Malevolent spirits at the Silk Lane residence scare tenants into a hasty departure.
by Thomas d’Agostino
Most hauntings, and paranormal occurrences generally, happen to people who are just going about the normal routines of their lives. That is exactly how the following experience happened to me.
It all started when a friend of mine purchased a large farmhouse in Scituate, Rhode Island, right down the road from the Scituate Art Festival, which draws huge crowds every Columbus Day weekend. At the time I was single, living with my parents, attending college, and open to fun and adventure. When my friend approached me with the opportunity to live in this three-story farmhouse for a while and look after things while he tidied up his affairs, I jumped at the deal.
The farmhouse was very old and had an outcropped detachable kitchen. This was the way the colonial settlers built the house. If there should be a fire, the kitchen could easily be hacked away from the rest of the building. An outhouse still stood near the edge of the trees, in good repair, but thankfully there was modern plumbing throughout the three floors of the house. There was also a large dinner bell still attached to the house which was once used to call the family and farm hands to the table for victuals.
I called another friend to see if he would be willing to stay in the house with me for a while, and with his agreement, we moved some furniture onto the third floor and began our first night there.
The house stood between two historic cemeteries, one large and one of medium expanse. At night the moon cast an eerie glow upon the stones so that one was almost afraid to look out the window for fear of seeing something most unworldly lurking amid the obelisks.
Inside the house ran the main staircase, with a huge oaken banister that spiraled to the second floor. From there another staircase led to the garret, which had been made into a nice little apartment. This was where we chose to take up residence.
Almost immediately, things started to happen. Noises woke us up in the middle of the night from the floors below. Heavy footsteps, crashes, and the sliding around of furniture in the empty rooms below prompted us to investigate a number of times only to find that nothing had been tampered with. (There was no furniture downstairs to crash or move to begin with!)
The noises continued randomly throughout the day and night. I even put powder on the floor to see if I could catch footprints. None were ever left behind. One night as we sat in the room overlooking the top of the stairway, we heard footsteps approach the door below. The door opened and then slammed shut as the sound of footsteps bounding the stairs filled our ears. We stared at the top of the stairs waiting for the intruder to appear, but instead the footsteps reached the top of the stairs and forged right by us with no physical body to accompany them. They disappeared into the kitchen, and then all was quiet.
Another night, as my sister visited, we were all gabbing about nothing in particular when we were suddenly seized by some strange force which literally clutched us, ceasing all bodily mobility. At that moment, the window directly across from us wrenched from its frame and began rolling end over end across the floor until it came to rest against the top of the staircase banister. It was as if time stopped and held us in oblivion for those few moments, then released us.
Alone in the House
My sister, scared out of her wits, demanded immediate passage home. It was then we realized how haunted this house actually was. My friend had seen enough and made a hasty exit. I decided to stay, but now with a new purpose in mind.
I gathered some recording equipment and a small camera with the intent of catching the strange phenomena on tape or film. But for some inexplicable reason, the equipment failed to work. I was on my own.
One night I was awakened by a banging noise in the parlor. I shrugged it off as a tree branch hitting the side of the house in the night wind. It soon became apparent that the noise was coming from inside the living room. It was also getting louder. I slowly got up to investigate. As I crossed the kitchen in the dim moonlight, I could see the shadows of the trees dancing in the wind. I could also see that something was in the parlor!
As I entered the doorway I saw, in the far corner, an attenuated glow of light. It was floating slowly toward me! It was almost human in shape and gave off a peculiar crackling sound—the same sound that woke me up in the first place. I watched, paralyzed, as the apparition moved slowly across the room toward me, then turned right before disappearing.
After that night I left the parlor light on when going to bed. I am not sure if it made the difference or not, but there were no more events in that room.
Time to Leave
The next night a friend and I were unloading groceries from the van when we heard a terrible crash from the third floor. Dishes, glasses, silverware, and all could be heard crashing to the floor. I grabbed the crowbar from the van and rushed up the stairs to the apartment. Upon entering, all became quiet. The table was unaltered; not a dish or glass had been disturbed.
That was my last night there. I had come to the conclusion that something terrible had happened there and it was not going to go away. The next morning I packed my belongings and left, leaving the angry spirits as the only inhabitants of the archaic dwelling. My stay totaled a mere six days, but I was extremely relieved to be out of there and back home where I could finally get a good night’s sleep.
Historical records show nothing about why the house might be haunted. There are no records of violent deaths or other possible explanations for the phenomena. Perhaps the entities somehow wandered over from the neighboring cemeteries.
The new owners totally renovated the house. Even the outside was changed, as the second story porch was removed and the door covered over to make room for a window. They were apparently not afraid of ghosts.
I spoke with a relative of the present owners and told him about my experience. After listening with a foreboding look on his face, he agreed that the building still harbors residents from the long past.
The only picture I got of the house was one taken recently. I was standing across the street when I took it. There was no one home at the time as I had knocked and called several times before taking the photograph. If you look carefully in the right side window, you may see the misty figure of a woman in a white robe. It was not there when I took the photo.
Who were the ghosts of Silk Lane and why were they so malevolent? Maybe someday the figure in the picture will reveal the reasons.
Thomas D’Agostino is a professional musician and teacher who lives in Greenville, Rhode Island.