December 16, 2010

THE ART OF RUSSELL RISLEY

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people traveling along a certain road in Kirby, Vermont would experience “magic”. In front of a weathered old barn, they’d see a transparent row of ghosts.

Upon closer examination they’d realize they were paintings, life-like works of art rendered with conventional house paint. They’d recognize neighbors, local dignitaries, politicians.

Occasionally people would see themselves.

The scene of this extraordinary strangeness was the Russell Risley farm. In addition to the barn paintings, Mr. Risley carved faces on firewood. Fashioned heads atop fence posts. Transformed ordinary field stones into busts or wildlife. He painted a mermaid above the manure pile and an attractive young woman, perfectly proportioned and perfectly naked.

Apparently Mr. Risley could not stop creating. Every surface inside his farmhouse was covered: Landscapes between pantry shelves. Faces peeking over countertops. Carved animals occupying every room.

Russell Risley was born on that farm in 1842. He lived there most of his life with his two sisters Achsah and Hannah.


None of them ever married. They were timid people and didn’t care much for visitors or the curiosity seekers that arrived to fuss over Russell’s art.

In an effort to keep the uninvited away, Rus kept a hand painted sign on the gatepost of the road leading up to his house. Typically taciturn, it said simply “SMALL POX”.

As a consequence of all this, his neighbors judged him “a tad peculiar”. But Mr. Risley was an eccentric genius, a self-taught artist who studied foreign languages in his spare time, and built wild inventions to make farm work easier.

For example, he created a system of pulleys that whisked him back and forth between house and barn. A similar contrivance transported heavy milk pails.

In addition to dairying, his vast sugar bush contained a system of pipes to carry sap to the sugarhouse -- possibly Vermont’s first tubing system.

Today few people remember the Risleys.

Nor is there much written history. The few accounts I found suggest they were quintessential Vermonters: hardworking, thrifty, and loath to venture far from home.

One neighbor -- quoted in an old account -- said, "Rus Risley was a temperamental old codger. Sometimes he would talk and sometimes he wouldn't, but chances were ten minutes after you left his place he would have your face carved on a piece of wood!"

Today I want to recall this extraordinary artist who worked his magic in an era when no-nonsense Vermonters didn’t place much value in such folly. The result, it seems, is that every single Risley painting and piece of sculpture has vanished from the face of the earth.

But then again, maybe that’s exactly how Russ would have wanted it.

©2010 by Joseph A. Citro

Many thanks to Pat Swartz of the Fairbanks Museum and Carla Occaso for research support.

Risley images from the Joe Citro collection. I am uncertain about who may own these images. Please let me know if I am using them improperly.

And please let me know if you have more!

December 1, 2010

PIGMANIAC



Have you heard about Pigman?

My pal Steve Bissette says this about my “Pigman” story:

“This was one of the many previously unknown and undiscovered ‘weird’ tales Joe ‘broke’ during his career as Vermont’s premiere gatherer of ‘tales that might not be fiction,’ and among his most unusual regional monster tales.”

Unusual indeed.

Steve and I worked together on several projects involving the Pigman. Steve provided a color portrait of the critter for my book Weird New England (2005), and an additional rendering for The Vermont Monster Guide (2009), a book we did together.

Today (December 1, 2010), and for a few days more, Steve is selling his cool Pigman art on his website (http://srbissette.com/).

A pig-perfect $mas gift, wouldn’t you say?

For those who may not know the pigman story, here’s the very abbreviated Reader’s Die-jest version.

MEET THE PIGMAN

It all started in Northfield, Vermont in 1971 when a man on an isolated Turkey Hill farm heard animals rooting in his trash cans.

He rushed to the window and flicked on his floodlights. There, at the edge of the illuminated circle, he saw a man-sized figure standing upright.

As the two glared at each other, the man couldn't believe his eyes. The intruder was naked, covered with light, possibly white, hair. And – most terrifying of all -- it had the hideous face. . . of a pig.

Seconds later the abomination bolted into the woods.

Shortly afterwards a cluster of terrified teenagers met the creature behind the high school. They ran into the safety of the gymnasium, white with fear.

Again the description was the same: It was hairy, walked like a man, and had the horrible face of a pig.

Recounting the events later, one of boys referred to the creature as "Pigman." The name caught on.

THE DEVIL’S WASHBOWL

More sightings occurred on an isolated road near what locals call the “Devil's Washbowl”.

