August 21, 2011

The Boogeyman of Beverly

Beverly Harbor

I like to think I'm too old to believe in the boogeyman. I'm assuming most of my readers feel the same way.

In the 1970s, a family bought an old decrepit mansion near the harbor in Beverly, Massachusetts. I'm sure they didn't believe in the boogeyman either - at least until they moved in.

Almost immediately upon moving in the family experienced some strange things. For example, the door that led from the house's kitchen into the backyard was found open every morning, even when it had been locked the night before. Items in the kitchen and pantry were often rearranged, and the kitchen table moved.

Suspecting local pranksters, the family's father tried to fix the situation by installing a new double lock on the door. I didn't work - the door was still found wide open each morning. Adding to the general creepiness, the family often felt like they were being watched while in the kitchen, and their dog refused to enter the room late at night.

Things got stranger.

One afternoon Steve, one of the family's sons, heard his mother yell, "Steve, stay out of your father's office!" Steve came out of the living room, and his mother looked shocked. They were both on the first floor; his father's office was on the second floor. But if if wasn't Steve, who was in the office? No one else was home.

As they started to call the police, they saw through the window a shadowy figure jump from the office's second floor balcony. The police came to investigate but no signs of an intruder were found.

That summer, most of the family retreated to their New Hampshire vacation house, but Steve, who worked as a lifeguard in Beverly, stayed behind. He slept with an antique WWII pistol on his nightstand, wrapped in a piece of old rabbit fur for protection.

One night, Steve awoke abruptly at 3:00 am. There was someone in his bedroom, and they were laughing maniacally at the foot of his bed. The room was pitch black. Terrified, Steve rolled onto the floor and reached for the gun.

He was surprised to find the items on the nightstand had been rearranged. The lamp and clock had been moved around, and the pistol was no longer wrapped in fur.

Still, Steve was able to find the pistol and he shouted at the intruder, telling him (it?) to leave or get shot. There was no answer. Steve finally got up enough nerves to run out of the room and out into the backyard. He got into his car and drove off, and kept driving until the sun came up.

When he went back home, he noticed something on the kitchen table.

...placed on the kitchen table, folded like a fancy napkin was the rabbit fur that had been on my bedroom nightstand.

Steve immediately got back in his car and drove to New Hampshire. He spent the rest of the summer at the vacation home, and then went off to college. The family sold the house a few weeks later.

That's the story as it appears in Robert Ellis Cahill's New England's Things That Go Bump in the Night. Cahill was a retired Salem sheriff, and published about a dozen small booklets of New England folklore and ghost stories. They're hard to find these days, but if you locate one buy it. You won't be sorry.

Cahill titled the chapter about the boogeyman, "The Boogeyman of Beggerly", using an old derogatory name for Beverly. Hey, it sounds better with boogeyman, so why not?

I was recently up in Beverly to see my college friend Lori, and we thought we'd try to find the house. I can't be 100% sure, but I think we found it.

And you know what? It really does look haunted.


Anonymous said...

So pleased to find this story somewhere on the web, where I can share it with friends. I have a decent collection of those old Cahill books. Used to buy them as a kid while on vacation in Maine. They are wonderful. Thanks for the blog!

Peter Muise said...

I'm glad you like the blog. The Cahill books are great. They definitely have some creepy stuff in them, like this story.

BarryDWriter said...

I'm trying to conduct research into this (hopefully true) story. Can you please tell me, if you see this, anything about the house that you think was "the one?" Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

it wouldn't be the boogeyman, the boogeyman in legend and lore is a malevolent spirit that lives under the bed and in the shadows not jumping out windows in to sunlight.