Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Getaway, Part Two

I'm waiting for Jenn to spin this tale but she's just given me permission to write about our unusual encounter with the Inn's former mistress, Mrs. Barstow.

Let's face it, spending a night in an old historic inn with my daughter (who dotes on ghosts) wouldn't be complete without a paranormal event.

We drove to Vermont on a bit of a whim, settled in, took a hike, and ate a grand dinner. We then retired to the parlor (think Victorian) for an intense game of Scrabble. Mother and daughter, very competitive. I'm still not sure that "IQ" was a valid entry but I gave Jenn the benefit of the doubt. Luckily, I managed to make a comeback at the end with "jewelry" and won the game by two points! Life was good.

We decided to end the evening with some quiet conversation on the front porch. The other guests had already gone up to their rooms and the owner was nowhere in sight. As we walked through the house and onto the porch, Jenn and I heard three notes struck on the old piano which sat in the sitting room where we had played Scrabble. Three consecutive notes ... a quarter note and two eighth notes, same tone.

It was a warm night and all the windows were open. I looked at her and she looked at me, and we got this odd feeling. Someone at the piano? We didn't see the owner walk back into that room. Jenn turned to me and suggested that I go see who was playing. The lights were still on but we couldn't see clearly through the windows. I padded back into the house, walked into the room and, of course, no one was there. The piano bench was pulled out a bit but empty. After dealing with Mrs. Kitchen and Mr. Pipe and our friend's psychic readings, this lack of a body seemed no big deal.

We sat back down on the porch rocking chairs and soon our host came out for a late-night chat. We, of course, asked him if he had snuck in and played the three notes on the piano. He, of course, did not and seemed surprised at our story.

He had a story of his own. He told us that this inn was built around 1865 by a wealthy businessman named Barstow. He and his wife lived an aristocratic lifestyle entertaining the likes of Thomas Edison and the Rockefellers on their front porch, the one we were now sitting on. Wow.

Mr. Barstow and his wife were philanthropists and good people. They had one son, who died as a young man. They then dedicated a local school in his honor. Mr. Barstow played the organ and piano. Mrs. Barstow may have also entertained on a piano in their Victorian parlor.

By now, Jenn was getting her strange scalp tingles and certain that the Barstows were still around. Actually, Mrs. Barstow - Jenn was getting her lady-ghost tingle. Believe me, when Jenn's scalp tingles, you have guests. The owner of the inn seemed amused but a bit dubious about the three notes on the piano. We, however, weren't.

After he went to bed, Jenn and I continued to think about what we both heard. We could hear the notes so clearly and thought they sounded somewhere in the range of middle "C". Jenn went back next morning and found the right note: the "B" below middle "C".

B for Barstow.

Play it again, ma'am.


gtr said...

Wow! I just got the chills reading the last part. B for.... Gulp!

I used to give tours of an old lighthouse, then lived there alone at night. I actually WANTED to meet the long-ago keepers, but they never showed up. I was always careful to speak kindly of them during tours, just in case.

Enjoyed your story!

Patti McCracken said...

This is fantastic. What a wonderfully told story.

And maybe less a ghost, than a guardian.

When I was in Vietnam in June, I went with some journalists to the Central Highlands, and we stayed for a few nights in an old French villa that now serves as the Bureau Chief's office during the day.
It had a couple of bedrooms in it, and an outbuilding, where the thee bguys stayed.
On the last night I had trouble sleeping... felt really restless, so I went out into the office itself and slept o the couch.
At breakfast at a cafe in the morning, the guys (Ni, his brother and Doan) were talking about lights switching on and off, a humming noise they couldn't find the source of, and then the light that finally would just not go out.
It ended up that they slept huddled in the same bed together.
When we asked the Bureau Chief the next day, he gave a short history of the French villa (wasn't translated to me) and said that these guys weren't the first to have a supernatural experience in the house.
All in all, we agreed it was a friendly ghost, just letting us know he/she was there.

Barb said...

My grandparents had an old piano that played during the night. Upon moving it they found a family of talented mice!

Amy York said...

That story gave me goosebumps! Hope you two had a lovely visit together... :)

BOSSY said...

Um. Yeah. About that? Uh. Goose bumps.

The Mater said...

Mice may run randomly across piano strings but I don't think they can purposely strike one note three times in succession.

Jenn and I sensed the concussion when we heard the notes: they were struck firmly and (hehehe) deliberately.

Three "B" notes and there were three Barstows in the family. We'd like to think that Mrs. B was happy to have a mother and daughter "playing" in her parlor, enjoying themselves. So she played too.