Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Windham Whispers

Non-coincidently, this story also took place in October. It was the year 2002, and my girlfriend and I went to go to this bed and breakfast in Windham, NY. The foliage was just gorgeous and it was the perfect time to escape the busyness of the city. We only planned to go for the weekend, so we left on Friday morning and got there by mid-afternoon.

The bed & breakfast was this ‘gay friendly’ establishment that encouraged people of all kinds to visit. This nice lady and her life partner owned it. When we drove up to the house, it was this beautiful and charming white colonial, with black shutters. There was a candle lit in every window which gave it a warm feeling. It was overcast that day, a little darker outside than usual. When we got out of the car, we noticed that there were men working on one part of the house to add on another addition. (This was a detail they failed to mention.)

Madelene and I walked into the home, and we were greeted by the owner’s entire family. They all introduced themselves graciously, and began talking about the history of the house—which was quite interesting. The house was used back in the early thirties for the mafia. They held meetings in this house up in the country. An old Italian man sold it and it remained untouched for quite some time…until "Sarah" (the owner--who will remain anonymous with a different name) bought it with her partner to start a bed & breakfast.

Sarah brought us up to our room to get settled. “Here you go girls,” she said, as we peeked our heads into a room that looked much like an eerie dollhouse. Everything was pink and frilly. At the end of the room, it narrowed off into an attic-like roof, where it gets lower. I was puzzled that they gave us this room. It was small, and very childlike. There was this tiny little table with two chairs around it. On the table there were two mini bottles of brandy with two small cordial glasses. The bathroom was small, yet very clean. I just had a bad feeling about it. Sarah explained that there were no other guests in this house during that weekend for some reason. Their peak time is in the winter, because they are located right near a skiing resort. Fair. I totally understood, and was quite pleased with this actually. I needed some peace and quiet.

After unpacking a few items, I decided I wanted to see another room. This one was freaking me out. I walked down the long cherry wood colored staircase, into the living room, where the family was congregated.

“Is everything okay?” Sarah asked, as she got up from the couch.
“Oh, everything is just beautiful. I was just wondering if I could possibly see the other rooms by any chance, since there is no one else is staying here this weekend.”
“Why sure! Follow me, I’m so sorry I didn’t offer that to you!”

I can see she was very sincere about this- and it was her first year in the business. She guided me upstairs, and we grabbed Madelene to come with us. We walked across the hall into this other room.

This was the room. I don’t know what told me ‘this is it’—but I said, “Yes!” It was so nice. It had nice dark colors, rich blues, and mahogany furniture. The curtains were white and beautiful lace that flowed as the breeze swept through the room, since it was just cleaned. They were airing it out. The bathroom was gorgeous and all redone antique style. There was a bigger table with two chairs that had the same two mini bottles of brandy on it. I could see that this room was totally prepared for a guest. I wasn’t concerned about a thing.

After Sarah left the room, I began to unpack happily. I was so thrilled. As I started to open the drawers and add my clothes and other items in, I noticed a few flies swarming near the window frantically and erratically. They had the window open all the way without a screen, so that the room would be fully aired out. I didn’t think twice about it. Flies never hurt anyone. But why were their so many when it was so bitterly cold that day? I didn’t get it, but I didn’t care. I just shut the windows and turned up the heat a tad.

Our phone rang, and it was Sarah inviting us down for some wine and cheese before we headed out to the nearby village to have some dinner. I was delighted actually, and wasn’t used to the b&b treatment. This was my first time staying at one of these establishments.

Madelene and I got showered and dressed up, and headed downstairs to meet Sarah and her family.

“Well hello,” the mother says, staring at me intensely, “I’m surprised that you wanted the room you requested.”
“Oh, well it’s lovely—I’m much more comfortable in that room.”
“Really??!!” She said, almost gasping. She even shot a glance over at Sarah, as Sarah began to slug down her cabernet, trying not to speak.
“Please, join us.” The mother says, pouring wine in our glasses and pushing the cheese platter over towards us.

They inquired about our lives, as we inquired about theirs, and how they came about deciding to own a bed & breakfast. We felt at home. There was a beautiful fire that they made, and the whole place was just so inviting. The people were amazingly friendly. But wouldn’t you be, if we were your only customers? They were a bit ‘too friendly’. I just chucked it up to desperation.

After our cheese and wine, we headed off to a steakhouse nearby. After dinner, we came back home and went upstairs to our room. I got undressed and ready for bed. We decided to break open those mini bottles of brandy and talk a bit. We had a great time and just spoke of how we dreamed of having a house this cozy…and just as nice. Time went on, and it was getting very late. We decided to go to bed.

(Yes, I’m editing a lot out…So forget about it!)

While trying to sleep, I began hearing people whispering. There weren’t any breaks in the whispers either. It was as if two people were enthusiastically whispering about us. I lifted my head to hear it better—and then it went away. I thought the owners were probably gossiping like two little hens talking about the two lesbians that just came in that day. I put my head back on the pillow, and the whispers were back! I tried listening intently, but all I can hear were whispers without words. It was dark in the room, and yet, I saw Madelene slowly sneak her hand over to the nightstand to grab her glasses. Did she hear this too?

“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Nothing.”
“Okay.”

I put my head back on the pillow, and again—whispers! So I got out of bed and decided to put my ear against the floor to hear if there were any whispers coming from below.

Nothing.

“What are you doing?” Madelene asked.
“Do you hear that?”
“Yes!!! I can’t sleep because of it! And it’s coming from my pillow!!!” She said, relieved that she wasn’t the only one going crazy here.

We tested it out a million times. Each time, it was coming from the pillow. I even picked up my pillow and put it to my ear. It was there! We were up all…fricken…night. By 7am, I was in the shower, and packing up our things. Madelene wanted to at least go downstairs to have breakfast with the family.

“No. I will not go down there- I am not hungry! I want to go home. You go have breakfast, and I’ll pack up everything.” I said, hurrying to get the hell outa’ that house.

When Madelene came back into the room after she ate breakfast, we decided to come up with some weird plan to get out of there early without disrespecting the owners. We didn’t know what excuse to use.

“I’ll just say I have a family emergency to tend to. I don’t care if they don’t refund us back the money—let’s just go!” I said.
“Okay.”

We walked down the staircase and into the living room to meet Sarah and her mother. We apologized for our abrupt exit, and explained that we had a family emergency. She didn’t look surprised. She gave us back our entire amount of money we paid to stay there and wished us well.

Later that week, we went searching for information regarding that house and its history. It was stated in documents we found, that the mafia would have these meetings up in the country at this house for privacy. There were reportedly deaths that occurred in this place, due to the nature of who owned it. People were killed and murdered in these rooms—especially the left wing room that was located in the corner…which was our room. That was the ‘main room’ where the murders occurred.

Remember I remarked about the flies and how erratic they were? A lot of people and ghost hunters believe that when you see flies zipping around erratically—especially when it’s cold outside, it’s usually a sign of a spiritual presence. There were many of them before we left dinner. The night we stayed there, I had a fight with this one fly that nearly defeated me!

I don’t want to give this place a bad name, because Sarah and her mom were so graciously nice to us—but all I could say is, be aware of a gay friendly bed & breakfast located in Windham, NY. I won’t say which one it is…but there’s only one. I wish them the best in business, I’m just sad to see they bought a house with such a traumatic history to it. But at least their realtor released this information to them, before they bought the house...and I am very grateful that Sarah released some of this information to us as well.

Look up the history of any bed & breakfast…I’m sure they have a ghost story or two to tell.