Feature 15 - October 31, 2001
Halloween Story by Kevin P. Tremblay ©
We walked down Chandler Hill Road in Ripley for our nightly after dinner exercise. Three friends were visiting Maine from Chicago. They were in Maine to attend the Waldorf Teacher Training Seminar at Thomas College in Waterville. They opted to travel back each evening to stay in Ripley and not in the college dorm. At the bottom of the hill we walked along the flats toward Main Stream, a tributary of the Sebasticook River. From the dooryard to the bridge over the stream is nearly two miles.
Between the bridge and house there are just three other places. One is a working family farm with cattle, sheep and kitty-cats. The place closest to the stream sits on a knoll in the swamp. The long flat stretch of the road through the bog is used by the local testosterone-driven road warriors to race the quarter mile. They even have the road marked off. Both sides of the road are swampy, wooded and wild. I was telling them the local history adding emphasis for effect. “One day a bear came out as close to me as those bushes.” I pointed a short distance off to some alders. “There's an old bear that travels through the area.”
I continued to recount stories about these parts to put a fear in these three city women. “The bog's scary. I've only walked along the edges of it to look for orchids and meat-eating sundue plants to photograph. The bog has quagmires. Can suck a man down-under and that'd be all. Rudy, a local farmer told me about Scott Paper Company losing some workhorses in these mucky sinkholes in the swamp years ago. They'd never cut in here again, after losing the horses."
"In the middle of dead winter certain spots won't even freeze. They are not hot springs. Just warm ones I guess. There are outcroppings of milky-white quartz following along the cedar ridge going into the bog.” I indicated the slope going uphill into the wood. “A friend said such places are portals or doorways to the 'other world,' the spirit realm.”
“A local farmer and his wife were lost in the bog one night. They were out birding in the fall. Dusk set in quickly and they got all turned around. With the cedar trees all looking the same, and moss hanging down, the way can be hard to find. There are no roads into this swamp and the pathways are little more then wildlife trails. Great brown ash and juniper trees are found at the edge of the swamp. Local Native American crafters make baskets by pounding the wood of the brown ash. Owls hoot in the evenings and bats swoop as you walk along at dusk.” There is an evergreen woodsy fragrance, a musty, after rain smell, walking the flats.
I mentioned about the animal life here in these parts. “I've seen a Fisher in the barn back at the house. They have a reputation for killing when frightened. The Fisher was stealing cracked corn out of the grain bin in the barn. There are moose and deer by the truckloads here. There are fox, martin, mink and coyotes too. Coyote tricksters, they are. Coyotes can be coy, even shape-shifting as the legends go.” The three urbanites heard all of these tales and more.
“One day I was traveling along a wood's road on the left side just before the swampy flats. It was just getting to dusk. From the side a coyote yelped unseen. Then from behind another yelped. Finally, off the right another howled. Oh boy, here we go, thinking they were out to get me. I picked a tempo and sang a song. 'La, la, la, oh wee, oh wee.' That was done as much to divert their attention as to calm them down, and keep my mind occupied. I kept on walking and am here to tell about it. Later back at the farmhouse the coyotes were howling at the edge of the stone wall separating the field from the wood. They were talking to me! The free ranging geese were nervous that night and kept close to the front door of the house to sleep.”
We walked along talking about the supersensible world and the works of Rudolph Steiner the founder of Waldorf Education, the BioDynamic Theory of Agriculture, the Anthroposophical Society and other occult subjects. The barometric pressure must have been high. It had been a very hot day. From a distance steam could be seen coming off the stream as a haze. Fog will fall into the valley of these flats in evening tide. It will roll down the mountains from way off and travel along the valley created by the stream.
We were goofing around and I was telling all these tales of past experiences and scares. The chill had fallen into the low area in the flats. We walked at a good clip to keep warm, and to keep the mosquitoes and black flies from sucking our blood. There are no lights along this road and it was particularly dark this evening. The moon did not shine. Every so often we would hear a rustling in the bushes along the side of the road. It could have been a mouse, rat or a bird in the bushes. We were about 300 feet from the bridge. I called their attention to the fog that appeared to be dropping into the hollow of the streambed. It was coming from the incline after the bridge going into Cambridge. The light-fog was rolling down from the bend just before Bob Bridge's place at the corner up ahead.
There was a bright haze, an effervescence of light over the stream and off to the northern side of the bridge. The conversation entered alien territory. I mentioned about Alien Bob's web site on the net, and how this would be an ideal spot for an outpost for an alien landing. No one would know if they landed in the swamp and set up camp here in Ripley, Maine. The haze over the stream became brighter still, and the fog was rolling into the hollow quickly. The brightness overhead increased.
Our attention was being drawn to the fog even more so. It was traveling from the northern side toward the stream and bridge, and us. The pace it traveled quickened and it was now coming toward us with direction and purpose. We focused on the line of light headed for us. There was no escape. Indistinguishable changes were happening. A locus of light was moving toward us with a surreal and solarized quality. It was a different kind and quality of light. It was a radiant light.
Mary said look, in subdued fear. The light cutting through the darkness was creeping, then racing toward us. We saw it just a few hundred feet ahead then 50 and 10, and then it covered us. Vassilka shoved me off the road down the embankment, trying to protect me. Mary screamed. We were really spooked. What could it have been? No one was abducted and experimented on that we could recall!
I could not be consoled about this event. All night I thought about it. What could it have been? What happened? There had to be a rational explanation. Finally, the following day it came to me while I worked in the garden weeding. It was merely that we had not been fully aware. Vassilka wrote a poem to explain.