the end of youngtown road

  • Posted on: February 18, 2008
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How far back does it go?
20 years ago my family bought a couple acres of land on this dirt road, in a small summer town named Alton; population 3,000 in the winter, 5,000 in the summer. Alton is located at the southern tip of Lake Winnipesauke, the largest lake in New Hampshire. For the enthusiast, there are plenty of outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, camping, etc. Besides the lake and mountains, the region is also known for being the setting of the book, Peyton Place.
When we moved up here from Boston, I left a graduating class of 500+ for an all time high of 54 at Alton Central High School. And when I told classmates that I lived on Youngstown road, they would whisper back, “The one with the haunted house at the end?
We lived in the last house on the left. Only a wooden plank, with Youngstown Road painted on it, marked the dirt road. This ill-marked entrance was easy to miss as it was hidden up the hill and behind the bend. It was a quiet street, about a mile long, and ended at a makeshift wooden barrier. Beyond, the road became almost entirely overgrown; the woods seemed to push you along until it emptied out onto this open field.
An abandoned Matador car lay in a heap to the left, an ancient tree to the right, and in the middle of the meadow the 200-year-old farmhouse stared down at you.
It definitely looked eerie.
You couldn’t see the house from ours, the woods were too thick, but you knew it was there. As a big brother, I used to scare my sisters with talks of summoning the ghosts and monsters of the house.
It wasn’t until later, when I was into photography and playing with plastic Holga cameras, that I overcame my own fears and visited the house again.
It was the perfect ruin.
Peaking inside the windows revealed the years gone by: pots still on the stove, clothes hanging on the door, and did that curtain just move?
I never went in.
I was often times by myself in the meadow; the only sound was me trudging through the snow or mud as I took photos of this lonely place.
My younger sister told me later that she and some of her friends broke in. She was pretty spooked being inside, it must have been a serious dare. Inside they found a diary. It was the typical turn of the century talk of taking the horses down to town and how she missed her husband. No talks of spirits, but you could definitely feel them.

Youngstown became paved 13+ years ago and when they put a real street sign at the beginning of the road it now read Youngtown Road. The mile long street had now grown from 6 houses to 12.
Three years ago, my mother called to tell me that a family had purchased the house at the end of Youngtown road and the surrounding 200+ acres of land.
I was surprised and sad, for it was my secret little ruin no more.

On one of my next visits the Matador had been removed, and the house’s chipped paint was gone. The family that had purchased it was very keen to keep the original structure of the farmhouse. In fact the owners, Angie and Bob, talked about keeping the land as a nature reserve and offering camping sites for visitors.
In a small town, people look after each other. Even though my sisters were only 20-30 minutes away, my parents lived alone and it was nice to have life at the end of the road. That’s just what Angie and Bob did with my folks, especially helping them remove the snow that can bury the houses in the winter months of Northern New Hampshire.
During the first year of renovating, Angie and Bob invited my mother and I into the house. They really loved “this old house” and had heard that I had taken many pictures of it. Along with their 8-year-old daughter, Cassie, they gave us a tour. The house was barren inside. Gone were ancient artifacts of its previous owners. It was now clean and fortified. They weren’t living there yet but they talked excitedly about the whole renovation process. There was no talk of the house being haunted.
It seemed like the ghosts were gone.

Until Friday.
Sometime before 7am, shots were heard in the woods.
Cassie, was running through the woods, leaving a trail of blood that led to my parent’s door.
Her mother had shot her father.
She had tried to shoot her daughter, claiming the spirits were making her do it.
In the end, she took her own life.

It was a shock to my family, to the people of Alton, and Cassie…how do you survive?
We will forever wonder what went wrong at the end of Youngtown Road. Will the house continue to stand, hiding the secrets in its old beams, to be told only to those who listen in the silence of the night?

19 Comments

  1. Jenn · March 11, 2009

    So a new family has moved into that house? That is strange, because I had the same dream 3 times in one night that a new family moved in, and it wasn’t a very good dream. In the dream I was trying to warn them, but they could hear or see me. It was like I was a spirit. I just hope things go well with them there. I don’t have good feelings about that place.

  2. M · October 29, 2008

    I knew Angela growing up and later, Rob(what a nice guy). Very, very hard to understand. My prayers to their family, and to Cassie.

  3. lori · October 15, 2008

    I live at the end of Youngtown Rd, on the right, across the street from the house Cassie ran to. Angie and I were in the process of becoming friends, though I never went into the house. She and Cassie used to come pick flowers from my garden for their table. They were good neighbors. The winter was heart breaking and gut wrenching and long. My kitchen window looks out at the new driveway Rob and Angie built.

    This past weekend, there were new people on that driveway. People with a baby carriage, and other kids too. This weekend I will go over to that house with baked goods and a fruit basket and the hope that maybe there can be no more ghosts.

