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There aren't really any ghosts around here - except for the shade of old John Porter. John Porter was a farmer who lived over in the Mink Hills way back during the Revolutionary days. He had a wife named Sarah and two little boys named Joseph and Samson who lived with him on his patch. John spent the better part of his life scratching out a living from the rocky dirt but he wasn't all together a poor man and he found time to grow flowers for his wife and carve little toys for his young boys.
Now the timber trade was big enough here about all those years ago. Every autumn John and his neighbors from the patches about would work at felling the famous tall white pines to float downriver to the seacoast where they were loaded on the sailing merchantmen and taken to the English shipyards for use as masts. The extra money would see the family through the winter and buy new livestock in the spring.
Well, it happened that John Porter had gone downriver to Portsmouth with his pines when he was set upon two hours after midnight by British sailors and press ganged into service in King George's navy. Porter was carried away with the British ships to Bristol, then Newfoundland and then down to New York. He managed to get overboard in a storm and half drown in the February Atlantic but made his way to shore and started to travel up the coast back toward home. Frostbite turned his hands into black, disfigured claws and burned his cheeks. His clothes were torn and tattered to shreds and when his boots wore through his feet bled over the sharp road stones. He tried so hard to get home. What would his family think had become of him?
He got as far as Dover when he heard about the Indian raids. The English had stirred them up against the Colonists at the start of winter and they had come down from the White Mountains and out of the grey forests and burned everything down to Epsom and east to the Portland. Refugees had been taken in by the local parishes but folks had lost track of each other in the terrible flight from the savages. Old John hadn't been there to protect his family, he'd been drifting like a soulless man across the barren ocean. His neighbors had returned and buried his wife by the time John limped back to his property. His boys were unaccounted for though. Some thought they had made it away with Jacob Corser and his family, bound for Chelmsford. Others said they went with the Potter's on toward Madbury or the surrounding towns.
John Porter began his shuffling search from town to town, farm to farm and house to house. All through the frozen March and into April he went from door to door searching for his little boys. Whenever he was cold or hungry or tired he would think of their eyes and continue on his way. For eight years he dragged himself up and down the coast house by house and farm by farm asking after two boys with bright little eyes until he was caught out in an April snow storm and froze up solid one night.
But John Porter didn't lay down to rest that night. He isn't properly a man anymore but his shade still drags his feet along all about these parts, black crippled hands clutched into his stomach for warmth and shivering, looking for his boys. Down through the decades and century John Porter's spirit has restless stumbled on, a little less of a man every winter but still searching. He can't rightly recognize people anymore or tell a boy from a man or a girl but he keeps on from house to house every night looking for eyes. He remembers eyes.
So if you hear something move in your room at night, if you hear a shuffling or a creak or feel a draft in the darkness - whatever you do don't open your eyes. Keep them shut, keep them hidden. If you don't, if you open your eyes, if you look at old John Porter he'll see your eyes and grab you with his cold black hands and try to take you home with him and end his search.