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Lady in the Green Pillbox Hat

Lady in the Green Pillbox Hat by Terrie M. Scott, June 13, 2013.

Terrie M. ScottStrange title, huh? Well, this is a rather strange story, but one that haunts both Tim and I to this day. It's also one that we both think of quite often. I'll do my best to tell it.

March 2011 is when we first began renovations of the Rectory. From the moment we were given the keys to this place that had sat empty for quite some time, strange things began to happen. Our lives were fairly normal back then. Pretty much like everyone else. Our own personal dramas to contend with but certainly nothing “paranormal.”

Trouble soon followed and not trouble of any we had ever encountered previously in either of our lives. It's like when we turned that key and stepped inside the Rectory, we opened a doorway into something dark and unknown that would quickly take a keen interest in us personally in and outside of the Rectory.


One day, back in Spring of 2011, we were driving back from the Rectory. I had been telling Tim about this beautiful old cemetery not too far from where we were. One of the largest and oldest in the nation, actually. We'd had some really strange things happen to us that afternoon at the Rectory and were still talking about it when I suggested we take a drive through this place. 

This cemetery had opened its gates in 1845 and was filled with great monuments and crypts. We stopped to look at a few and soon found ourselves doing a fair bit of walking, exploring the grounds. We came across a beautiful mausoleum with close to 40 huge stain glass windows. The guard was just locking up for the evening and asked if we planned on going inside.

It was a warm August afternoon and extremely humid. He said he had to lock up but we could return his spare visitor key card to the front gate when we left. And, the fact that is was air conditioned inside was VERY appealing. We told him we'd love to look around inside and get out of the heat for a few minutes. We accepted his gracious offer and he unlocked the door and let us back in.

It was double glass doors and the change in temperature was immediate, along with the loud SWOOSH of the vacuum seal as the doors closed shut. Once past the double glass doors, two huge solid oak doors stood before us. We pushed the heavy doors open and they closed behind us with such a loud THUD that it made me jump.

It was ghostly quiet inside. After all, we had the entire place to ourselves. Our own footsteps echoed like thunder on the solid marble floor. We stood in the atrium with the three sets of doors behind us. The mausoleum was designed in the shape of a massive cross, with corridors running left and right and straight up and back.

At the tip, a beautiful fountain. And, adorning each wall was stained glass windows, the occasional bench or chair and row after row of entombments where the remains of loved ones long gone now rested. Marble from ceiling to floor. It reminded me of the mausoleum from PHANTASM. Marble everywhere.

We found the chapel and sat down for a brief moment. But, we both immediately swung around at the sound of whispers and footsteps behind us, but there was no one there. A figment of our imagination we decided. Although, we both could have sworn we saw someone pass behind us.

But, the guard unlocked the door to let us in and said we had the place to ourselves. We had already walked up and down each row and we were indeed very much alone. The stillness and eerie quiet was a bit unsettling. But, we walked along the rows with quiet respect and reflection of all those lives lost within those walls.

I reached out to touch the elegantly carved names of two twin girls that had passed away in the late 1800's – Elizabeth and Abigail were their names. Same birth dates and died the same day. An accident perhaps? Tim was down the row from me also reading quietly the names that adorned the walls. We were not talking. This was not a place for chatter, but a place of respect.

I stepped out into the main corridor to walk across to another room, but something to my right caught my eye. I stopped in my tracks, frowned at what I saw and stepped backwards back into the room I was in. Motioning for Tim to join me at the door. I placed my finger to my lips to shush him and pointed down the hallway.

We both stepped quietly into the hallway and had a good look. Mind you, we are still near the front door and only entrance. In total silence and then this...

There was a armchair about 20 feet away from us, against the wall facing some photos of deceased on the opposite wall. In the chair sat a woman. She had her arms dangling over the arm chair and she was sunk down low in the seat. So low in the chair that her waist was hanging over the chairs edge, her skirt spilling over the sides... Her chin was dropped to her chest. And, her legs? Her legs were spread wide open and stiff, straight out in front of her. I mean STIFF. Not bent at the knees like a normal person would sit.

She looked as if she'd been posed... Her backside was scooted all the way over the edge, like she was paying a visit to the OB/GYN. She was not moving, so stiff as if rigor mortis had set in. We just stood there, staring at her. She was wearing a pea green wool suit. The kind First Lady Jackie Onassis would wear in the 60's to the Presidential affairs. She also had on a matching pea green pillbox hat, with a black lace veil hanging down over her face. (see pic below) Finished off with panty hose and clunky black shoes.

