car in the garage. Jack is building a racecar, and our boy was excited to see how it was going. As he was playing in the sunroof, He grabbed a flashlight and was looking into the dark areas of the car. Jack has fluorescent lighting up along the walls of the room, save for the wall leading into the hidden door.
Our son heard a noise (no one else did), and looked up and said "Bye, Mr. Sam. Hug your babies for us!" And I snapped off a photo. I have no idea if I grabbed something, but there is an interesting light formation that does not quite follow the line a flashlight would make. Even if it is nothing, it is a peaceful photo all the same.
History: Sam is NOT the name of the man my son encountered on his visits to this home. I changed his name, and stayed away from a few of the distinguishing factors of the town to keep the privacy of those who may be effected by this story.
Sam was out walking a bit late at night. It was not yet dark, and he was hurrying home from the store (after meeting with the banker) with candy for his babies and a present for his wife. He had bought her a new bolt of cloth to make herself a new dress. He was very happy, because his wife was going to be very pleased. They did well that year, and the new dress would be how he would let her know HOW well. He had twins, a boy and a girl, and both of them would be waiting at the big front window when he returned home. He THOUGHT that his wife was pregnant. He whistled as he walked, and his step was light. He was lost in his own thoughts of happiness. Out of nowhere came a blinding light. He knew nothing else.
When he made it home, his babies were not at the window. His wife was no where around. His beautiful personally hand carved furniture was replaced by the mass produced junk, made out of cardboard and chipped wood, that was in the house now. The curtains were not made by his wife's hand, and there was NOTHING that was familiar. And these ENGLISH were destroying his family home (Our son took that to mean he did NOT like "Englishmen", or those who were not Amish). So, now Sam waits. He waits to wake up from this dream.
He waits for his wife to return with his babies. He often retraces his steps to see where he went wrong but can not seem to see when exactly that happened. He has tried leaving the cloth and candy sticks at home, and coming back to it, but they are missing when he gets there as well. So he carries them all (the sticks in his right pocket, the bolt of cloth under his left arm) each time he takes that walk.
This man COULD NOT have been hit by a car. The street is a bit of a valley, with the sidewalks and houses being on raised platforms. Four or five steps will take you up to the sidewalk. Whatever hit him, hit quick. He was all but a few blocks from his earthly home.