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Saranac Lake Spirits

Take Care What You Seek!

It Just Might Find You!

     In order to protect the innocent (and not so innocent) in this story, I’ll stick with our SLHS crew’s nicknames:  Monk, Blind, Chet, Juan, Jordan, Feinie, Dupe, Missy, Krissy, Maryanne, Shelly & Leslie. Well, okay, mostly nicknames, anyways.

    We were only one Shaggy, Scooby, and a super cool Mystery Machine van short of our own hit SLHS cartoon TV series.

    Come to think of it, most of us were a bit Shaggy. Make that one cool Scooby Doo van and a sack full of snacks.

     Instead of a van, we cruised SL’s streets listening to tunes in Jordan’s dad’s Mazda (before we totaled it), Feinie’s dad’s Mercedes Benz (unless we were out doing donuts on the back SLHS parking lot or cruising Forest Home Road), or whatever rusted “Anything But Ford” jalopy Dupe could manage to get running.

     We undertook all sorts of murky endeavors to occupy our time. Somehow, at some point, one of them ended up being playing Hide and Go Seek at night while hoping to conjure up some spirits amongst the tombstones of Pine Ridge Cemetery.

     While we never encountered any ghosts, ghouls or goblins during our numerous nighttime excursions at Pine Ridge, we did occasionally manage to catch the attention of a local cop car.  On more than one night we escaped and evaded to avoid having our own spirits confiscated.  We were SL’s version of “those pesky kids.”

     I remember one time while escaping and evading either spirits or cops, one of the girls, I think it was Shelly, fell into an empty grave that had just been fresh dug.  As I recall, she found that near firsthand spirit encounter just a bit too exhilarating.  That was the end of our adventures in Pine Ridge Cemetery, but as it turned out, not our SL spirit search.

       Despite nearly losing Shelly to an early grave, we weren’t content to rest on our laurels of having played spirited moonlit games of cemetery hide n’ seek.  No, not our gang. We felt the need to delve further into our hometown’s legends of the arcane spirit world occult.

     Someone amongst us, I’m not certain who, heard a rumor about a cult of Satanic Worshippers practicing on moonlit midnights over by the Saint Bernard’s mausoleum.  So, of course, we decided it would be a great idea to make it our mission to stake out Saint Bernard’s Cemetery and expose them and their spirit conjuring practices.

     Now, I’m still to this day not entirely sure what the plan was if the rumor proved right, and we encountered a chanting full moon cult dancing naked with spirits around Saint Bernard’s headstones.  The discussion never got much beyond what tunes we should play, whose fake ID to use, and who got to ride “shotgun”.  Fortunately for us, Saranac Lake’s Satanic Worshippers must have been busy bussing tables in Placid on the nights we went out to Saint Bernard’s seeking them out.

     At some point, we got tired, bored, or cold of seeking midnight spirits at Saint Bernards.  Our cemetery searches had proven fruitless, so we chose yet another spirit seeking route.

      Enter the Ouija Board.

I’m not sure which one of us conjured up that idea. But somehow, we found ourselves at my house sitting around a Ouija Board bolstered by our own spirits.  We all sat around the board and asked questions. Missy and I each had the fingers of one hand on the cursor.

     Now, most of us, as would be most rational folks, were somewhere between ill at ease and skeptical. But all I can say is, I know it wasn’t me moving that cursor!

     That cursor raced around that board answering our questions. Sometimes landing on “Yes”, sometimes “No”, sometimes landing on numbers, other times badly spelling out answers.

     None of us was entirely certain who our Ouija Board spirit world contact was. I always suspected Wallace Murray, the turn of the century Saranac Lake businessman who built our house, known historically as “The Murray House”.

     “Wal” Murray not only built our house and lived there, but he died and had his funeral there as well.  That made his spirit a prime suspect.

Be that as it may, turns out our spirit wasn’t a very accurate prognosticator. Despite being creeped out as hell, we wrote everything down on a sheet of notebook paper.

I kept it all these years, in my yearbook.

     As far as I know, all countries did not suddenly become friends in 2020. The United States and Russia are far from being friends either.

(Looking back now, our high school social studies teachers should be proud. When we finally made contact with the spirit world by sitting around a Ouija Board late at night in a spooky old house, these were the sorts of questions we asked it.)

To the best of my knowledge, Missy and I did not become rich and famous. I never became politically important. I was never a cabinet member to the 43rd President.

Missy and I never exposed anything of significance that I am aware of, though I guess it is possible that I was once an English knight and reincarnated.

The jury’s still out on my 89-year longevity. 

     No, none of our Ouija Board spirit’s predictions came true. We never ran into any actual ghosts playing Pine Ridge Cemetery hide n’ seek. We never encountered any Satanic Worshippers dancing amongst the headstones at Saint Bernard’s.

     In fact, to the best of my recollection, the only spirits we ever conjured up during our gang’s Saranac Lake spirit seeking endeavors,

Were named Tango and Jack.

At least that’s how I remember it.


Until Our Trails Cross Again: