A year ago, I was attending a wedding in rural New Hampshire and had shared a ride from New York with two friends of the bride. Before dropping me off, they wanted to leave their bags at their Airbnb, which was along the way.
It was dark, and there was a man sitting on the porch outside stroking a black cat (honest!). He was friendly, though a bit weird, and asked if we’d like a quick tour of the house. In the corner of every room was a doll — many of them life-size — with wide eyes and outstretched arms.
When we walked past one of the rooms, the host indicated that this was the “ghost room,” where he and his girlfriend had been conducting séances. Naturally, I asked to see it. The host obliged, and we were introduced to an odd assortment of more dolls, religious statues, Ouija boards, and some miscellaneous objects.
“We’ve been using a white-noise receiver to talk to the spirits and we’ve been getting really good responses. One of them even said my name,” the host said.
(We later found out that, in addition to being an Airbnb, this residence was being advertised elsewhere as a haunted house.)
My companions, deeply unsettled by all this, started whispering about “finding another place.” Knowing I was staying elsewhere, I found it all quite amusing.
We climbed the stairs to their room only to find a doll with my name, “Madeline” (okay, different spelling), scrawled on her dress. Coincidence? I think not! The three of us left in the kind of hurry that, in less desperate circumstances, would have been quite rude.