There numerous drivers had nighttime encounters with an odd, oversized "animal." It appeared ghostly white in their headlights, darting from tree to tree or dashing in front their vehicles.

One terrified traveler reported that the beast jumped onto the hood of his moving car before it leapt off into the bushes.

ASSAILED BY THE PIGMAN

Another young couple parking at a nearby turnoff claimed that when the boy got out to relieve himself he was seized and brutally smashed against the side of his own vehicle.

His girlfriend heard him yell, felt the impact of his body against the car. The shaky lad swore his assailant was the Pigman. He’d seen it clearly. It was a five-foot-eight to five-foot-ten. It had white hair with that monstrous boar-like face. But he added this detail: the creature's hands were not like those of a man or a pig. It had long claws or talons. To prove it, he displayed livid slashes across his chest and arms.

WHERE’S PIGMAN?

Civilian and police searches revealed nothing and eventually the “Pigman Encounters” ended just as suddenly, mysteriously, and unexpectedly as they began.

A QUESTION

So here’s the question: Why is Vermont’s Pigman so little known? Why hasn’t he been elevated into the National Bizarre Bestiary along with such mystery superstars as Champ, the Dover Demon, Mothman, the Jersey Devil, and the ubiquitous Bigfoot?

Don’t you think Northfield should have its own unique monster? Maybe we could call it something like. . . “Pigfoot.”



(This is Steve's picture. I don't mean it's a picture of Steve. Rather, Steve created it and all the Pigman images).

All images @ Stephen R. Bissette

©2004 by Joseph A. Citro

November 6, 2010

THE DARK KNIGHTS













St. Michael’s College in
Colchester is named after the angel who booted Lucifer out of Heaven.

But some say the eternal battle between good and evil is still being fought at the school.

For decades there’s been a persistent rumor that an exorcism was performed right there on campus.

In the early 1970s a small group of students entered one of the buildings at night, then climbed quietly to the attic. There they commenced a forbidden ritual – they tried to summon the devil.

First they drew a pentagram on the floor and punctuated each point with a candle. Then Рperhaps nervously -- began their Satanic s̩ance.

Thing is, it seemed to work! Something appeared outside the window. A green, glowing ball, like a hideous head, seemed to stare in at them.

Terrified, they ran away.

When word got around, the Edmundite priests investigated. They removed the chalk-inscribed pentagram, dowsed everything with holy water, said appropriate prayers, and locked the attic.

End of story? Well, not yet...

Over the years alumnus Brian Andersen has pieced together a more complete version of the events. He says the trouble started in 1971 or 72, when a visiting Satanist got some students interested in devil worship and the power it might bring them.

A Resident Assistant observed a group of students and outsiders sitting in a circle, a pentagram in the middle, chanting by candlelight.

He broke up the event, and sent the students on their way.

But a few weeks later – when the dorm was shut up for the Christmas holiday -- they were back! The same Resident Assistant heard voices chanting. He grabbed a flashlight and headed up to investigate.

Someone had smashed the lock on the attic door.

While waiting for campus security, he peeked in. The flickering candles illuminated a cluster of crouched figures. At the center of the pentagram was a terrifying sight.

A body! A maimed sheep in a pool of blood. A sacrifice.

This time the priests came down hard. All involved were immediately expelled. The priests then went up to perform if not an actual exorcism, at least a cleansing ritual involving holy water, crosses, and as much as 24 hours of constant prayer.

That’s the story. Is it true? Brian Andersen is convinced that it is. Some people insist the pentagram is still there and the “evil” is still active.

Yet others believe the “Dark Knights” -- as the intruders have come to be called -- were not trying to summon anything. Rather, they were trying to keep something away, to close a portal between this world and some other.

Who can say for sure? But one thing is certainly true: it’s a great addition to Vermont’s Hallowe’en scare stories.

© 2010 by Joseph A. Citro


October 4, 2010

IS WOODSTOCK THE HELLMOUTH OF VERMONT?


It just might be. I'll be there stating my case the night before Hallowe'en. At the History Center.
On Elm Street. Just the
place for nightmares.

Here's the Press Release:

Spooky Woodstock Will Highlight Town’s Darker Side

By Cassie Horner

Special To The Standard

Woodstock may not look like a particularly scary place, but scratch lightly the surface of its history, and behold: the burning of a vampire's heart, sightings of assorted ghosts, a public hanging on the Green, and the robbing of graves by medical students.

