In colonial times, Ben Hargrove made a pact with the Devil, or so his neighbors said. Things came “too easy” to him, and while people wanted to like him, there was something about him that made them nervous. One night, a neighbor thought that he saw flames coming from Ben’s home. On closer inspection, the house wasn’t on fire, but a vivid red-orange light seemed to emanate from every window of the house. Peering through a window, the neighbor saw Ben signing a document while the Devil watched. Soon after this, Ben dressed in his best clothes and went to Boston to indulge in some backroom gambling. He returned within days, badly shaken and dangerously ill. One night about a week later, Ben appeared just as a town meeting was breaking up. He approached neighbor after neighbor, asking to take refuge in their homes.One after another, they refused. There was something especially odd about Ben Hargrove that night, and it chilled them. Suddenly, Ben looked up, just over the heads of his neighbors, with a look of unspeakable horror on his face. Ben turned on his heel and ran towards the church. But, as soon as he passed the gate and stepped onto the church’s property, he let out a terrible wail… and vanished. Some say that he turned instantly to ashes and that’s what they buried. Others say that his body was found in his home the next morning, but it was cold and rigid as if he’d been dead for several days. But, whatever was left of Ben Hargrove, he was buried outside the cemetery walls in an unmarked grave. His ghost appears regularly outside Old Center Cemetery, usually near the road. Sometimes he tries to flag down passing cars, but usually he simply cowers and quickly disappears. Most local residents insist that these kinds of stories are nonsense. And, they’re probably right. Even if the tales are entirely made-up, we can recommend only daytime visits to this eerie cemetery in rural New Hampshire.
So with box in hand called Haunted New England: A Deal with the Devil, I headed out to Andover to plant the box in Old Center Cemetery. I arrived at the cemetery to find that there was a house sitting in plain view and I had concerns that someone would say something to me or someone else when they went searching for the box. That and there was an older gentlemen out front racking his yard. So I headed to the Town Hall to speak to someone about planting in that cemetery. Come to find out, the person I needed to speak to lived in that house across the street. First I had to discuss what letterboxing was. Then I explained that the reason I approached them was because of an article written in a paper in New York that had given letterboxing in cemeteries, a bad name. Wanna know what I am talking about: Valley News Online. So I was talking to a women named Mrs. Cutter, head of the Cemetery Committee in town. She liked hearing everything I had to say and to my surprise, she gave me permission to plant the box in the cemetery wall. I couldn't have thanked her enough for allowing me to do that.
So I drove down the street back to the cemetery and walked to the back and planted the box. Now it is up to everyone else to make sure that I was not foolish to plant that box there. Be very respectful of the cemetery while you are there and remember what your parents told you. "Look with your eyes, not with your hands!" There are lots of old stones in that cemetery and they are definitely worth viewing. And while your there, make sure you say hello to Ben Hargrove, if your lucky enough to see him.