In other words, we're entering the bleak, barren time of the year. It's the perfect time for weird tales and ghost stories - particularly if they might be true. Someone emailed me a story (which might be true) just last week and gave me permission to share it. Here it is for your November pleasure.
In October of this year a Canadian woman (I'll call her Shawna), her daughter, and a cousin decided to visit New Hampshire during foliage season. Their trip included staying at the Bretton Woods Resort. Bretton Woods is one of the great New England resorts, with a fabulous old grand hotel (the Mount Washington) and the smaller Bretton Arms Inn on the grounds. Bretton Woods has everything you could want in a mountain resort: good food, fireplaces, hiking and horseback trails that wind through the woods and along rivers, and skiing in the winter.
|Lobby of the Mount Washington Hotel.|
Bretton Woods also has a ghost. Shawna discovered this first hand during her visit while staying at the Bretton Arms Inn.
On our first night my teenaged daughter woke up screaming that she saw an apparition beside her bed (we were in a bedroom with two twin beds adjacent to the main room). As a result we had to sleep with the lights on for the second night. For the record, my daughter does not believe in ghosts (at all) and does not suffer from nightmares
I put it from my mind until a week after we returned to Toronto and Googled Mt Washington Resort when I discovered the resort has a history of this (we had no idea before).Like most paranormal accounts the story is quite short. I think it's interesting that Shawna didn't know about the resort's haunted history. It makes her story more credible.
The ghost that haunts Bretton Woods is said to be the spirit of Caroline Stickney, the wife of Joseph Stickney, a wealthy industrialist who built the Mount Washington Hotel in 1902. Mr. Stickney died one year after the hotel was completed, but Caroline remarried a wealthy European prince and continued to spend her summers at the hotel. She had a private suite she stayed in, and even had a special balcony built above the main dining room so she could survey what the other guests were wearing. She wanted to be sure that she was the best dressed person in the room!
|A portrait of Caroline Stickney at the Mount Washington Hotel.|
Caroline Stickney died in 1936. The winter after she died a hotel caretaker reported seeing strange things. He said he saw a well-dressed woman walking into the dining room at night - and there were no guests staying in the hotel at the time. That winter other staff reported that lights would turn themselves off and on when no one was in the room.
Caroline's ghost has haunted the resort ever since. She is a benevolent ghost but can be frightening to those who aren't prepared for the encounter. Her spirit is the most active in Room 314 of the Mount Washington Hotel, which was her private suite while alive. Guests who stay in this room often report a wide range of strange phenomena including flickering lights, faucets and fireplaces that turn themselves on and off, and objects disappearing.
Tony and I stayed at Bretton Woods way back in November 2013. There weren't a lot of guests at the time since foliage season had ended and ski season hadn't begun. Our room was in the Mount Washington and the hotel, with its long empty corridors and formal public spaces, reminded me of the one in The Shining. We didn't encounter anything ghostly but we did have dinner with a family member who lived in the area. She had once worked at a conference there and had seen strange things happen. Office supplies vanished only to reappear someplace else, and files had moved around on their own.
As a hotelier who loved the Bretton Woods I don't think Caroline Stickney means any harm to the guests. But still it must be quite a shock to wake up in the middle of the night and see her standing above your bed.