FAYETTE — After Sarah Reed moved into her home in 1992, she attended a function where she was approached by some local men.

“You know that house is haunted,” she recalled them insisting to her. 

“I thought the men at the dinner were just flirting with me,” she said.

But that night, alone in the house that took more than 3 million bricks and two years to build, she wondered if maybe her home was haunted. A darkness came over her one night, Reed said, waking her suddenly. She said she felt that the darkness was malicious, that it meant her harm, and she cried out to Jesus. And then it was gone.

Earlier that year, the new resident attended a function, and local men approached Reed. 

Recently, as wind and heavy rain pelted the 1837 house, sending bright orange leaves against the window panes, Cathy Cook of Wayne listened to Reed intently. 


Cook has authored three books exploring paranormal experiences. The books include interviews with people like like Reed sharing their ghostly encounters, which she transcribes. 

Reed said her son experienced that same darkness months after her when he came to stay at the house, and he told her that it was the lady with the gardens. 

“She did not like you when you arrived,” Annette Parlin of Farmington told Reed.  

Parlin is a medium/clairvoyant, and she accompanies Cook to her interviews, often verifying and explaining the described encounters. 

Standing in a second floor bedroom of Reed’s 1837 brick house, Parlin said she could see the lady with the gardens resting in bed. 

“Bud,” known formally as Mariam, was one of the people who previously called the brick house home. Reed said “Bud” died a decade before she moved into the house. In the years between, “Bud’s” widower did not tend the gardens, which spanned across the yard. 


“I restored some of those gardens,” said Reed.

“And ‘Bud’ knows you love this house the same way she does,” said Parlin, “and she is OK with you being here.”

As a medium clairvoyant, Parlin said she can both see and communicate with spirits and ghosts. 

“I can see them just as easily as I can see you,” she said. 

There are three different levels of psychic ability, explained Parlin — psychic, medium and clairvoyant. 

“All people are born psychic,” she said, “where you have an inkling, a gut feeling, a knowing. But over the ages, a lot of us lost it.”


Mediums can communicate with but not necessarily see a ghost or spirit, Parlin continued.

“They have a knowing that someone is here, but they cannot see,” she said.

And a clairvoyant, Parlin said, means “clear.”

“I can clearly hear them. I can clearly see the spirits and the ghosts,” she said. “They talk to me; I talk to them.” 

Reed’s accounts appeared in Cook’s first book, “Hauntings from Wayne and Beyond.” 

During the interview for that book, which was published in 2012, Parlin said she saw a man with mutton chop beard dressed distinguishably for the period, which was the late 1800s.


Active in the Fayette Historical Society, Reed went in search of the who they dubbed “Mutton Chop.”

At her dining room table, she thumbed through a scrapbook and pointed to a man with mutton chops. The photocopied image, sourced from the University of Wisconsin archives, showed an undated image of Alonzo A. Wing, who lived from 1807 to 1893. 

Wing was the son-in-law of the man who built the house, and he lived there for only a few years, according to Reed. Cook added that he was also responsible for financing the Wing Cemetery on Pond Road in Wayne, which appears on the cover of her second book.

“That is him,” said Parlin, pointing at the image, then to the chair at the head of the table. “That is the man I see sitting at the head of the table.”

Others around the table looked at the seemingly empty chair. Cook, who was standing by that chair, moved her cup of tea to another seat.

“I can sit here,” she said. “I don’t want to sit on ‘Mutton Chop.’”


Cook, who has also been the Wayne Town Clerk for nine years and is active in her town’s historical society, said she does not pick up on the energies, but these interviews thrill her.

“I started writing the first ghost book on a whim really,” she said. “I have always been intrigued by ghost stories, and the supernatural and anything mysterious and even the Bible.”

Cook said she decided to collect local stories and share them in a book. Her first and its sequel share encounters of Wayne and its surrounding towns, including an experience at Dave’s Appliance in Winthrop, which was featured in the first book, and the Readfield Town Office was in the second. 

Her third book, “Hauntings from Eastport and Beyond” explores encounters around the Eastport area, and Cook said she is working on a fourth.

“It comforts me to hear other people’s stories, because there is more to life than this,” she said.

“Bud” and “Mutton Chop” were just a couple of the many spirits and ghosts Parlin said she saw in Reed’s house. In the back of the dining room, a midwife or nurse wore a bonnet and apron in what Parlin thought would have been a birthing room. Coming out from what may have been the caretaker’s room, she saw an older man, leaning on a cane. In the master bedroom, a young man looked out the window.


As Parlin described the ghosts and spirits she saw, the chandelier over the dining table flickered. All three women looked up as the lights flickered a second time. And then a third. 

“They are answering us,” Parlin said. “They are saying, ‘we are here.’”

Cook and Reed wondered if “Mutton Chop” was a spirit or ghost. 

“I am asking him,” Parlin said, looking deliberately to the head of the table. “He goes, ‘I am good.’ Spirit. He comes now and then, he’s not always here, but because he felt the energy coming, he showed himself here.”

A ghost is someone who is between the earthly plane and the spiritual plane, Parlin said, and a spirit is someone who had no issues passing and continuing the soul journey.

She can offer guidance to the ghosts to help them cross over into the spiritual plane, she said, by encouraging them to look for a yearning or someone coming to get them. 


“I’m never forceful, I just suggest,” Parlin said. 

Ghosts present themselves to her, she said, at the age they died. Spirits, however, can present themselves at any age — usually at the age they would be recognized to the person to whom she is giving a reading. 

“It can be very healing for loved ones to come through with messages for someone who has concerns,” said Parlin. “It is nothing to ever be afraid of, it is just that they did not cross over.

“People ask me, how do I become psychic? Open up your mind to all possibilities,” she added. “If you have a lot of fear, it will block things.”

Parlin said that psychic abilities run in families. Both paternal and maternal sides of her family have clairvoyants.  She also said she thinks that less people suppress their connections.

“The media is helping let the fears go away,” Parlin said. “It is helping to have people understand, and more and more people are open to it and becoming more comfortable.”

Reed said that she plans to stay with her brick house, even when the next occupants live in the home. 

“When I die, I’m going to come back and haunt them anyway. And I mean really haunt them, and then do what I like,” she said with a glimmer in her eye.

Cook’s books are available on Amazon, at Fayette General Store, Wayne General Store and Cobbie’s Corner Store in Wayne, and Foshay-Carlton Cards and Gifts in Winthrop.

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