Kerry Temple '74 | December 5, 2018
Father Robert Griffin, CSC, was a friend, a writer and a Catholic priest. He wrote regularly for this magazine, and we talked about many things in those years and all those times we lunched together. But one of my favorites has never been told here.
I’ll tell it now and explain why later.
Griff was preparing a young boy for his First Communion — as he did and had done for my family and others. It meant meeting individually with the children of friends, for a month or six weeks, then celebrating a private Mass for family members and close friends. So each week he visited this particular young boy, an only child, and the two talked alone, the parents nearby in a room at their home.
The boy, Griff told me later, would talk about the man in his closet. The boy had a closet in his bedroom, and he spoke of the man who stayed in his closet and would occasionally come out and talk to him, at night, when the boy was alone.
This went on for a while, and Griff — finally thinking the man wasn’t merely an imaginary friend — asked the boy to describe the man, to tell him more. The boy said the man did not scare him; it was just that he seemed sad and lonesome. So the two talked.
Eventually Griff asked the parents about it; the boy had said nothing to them. But they were shocked and fearful in Griff’s disclosure.
The previous owner of the house — a man who aptly fit the boy’s description — had hanged himself in that closet. The boy’s bedroom had been the man’s bedroom.
Griff, a native of Maine, had the soul of a New Englander, and an Irishman’s imagination. He respected ghost stories as a man of faith who wondered at the mysteries all around us. Unexplainable phenomena. Miracles. Banshees and barking black dogs.
Read more here.