Living

Wilton’s Blue Lady comes alive in new illustrated book

Thursday, December 26, 2013

By JESSIE SALISBURY

Correspondent

WILTON – About 10 years ago, when Robin Schoen moved into the brick house near the edge of the Vale End Cemetery, she heard about the Blue Lady, the ghost of Mary Ritter Spaulding who is said to haunt the grounds.

She did not think a great deal about it and never saw her.

Her granddaughter, Alex, then 8 years old, however, was disturbed by the stories and refused to spend overnights, so Schoen wrote a story for her.

She described it as “a kinder, gentler story to bring the mystery of the unknown into the realm of imagination,” a story for the grade-school aged.

About five years ago, she said in a phone interview, she took it out “and talked to Gail Hoar,” an award-winning artist who lives in Wilton Center. Together they created “Grandmother’s Guest: The Blue Lady of Wilton.”

“I needed someone to show Wilton Center and what life was like here,” Schoen said.

Hoar’s paintings depict the house, the cemetery, the Langdell Auction Barn and their vision of Mary Spaulding, as modeled by a neighbor.

Some years ago, Schoen and her granddaughter attended an auction at the barn and purchased a little pink and white creamer, once part of a child’s tea set. A note inside the creamer identified it as having belonged to Mary Spaulding, 1850, age 8. That Mary would have been the granddaughter of the Blue Lady.

Publication of the book was delayed by a series of complications on the part of the publisher, who in the end dropped the project for financial reasons. At that point, Schoen and Hoar decided to set up Hobby House Publishing to distribute the book.

The book was officially released on Saturday, Dec. 21, at Toadstool Bookstore at 456 Nashua St., Milford. Both author and artist were at the store to discuss and sign the book.

The book will be available only through independent bookstores, Schoen said, a show of support for the area’s small businesses. Cost of the book is $16.95.

Mary Ritter Spaulding, wife of Isaac Spaulding and mother of seven children, died in 1808 and is one of New Hampshire’s most famous ghosts. She is said to appear above her grave on warm foggy spring or fall evenings as a column of blue light, and she may haunt the Langdell House as well.

There are various stories as to why she remains in the area, none of which can be proved.

Visiting Vale Cemetery after sundown is not allowed.

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