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Mothers & Daughters

September 2003

Once a year in the fall, my daughter and I take a weekend trip to the forest just to spend time together, watch the leaves turn color and hopefully spot some deer.

Two years ago, we rented a log cabin in one of Main's many parks (My daughter Andrea was 14 at the time).

We arrived Friday around noon, got our key at the park's office and were escorted to our cabin. The man checked the plumbing and lighting to make sure everything was in order and after he left, we settled in for the weekend.

The Cabin was a very old, small and cozy little place. The Living room took up half the house and included a small fireplace. The kitchen was just a narrow area with a sink, stove and mini fridge and separated from the living room by a open wall. A short hallway led to the bathroom on the right, behind the kitchen and a bedroom at the end of the hall on the right. A steep staircase on the side of the living room led to a balcony with a bed and couch, from it you could look down into the living room. The cabin itself was made from very dark, stained wood and even with all the lights on, it still appeared dim and gloomy.

We spent about an hour unpacking, ate lunch and went for long stroll down one of the many trials. We got back before sunset and settled down to a dinner of pasta and sausage. Andrea went to bed soon afterwards and I got busy cleaning the pot dishes.

As I was standing at the sink, I peered out the window and to my surprise, a young girl just came skipping out of nowhere. She appeared to be about 11 or 12 years of age and was horribly filthy, as if she had been rolling around in dirt. Her hair which was light brownish or dirty blond was just a tangled mess. She wore what appeared to be a short knee length gown but it was hole-ridden and so horribly torn and tattered, as if it were barely clinging to her body which itself looks so thin and scrawny. She was barefoot as well, even though the night temperature was around forty degrees and the ground covered in frost. I only watched her for about two seconds, but I remembered every detail clearly. I was more concerned about helping this poor girl and ran outside to see what I could do.

The cabin had only one door in the front and I ran out and around the back, but the girl was nowhere to be seen. I called out for her and tried to see if I could spot her hiding in the woods. Still unable to find her, I looked down at the frost to follow her footsteps. There were none, aside from mine. I just stood there in shock for over a minute, than I just ran back inside. I was terrified. I have always believed in ghosts, but never thought I would have an experience myself. But I believed I just had. Though I tried to think of a rational explanation, nothing could explain how this girl could have just appeared and disappear without leaving tracks in the frost or how she would be just playfully skipping in the freezing night air, scantly clad only in such a ragged gown.

I went to bed that night with the light on in my room and with my radio playing. I was so nervous about possibly seeing or hearing her again. Even thought it was an innocent little girl, the fact that it could have possibly been some sort of spirit or ghost frightened me.

I decided not tell my daughter what had happened, but the next morning she told me that she heard what sounded like a young girl crying. I was about to sit her down and tell her about the girl I had seen, but Andrea said she wondered if there were people in a nearby cabin. I quickly nodded and told her that probably what it was, some little girl crying about something at another site.

We spent most of the morning watching our small portable T.V with the fireplace going and went out again around noon. We got two see two deer grazing and spent the rest of the time at the lake.

That night, while my daughter was watching T.V, I was cleaning up the dishes from our supper but spent most of my time just gazing out the window. Even though I was still a bit frightened, for some reason I just wanted to see that girl again. But it was to no avail, she did not come skipping out of the woods.

We both went to bed and easily fell asleep after such a long day. I woke up in the middle of the night needing a glass of water. As I made my way to the kitchen, I stopped dead in my tracks; something was sitting in the chair in the corner of the living room. I was still half asleep and my eyes still kind of blurry, "Andrea, is that you?" I whispered, but got no reply. I stood there gazing at the chair, fear told me to run and flip the lights on, but I could not move, I just stood there gazing. All I could see was a dark featureless form in the chair, like a shadow, darker than the light less room.

All of a sudden, I was overcome with intense sadness, so much so that I had to hold back from bursting into sobs. I don't know why or how to explain it. It was as if I knew something terrible had happened but had no idea what it was. When I regained my composure and looked back into the living room, the figure was gone. I found myself trembling and even my hands were pale with fear. Again I retreated into my room with the lights and music playing. I wanted to turn on the living room and kitchen lights as well, but since my daughter was sleeping up on the balcony, the lights would disturb her.

