Post by Graveyardbride on Oct 16, 2018 15:13:03 GMT -5
Haunted Places to Visit in Connecticut
Connecticut is rich in Colonial history and one of the nation’s most haunted destinations. Restaurant revenants, hotel horrors, ghoulish graveyards and haunted houses abound in the Nutmeg State. Each of these spooky spots affords you – the presumably living – the opportunity to rub elbows with the decidedly dead:
Abigail’s Grille and Wine Bar (Simsbury). Legend has it this New York Times-reviewed “modern creative” restaurant was once the site of a grisly murder resulting from a love triangle gone wrong. Formerly The Pettibone Tavern, which opened during the Revolutionary War, the location became a popular meeting place for Colonial men who swapped news about battles over drinks. The tavern’s 18th-century owner, John Pettibone, allegedly decapitated his wife Abigail after catching her in the arms of another man. Abigail, it is said, has been haunting the old watering hole ever since. In the book Haunted Connecticut, Abigail is called Simsbury’s “most famous ghost.” She has been accused of rearranging furnishings when she isn’t hanging out in the ladies’ room.
Avon Old Farms School (Avon). This boys’ boarding school at 500 Old Farms Road was founded in 1927 by Theodate Pope Riddle, one of America’s first female architects. The spirit of a little girl, presumably the daughter of a former teacher or other school official, occasionally appears in one of the residences (above). She always makes her presence known around 3 o’clock in the morning and some who have seen the tiny wraith feel she is searching for her mother.
Captain Grant’s 1754 Inn (Poquetanuck). People have reported strange occurrences at the old inn at 109-111 Route 2. In addition to the obligatory phantom footsteps in the attic, there have been reports of loud noises outside the front door when no one is there, things flying off the walls and some claim to have felt “something” stroking their faces.
Carousel at Lighthouse Point Park (New Haven). Both the carousel and building that houses it were constructed in 1916 in the Renaissance Revival style. Located at 2 Lighthouse Road, the carousel – which features numerous animals, including horses, dragon chariots and a camel – was the delight of early 20th century children whose families would take the trolley to the end of the line for a day of enjoyment. Sometimes at night – or so it is said – the carousel begins turning and if you listen carefully, you can hear the phantom laughter of a little girl.
Connecticut Valley Hospital Cemetery (Middletown). The hospital and cemetery are located at 1000 Silver Street and according to what is possibly nothing more than an urban legend, if you drive along the road at night without headlights, you will see a headless man in a tuxedo. When the lights are turned on, he immediately disappears. The other ghost, a bride in a white flowing dress and veil, has been reported by more reliable witnesses and isn’t so easily dismissed. Presumably, the apparitions are somehow connected to the graveyard.
Curtis House Inn (Woodberry). Open for business since 1754, The Curtis House at 506 Main Street, South, is the state’s oldest inn. The quaint 18th-century hotel doesn’t advertise itself as ghost-friendly, but online reviews detail accounts of paranormal experiences that enlivened many an overnight stay. One visitor had a television remote go missing and later found it beside the TV although he insisted it wasn’t moved by human hands. A self-described “paranormal investigator,” who claimed she didn’t know the place was haunted, reported her room was “packed with spirits.” Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay spent time at the inn in 2014 for his show Hotel Hell and encountered a ghost named Betty who locked him inside his room. Former employees are believed to be among the dead haunting the place.
Daniel Benton Homestead (Tolland). Six generations of the Benton family lived in the house at 154 Metcalf Road and Benton men fought in both the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. In 1932, the home was purchased by Florrie Bishop Bowering, a radio personality, and she lived there until her death in 1968. A number of “sightings” have been reported, including the spirit of a weeping woman who walks the halls in her wedding gown, a man in Colonial attire in the dining room, and a few people have espied what appears to be a Hessian soldier on the front steps.
Devil’s Hopyard State Park (East Haddam). The 860-acre park at 366 Hopyard Road is located in one of the most picturesque parts of the state. Chapman Falls, a 60-foot cascade of water over multiple ledges, is one of the main attractions, because of its beauty and a hellish legend. Many have reported seeing a man-like image atop a huge boulder near the top of the falls and it is said to be the Devil himself. Some say the demon plays a violin (or fiddle) while his minions stir evil brews in the cauldron-like potholes at the bottom. Though few visitors believe the old tale, people have reported hearing strange music, which a visiting violinist once described “as a mad rendition beyond the capability of human hands.”
