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The haunting of Converse Meadow Road

  • Rindge family shares home with residents of the past. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, October 29, 2018 5:9PM

Legend says the veil between this world and the next grows thin at this time of year.

For Robin Payson the legend holds true with she and her family experiencing more encounters with the past residents of their home on Converse Meadow Road in the fall.

“The veil is thinner,” Payson said. “When we have activity, it ticks up in October. It seems like it’s always been that way. I grew up in a house that is haunted.”

Payson grew up in Billerica, Mass. in a house that had been built by her great-grandfather, so the ghosts were mostly past relatives, she said.

“I definitely feel there is something special about October that moves things up. I don’t know whether it’s the changing of the seasons or whatever, but we have more experiences in October.”

There are spirit sightings, the unexplained electric toy or light on and the sounds of people that aren’t there such as the sound of a rocking chair upstairs at times and the sound of footsteps on the stairs. Payson says she and her family hear those specific sounds and not just the house creaking as one might suggest as an explanation.

Payson and her husband moved into the Converse Meadow Road home – that they share with their daughters – in 2001. Though a quiet road with only a few houses, the small patch of Rindge has seen a lot of activity over the years, she said.

According to Monadnock Conservancy that holds the more than 200-acre Conserve Meadow conservation easement, the land is home to a historic mill site that predates dates Revolutionary War times. From the first grist mill in town, thought to be built in 1762, to Joshua Converse’s box making mill that ran from 1845 to 1923. From 1923 to the 1930s the mill produced lumber shingles and cordwood. When the mill burned down in the 1930s it was never rebuilt.

Payson said she has also been told that her house was once part of a very active underground railroad in Rindge. In the 1800s soldiers would muster in the field nearby. And Converse is also believed to have lived in her house where he used one of the downstairs rooms as a school for children of his employees.

“This has been a very busy place for different reasons at different times in town,” Payson said.

The former school room was used by the Payson’s as a playroom for their daughters when they were young. Back then it was not uncommon for battery-operated electric toys in the playroom to sound off when no one was around, Payson said. It was as if the former school children were having fun with the toys, she said.

“The house is well over 200 years old. According to the historical society it was built in 1810, but I think parts of the house are older then that. There’s about a million little things that happen to us this time of year. It’s a really, really old house,” Payson said. “I’ve seen what looks like a Civil War soldier when we first moved here, just a million different things, October is such a huge month.”

There are reoccurring spirits like the child with blond hair wearing a white shirt that was spotted during a Halloween party game of flashlight tag in the yard a few years back when her daughters were in high school.

“What I loved about that was the kid that saw it didn’t have any clue of the house that we’ve had, the activity,” she said.

Payson said she saw the same ghost ten years ago when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. (She is now cancer free.) She had walked down to Converse Meadow Pond to be alone when she saw the child.

“A little kid in a white shirt,” she said. “I heard this rustling and I saw a little kid running by and all I could see was blond hair and a white shirt. It’s like little tiny things that happen a lot. … Lights come on. You come upstairs and the light in the garage is on and by the time you come downstairs it’s off. Just weird stuff like that it’s completely benign and fine. I love it. ”

Just this October, Payson said she saw a familiar spirit in her bedroom as she was waking up.

“I was just waking up and what I saw was a person standing there wearing a black Victorian jacket, with a white collar,” she said.

As soon as she saw him, he was gone, she said.

“Everything is very peaceful and happy here. It’s not ever that you ever feel scared of it. It’s just part of life,” Payson said. “We love all the creepiness.”