When I lived in Vermont as a tween, my family rented the Hope House in picturesque Castleton. It was built 165 years ago by a local legend well-known for his landscapes. The property is now owned by Castleton State College, and perhaps that’s a good thing …
Inspired by rumors that students of the Victorian-era medical college robbed graves, my brother and I liked to pretend that dead doctors still scoured the town for body parts.
We had a babysitter named Mimi who only came really late at night (as tweens, we were perfectly safe during the day!). A thirty-something, rather lovely woman with hair to her waist, a pretty pierced nose, and intensely blue eyes, she behaved more like a big sister than an authority figure, and we loved her. One night, we told Mimi about our macabre games and begged her to summon ghosts with us. Together, we drew an Ouija board on red construction paper with a Sharpie marker. Then, we dimmed the lights and stacked our hands on a polished stone over the makeshift board.
“Come spirits, come spirits!” Mimi said. “Speak to us!” Suddenly, the stone moved quickly, as if possessed. It spelled:
Mimi was a joker. She’s still playing a joke on us, actually, with my parents’ cooperation. They say we never had a babysitter, even late at night.