Lange: The Haunted Hut

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(Host) Halloween is the day we mortals get a look at the realm of
spirits. Commentator Willem Lange has the story of a ghost who hangs
around all year on a high mountain.

(Lange) If you climb
mountains above timberline, you sometimes pass places where climbers
ahead of you have died. If you climb really high mountains, you pass
the climbers themselves, still there where they fell or froze. Even
Mount Washington, only a few miles east of us, has claimed over 135
lives. Many of those who died are still up there in one form or

The Lakes of the Clouds Hut sits above timberline at
5000 feet on Mount Washington. It’s where a raging sleet storm took the
lives of hikers Alan Ormsbee and William Curtis in June 1900. The
largest of the Appalachian Mountain Club huts, Lakes holds 90 hikers and
a crew of seven. But even the bravest crew member won’t spend a night
alone there. An unidentified and very hostile presence haunts the hut.

years ago an AMC crew chief named George snowshoed up to the hut in
early spring to check on its condition. When he failed to check in that
evening or the next morning; a group set out to find out what, if
anything, was wrong.

The hut door was unlocked. The hut was dark
inside because the wooden winter shutters blocked the daylight.
George’s radio lay on a table with his gear. But no George, The crew
hunted all through the hut with flashlights, and finally heard a whimper
in the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink. They found George, soaked in
sweat, holding an axe, and pleading, "Get me out of here! Get me out of
here!" Holding onto him, they escorted him to an ambulance waiting at
the foot of the mountain.

Weeks later, George told his story.
He’d just arrived, and decided to check around before radioing back to
base, when he suddenly sensed something else in the dining room with
him, about to put its hands on his shoulders. He stood up. He saw a
grotesque, distorted face between the shutters and the window glass,
glaring in at him. Then it was in every window. As he watched, it
seemed to melt through the glass into the room. And that was all he
remembered until he was safely down the mountain.

I stayed
overnight at Lakes of the Clouds Hut last year on the night before it
closed for the season. It was pretty crowded and jolly, but I couldn’t
get out of my mind that spirit waiting to get back in as soon as it was
vacant for the winter.

I stepped outside. The wind was whipping clouds across the rocky col. I called, "Anybody out there?

I waited, and felt, more than heard, "Yesssss. Come back next week and ssssssseee."

This is Willem Lange in Montpelier, waiting for trick-or-treaters. Yessssss…can I help you? Bwa-ha-ha-ha.

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