Fairfield Hills Hospital (Newtown). The former mental hospital at 3 Primrose Street opened in 1931 and was able to accommodate as many as 4,000 patients. Its classic red brick buildings on 770 bucolic acres were pleasing to the eye, but there were rumors of almost unimaginable atrocities behind closed doors. Unlike many old asylums, Fairfield was rescued and renovated as the Newtown Municipal Center. Although there are no reports of specific hauntings, ghost-hunters – who mistakenly believe old asylums, prisons and jails are crawling with ghosts – still flock to the site. Fairfield served as settings for the film Sleepers and MTV’s Fear.
Gregory’s Four Corners Burial Ground (Trumbull). The grave of Hannah Hovey (above), better known as “Hannah Cranna,” lies in the cemetery located at Spring Hill Road and Trefoil Drive. After the woman’s husband died under mysterious circumstances, people began whispering that Hannah was a witch, likely because she was a pest who constantly begged her neighbors for food and firewood. It is said that those who helped her had good fortune and bad luck befell those who refused. She allegedly predicted her own death and while her body was being committed to the earth, her house burned down. People say the old witch can still be seen along Spring Hill Road.
Gunntown Cemetery (Naugatuck). The historic burial ground at 243 Gunntown Road was established in 1790. Visitors have reported hearing the laughter of phantom children and music that seem to be emanating from the woods. Some also have seen a man carrying a lantern and leading a horse, an apparition their companions cannot see. Though rarely reported, there are tales the old cemetery is haunted by a graveyard dog.
Hanging Hills and Hubbard Park (Meriden). The Black Dog of Hanging Hills is a well-known specter that has been around for well over a hundred years. Those who have seen the apparition describe it as a medium-sized black dog that trots along the ridges of the hills, particularly West Peak. The animal never makes a sound and leaves no footprints. An early account of the Black Dog appeared in the April-June 1898 issue of Connecticut Quarterly, wherein W.H.C. Pynchon wrote: “If you meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time shall bring death.” The entry to Hanging Hills is at 199 Lynch Road.
Hubbard Park at 999 W. Main Street is located in the Hanging Hills area and also has a ghost: The spirit of a little girl of around 7-years-old. According to one version of the story, she was kidnapped and taken into the woods, but there is no evidence to support this allegation, though dead people have been found in the park. In August 2011, the body of a woman who was believed to have jumped to her death was discovered, and in 2018, the bodies of two men were found in the park, the first in April and the second on Sunday, October 7.
Homespun Farm Bed and Breakfast (Griswold). The B&B at 306 Preston Road is now closed, but there’s reason to believe Simon Brewster, the former owner, is still on the job. People have reported seeing a man in a plaid shirt and overalls in and around the orchard and the apparition of a woman, believed to be his wife Laura, reportedly walks up and down the stairs at night.
Lamson Corner Cemetery (Burlington). Some modern-day ghost hunters are convinced the best way to find a ghost is to visit an abandoned cemetery and if the stories are true, this defunct 18th century graveyard doesn’t disappoint. The Connecticut Post deemed it one of the state’s most haunted places and its most notable spirit is that of Elisabeth Palmiter, aka “The Green Lady.” Elisabeth supposedly drowned in a swamp while searching for her husband during a terrible storm. Now, she is said to appear as a floating green mist. At least one version of the tale claims Elisabeth was wearing a green dress when she died. (Elisabeth Palmiter’s headstone was stolen in 2010.)
Litchfield Inn (Litchfield). The inn’s website indicates the property at 432 Bantam Road has undergone a million-dollar renovation, is a great place for weddings and the perfect destination for weary travelers to relax and chill. What it doesn’t mention is that the ghost of an Indian woman has been attracting thrill-seekers for years. According to patrons, the supernatural squaw hangs around the kitchen and dining room and some of the guest rooms are haunted by the spirit of a second woman.
Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum (Norwalk). Named for a railroad tycoon, LeGrand Lockwood, who built the opulent estate, and Charles D. Mathews, a New York financier who later purchased it, visitors can check out this lavish home at 295 West Avenue and learn how the super rich lived back in the day. While doing so, you could meet a ghost or two. One could say the museum milks the big spooky place for all its worth, hosting ghost tours wherein tour guides and volunteers impersonate the dead. This Halloween season, visitors are invited to the mansion to learn about ghosts of the Civil War era. Are there actual ghosts at the site? A 1869 news report details the grisly death of a man who suffocated in a “bed of mortar.” It’s unclear how the victim ended up in such a precarious position. In 1970, some of the interior scenes in House of Dark Shadows were filmed in the old mansion and in 2004, it was featured in The Stepford Wives remake.
