[NH] Hollis – Blood Cemetery’s Small Grey Ghost

Reported by Fiona Broome, Halloween 1999

After years of researching ghosts in the northeast, I enjoy visiting Blood Cemetery (aka Pine Hill Cemetery) in Hollis, NH.

It’s an isolated spot with more than its share of ghost stories, but I like it there. Well, I used to like it there…

The evening before Halloween night in 1999, the sunset was magnificent. It was a warm evening, and it seemed a fine time for some photos at Blood Cemetery.

Since this ancient New England cemetery is on a hill, its headstones can look magnificent — or eerie — against a colorful sky.

Everything was fine until I was about halfway through my roll of film. The light was starting to fade, and my attention was drawn to an area just east of the Farley family graves.

Looking through my camera’s viewfinder, I was dismayed to see something greyish move between me and one of the headstones. It had very fuzzy edges, and it was the same color as the headstone.

“Oh. Great,” I sighed. “It’s a cat.”

I waited for it to move out of the way so that I could take more photographs.

Then, as I watched, it vanished into the headstone.

I nearly dropped my camera.

Really. It vanished. It took about half a second for the image to completely disappear.

It went into one of those half-tall headstones. (It was not a child’s marker, as I found out when I returned on November 1st. The link to that story is at the bottom of this page.)

The grave is near the center of the cemetery. There is no way an animal could leave the graveyard without being seen, even at dusk. The cemetery isn’t that large, and a wide grassy area surrounds the headstones.

Plus that, the stone that it vanished into is one of the smaller stones in the cemetery. There wasn’t any place for an animal to hide.

(I looked, just in case. I really wanted a reasonable, logical, normal explanation.)

I saw the remains of a faerie ring a few feet away, but that’s all.

Over 15 years later, I still ask myself: Why did I think it was a cat?

It would have been a very large cat. It was about 2 1/2 feet tall, and I’m not certain how wide. It was big. It was very fuzzy around the edges, which — from a logical (perhaps skeptical) viewpoint — suggested a massive Angora-type cat that had just been rolling in the dust so his fur was standing up.

It was too “fluffy” (fuzzy-edged) to be a dog. And, it was far too large for any other kind of grey-colored field or domestic animal.

Too late, I realized that I’d seen… a ghost?

I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know what else it could have been. But I took a few photos anyway, just in case. (They didn’t reveal anything startling.)

Since then, I’ve promised myself that I will never not take a photo, when something unexpected shows up at a cemetery or any haunted site.

But, about 24 hours later, my Halloween night experience was even stranger.  It’s in the next article:  Ghostly Mischief on Halloween Night

[NH] Hollis – Ghostly Mischief on Halloween Night

Abel Blood's headstone, Hollis, NH
Abel Blood’s haunted headstone at Pine Hill Cemetery, Hollis, NH

Reported by Fiona Broome, Halloween 1999

The weather turned unusually warm on Halloween night. In the northeast, Halloween can be sultry or freezing cold. This year, the weather in southern New Hampshire was perfect.

After dropping my son at a church youth social, I decided to return Blood Cemetery (aka Pine Hill Cemetery) in Hollis, NH, to take some quick photos from the roadside. (Like many New England cemeteries, Pine Hill is closed from dusk to dawn.)

I carried my “old reliable” 35mm point-and-shoot camera which I’d used for years without a problem.

I’d taken over 100 photos with it during the two weeks before this, and it had worked perfectly. In fact, about half of my photos are taken in low-light conditions using the flash.

On this evening, the batteries were fresh, the film was fine, and there was nothing to jam the camera.

Since it was Halloween evening, I felt a little nervous as I approached the pitch dark graveyard. Its reputation for hauntings didn’t bother me as much as being alone on a very deserted road.

Because the cemetery had closed at dusk, I stood at the side of the road, looking into the eerie darkness. And I started taking photos at random, pointing the camera into Blood Cemetery.

I pushed the button to take a photo.

Click.

Nothing happened. No flash, just the film advancing.

Click again. Still no flash, as I was using up film.

Click. Click. Click.

It took me eleven photos to realize that my flash was not going to work.

Yes, eleven flashless photos of total darkness.

Then the police — who patrol the cemetery regularly at this time of year — arrived and asked me to “move along.”

(My team and I always respect laws and the police when we’re investigating a haunted site. And, when the police ask us to leave, we do so, immediately.)

I left, muttering to myself about my camera. Fresh film, fresh batteries, a good camera… why had it suddenly failed?

For the next few minutes, I went through a mental inventory of reasons why the flash had abruptly stopped working, for eleven photos in a row.

About two miles from the cemetery, I stopped at a red light. Figuring that I had nothing to lose, I picked up my camera and took a quick photo of… well, the car seat. After all, it was right there.

FLASH!

Yes, the flash was suddenly working again.

I drove another ten minutes to another old cemetery–but this one does not have a “haunted” reputation. There, I took another dozen photos to finish the roll of film, and the flash worked fine every time. (That’s the night when I photographed my best picture of a ‘ghost orb’ at Schoolhouse Cemetery in Nashua, NH.)

Frankly, although it doesn’t feel that odd to me, I may have to accept that Blood Cemetery is, indeed, haunted.

I’ve inspected my camera and batteries, and can find no other reasonable explanation for the abrupt and location-specific failure of the flash.

I know that this sounds like a campfire tale from a Scouting trip. However, it’s what really happened.

I can’t think of a reasonable explanation. Not for eleven photos with a very reliable Olympus camera. The camera had worked fine for years before, and — as I update this story in 2016 — that camera has never failed since.

Blood Cemetery seemed like a comfortable old graveyard before these experiences. But, it took me months to feel comfortable returning there. Even today, I’m a little edgy about that cemetery.

Something’s just not right at Blood Cemetery.

[CA] The Ghost Wore Boots – Part 1

[as reported in Fate magazine, in an article titled ‘Boots’]

I lived in a haunted house in California for five years, and this is my story:

Twenty-five years ago, I still believed that you could wish anything to happen and it would.

So, when I wished for a house in northern California, I was not surprised by the bargain that appeared.

Even in the mid-1970’s, two-story Victorian homes with expansive corner lots did not sell for $15,000, but that was the asking price on this house.

Admittedly, it was a funky house with an odd history. Perhaps I should have wondered why the first realtor refused to show me the house.

The house seemed to call to me, so I persisted.

I contacted another realtor, and he agreed to get the keys.

The house was what they call “carpenter gothic,” with strange attempts at gingerbread trim, and a front porch that tilted in an alarming manner. Inside, the house floorplan was filled with strange twists and turns.

I thought it was charming. My husband’s father made an offer, since he was purchasing the house for us. The deal closed immediately. There were no other offers, and the house had been empty for too long.

I’d heard about the sad, perhaps mad, previous owner. Neighbors speculated that the man had experienced terrible things in Vietnam.

Whatever the reason, he’d slowly added things like spotlights and an alarm system to the house. By the time he and his wife abandoned the property, he’d spent too many nights patrolling the property with a rifle.

Why did he do that? It was a corner property in a very nice neighborhood, on a fairly busy street. A policeman lived next door. The town was safe, upscale and fairly rural.

Why would anyone be frightened enough to install spotlights to illuminate the entire yard, and then patrol the property from dusk until dawn?

We moved in and began to redecorate immediately. I loved the stairs at one bedroom door, that went up and then down again, for no apparent reason. That room had two very odd-shaped closets.

The closet in another bedroom extended within the walls of a third bedroom.

There were clearly sealed-up areas within the bedrooms’ walls, which reminded me of the bad witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel. I could imagine delighted children playing hide-and-seek in those rooms and closets. It seemed wonderful, and I was very happy to live there.

But then, the footsteps started.

Before we remodeled the house, my husband and I slept in the master bedroom on the first floor. The second floor was primarily for storage, and I used one room as my art studio because it was bright and cheery during the day.

Since I needed daylight for my painting, I rarely went upstairs after dark. When my husband and I started hearing unexplained footsteps up there, we became a little nervous about the noises.

However, the house was still a tremendous bargain, and we looked forward to tearing out walls, totally redesigning the interior.

In a way, it annoyed me to be such a “chicken” about the noises.

I decided to be brave, and deliberately used the upstairs at night when I was cutting out sewing patterns. After all, there were three full bedrooms upstairs, and plenty of floor space to lay out the fabric.

Next: Part two of this four-part story

[CA] The Ghost Wore Boots – Part 2

At first, I merely felt uneasy.

I blamed it on the black skies outside the windows in my “studio.” In that rural town, there were few city lights to brighten the sky. When we’d first moved there, I’d loved that: I could see the stars as I never had, when we’d lived in Los Angeles.

I bought window shades and cheery curtains, to make the room feel cozier at night. It helped a little, but I still felt as if someone was watching me. Further, I felt that one of these watchers did not like me.

That made no sense. I didn’t actually hear anything unusual when I was upstairs. It was a warm house, with lovely honey-colored hardwood floors, and cheerful floral wallpaper from the 1940’s in cozy upstairs bedrooms. I should have felt at home.

Then the pattern pieces started fluttering across the floor when I was working.

“They’re light,” I reminded myself. “It’s just a breeze.”

But the problem increased. After a couple of weeks, pattern pieces pinned to fabric started drifting just past my fingertips, where the pieces would halt and not move again.

Then I’d move closer, but the paper and fabric would start dancing across the floor again.

I went to the hardware store and bought draft-proofing supplies. I put masking tape around the window frames. I even insulated the outlets and light switches.

The problem continued. I checked for air currents, using a lit candle. It didn’t flicker, no matter how long I waited.

Then I’d start working and — predictably — the pattern pieces began their nightly waltz just beyond my fingertips.

This continued for another couple of weeks.

“You win,” I finally announced to the walls.

And, after that, I worked on my sewing downstairs. I used the upstairs studio during daytime hours only, for my oil painting.

On sunny and bright days, the upstairs felt fine. But on dark days, or as dusk approached, I again sensed someone in the rooms.