In honor of the spirit of Halloween and the darker side of local history, the Woodstock History Center has cooked up Spooky Woodstock, a witches' brew of events Saturday, October 30, beginning at 6 p.m.

Top billing goes to Joe Citro, Vermont legend teller and author of many books including his latest, The Vermont Monster Guide. He will be master of the campfire on the lawn behind the History Center on Elm Street, at 7:30 pm, recounting tales of the supernatural. Tickets for his show are $5; members free. The suggested age range is nine years old and up (Rain location is the John Cotton Dana Library).

The line-up of events for the evening also features a lantern tour to the Green for dramatic reenactments of the legendary burning of a vampire's heart and a public execution -- both from the early 1800s. Students from WUMS/HS will be the stars, following a script they created based on historical documents. There will be two 30-minute tours, leaving at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. from the History Center.

From 6 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., the Dana House and Gallery will be open for visitors to explore a variety of spooky history connected to Woodstock. Spiritualism — communicating with the dead — was a common practice in 19th century Woodstock, as it was in many towns across the country. A docent in the voice of Betsey Pelton Soule, a South Woodstock resident and spiritualist, will be on hand.

Don't forget to look for the ghost expert on the stairs where the Dana House ghost has been seen over the years!

Another docent will portray the character of Woodstock female doctor, Marenda Briggs Randall. She was a spiritualist, feminist and doctor in the mid-1800s. One of the subjects will be the 1829 case of alleged grave robbing by two students who attended the medical school in Woodstock.

And don't miss the fascinating post-mortem photographs projected in the Gallery, representing the 19th century practice of having a loved one photographed after they died as a memorial. In addition, some “spirit photographs,” that supposedly showed the spirits of those who had previously departed from this world, will be projected in the Dana House.

In the Victorian parlor, where historical accounts place the laying out of the dead, a docent will discuss with visitors some of the history of mourning customs. Some of these old customs extended into the latter part of the 1900s.

The aim of the first Spooky Woodstock is to have fun with history. Expect some mild shivers as you catch a view of the past! All of the events are free (donations welcome), with the exception of the Joe Citro campfire talk; tickets will be on sale that evening, $5 each, members free.

If you would like to volunteer for this event, please contact Jennie Shurtleff at (802) 457-1822.

September 24, 2010

THE MAN AND THE MOON

Probably you have heard some weird things about the moon.

That it is hollow. That it’s an artificial structure. That there are military bases -- maybe even extraterrestrial bases -- on the dark side that we never can see.

Most of these notions don’t come from astronomers, you can be sure. In fact, it’s difficult to determine just how they got started.

The venerable “Old Man in the Moon” illusion has been around for a long time. The “Green Cheese” concept remains a puzzle to me. And the fact that “moon” rhymes with “June” has become an irritation. (Thankfully, “Moonlight in Vermont” avoids this cliché. In fact, none of the words rhyme.)

But I have to fess up, Vermont may well partly guilty of moon myth making. At least one slightly eccentric Vermonter left his mark in the skies above Bellows Falls during the late 19th century.

“Eccentric” might be the wrong word. In his day Seth Blake (August 21, 1817-June 25, 1904) was a well-liked and influential member of the community.

He was born in Brookfield and learned the printer’s trade in Montpelier. In 1839 he moved to Bellows Falls to work as a typesetter at the Bellows Falls Gazette. In 1844 Seth purchased the newspaper and expanded the business to include books and other printed material.

On August 16, 1842, he married Martha J. Glover of Concord, N. H. Together they had six sons and two daughters.

But even with professional standing and a good family, Seth Blake remained ambitious, destined for bigger things.

Two of his brothers were practicing dentists in Connecticut. Seth apprenticed himself to one of them, Amos Shepard Blake. After mastering the profession, Seth returned to Bellows Falls and hung out his shingle. It read:

Dr. S. M. Blake, Operations on Teeth.

Apparently he also crafted top quality, artful, porcelain false teeth, which were high-tech at the time.

His professional stature allowed him to influence local and even statewide events. For example, he was instrumental in bringing four railroads to town, which contributed tremendously to the area’s prosperity.

Dr. Blake was widely known as a writer and lecturer. During the civil war he argued persuasively and tirelessly for the preservation of the union.

