Every farmhouse with a 150-year-old history ought to have a good ghost story connected with it.

I guess we got short-changed. I can’t remember my parents or my grandparents ever telling tales of a family ghost.

Nevertheless, there’s an abundance of ghost stories throughout Maine, and there are three that are still remembered around Androscoggin County – in Lewiston, Durham and Poland.

This is a good time of year to bring back those stories of Androscoggin apparitions.

A beautiful young girl is the subject of the Lewiston haunting. She was a member of a Lewiston family that has roots in the community’s earliest days.

Rose O’Brien wrote many articles for the Lewiston Evening Journal and the paper’s Magazine section on Saturdays. Almost 50 years ago, she recalled this tale. She didn’t name the prominent Lewiston family, but she said this story was passed down from generation to generation.

It began one wintry night when a lovely young lady of the family was hurriedly dressing for an elegant ball. In those days, a dance fan was an essential accessory for every proper lady.

It was said that the popular girl arrived at the dance and discovered that she didn’t have her fan. One account recalled by O’Brien said the girl ran out into the freezing night in her ball gown and “caught her death of cold.”

Another account says she found that she had forgotten her fan just as she was leaving the house. She dashed back in, rushed up the stairs and tripped. It was a fall on the stairs that killed her, they said.

Either way it was the search for the fan that led to her death, and it was that search that brought her back – time after time – to the house.

“Through the years,” O’Brien wrote, “whoever occupied ‘her’ room in that house often heard her running up the stairs, footsteps light on the stair tread, her silken gown and petticoats rustling softly as she ran. Then, into the room she would come, her journey traced by the patter of her running feet as she crossed the room swiftly and lightly to the bureau.”

The opening of the bureau drawer was the only thing human eyes would see, O’Brien said. She claimed there were still some members of that family who talked in the 1950s about being in that room, hearing the footsteps and seeing the bureau drawer open.

That Lewiston house is gone now. It was torn down to make way for other development, and we might wonder if the lovely young lady still searches somewhere in Lewiston for her fan.

In Durham, a few miles downstream on the Androscoggin River, there’s a house where family after family has been driven out by strange occurrences.

At this place, O’Brien wrote, there was a spirit who apparently didn’t like fires or was jealous and didn’t want anyone living there. Occupants could build a roaring fire in the kitchen stove, but as soon as their attention went elsewhere, the fire would quickly die out.

Family after family tried their best to live there, but the ghost always won.

The Poland story involves an unexplained disappearance. On a clear, moonlit and bitter-cold January night, when snow drifts were high, the grandfather of a local farmhouse put on his coat and took his lantern for a final check of the big barn.

He was gone too long, and by the time the family became alarmed, all they could find were his deep, icing footprints. It was said they went from the kitchen door almost to the barn door, where they stopped.

“The grandfather had just disappeared,” O’Brien said. “To this day, nobody has ever known what happened to him. But people walk softly around that barn when the early dusk gathers. Someday he may come back.”

Dave Sargent is a freelance writer and an Auburn native. You can e-mail him at [email protected]