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Something strange is going on in the Narragansett Historical Society building.

It's not something of biblical proportions, as in the movie “Ghostbusters,” but it is a little on the creepy side.

For the past three years, and increasing in frequency, members of the society say unexplained happenings have been occurring in the old brick federal-style building that has been the society's home on Templeton Common since the early 1930s.

Are ghosts loose in the building, or maybe poltergeists? It's certainly not wind blowing through the solid walls. People have just been hearing a lot of odd and unexplained noises.

If any place in Templeton would be haunted, it would be the historical society. It is home to Civil War artifacts, photographs of people long dead and tales of unrequited love. There are so many possibilities. Could it be the lady in the painting whose eyes follow you all around the downstairs parlor? What about old Samuel Phelps, the last occupant of the building? Maybe it is the Goodrich sisters, whose paintings hang upstairs.

Miniature painting artist Sarah Goodrich is an especially good choice for the historical haunting. Her tale of unrequited love for Daniel Webster is one of the favorite stories told in the building.

Brian Tanguay wonders if some new item donated to the society brought an unseen visitor with it. Not a person likely to offer up wild tales, Brian's encounters with ghosts in the building are enough to give a person goose bumps. His first encounter was three years ago during a society meeting. He and 25 members were upstairs when they heard the large latch on the front door rattle, the door open and footsteps walking down the hall, through the old kitchen and into the new kitchen.

Brian said it is not unusual for members to make lemonade before going upstairs to the meeting. When no one came up the stairs, he went to investigate. As he walked downstairs and through the old kitchen, he could hear rattling as if someone were making tea. He could see both exits, but as he crossed the threshold of the new kitchen, the noise stopped.

Since then, he often hears a locked door opening, footsteps in the building and other noises, usually when he is there by himself. Once he heard footsteps behind him that kept up until he felt the footsteps were in lock step with him. That's when he yelled at it to cut it out. Brian said he occasionally yells at the ghost.

Society President Beth Arsenault also yells at the ghost and had an even stranger encounter. Walking through a room upstairs, she stepped on a rug, and the rug folded underneath her like an accordion and propelled her across the floor into a door. She was not hurt but was shaken. The thing is, it is very difficult to make the rug slide on that floor.

Beth has also heard the other strange noises. The weird happenings have them both on edge. Brian said he used to work until 10 or 11 at night in the building, but no longer unless someone is with him. He said he also will not go into the building's cellar because he is worried the door will close and lock behind him.

Next-door neighbor and society member Pam Skorko said she has not seen or heard the ghosts, but has experienced her own weird happenings. She keeps finding $20 bills in her yard and when weeding the society's flower gardens. She is also constantly finding old bottles on the ground in places she has cleaned up a short time before.

The society building is open to the public in the summer on Saturdays for afternoon teas held in the gardens behind the building. It will be open next weekend on Saturday and Sunday during the Templeton Arts and Crafts Festival.

 

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