One night, I don’t recall whether my husband or I had gone upstairs to get something out of the storage boxes we kept up there. One of us forgot to turn the upstairs hall light out. I didn’t realize it until the next evening, when I noticed light reflected at the top of the stairs.

I turned the light out, and I swear I heard a funny hissing noise, like someone was angry.

The next day when I went upstairs, I noticed that my paintbrushes were our of their storage container, and wedged so they were sticking out of the studio window.

When I opened the window — which I never opened  — my brushes tumbled out. All of them had been snapped neatly across the ferrule, the silver metal band that attaches the bristles to the handle.

To line them up and snap each of them exactly in the middle… well, that could not be an “accident.”

I was furious. Those were expensive brushes and the damage was deliberate. I was certain that it was retaliation for having left the lights on, that one night. I felt a little crazy thinking that, but in my anger, it made sense.

“Okay,” I raged at the empty room, “See how you like this!”

And I went through the upstairs, turning on every light. And I left them on, with my husband’s nervous agreement.

Two weeks later, feeling that I’d made my point, I turned the lights back off again.

During the time when the lights had been on, we’d heard no noises from the upstairs. The animosity we felt emanating from the top of the stairs was probably just our imaginations.

Nevertheless, my husband–who was 6’3″ and very muscular–was reluctant to go upstairs again.

After I turned the lights off, the upstairs remained blissfully quiet for several days.

But then our ghostly problems resumed dramatically, and not just at night.

Next: Part three of this story

[CA] The Ghost Wore Boots – Part 3

What happened next was the most dramatic event of the haunting:

From the start, there seemed to be two ghosts. Now I was getting a very visual sense of them, though I did not see anything besides their mischief.

I perceived a slender, mournful woman in a form-fitting, slightly gaudy gown, characteristic of the 1870s or 1930s. I could not see the hemline to tell how long the gown was, to tell if it was from the 19th or 20th centuries. Generally, she was weeping. She was in the room with the two strange little closets.

Our other ghost was a man in dusty, dark casual clothing. He wore a shirt and pants like blackish jeans. He obviously wore boots, but I could not “see” them.

Sometimes, I sensed that he was calling on the woman, wearing a dusty, too-loose jacket with tails, and a very slim tie. He was our loud ghost, whose temper was echoed with his footsteps. Usually, he’d storm around the upstairs hallway, or the other two bedrooms.

The louder ghost continued to storm around the upstairs at night. My husband decided to join a gym forty miles from our house. Frankly, I think he was frightened of our ghosts. If he was concerned for my safety, he never mentioned it. When he was at the gym each evening, I was at home, trying to ignore the footsteps overhead.

As our louder ghost became more courageous, his walk became more distinctive. We could hear that ka-thud, ka-thud of a heel hitting the floor and then the sole of the shoe, as if he was wearing workmen’s boots or cowboy boots. That’s when we began calling him “Boots,” to make the reality a little friendlier, as if he was a companion and not a tormentor.

Some nights, I thought I heard the jingle of spurs from the “old west” era. That may have been something upstairs rattling, in response to the pounding footsteps on our hardwood floors.

I was anxious but not terrified. After all, the noises were only upstairs. I stayed downstairs.

Meanwhile, I had begun teaching children’s drama classes for the town. During the summer, I taught the classes in my living room.

One day, the afternoon class went particularly late as we were preparing for a performance. No one noticed how quickly dusk approached.

Then, in a pause during our rehearsal, I almost gasped aloud. I could hear footsteps upstairs. They were faint, but certainly there. How could I have forgotten about them?

I looked around the room, but no one seemed to hear the footsteps but me. I considered the possibility that it was a “personal” haunting, and perhaps no one besides me could hear the sounds. That allayed my fears for a few minutes.

The rehearsal concluded, and we discussed the strong and weak points of the rehearsal. My living room was filled with eager students, ranging in age from about seven to mid-teens.

I decided to ignore the footsteps, now getting louder, and talk to my class as if nothing unusual was going on.

I raised my voice as the boots thudded and almost clang’d, back and forth, angrily striding across the floor above us.

Finally, the footsteps started pacing at the top of the stairs.

One of my oldest students timidly put her hand up. “Excuse me, but is your husband at home?” She tilted her head, indicating the noises clearly coming from the upstairs.

My heart sunk as I replied, “No.” I wished with every ounce of hope that she was the only one who heard the boots, or that the sound would stop.

Another student was clearly baffled, “Um, are there workmen upstairs, or what?”

I knew I was in trouble. I said no, and gulped aloud when I saw the children’s expressions.

Trying to sound as if everything was perfectly normal, I ushered the children to our front lawn, saying that we’d finish the class outside.

To this day, I have no idea what the students thought, or if they heard the angry footsteps storming down the polished hardwood stairs as I closed the front door behind me. I hastily concluded the rehearsal, and held future classes in the town offices.

The group barely held together past the performance. I think the event scared the children, and I know they looked at me a little nervously after that.

Next: The conclusion of this four-part, true ghost story