The Satanic Sweaters?
Televangelist Pat Robertson is at it again. He recently told a woman who called in to his show, The 700 Club, that a second-hand sweater she bought from Goodwill might be infested with demonic spirits. Oh my, as if the recent bedbug resurgence wasn't scary enough, now we have this to worry about? Pat's made some wacky statements over the years and, as he's galloped off into his personal sunset like a senile great uncle, no doubt his family has become increasing concerned about what he's going to blurt out at the next family reunion. But wait! Not so fast; I agree (sort of) with him on this one.
As I mention on my Ghosts and Hauntings page, be aware of used or antique items that you bring into your home. If your place has always been spook-free, but suddenly all kinds of weirdness is going on, remember anything you brought home from a thrift shop or flea market and try to match the time line. And no, size doesn't matter, at least not when it comes to hauntings. It could be as small as a button or large as a bed; the key is what emotional or sentimental attachment the deceased former owner had to the item.
And now for the "sort of" part, and where I disagree with Pat. The clingy spirit, like the person when alive, may be cheerful or cranky but, no worries; they are not demonic. That really cool '60s lava lamp? Maybe Sharon Tate thinks it's too cool to forget, too. Oh, and remember Pat's caller's sweater? '50s? Angora? Snug, yet oddly stretched? Guess what, sister? Lana wants it back.
Step Through The Paranormal Portal
If you're haunted but hiding, I've got awesome news...step through The Paranormal Portal. I've long-noticed that some are reluctant to seek help when it comes to their paranormal problems. The portal will open every Sunday evening 10:00 - 11:00. I can anonymously answer any paranormal questions that you may have; think of it as a private-but-creepy confessional. I'm here to help!
An Occurrence on Hurricane Mountain Road
I love New Hampshire. Portsmouth and the rest of the Seacoast, Lake Winnipasaukee, the White Mountains. The Granite State has never been shy about its strangeness, either. One of the earliest and, without a doubt, most famous alleged alien abduction cases, the 1961 tale of Betty and Barney Hill, happened near Lincoln. Norman Muscarello's brush with the otherworldly happened in Exeter in 1965. Throw in the higher-than-usual number of UFO sightings, assorted cryptids and ghosts, not to mention a mysterious Stonehenge-like site in Salem (What? You thought that Salem, Massachusetts had a lock on everything spooky?), and you have one very odd state. And that state is where my story takes place...
North Conway, New Hampshire: May 2009
Nestled in the White Mountains, North Conway is everything you'd imagine a New England town to be; lakes and camping in the summer, roadside stands bursting with pumpkins in autumn, snow and skiing in the winter and...parking lots with mountains of leftover snow in spring. Little stores and shops are everywhere, selling everything from antiques to The Old Man in the Mountain souvenirs (a natural rock formation resembling a face that, sadly, no longer exists, falling off the state's Cannon Mountain years ago). Looking to stay at a Holiday Inn? It's probably here somewhere, but bed and breakfasts are the bread and butter of the area, with none finer than The Buttonwood Inn. During a two-night stay, a companion and I decided to take a late-night "What the Hell, let's do it" drive along Hurricane Mountain Road, an extremely narrow (think driveway narrow) road that slowly winds its way up, over and down Kearsarge North, a mountain near the inn. No two cars can pass without one yielding the right-of-way. During the day, the road is fun and friendly. At night, it seems forgotten and foreboding, with very little light, except that supplied courtesy of the moon.
Being a beautiful and relatively warm night for the White Mountains in May, we slowly made our way up the lonely, pitch-black road. Not a car to be seen. Not a house. Just the glow of an occasional deer or opossum in the headlights. "Cool", I thought, "It doesn't get better than this". The XM satellite radio ('60s on 6!) was playing and, even though it wasn't warm enough to roll the windows down, the smell of the semi-warm mountain air drifted through the vents. We finally reached the highest point, and started to descend. Hurricane Mountain Road's twists and turns disorient you a bit, but something in your brain still tells you that you're no longer on a vertical climb. Still, no cars, which would not be unexpected on such a road at such an hour.
"Where The Hell Did That Come From?"
Suddenly, there were two headlights approximately 100 feet behind us, and closing in fast. Abnormally fast. Unnaturally fast. Within a few seconds, the car was only an inch or two from our back bumper. "Where the hell did that come from?", I asked my partner, both of us knowing that no other car was on the road and there was no place for it to hide as we drove by. Especially a car of its size. While dark, I could make out that it was a huge boat from the 1970s, dark in color, with yellowish, non-halogen headlights. Within not much more time than it takes to blink, this thing had gone from being in our rear view to being practical connected to us. And it wasn't backing down, keeping the same distance from us no matter how much I stepped on the gas. Then, I realized something strange; the satellite radio, which had been fine throughout our trek on the mountain, had been losing its signal and cutting out since the car was kissing our ass. I never panic, but let's just say that I was becoming "extremely concerned", as was my passenger. After about one minute of playing chicken, I saw the end of the road, with a stop sign at the cross street. As we slowed to make a right turn, the car veered around my driver's side, making no attempt to stop, and proceeded to make a left at a high rate of speed, vanishing as it made the turn. No, not 'vanished' as in 'sped away', vanished as in, well...vanished! The vehicle simply disappeared, as if entering an invisible tunnel. Being in the 'paranormal biz' for as long as I have, I know urban legends of phantom or ghost cars abound; almost every state has theirs. They're as common as the vanishing hitchhiker and roadside ghosts wearing powder-blue prom dresses. Still, after considerable digging, I haven't been able to unearth any dirt on this one.
After sitting in silent bewilderment for a few seconds, we did make that right turn off of Hurricane Mountain Road, the radio once again crooning Johnny Rivers.
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