It was around 8 at night, pitch black but for our headlights, on a desolate dirt road in Dresden about 20 years ago.

When my now-husband put his car in reverse and those headlights caught what appeared to be a major oil leak coming from our car, he got out of the old Cavalier to check it out.

He hadn’t been hunched over the ground for more than five seconds when he darted back faster than I’ve seen him move in the 20 years since, slammed his door shut and floored it.

There’d been a great crashing noise barreling toward him in the woods.

Suitably spooked, we tried to laugh it off and turned on the car radio. Within minutes, a bulletin called over the airwaves:

Two patients had escaped from the Augusta Mental Health Institute just up the road. Be on the lookout.

I half-expected to find a hook hand dangling from the car door when we finally stopped miles later; it just felt like a hook hand kind of night.

In honor of Halloween, readers and staff share their true tales of chills, whispered hellos and hopefully friendly ghosts.

Gone in a blink

“It was my first overnight visit to my in-law’s house; a three-story Victorian farmhouse in Littleton. The sprawling old home retained much of its former glory, with natural wood wainscoting and a large parlor.

Night wore on and we were weary from travel, so we decided to turn in for the evening. We made our way to one of the spare bedrooms and settled in. It was a hot and humid August night stifling any chance of a breeze in the otherwise musty room.

After a couple hours of fitful sleep, I awoke to frigid wisps of air crossing my face like cold ribbons. It was an odd feeling and I dared not open my eyes to see what could be causing such a phenomenon. More icy tracks across my cheek and I became acutely aware that I needed to use the facilities. Not knowing where light switches or bathrooms may be located in this antique home, I decided not to go wandering around in the dark to find any; not with what I was currently experiencing anyway.

Finally, I heard the rattle of the brass lockset. Somehow, I reasoned, Alicia must have got up and gone to the bathroom herself, unnoticed by me and my growing apprehension. I finally dared open my eyes and look toward the door. There she was, in a long, white nightshirt, looking back at me with one hand resting lightly on the doorknob. We looked at each other for almost a full minute before I realized my backside was resting snugly against hers under the covers. I blinked and the lady at the door was gone.”

— Staff Writer Douglas McIntire

Tick, tock

“In 1973, my grandmother was dying and my sister Debbie stayed with her until she passed.

One night we woke up to hear her screaming. We all ran in her room and she was shaking and scared — she said Nana came out of the closet and wanted her watch back. She said Nana stood at the end of her bed moving her lips, like she was trying to tell her something. She screamed and threw her watch … then turned the light on. The light went back out and Nana was beside her bed; she was rubbing my sister’s hair.

The next day Debbie was cooking french fries on the stove when the grease on the stove caught fire. She tried to put it out and as she was trying her hair caught on fire! Luckily she was OK, but we pretty much lost everything in the fire.

My sister never saw her again. We rebuilt the house after the fire and my sister moved in with her boyfriend so I got that room. It changed a little, but I still got nervous sometimes. I was always looking at that closet door where she saw her come out.

— Mike Bradstreet, Sabattus

Who’s there?

“For many years, I have heard very obvious steps, activity and, most recently, voices upstairs in our home. The pattern of activity exactly mimics the comings and goings of my wife.

The activity only takes place when I’m downstairs in our house. At least two or more times a week, I hear footsteps leading to our back door and the clear sound of the door opening as if my wife were home. From there, we hear footsteps across the floor often leading to the clear sound of someone in a rocking chair upstairs. Occasionally, there are typical sounds in the kitchen of someone in the fridge or running water. Occasionally it sounds as if someone is on the stairs coming to the basement level.

After years of going upstairs only to find no one there, it has come to a point that I pretty much ignore the activity and noise. I’m at a point that I can’t detect the difference between the ghostly visit and the real return of my wife to home.

After many years of experiencing this oddity, my daughter, who now lives in Massachusetts, shared that she used to hear the same noise, footsteps, etc.

In the last year and a half, I work pretty much from a home office and I experience the ghostly visits even more. In the past six months, a voice has come into play. It is exactly the sound of my wife’s voice simply saying, “Hi.” In the last month, I heard all the steps and activity and the voice. I was completely convinced that it was my wife returning home. I was absolutely astounded that no one was there. In fact, my wife actually came home about five minutes later and asked why I looked so frightened.

I’ve concluded that the ghost is harmless, but it has become quite the conversation in our house.”

— Dan Marois, Poland Spring

Smoke in the firehouse

At the soon-to-be-demolished Buckfield Fire/Rescue Station, workers have recorded voices when no one’s there.

“One of them says, ‘It’s hot in here,'” said longtime Buckfield Rescue Chief Lisa Bennett. “One of them calls somebody’s name. One of them says, ‘They’re lying’ — you can really hear them pretty clearly; it’s pretty cool.”

“We don’t really know who would be here, but somebody’s here. We hear things all the time. We’ll be sitting in the office and hear footsteps coming over the stairs, and turn to look and there’s absolutely nobody there. My partner and I will look at each other like, ‘You heard that, right?’ Or we’ll hear, ‘Hello,’ and get up and go to the top of the stairs to see if anybody’s down there and there’s nobody there.

“I actually have somebody who refuses to stay here, and if they do stay here, they sleep in their car. Sometimes, I’ll come up over the stairs in the morning and just get that really eerie feeling and then other times, it’s like nothing. I have another volunteer who stays here, she lives out of town, she’ll talk to them all night so they don’t bother her.

“I have been working full time for the town for nine years; all this time, from day one, every now and again you get the smell of a cherry pipe, a tobacco smell — of course, nobody smokes in this building.”

It’s scheduled to be torn down in April. The new facility might be ready by next Halloween, but whether the ghosts follow remains to be seen.

Weird, Wicked Weird is a monthly feature on the strange, intriguing and unexplained in Maine. Send ideas, photos and whispered hellos to [email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: