The painting of the man submitted photo

REGION — The year was either 1984 or 1985, Rumford resident Sootie Cross Gauvin recalled. It was a summer night and Gauvin was staying at her family farm alone. Her husband was away on work. It had just turned dark and Gauvin was getting ready to leave the bathroom Gauvin when something in the mirror caught her eye. A man with black hair and a black mustache appeared.

Gauvin said she was unsure of how long the man’s image was in the mirror, but guessed that it was only for a few seconds, although she said it felt a lot longer than that.

“I assumed he had lived there and was letting me know that. I didn’t feel threatened at all but I didn’t sleep well that night,” she said. “I distinctly remember that mustache. He had a hat on too.”

Gauvin would end up living in the house for almost 10 years, moving out in 1993.

The years passed and the house was lived in by many people.

Three years ago, Massachusetts resident Anthony Iacobucci bought the place. He does vacation rentals year round there now.

This past summer, Iacobucci was taking down a section of wall in a barn when he came across a painting of a man on one of the bays.

“It was very prominent, painted all in black directly on bare wood,” Iacobucci said.

The portrait is of a man with jet black hair and a long mustache. It was dated Nov. 4, 1891.

Iacobucci had some theories on the painting, considering the house was occupied for a long time by people who were painters. He thought the painting might have been a practice attempt.

Iacobucci did not stop there. He contacted Gauvin, who he met a few times, and asked if she knew anything about the hidden portrait. It’s safe to say her reaction was not what he was expecting.

She proceeded to explain how she saw the exact same face in a mirror many years ago.

“I knew that this was the man in the mirror,” Gauvin said. “I remembered it vividly.”

Gauvin added that following the sighting of the man in the mirror, she thought about him frequently at first, but hadn’t thought about him for a while until Iacobucci contacted her.

With a more than 30-year-old memory triggered, she was eager to find out more information on the houses history.

According to local historian Chris Dunham, in 1891 the house was owned by Angeline Bryant, a widow of Kingsbury T. Bryant. Her two youngest sons were Edwin and Herbert, ages 20 and 16 respectively. Dunham figures the two sons were probably still living at home at the time. He said they would later move to Haverhill, Mass. to be painters and paperhangers. He said the boys’ older brother, Othniel, was already a painter in Massachusetts by 1891. He said interior decorating ran in the family.

Iacobucci said he will be keeping his eyes peeled for the man with the mustache, and with Halloween, who knows what could happen.


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