Farmer With An Axe Handle, A Haunting Encounter

by Bobby Elgee

Old New England Estate
Southeastern Vermont
Late August 2006

I have a friend of mine whose been metal detecting for over 20 years and he’d shown me some interesting artifacts he discovered. Many of the items of were found on an estate in southern Vermont that dated back to the Revolutionary War.

One day, during the late afternoon, we had the idea to lay out the stuff on a white blanket on top of a rod iron patio table and take a picture. Both of us are very interested in history, and this expresses itself in his propensity for metal detecting and my interest in the paranormal.

On at late August night around 11pm, my friend and I were standing around a campfire in his backyard. I had wanted to visit the estate where he discovered most of the artifacts because he told me about being ‘helped along’ by a ghost when he was metal detecting. This took the form of a helpful hand on his back.

“No way, you’ve been touched?” I said, a little too exuberantly.

“Oh yeah. It was like I was walking in a line of people. I paused a moment, and felt a hand on my back, like it was encouraging me to keep moving.”

My friend isn’t scared of ghosts, but he is very leery. Of course, he is wise to be cautious. When you’ve seen full-bodied apparitions that have spoken to you, ended up in a line of ghostly revolutionary war soldiers, and have been metal detecting and found a ring still attached to skeletal hand and arm–then re-bury it, ring intact- he had every right to be wary.

So, after nagging him for about a year, he finally indulged me, and we hiked down the road and crept up on the big estate during the full moon.

We stuck to the shadows as we edged up to the well-manicured lawn and looked toward the house-an old New England estate that even had a photograph of some Civil War soldiers standing outside the residence hanging in a frame above the fireplace. This photograph could be easily seen-I had glimpsed it one during the day-if you could get close enough to peek inside the large bay window looking in on the living room.

I had kept telling my friend that I wanted to run up and look in the window. He said that he didn’t think that this was a good idea. My friend had permission to be on the property to metal detect whenever he wanted, and we weren’t worried about the police arresting us for trespassing as we had permission, in addition to both of us being of the trust-worthy sort.

The house wasn’t abandoned by any stretch of the imagination, though we knew no one was there at the time. Well-taken care of by a caretaker, it was an excellent example of an old New England salt box, with an old red barn on the property. Considering the historical nature of the location-and with all the artifacts that had been discovered-the place was something we definitely treated with respect.

We had crept to the edge of a lilac bush, next to a big tree, across an expanse of lawn from the window that I planned to look in. Being a fledgling paranormal investigator at the time, I had a vague realization that this isn’t really how you should do that sort of thing, and wasn’t prepared in the least.

With this thought in my brain, I made a break for the house. I ran to the northwest corner, and hid in the shadow of a rhoderdenron from which I could inch my way up and peek in the picture window.

I moved forward very slowly. The sound of the crickets and other insects was very loud. I got to the edge of the window and put my hand on the frame, pulling myself forward, just wanting to gain enough of an angle where I could seen the picture hanging above the mantle.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the front door. Two solid knocks. I paused, and had the distinct feeling that looking inside the house wasn’t such a good idea. I turned and ran back toward the tree-across the open yard-to where my friend was standing.

At the same time I saw a shadow rush out from the door to the barn, which was closed. At the same time, my friend swears he saw a farmer in overalls moving quickly from the barn toward the house, with something like a shovel or axe handle in his hand. By the time I had made it to my friends location, the apparition had disappeared.

We stood underneath the tree, trying to comprehend what had just happened.

“What the hell did you do?” he asked. I had no answer to his question.

We crept slowly along the edge of the shadows to the road, then walked home.

Something I have learned is to respect the paranormal. And intent is everything. If we hadn’t been sneaking around like we were, perhaps we would’ve had a completely different experience. My feeling is that we stirred something up, and it reacted to us.

And, whatever it was, it wasn’t messing around. Instead it appeared to be protecting the location, ensuring that the property was safe from two people who hadn’t made their intent clear.

In all my years of ghost hunting, this remains one of the strangest and most unsettling experiences I’ve had, and it’s not one I intend to repeat. Now, I go in with an open mind and announce my intentions, ensuring that whatever spirits I encounter don’t misconstrue my curiosity for something else.