A Middlebury Ghost?

If you live in Middlebury you've likely passed the old Kitchel House on the corner of College Street and Weybridge. Built in 1867 as the home of Middlebury College's fifth president, Harvey Denison Kitchel, the house has served as everything from an elderly home to what is currently the college's Communications Office. But from 1891 to 1911 the Kitchel House was the first women's dorm. I've been interested in this building ever since an icy Thursday night, returning from the warm rabble of Two Brothers Tavern with a friend.

Thomas, who often remarks how eerie the Kitchel house is with its dusty elegance reaching high over College street, called my attention to a light in the upper right window. As I walked a little further, finding it hard to look away from the light, I began to make out the shape of a young woman. She opened her mouth as if to speak or yawn.

"Do you hear that?" said Thomas.

"Hear what?"

"I'm not sure. Almost like a baby crying."

I watched as she turned forlornly to the snowy lawn. At that point I felt compelled to take out my camera, if for nothing more than to fight back against my inebriated state and establish some certainty, though I had no reason to doubt what I saw. This is the photograph.

Kitchel House

And here is a close-up of the window.

Kitchel House Window

The photo continued to bother me over the next week, so I eventually took it to the Communications Office in the Kitchel House. On seeing the photograph one woman shrunk back, eventually excusing herself to retreat into the house. She returned with an article from the Summer 2011 issue of Middlebury Magazine.

The cursive script etched into the 10-by18-inch glass window pane reads 'Laura E. Jarvis' and below it 'Alpha Chi 1901.'...One year after graduating, Laura married George Gabriel and the two had a daughter, Marjory. Laura Jarvis died in 1904 at the age of 27.

It wasn't tasteful to include it in the article, they told me, but Laura died in childbirth.

A photo of the etching in the upper right window of the house.

Jarvis Etching

I am not sure what to make of this, but I have my suspicions. If anyone can confirm what I saw that night, let me know.