Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Thanks to Cynthia at Muse Swings for inspiring a more chilling variety of narratives as the Autumn brings with it thoughts of the Great Pumpkin, candy corn, gory masks and, of course scary stories.

Once upon I time I attended an old boarding school in a small village in Southeastern New Hampshire. Yes, I know! That proved scary enough in itself, but I don't want you to be frightened yet... A friend and I decided to share a room on the first floor of an old dormitory which was built in the 1930's when the school was still all boys. The old building (seen in the bottom right) was built of brick and the interiors had beautiful wooden doors with stately -- albeit a bit shabby-- appointments and furnishings. In the autumn, the ivy on the side of the dormitory would turn a brilliant shade of red.

When we moved in some strange things started to happen. We would leave, locking the heavy door behind us and return to find things altered. At first it was a towel here, a shirt there, but after the first few days, we were greeted with increasing disarray.

Of course, we chalked this up to our imaginations and shared news of our funny third roommate with all our friends. We dubbed him Quentin. During the course of that winter of 1983-84, Quentin made quite a name for himself. We promptly enrolled him for an ambitious load of courses, and his name rang out all over campus as attendance was taken. When it came time for roll call at our dorm meetings, someone would inevitable include "Quentin" and someone else would stamp their foot or knock on a chair. Any unusual noise or creak was always a sure sign that our good friend Quentin was in for a visit.

By the time the late spring thaw arrived we had all quite forgotten about Quentin. Our thoughts inevitably turned towards the coming of warmth, and summer, and home. One day, as we returned from classes we met an older man who had come to tour the campus. He requested permission to see our room because he had lived there during his own school days when it was still a boys' dormitory. We quickly cleaned up, hiding our messy clothes, shoes and books in the closet and under beds and invited him in. As he came into our room he walked around smiling at first, then paused reflectively and cleared his throat. 

"You'll have to excuse me a moment, I have some pretty powerful memories being back here. I shared this room with a friend of mine, and he died that year. His name was Quentin."


MuseSwings said...

Thank you for popping my name in the middle of your post!
Your Quentin story has given me a case of the heebie jeebies! Spooky!!! If we were giving prizes for the spookiest story, this is it!!!
I had to scroll down and study that delightful picture of Paul's half dressed bod to calm down enough to comment on Quentin. Thank you again for the shout out! Think I'll have some raspberry cordial and go hide under my covers now.

willow said...

OMG!! Seriously?! You made this up, right? I can't believe it. And Quentin is such an odd name, too. SCAR-eeeee!!!

Poetikat said...

Ooh! Goosebumps over here! And I was just about to ask how you decided upon the name Quentin.

Funny we should be going all scary - I've just posted about a creepy 1970s movie on my Blasts from the Past blog.

Now, I'm going to follow Museswings's lead and check out "Paul".


*mary* said...

Great story! I love spooky Halloween time! (I just had a moon-howling party over on my blog. Feel free to come howl, too!)

Lavinia said...



Blicky Kitty said...

This is actually a true story as odd as it may seem. I'm sure parts were embellished by my memory. I'll send the link to my roommate at the time for her fact checking. :)

Mary your web site truncates the comments I leave. Just assume that the parts that didn't make it on were extraordinarily witty.

Blicky Kitty said...

OK folks I wanted to do some fact checking because I've been telling this story for years and can't remember well what actually happened. :) This is the message from my roomate at the time from Facebook:

That's pretty much the real Quentin story (a teeny bit of embellishment maybe, but hey!). I just remember what a weird, cold day it was, and how even Mr. Pruitt was freaked out. And you were the one who called him Quentin... so I absolutely consider you the conduit from the otherside!

Kip said...

this is all too perfect....Quentin, Walter, ivy walls, frost on my windshield this morning......the photos....what you are hindering in productivity your are more than compensating for with time travel and wanderlust.