I lay in bed, just staring at the wall, sometime looking around expecting to see something in the room with me. I was still awake an hour later when all of a sudden my daughter started screaming hysterically. I jumped out of bed, screaming as well. I was so terrified and confused as I ran up to see her, screaming her name. I found her huddled on her bed, her whole body trembling in stark terror. She was pale and her eyes bulging. It took five minutes of me holding and comforting her before she started to cry and well over another 10 minutes before she could explain what happened.

She told me she had a dream that she was locked up in some cold dark place and that she was so cold and hungry. She said that her clothes were old muddy and torn to shreds. This old woman came into where she was and started screaming at her and hitting her. That is when she woke up, already terrified and ready to cry, but when she opened her eyes, she saw this dark figure gliding up the stairs and moving towards her. She buried her face in her blanket and started screaming, but the figure was gone when I got up there.

I finally told her about the young girl and shadowy figure in the living room I had seen just over an hour ago. She wanted to leave right hen and there, but since we were going to leave in the morning anyhow, we slept together with all the lights on.

When we turned in our key in the morning, I asked the man if he had any complaints or reports of strange experiences from other guest to that particular cabin. He seemed to hesitate a bit and nodded. I was like, "Ghostly experiences?" and the man again nodded slightly. "What the hell happened there?" I asked, "It was terrifying, I can't even explain what happened!"

The man told me to wait and disappeared into the back room. He returned a few minutes later with a much older man who then invited us to come out back. He sat us down at a table and left. We waited for a few more minutes until he returned with his wife and two cups of hot chocolate. He began to tell us that dozens of people have used that cabin every year for the past fifty years since his father owned the property and in that time they had received six reports of strange happenings, two of those in which the visitors were so terrified that they took of in the middle of the night, leaving the key and the full rental fee sitting on the porch of the main office.

I again asked, what had happened. The old man and his wife both sat down at the table with us and together told us the story?

In the late 1800's the area was an old logging community. A woman and her young daughter lived in an old cabin, working to provide food and fur to the loggers. That cabin had long since rotted away but the one we stayed at was built in the same spot where the other stood.

The girls mother had to go to leave on few months to help organize a new logging village. Since it was going to be rough, she did not want to take her daughter and hired an old woman to care for her while she was away.

Unbeknown to the girl's mother however, the old woman was mentally ill and wicked. The crazy old woman locked away everything the girl had aside from an old gown. She kept the girl locked up all day and all night in a small storage shed, letting her out only to have her toil in the grass, pulling shrubs and clearing rock. The girl was routinely beaten and tormented by the old woman as well. The girl finally died from starvation and exposure and the woman buried her in the woods.

When the mother returned, she told her that her daughter had just left for a walk and should be back within an hour or so. Hours turned into days but the girl never came home from her walk. Fortunately her body was uncovered within a week of disappearing when a group of loggers were uprooting tree trunks.

The old woman was hunted down and confronted. She was asked to explain the bruises, why the child appeared so starved and how her clothes looked so torn and rotted, as if they had not been cleaned for months. She broke down and admitted what she had done in detail, but blaming the child for her actions. She was arrested and put in a mental hospital. The girl's mother, upon hearing how her daughter had died, was so guilt ridden that she wasted away in her own home, until finally dying at the young age of 31.

That was the story we were told by the couple, it frightened us even more, but it explained many things. The girl I had seen had to be the woman's daughter and the dark figure in the living room was most likely the mother, crying in anguish. My daughters dream still gives me the chills when I think about it. It was as if she were reliving a glimpse of the terrible life of the young girl under the care of the crazy woman.

It's been two years now. We still go on our annual trips into the woods, but have not been back to the same park. Part of me still wants go to back though, as terrifying as it was, I feel I want to be able to help put the spirits to rest. My daughter however, even as she tells the story to her friends with excitement, does not want to go anywhere near the park ever again.

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