We are a historic inn in rural Vermont. We are near Okemo Mountain, just ten minutes from Vermont’s best skiing. We are known for preparing awesome breakfasts with local foods and smoked meats. But we are also known by some for being a haunted New England Inn. As with most haunted inns, there is no real proof that this is true. But there’s no proof it’s untrue either. So we’ll share our stories here.
When we first bought the inn ten years ago we were told it was haunted. We were told that there had been tell in the past of people seeing a girl in an upstairs window, endlessly brushing her hair. We were told that one section of the house was very difficult to photograph for website pictures. The photographer had to return more than once because hazy orbs would keep appearing in the photos during development. We were told that when the innkeeper was asleep in her private quarters on the third floor, she awoke to a vision of handsome man with an old-fashioned traveling coat and hat who lingered and then left.
We have since met the innkeepers who owned Golden Stage Inn even prior to the innkeepers who sold to us. The woman of the innkeeping couple wasted little time and asked, “So have you seen the ghost?” I paused, due to my reluctance to believe, and she seized the moment to share her ghost story. Her clearest memory of the ghost was the time that she and her staff were relaxing together in the pub (now our office). Plain as day, someone entered the back door of the kitchen, walked past those office doors, and went straight up the back stairs. By the time the innkeeper stood up and circled into the kitchen to track this guest, the image disappeared — no one in sight other than the stunned and perplexed witnesses to the apparition. The former innkeeper explained that this was not the only time she encountered friendly spirits at Golden Stage Inn, but the visitor was so clear and so obvious that day that it remains her favorite encounter.
We arrived at Golden Stage Inn ten years ago as full non-believers in ghosts, but certainly some events over the last several years have left us puzzled and wondering. In our first spring, when two of our daughters sat on a guest bed (in the room they were allegedly dusting!), the TV turned on all by itself, and sent the young girls scurrying down the hall, seeking their parents and an explanation. This is similar to the time that Michael and I were standing in the small office and the overhead light spontaneously turned off. Startled, one of us walked over to the switch and switched it back on without issue – but also without explanation. Nor can we explain (or count) the so many times we have found a gas burner turned on at the commercial stovetop but neither of us had turned it on.
And then there are the voices. Michael tells of the time that I called out to him and he replied — but in the ensuing silence, he remembered that I wasn’t even home. He walked around looking for the source of sound but never found it. I recall vividly the day I was doing inn chores upstairs. From the housekeeping closet I heard voices coming from a nearby guest room. I didn’t wonder if I heard voices; I heard voices — talking to one another, having a conversation. Thinking I was alone in the house, I apprehensively approached the room, but by the time I was there, the voices stopped. I checked the clock-radio for a set alarm, and I looked out several windows for signs of neighbors or any other explanation of the voices, but there was no one.
Our guests have reported many experiences too. One guest said she woke to a somber parade of spirits walking through her room as if part of a funeral procession. Another guest reported that she said out loud to the room, “If there’s a ghost here, give me a sign.” And moments later, the auto-clean cycle of the jetted tub kicked in without reason. My favorite guest stories though are those that are corroborated by other guests, without any knowledge of the other story being told. For example, several months ago, when our son was visiting, he came downstairs and reported, “I know you don’t believe in ghosts, but you had some very active ghosts last night.” The descriptions of the sounds he had heard matched exactly the comments of another party of two when they arrived for breakfast. It had been this couple’s third night with us, but it was the only night they heard bumps and thuds throughout the evening.
Probably the strangest story was when a guest came down and reported a cat walking across his bed overnight. He acknowledged before telling his experience that he doubted we had a cat, but that he woke to the unmistakable feeling of a cat stepping over and around his and his partner’s legs. Less than an hour after he told me this story, a guest from a different room came down and reported she just had the strangest experience while brushing her teeth. In the bathroom with the door closed, she suddenly came down with runny eyes and stuffed nose, the telltale signs of her allergy to cats. She opened the door, and as if the cat had left the room, her allergic reaction stopped. Neither of these stories makes any sense of course. But the coincidence of the two such tales being told on the same morning by two separate guests who had not yet visited with one another is unexplainably bizarre.
Surely, as every skeptic insists, there are logical explanations to every one of these circumstances. But perplexingly, we just haven’t found them. And we likely never will.