There are houses haunted by Ladies in White, Ladies in Black, phantom monks, ghostly pets, elementals and miscellaneous noises in the night. Quite possibly, the oddest of all hauntings is this one from Dark Harbor, Maine–where Salthiel Stoner once had a home.
The most usual version of the story goes something like this:
Salthiel Stoner was a native of Maine–a stoic, thrifty New Englander who married, in 1900, a girl about as opposite his heritage and temperament as he could find. He met Amanda Carter in her hometown of Falls Church, Virginia, while traveling on business. Odd couple though they were, they decided to marry, and he took her back to Dark Harbor as his wife.
And things went downhill from there.
Amanda was used to far more comfortable surroundings than her husband’s austere Maine home. The thing she came to hate most about the house was the cold floor of the front parlor.
My maternal grandmother, born in 1911, carried on the tradition of this front parlor in nearly every house she ever lived in for long. There was a front room kept spotlessly clean “for company.” Because she would never allow a fire to be lit in that room, even when it had a fireplace, it was always faultlessly clean–no ash, no smell of smoke or dust–and God help the clodhopper who set foot in it in dirty shoes.
Amanda Carter Stoner, southern born and bred, had grown up in the front parlor tradition–but her mother’s front parlor had not been so cold and forbidding; it had been carpeted. Amanda never ceased to gripe and complain to Salthiel about that cold floor, and wailed, “Why can’t we have a carpet on it?”
After months of arguing and nagging and tears, Salthiel gave in for the sake of a little peace in his increasingly acrimonious home. He went to Bangor and a few days later came back with what he hoped would settle Amanda’s temper: a beautiful carpet. Some say it had a pattern of roses on it; others, that it was a solid color, rose-red.
Either way, it was a lovely thing, to his eyes, and he sincerely hoped Amanda would think so too.
He brought it into the house and laid it in the front parlor, and began to nail it down just as Amanda came into the room.
Amanda looked at the carpet, and she looked at him, and she made her final pronouncement on the carpet, her marriage, and Salthiel Stoner: “I hate this carpet. It’s hideous. I hate it, I hate it, I HATE IT!” And she added, as an afterthought, “I hate it as much as I hate you.”
Salthiel never said a word. He went at her with the heavy hammer with which he had been nailing down the carpet. He beat her senseless, and then, apparently thinking she was dead, he hid her under the carpet and finished nailing it down over her.
She was rolled up in a fetal position, making a bump under the carpet, which now was red with blood as well as roses–and incredibly, she survived for two days, moving occasionally, until finally she died of her injuries.
Salthiel finally had a peaceful house. All was quiet until neighbors came to visit.
It’s not recorded who investigated the hump in the parlor carpet, but someone did. Amanda was taken from under it and buried; Salthiel was committed to an asylum in Portland and never returned to his home.
And no one since then can put a carpet on the floor of the parlor where Amanda died; every time they’ve tried, it’s said, it promptly lifts up from the floor in the middle in the shape of her body, and no matter what color the carpet is, it shows bloodstains.
If I were the owner of the house, and wanted to have an old-fashioned front parlor, then I’d do without carpet. And–although it has to be pretty damned cold before a hillbilly gives up going barefoot–at least indoors–I’d invest in a nice pair of furry houseshoes.