According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the skies on Halloween night this year will feature a rare blue moon – so called because it’s the second in a single calendar month.
Full moons, especially at Halloween, always remind me of one memorable autumn night spent in a place called Little Valley, New York.
Little Valley is a small village just outside the popular ski resort town of Ellicottville – a town frequented by many Canadian skiers. That included my friends Mark and Cate, who had bought a second home in Little Valley primarily for ski weekends.
They got the house at a bargain price because it was rumoured to be haunted. Years earlier, a second-floor fire had killed two people. Firefighters found one of the bodies halfway down the second-floor stairs.
Cate owned two black cats. They would go halfway up the stairs to the upper floor, but no farther. Both Mark and Cate had heard strange noises at night, and Cate once glimpsed a spectral presence standing on the stairs.
On this particular weekend, ten of us had gathered to play football in the parking lot of the nearby Cattaraugus County Jail, and to watch a few games together on TV.
Frank arrived in town first, so he and one of the other guys claimed the guest room double bed. Mark had his own room, and the other seven of us bedded down in sleeping bags and couches in the crowded living room.
It was an interesting old house. The living room had high ceilings, and Cate kept her souvenir dish collection on a rail nine feet off the ground that ran the perimeter of the room. Nobody in the living room got much sleep that Saturday night, with seven guys snoring and tossing in sleeping bags all over the floor.
At breakfast the next morning, Frank was a wreck. He told us that by the light of the full moon he’d seen a strange figure standing at the end of his bed during the night. For the next several hours, the lights in the room had flickered on and off.
As one of Mark’s closest friends I knew of the ghost stories attached to the property in Little Valley. The other guests did not.
Frank was so unnerved by the experience I thought it best not to share with him the chilling sight that greeted me in the living room that morning. All of the dishes on Cate’s dish rail had been turned front-to-back.
It seems the spirits of the house hadn’t felt like welcoming company that weekend.
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