A Haunted House

The most frequently asked question we hear at the Colonel Williams is “what is the wifi password?” But running a close second is the inevitable: “is the house haunted?” Short answer – yes. We actually live in a 250-year-old haunted house. I wasn’t really a believer in such things, but over the past few years there have been several weird – and frankly unexplainable – goings-on here. Guests tell us stories: some with vivid, terrifying detail and others that are, well, not loquacious and told on their way out the door. In the much-missed (at least in our house) Victorian tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmastime, I’d like to tell you about our latest incident. (If you are interested in a brief history of the inn, you can read one here.)

Guest Room 2 in the original part of the Colonel Williams
This is room #2 – looks pretty normal here.

Yesterday morning I went upstairs to gather dirty sheets and towels for our linen company and clean the rooms after the weekend guests – basic stuff. Chelsea and Brian drove over to the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum to check on the reptiles (she is a volunteer), so I was in the house alone.

Because it was cloudy and raining, it was pretty dark in the hallways – so it seemed a bit more atmospheric than usual. But I am upstairs alone a LOT so the various pops and creaks that our old house makes don’t scare me. As I stripped the linens off a bed (the one on the right), I heard a bell ring. It sounded like one of those old-fashioned bicycle bells that we should have used to warn our friends when we were racing up behind them, or like the one that Grawp presents to Hermione in the Dark Forest (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, if you’re interested). It rang again. Definitely not the Ring doorbell, or the septic alarm. It rang again. We do not have one of those handle-bar bells. Anywhere. It rang – again.

Family portrait in front of colonial home
The main house ca. 1900.

Of course, like in any good horror movie, the heroine (me) goes in search of what could possibly be making a strange sound in a house which is well-known to be spirit-infested while the audience is screaming at her to run away. It didn’t sound like it was downstairs, and I was REALLY hoping it wasn’t in the attic because 1. it is cold, 2. uh – creepy, and 3. this isn’t actually a horror movie and I’m not exactly brave enough to look for things I don’t want to find.

I gingerly poked my head through the doorway of the room – I was working in #2, for those of you who’ve been here – held my breath and listened for the ring. When it rang, it sounded like it was in the room behind me. I decided that something downstairs needed my immediate attention. I did not hear the bell again that day, and the rooms are still unmade.

Fireplace and painting in a probably haunted house from 1769
The painting is a tad creepy.

Brian and Chelsea came home, and after discussing how Chelsea had to remove her jacket during an impromptu school demonstration because a snake had burrowed into her sleeve and was NOT interested in coming out (long story), I casually mentioned the ringing bell. After a moment, Brian said that he had heard a bell in the middle of the previous night – it woke him up. But it wasn’t our septic bell, and it wasn’t the front desk bell – and we didn’t have any guests anyway. So – hmmmmmm. Today will be interesting.

If you are up for an evening of good Dickensian ghost stories, catch one of us the next time you’re here (you can book a room today 🙂 ). We are happy to tell you what it’s like to live in a haunted house. And then feed you blueberry muffins.

**If you have stayed with us and have a ghost story – we’d love to hear it!

PS – There is a photo that is possibly of the attic ghost posted below. If this will freak you out, please don’t scroll down.

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Image of a potential ghost haunting the attic
If you see it, you can’t un-see it. This photo was taken by a contractor in our attic.

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