Thirty years ago, long before she co-founded Paranormal Reactions, Terry Astbury was living in a 300-year-old, sometimes-eerie house in Kittery with her 3- and 4-year-old daughters.

“I would see things out of my peripheral vision,” Astbury said. “We had a cemetery in the backyard that my 3-year-old wanted to dig up all the time. When I’d say to her, ‘You can’t do that,’ she’d say, ‘Oh, no, mom, it’s all right.'”

One night, around 3 a.m. she heard floorboards creak and got up to find her older daughter at the top of the stairs.

“I just kept saying, ‘Julie, go back to bed.’ She wasn’t moving,” Astbury said. “The hair on the back of my neck started standing up, just the way she was looking at me. It was just getting creepy.”

Nearly eight months pregnant with twins, Astbury trudged up the stairs and steered Julie back to her bed.

“I started to walk out the door and she sits up in bed and starts screaming, ‘Can’t you see it, mom? Can’t you see it?'” Astbury recalled.

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The girl pointed frantically to the 12 inches between her dresser and bed, but Astbury couldn’t see a thing, and her daughter wouldn’t elaborate on “it.”

By now, the 3-year-old was up, too. Astbury lay down with her, trying to settle her younger daughter, wondering what the heck was going on.

“All of a sudden, two hands went on each shoulder and pinned me to the bed,” she said. “I was scared to death.”

When she finally sat up, she stayed awake until 6 a.m. and went straight to her landlord’s door on the other side of the house.

Had she ever experienced anything weird?

“Oh, honey, things like that happen all the time,” the landlord told her. “Ask my girls about growing up in this house.”

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Astbury and her daughters lasted another four months. Twenty-five years later, she was driving by the house and saw the door open.

“I said to my husband, ‘Stop. Let’s ask if we can investigate,'” she said.

The new owner was working on the property, didn’t have a tenant and let them in. The team didn’t encounter anything during the investigation, but discovered during research that a girl had hanged herself in her daughter’s former room. They also collected curious photos of orbs and what they thought looked like a ghost dog.

Today, the house has another new owner — it’s had a lot of them, Astbury said. She finds herself wondering when she drives by if they’ve experienced anything.

This story originally was published Oct. 31, 2018, as part of the collection “Weird, Wicked Weird: What’s Halloween without a few ghostly Maine tales?


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