Beyond seeing to the wellbeing of his town, state, and nation, Dr. Blake had some fascinating private interests. It is claimed he was the first to discover the true age of the great pyramid of Cheops. He invented what may have been the first combination lock for safes. And Dr. Blake had excellent eyesight. He was considered to be the best marksman with a rifle in this part of New England; he was known as a "crack shot."

The latter may relate to his greatest interest – astronomy.

Back in 1837 the youthful Seth Blake had observed large spots on the sun. The phenomenon piqued his curiosity, giving birth to a life-long avocation.

Even as a lad of twenty he had some knowledge of optics, so he built his own telescope. Later, when he was more prosperous, he purchased a 76 inch telescope for $225. It was bigger than and superior to most telescopes in the state. He had it mounted in a revolving observatory on top of his house at 75 Atkinson Street.

From there the dentist moonlighting as an astronomer made his first great discovery – a new star. Or rather an old star, one that appeared only intermittently.

Here’s an account from the St. Paul Daily Globe, September 22, 1885.

“Apropos to the new star which has made its appearance, astronomical records show that in the year 940 a bright star appeared and in course of time was lost to sight. Again in 1204 and in 1571 what was supposed to be the same star came within ken. Last winter [Dr.] S. M. Blake of Bellows Falls, Vt. happened to note that 314 years having passed since it last appeared; he supposed that it might be due again about this time. So during the last few months he swept the sky with his glass, and on the 27th of August discovered the newcomer in Andromeda. He foretells that in the next twelve months it will grow so bright as to rival Jupiter and then it will disappear. It will probably not be seen again until more than three hundred years have again rolled away.”

But here’s the thing: Dr. Blake was convinced he had identified the Star of Bethlehem, the same star that the Three Magi followed to where it cast its light upon the manger in which Jesus was born.

Gary Nowak, former president of the Vermont Astronomical Society, tells me that what Dr. Blake actually saw the Supernova in M31 "the Andromeda Galaxy". Of course Dr. Blake couldn’t know what a Supernova was. As Gary explains it, “The supernova is like a giant firecracker going off. Once the firecracker explodes with a brilliant flash, that's it, and there is not much left of anything. Certainly the scattered gas and dust particles from the supernova explosion will not light up again.”

And – though he got a lot of press at the time – Dr. Blake was not the first to discover it. The “first discovery” was credited to E. Hartwig for his August 20, 1885 observation.

But the irrepressible Dr. Blake kept watching the skies, and soon he was to make a most startling discovery.

He first announced it in The Bellow Falls Times on December 15, 1887. And what an announcement it was!

Okay. Now before we go on, remember that Seth Blake computed the age of great pyramid. Discovered a supernova. And, perhaps most important, he had extraordinary eyesight. So, he announced…

A NEW DISCOVERY

The Moon has Been Inhabited

Dr. Blake starts by saying that published pictures of the moon, specifically those that ran in the March 1885 issue of “Century Magazine”, are inaccurate. He doesn’t go so far as to say any photographs have been doctored, but he does assert that he was able to see something no one else had discovered – gigantic structures on the moon! Perhaps the remains of a whole lunar civilization!

“For nearly forty years, with the aid of a telescope,” Seth writes, “[I have] made the study of the moon a kind of specialty, hoping all the while to find some evidence that our satellite has, at some period of the past, been the abode of life and intelligence.”

So, apparently he got exactly what he hoped for.

Dr. Blake admits it requires courage to speak out when other scientists have heralded the impossibility of lunar life, be he goes on to reveal what he saw, and gives precise coordinates so that others can see it, too.

Between the crater Archimedes and the Apennine Mountains he discovered "a vast wall of more than two hundred miles in extent, and a figure suggesting the letter B (for Blake?) with the lower end of the letter unfinished!"

At its top the wall forms a 90 degree angle and extends to the left, in a perfectly straight line, some thirty miles!

“This wall, he wrote, “is arranged in sections, and each section is of the same height, length, and thickness.”

He described the top of these sections as being "oval or domed-shape, and … appear as if covered over with some kind of silicious or glossy substance."

Glossy? Why should that be?”

“To utilize our earth-shine in lighting up the darkness of their long and dreary nights. Behold the great mirrors that send forth their beams of light across their continents and what was once their seas!"

Close to this wall he discerned "a great ship canal," two hundred miles long, six miles wide, and several feet deep, "cut as straight as a line could be drawn, and whose bottom is as smooth as if paved with granite blocks."