  4. Paul Green · July 2, 2008

    Angela’s last name was Derusso, her mom was Annamae and Dad was Anthony and her friends were the best of friends..
    Some of my fondest memories are of those people
    Attention JJ from the 4/9/08 post. There was no special ed for Angela!
    Maybe you and I could meet some time and I’ll explain the difference between high school and special ed.
    Yea JJ, I think that would be a real good idea! May be I could jog your brain just a bit.
    I would like to hear from any of Angelas friends, anyone that new her during her time in Alton.
    A terrible tragedy took place that Friday morning, most who knew Robert, Angie and Cassie will never understand.
    I pray that they gave Cassie the strength to move beyond the heartache and loneliness she must feel.
    I have said before in another post, Cassie, all you have to do is wake early any morning you choose, step outside just before the sun peaks above the horizon. Just as the first of the suns rays appear, close your eyes, let out a deep deep sigh, and you will feel the hands of your mom and dad on your shoulders.
    Cassie, you have a friend in Connecticut who can tell you about your mom in the years before you and your dad.
    My heart is allways with you.
    I hope to hear from you some time.
    Paul Green
    paul.green@med.va.gov

  5. Kate Bystrack · June 28, 2008

    Dave Bystrack’s daughter. this changed our family forever, i regret not spending the last few years with my uncle and cassie. now it’s too late to see my uncle ever again. we love you and miss you, rip uncle rob.

  6. Chris Bystrack · May 29, 2008

    Dave Bystrack’s son, i still can not believe this has happened…… i hadnt seen my uncle rob or cassie for some years and i was supposed to be up there the following weekend for the snowmobile races.

  7. dave bystrack · April 20, 2008

    rob`s brother dave . her last name was derusso

  8. jj · April 9, 2008

    derusso. she went to special school i think.

  9. Ed · February 29, 2008

    I went to school with both Angie and Rob in North Branford. I was wondering if someone could tell me Angies maiden name…was it Vara or Derusso? They were both in my class and nowhere can I find Angies maiden name. I just can’t imagine the horror of this for Cassie, Rob and Angie…I am in disbelief. Thanks for any help with clarifying Angies maiden name.
    Ed

  10. JC · February 24, 2008

    Youngtown Road

    Cold cold February fate
    Early morning spirits blast
    a haunting memory
    Hush-a-bye, baby, upon the tree top
    Coffee, stains,
    Never to be forgotten
    When the wind blows the cradle will rock
    Hot trail of red
    Through the cold white snow
    When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
    Frozen blood
    Running through veins
    So young, so lost
    So innocent no more
    Down tumbles cradle baby and all
    The Love, the loss
    On a Youngtown Rd.
    Such a “Dead End” Street

  11. JC · February 23, 2008

    Ever since this happened I have been looking for something that would indicate what I felt deep in my heart.
    Angie and I were neighbors before they moved to Youngstown Rd, we went way back about 12 years.
    They were friendly, private people, but the Angie I knew would have never thought of doing anything like this.
    I had a feeling about that house from the very start and even though she invited me to come visit I couldn’t muster up the desire to enter that house.
    After this happened I searched frantically for old archives to see if any other murders or suicides ever occured in that house before.
    I just felt that there had to be spirits involved.
    You just confirmed what I was feeling, I just know Angie was fighting demons the morning of Feb. 15th.
    I am terribly saddened that they won the battle, and Cassie now has to battle demons of her own for the rest of her life.

  12. Andy Frazer · February 22, 2008

    An amazing story with a tragic end. I really feel for the poor girl who has to go through life with this memory.

    Your photo “House and Car 2002” really brings this whole scene to life for me.

    Andy

  13. jenn · February 19, 2008

    youngtown road… why did we move there again? all i know is i have always felt scared in our woods…always.

  14. mom · February 19, 2008

    as I stand by my kitchen window I look and feel sad, so sad. What was to be a great life for so many people is past and now the question is why? That is now the secret that the house claims. The couple were well liked by all and now only the buildings and the daughter are left. May our love and prayers go to Cassie as she makes her way through life with such a burden to carry.
    I will always remember as I look at the pictures in my house that were taken before the change that leads to another end of the house, in the woods, at the end of youngtown rd. Yes, how much more do the walls and beams have to tell us!

  15. Vesna · February 19, 2008

    Haunting images for a haunting story…sorry that your memories are now tarnished with such tragedy.

  16. gabe · February 18, 2008

    This is an unfortunate true story.
    To read what the local newspapers are saying click here

  17. Rusty · February 18, 2008

    Wow Gabriel, what a shocker.

    http://www.wmur.com/news/15310287/detail.html

    my sympathy to you and your family…

    See you soon, Rusty

  18. David Brommer · February 18, 2008

    Frozen tears… yea. Cassie will be crying many frozen tears. Such a shame… Your folks is strong ones Gabe…

    D

  19. Joe Reifer · February 18, 2008

    Holy crap, man! That’s crazy. For real? – JR