I was jolted awake, sometime during the wee hours of the night, by a weight on the side of my bunk, like someone, or something, had sat down beside me. My first thought was that someone in the cabin needed to visit the outdoor toilet, and had stopped there to put on shoes or boots. But there was no light, there should be a flashlight or candle or something. It was dark in the cabin. The canopy of trees overhead shaded outside the one small window in the bunk area, and even if there was some moon or starlight, it could not reach us. The fire in our woodstove had burned down, and even the glow from that was gone. No one would be moving about without a light.
My oldest brother Fran and I, together with his wife Margaret and my wife Arlene, had hiked in to the cabin on Friday to spend a weekend. It was our first visit since we had bought the property, and we wanted to see what we had. The weather was nice; late spring after the snows had melted and before the black flies showed up. We planned to do a little fishing, clean up the camp, cut some firewood, and relax a bit. We needed that.
It had been just a few short weeks since our brother Dick had passed away at the young age of 48. Fran and Dick were the oldest, just a year apart in age, and had been very close growing up. Dick had taken me under his wing at an early age and helped me to develop a love of the outdoors. We had hiked and hunted deer on the Tug Hill, and roasted a few trout from remote Adirondack ponds. “Uncle Dick”, as the family knew him, would be missed. Uncle Dick’s determination had brought us all to purchase this Pitcher Hill property, but he had not lived to enjoy it. We would have to do it for him.
Our first night’s peace was interrupted by a weird, echoing, grinding noise, and seeming to come from the wall outside our bunkroom, waking all of us. Flashlights in hand, we tracked down the source of the noise, and found a porcupine in the adjoining woodshed. The shed was sided with steel roofing, and the porcupine was atop the woodpile, chewing on a rafter, setting up the eerie sound that had awakened us. After some effort, we persuaded the cute little fellow to leave the shed. There was a little excitement as it followed Arlene around the yard and tried to walk into the camp, but it finally wandered off into the dark woods.
Now, on the second night, another visitor, sitting on my bunk. Still partly asleep and not thinking that our “porky” might be back, I reached out my hand and felt, nothing. A sudden chill made the hairs rise on the back of my neck. As I groped for my flashlight beside the bunk, my elbow struck the wall with a thump. Soundlessly, the weight disappeared from my bed, as if an animal had jumped to the floor. I turned on the light and searched the room with the beam, looking for eyes or a movement of some kind. Nothing. I could feel a presence in the room, not hostile or threatening, but it was there.
My activities awoke the others, and we turned on lights and searched the camp, but found nothing. Doors and windows were all closed securely. But I know there had been something there. I took a lot of kidding after about ghosts and dreams and nightmares and all. But I know only what I know, and there was something there. I can’t explain it. Perhaps Uncle Dick, wherever he was, was allowed to return for a visit to this place he loved so much, and spend some time with us. Perhaps this was his version of heaven, and he was here. Maybe some day I will know.
Only a couple of weeks later, Fran and Margaret returned to camp to do some woodcutting. They brought along their son Steve and his friend Diane. Diane was assigned the same bunk I had been sleeping in, but was not told about my experience. During the night, she awoke to see “a woman wearing glasses” kneeling by the bunk and watching her. When Diane moved, the woman turned and disappeared. After that, others in the family slept in that bunk trying for a ghostly experience, but I never heard of another one. For some reason, no one would stay overnight alone in the camp after that.