Her lifeless form was the oddest thing we had ever seen in our entire lives. It was 90 plus degrees and she was wearing a wool suit, buttoned to her neck, wide rimmed collar and a matching skirt. A suit that went out of style in the 60's and she was younger than me by the looks of her. And, why was she sitting like that? Why dress like a lady, when there was NOTHING lady like in the way she was seated? She looked dead. Like some movie prop, motionless, lifeless.

I started to get a very uneasy feelings. My purse was on the bench behind me. I motioned for Tim to step back into the room so I could fetch my purse and get away from this freaky woman sitting like she was some mannequin about to give birth.

My purse was within arms reach. I grabbed it and we turned around to step back into the hallway fully intending to sneak out unnoticed from this macabre scene we had just witnessed.

When we turned around she was standing RIGHT THERE in FRONT of us. We both jumped, startled. How the hell did she get from down the hall to right on top of us in the time it took to reach for my purse? Holy crap, she scared us. And, she knew it.

Suddenly, it was freezing cold. I mean, shivering cold. She gave a sick little twisted smile. Up close she was even more frightening. Younger than me, mid 30's, dressed like a page out of time from the 60's in her pea green wool suit and pillbox hat, veil pulled down over her face. Pale skin and dark dead eyes. She had her left arm coiled up against her body, shriveled, as if is was deformed or as if she suffered from polio. Turned in such a manner that we couldn't even see her left hand, only her wrist.

Her right hand was against the wall, which she was pressed tightly against, almost gliding up the side of it. She gave this creepy little weak smile and said, “I didn't mean to scare you.” And, kept slithering past, pressed up against the wall. Left hand curled up against her hidden from view. We half expected her to scamper up the wall like that creepy old lady from the LEGEND film.

Tim and I looked slowly at each other. What the heck, right? We said nothing. Then looked back at the freako woman who had just slithered past us. But, she was GONE. In the middle of the hallway, how could she just disappear into thin air?

“What the hell?” Tim said.

“Where the heck did she go?” I asked.

We immediately started looking for her, everywhere. No footsteps, no door swooshing. She vanished.

Our hearts were racing. And, we were both actually terrified. We had no explanation for what we just witnessed and experienced. That image of her sitting in that chair, legs spread and stiff in front of her, slumped down like she was passed out... slinking along the wall, slow and bent over... and her frail creepy voice?

We even split up. Refusing to believe anyone could just vanish before our eyes. Forgetting where we were, we were literally running from end to end of the mausoleum, searching room to room, looking for this ghastly figure of a woman that disappeared before our eyes.

We met back in the center. No luck. Staring at each other.

I asked again, “Where did she go?” My voice was trembling a bit. Images of PHANTASM came back into my head. “How is that even possible?” I wanted to know.

Tim just shrugged, as puzzled and scared as I was. We walked back to where she was sitting, terrified we might find her picture on the wall, as if she was sitting there staring at herself, some remnant from the past. I would have fainted dead away had we found her portrait among the dead. But, we did not. There was nothing pleasant about her. She was terrifying.

I remember calling my daughter, Ashlee and her fiance Jay as we left the gate house, only too eager to get out of there. Trying to make sense of what had just happened to us. And, later that evening I talked to my youngest daughter, Rachel about it too. Rachel was very concerned. She asked me if we saw BOTH hands, which NO we did NOT. Only ONE, the other hand was curled up, hidden from view.

What does that mean, I asked her? Does it matter? I asked. She looked concerned. VERY concerned. If you could have seen this woman too? Your heart would have skipped a beat. She was not normal... Where did she go? How could she just disappear into the floor. We KNOW what we saw and we KNOW she was there. She SPOKE to us.

I know what we think it was... Yes, what IT was... But, I won't say so here.

I find it interesting that in my youth what I believe to be an angel was dressed so shabbily as a homeless man and was someone my instincts told me to avoid. Yet, here was this thing at the mausoleum, dressed VERY refined – the wrong decade entirely, but still refined – someone you would not fear by outward appearances. Just like that creepy clown from Stephen King's IT. Trying to act silly to attract small children. Hmm.

Only demonstrating once again that appearances ARE deceiving.

We had an encounter with something, but this was NO angel.

What does this have to do with the Rectory? A coincidence perhaps? I don't think so.

It was the beginning of the worst for us, as if we were marked at that moment. A moment neither of us will ever forget.

The woman stood inches from us with that dead cold stare of hers. After our encounter with her? All hell broke lose at the Rectory it seemed. So was it something that followed us there or something we brought back? Something sizing us up just to toy with us?

The world behind the world and we're smack in the middle of it... indeed.