Friday, November 4, 2022

Before the memory fades: The hauntings on River Road

By Walter Lunt

Ian Dixon was driving home from Westbrook on River Road headed for Raymond. Having just passed the intersection at Anderson Road and approaching the entrance to Smith-Anderson Cemetery, he spotted a blurred figure a short distance ahead crossing the road from right to left toward the cemetery. Dixon slammed on his brakes and lurched forward as the car came to a quick stop.

Some people driving on River Road in Windham tell
hair-raising tales of mysterious encounters.
“It appeared to be that of a young boy, but I couldn’t be sure. I looked for him after I stopped, but just like that, he vanished – suddenly in front of me, and then gone. Its features were grayish and blurred, and you could almost see right through it. Almost unreal. I drove on, and during the whole trip home I tried to process what I saw – not an animal, a child I think – suddenly in my vision, then out of my vision. When I think about that night it comes back more like a strange feeling than (as) a memory. I just can’t rationalize what I saw.”

Unlike others who have claimed eerie sightings on the old settlement end of River Road between Mallison Falls Road and the Westbrook boundary line, Dixon has told his story to family, friends, acquaintances, and anyone interested enough to listen.

His strange encounter may not be an unusual occurrence. Others, who prefer to remain anonymous, have reported seeing disquieting shapes and figures during night-drives on River Road in the vicinity of the ancient Smith-Anderson burial ground, the resting place of many of Windham’s earliest settlers – the town’s founding families from 1737 on. The stories describe various shadowy forms, apparitions, specters, all ghost-like in appearance with indistinguishable faces. Some were said to have been semi-transparent, dressed in flowing white garb.

The Smith-Anderson Cemetery, usually referred to as just the Anderson Cemetery, has long been the site and the subject of paranormal activity. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of visitors have reported haunted happenings of every kind imaginable: orbs, small spheres of lights hovering about the headstones, undead figures lurking in woods just beyond the cemetery grounds, male voices speaking in low tones, strange knocking sounds emanating from the Anderson crypt and cars that were moved from their original parking spot. Paranormal groups regularly investigate the site and describe it as “the most haunted cemetery in the state.”

In October 2022, a South Windham woman who prefers not to be identified and who says she is “fully convinced River Road is haunted,” shared with the writer what is probably the most recent roadside encounter with an apparition.

She said it was a clear night just two or three years ago; she was returning home on River Road with her boyfriend. As they neared the Anderson Road intersection there appeared the figure of a woman wearing a silky, white garment below a featureless face that seemed to stare straight into the oncoming headlights.

“You could see right through her; it was frightening – I had goosebumps all over. When I recovered, I asked my boyfriend, ‘Did you see that?’” He responded with an unprintable remark and told her to just keep driving. The woman says her boyfriend has since refused to discuss the event.

These stories, and many others like them, have been told since time immemorable. Their veracity is matter of faith. Dixon is a skeptic but maintains an open mind. The South Windham woman is a firm believer.

The writer knows both individuals and can attest they are both stable and clear-thinking individuals.

Skeptics will cite the lack of witnesses, or that the mysterious figures could have been mistaken for something else. Perhaps, but the stories are sure fun to tell.

Here’s hoping our readers had a happy and believable Halloween. <

No comments:

Post a Comment