He attributed all this oversized construction work to "a race of men far superior in physical power to any type of human family that have peopled this earth since history, or even tradition, began."

And – you might ask -- why was Dr. Seth Blake of Bellows Falls, Vermont the only scientist or astronomer to discover these massive ruins on the moon?

Well, essentially, says Dr. Blake, because they weren’t looking for them. "Their great magnitude being so much out of proportion to anything looked for as a work of human accomplishment is probably the reason why they have not been recognized before."

In short, Dr. Blake believed he had discovered proof irrefutable that the moon had once been inhabited. That the inhabitants, no doubt larger, stronger, and more advanced than mere earthlings, had for some reason vanished. And the remains of their once thriving civilization had been overlooked for centuries simply because no one expected it to be there.

Well, maybe.

Dr. Blake was so certain of his discoveries that he would not even entertain the arguments of skeptics. He challenged them to look and see for themselves. "See all this," he said, "and then tell us who can, that the moon was never inhabited."

Dr. Blake had no explanation for why the moon civilization ended and what caused the water and atmosphere to disappear. He couldn’t even judge when the tragedy occurred.

But the stubborn dentist, who lived to be 88 years old, never withdrew his theory of giant moon men, colossal constructions, and a vast system of canals.

As with his Star of Bethlehem discovery, Dr. Blake received little to no support from the scientific community.

Perhaps, since he first announced his discovery, the moon monuments have continued their disintegration into dust, for they are not visible to any modern telescopes nor were they discovered by our Apollo Astronauts.

Perhaps the final word on this science fiction drama came in 1969 when Dr. Blake’s telescope was in the possession of his grandson, Harry Blake, of Claremont, New Hampshire. Mr. Blake invited members of the Bellows Falls Historical Society to his home to watch mankind's first lunar journey, the Apollo 11 Astronauts on their way to the moon. They all watched the drama unfold through Dr. Seth Blake's telescope.

NOTE: Thanks for all the research help from astronomer Gary Nowak, Bellows Falls librarians Emily Zervas & Sam Maskell, and web wizard Jason Smiley.

August 18, 2010

GREEN SWAMP MONSTER!


I recently reread The Hound of the Baskervilles, one of my all time favorite novels. At its core is a family curse: generation after generation threatened by a supernatural beast.
I wondered: Do we have any similar stories here in
Vermont?

We do! A tale told to me by my friend Ina Isham, president of The Green Mountain Folklore Society. In fact, her family was the target of the
monster!

As a youngster, Ina’s home was in St. George, not far from Shelburne Pond. Nearby was a vast boggy area known as Isham's Swamp. A fence separated Ina’s dooryard from the inhospitable wetland.

In the early 1940s, when she very young, her father told her the family legend:

A horrible Swamp Monster lived somewhere out there among the trees. It was green like a frog, black spotted, with long mud-colored hair. And it was huge! Big as two plow horses! If Ina wasn’t careful, her father warned, the horrifying creature might dart out of the swamp and carry her away.

When Ina was six years old, her daily one-mile walk to school was a terrifying ordeal. Family members cautioned her to hurry, and go quietly, so she wouldn’t attract the monster’s attention.

But sometimes she became curious and wandered a little too close to the fence. From there she often saw the submerged monster moving under dry clumps of grass protruding from the smelly marshland.

The threat of monster attacks seemed to diminish in winter. Before the swamp froze over, her father explained, the Green Swamp Monster made its way from their swamp to the larger swamps near Shelburne Pond. There it passed the winter with Swamp Monsters from all around.

When Ina was older the true secret of the swamp monster was finally revealed. Her father confessed that the whole story was concocted to keep the children out of the dangerous swamp. He said it was better they be scared to death, than actually dead.

Ina told me, “[Father] had been scared just like me, by his father Irving Isham, who in turn had been scared by his father, Gilbert Isham, who was scared by his father, Amasa Isham, who was scared by his father, who [apparently] started the Swamp Monster story in 1784 when he moved to St George, Vermont, from Connecticut.”

“It’s possible,” Ina says, that “the tale goes all the way back to England.”

Yes, possible, but let’s not forget that the original Vermonters, the Abenaki, had a similar tale. They told of an evil swamp monster who’d call from the depths of the swamp, trying to lure children into the wet darkness where they would drown.

So the story is essentially true: Swamps are dangerous. And monsters are very, very old.



To hear me read this story, click on over to http://www.vpr.net/episode/49227/

The cool monster pictures are by my pal Steve Bissette, from The Vermont Monster Guide. Used with his blessings.


July 21, 2010

THOSE PUCKIN' PUKWUDJEES

I keep getting radio & TV inquiries about Puk-wudjees. I wrote about them in 1997, so producers seem to think I'm some kind of "expert". Apparently "Puks" are the newest "paranormal phenomenon" that "investigators" are glomming on to. I guess they're getting bored with ghosts and demons .

I first met the pesky little critters when I was researching my book Passing Strange.
I had found them mentioned in Thomas Weston's History of Middleborough
MA (1906). As I recall he doesn't specifically state that they are supernatural or especially malevolent. They certainly were not portrayed as demonic.


My friend Robert Schneck (author of The President's Vampire) tells me "The name appears in some Hiawatha-influenced poetry, but I think 'In the Fairyland of America' by Herbert Quick is the first book to take a longer look at the stories."

That moves their print debut back to 1901.

Although the little Puckers are usually portrayed as New Englanders, there is reason to believe that "Puk-wudjee" or "Pukwudjee" or "Puk-wud-jee" was a co-opted Ojibwa term.

Why?

Who knows. Maybe because "Pukwudgie" is easier to pronounce than "Muhkeaweesug" which, I think, was the local Native American designation for our resident little people.

Harder to explain why they've turned evil and suddenly raised their ugly heads among "Paranormal Groups". Just recently I received two calls from two different producers of the same "Reality show" asking me to talk about them.
Supposedly the Puckers are are attacking some family from CT or RI or something.

I said no, of course. At this point the only thing that interests me about them is the similarity of names -- "Puk" and "Puck" -- but otherwise I tend to toss them off as one variant of multiple Native American little people.

I'd love to broaden my horizons. Anyone want to comment on Puk-wudjees or have anything to add?

July 15, 2010

WEIRD WOODSTOCK: The Final Verdict*

What do Melvin Douglas, Fred Astaire, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. have in common?

That's right, they all appeared in Ghost Story, a horror movie filmed partly in
Woodstock, Vermont.

But, I got to wondering, does Woodstock have any real ghosts?

Well, if you can believe the stories, it has as many ghosts as tourists.

In 1970 Polly Billings bought F.H Gillingham & Sons general store. She often worked alone. After hours. In the oldest part of the building. "I never felt as if I was by myself," she told me. "It was as if F.H. was... with me. When I couldn’t get an idea for the advertising copy, he would often help me out."

Thing is, her "helper" died in 1918.

At The Dana House, headquarters of the Woodstock Historical Society,
people have seen a transparent woman wearing a long, brown, satin dress. Sometimes, while completely invisible, she plays the piano.

Former director Corwin Sharp recalls comforting a terrified volunteer who’d encountered the Victorian specter. "She wasn’t making it up," he told me. "She was shaken, white as a ghost herself."

And there’s a little ghost-boy on the stairs. He is presumed to be the ectoplasmic residue of Mary and Charles Dana’s first born - who died at the age of two.

Both Dana House ghosts are easily recognized because of their anachronistic attire. And because they vanish before your eyes.
A beautiful brick colonial house near The Green - and not far from the covered bridge - has tenants who move in... and quickly leave.

Maybe it’s the heating bills. One former renter told me no matter how much fuel they burned they could never get the place above 65 degrees.

The doorknob in the master bedroom sometimes turned of its own accord. Or the door would open and close, though no one was there.

Occasionally they’d find pictures smashed. After hearing a loud crash, the couple ran upstairs, to find a precious Civil War engraving smashed on the floor.

After they’d moved out they heard that their former residence had once been a school in which the lovely young teacher had been murdered by a pale, thin, blond-headed soldier.

Well... maybe. Or maybe not.

Perhaps we can learn the truth in court.

The Windsor County Court House is an psychic battery, highly charged with emotion since 1855. Custodial staff working alone in the building report footsteps, unfathomable utterances, and awful noises. Sometimes, while court is in session, the door to the Judge’s Room will open and close. Moments later, the Witness Room door on the far side of the room will rattle. It’s as if something invisible is crossing the courtroom from one door to another.

A judge who witnessed this phenomenon from the bench looked over at the sheriff and said, "Ghosts."

And I guess that is the final verdict.
THE END (or is it...?)

*For a spoken version of this commentary
please go to:
http://www.vpr.net/episode/49035/