Pine Island Cemetery (formerly Over River Burying Ground) behind the mansion is also haunted. Witnesses have reported seeing a white misty form with the face of a woman cross the I-95 Yankee Doodle Bridge and enter the graveyard.
Mansfield Training School and Hospital (Mansfield). The University of Connecticut acquired this defunct institution at 201 Middle Turnpike after it closed in 1993. Opened in 1860 as the Connecticut School for Imbeciles, for 133 years the mental health hospital housed and “treated” thousands of patients. Thanks to the National Register of Historic Places, the buildings are still standing. Is the location haunted? A UConn spokesman told The Hartford Courant the university is unaware of any ghost sightings. But according to Damned Connecticut, there have been reports of apparitions, “spirit mist” and unexplained noises. And, of course, no one can claim the old buildings don’t look haunted which is one of the primary reasons the location is a favorite destination for both filmmakers and thrill-seekers.
Mary’s Grave (New Haven). On Oct. 15, 1872, 48-year-old Mary Hart collapsed at noon and was pronounced dead exactly 12 hours later – at midnight. She was buried in Evergreen Cemetery at 769 Ella T. Grasso Blvd. The following night, her aunt had a dream that Mary had been buried alive. When the coffin was disinterred, Mary’s fingernails were broken and bloody from clawing at the lid of her coffin. The huge pink granite stone marking her grave reads: “The people shall be troubled at midnight and pass away.” According to legend, the unhappy spirit of “Midnight Mary” wanders the cemetery and those caught at her grave at night when the clock strikes 12 will die an unpleasant death.
Monte Cristo Cottage (New London). Eugene O’Neill’s childhood summer home (above) at 325 Pequot Avenue is said to be haunted by the playwright’s mother. There have been reports of phantom footsteps, laughter and giggling, cold spots and feelings of being followed. O’Neill memorialized his dysfunctional family in his play A Long Day’s Journey into Night, which he wrote at Monte Cristo.
Nathan Hale Homestead (Coventry). “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country!” Those who attended school prior to the 1980s probably remember this famous quote by Nathan Hale, who shouted it to British soldiers as they hanged him on December 22, 1776. Hale was born in the house at 2299 South Street and it is said the spirit of Deacon Richard Hale Sr., the hero’s father, is sometimes seen looking out the window, perhaps awaiting his son’s return.
Noah Webster House (West Hartford). Constructed during the early part of the 18th century, the house at 227 South Main Street was the birthplace of Noah Webster, who wrote the first dictionary of the American English language. The property is open to the public and some insist it’s haunted. No one has been able to identify the spirits, but there are stories of a male ghost, who, on one occasion, talked with two children in one of the bedrooms. There are also reports of a female apparition carrying a lantern.
Old State House (Hartford). The first New England witch-hanging took place in May 1647 on the grounds of the Old State House at 800 Main Street. Alse Young was survived by her husband and a daughter, Alice, who was accused of witchcraft 30 years later in Springfield, Massachusetts, Some believe Alse Young’s restless spirit haunts the area to this day. The ghost of Joseph Steward, a local painter and museum keeper, is also said to walk the grounds.
Red Brook Inn (Old Mystic). Built in 1770, the old house at 52 Main Street no longer operates as an inn, but this doesn’t make the place any less haunted. Sally Crary, a former owner, is said to haunt the north room because after her death, her husband married her best friend. There are also reports of cold spots and disembodied voices in the same room.
Riverside Cemetery (Farmington). The historic cemetery at160 Garden Street is said to be “watched” by dead children. Visitors also have reported strange lights, phantom voices and the scent of roses out of season.
Sleeping Giant (Hamden). The rugged 736-foot traprock mountain at 200 Mount Carmel Avenue resembles a slumbering human figure. According to legend, a man in black with a white ring around his left arm has been seen wandering about the top of the Sleeping Giant, where the tower is located. Those who have seen him, say the man appears to be a normal human being and witnesses do not realize he isn’t real until he vanishes into thin air.
Twisted Vine Restaurant (Derby). The resident ghosts at this Italian restaurant located at 285 Main Street may swing by your table between courses. Twisted Vine has an impressive wine list and off-menu items to satisfy your appetite for the supernatural. The eatery is housed in a defunct 19th-century bank that is supposedly a hotspot for the spirit world. Employees often report strange sounds such as mysterious footsteps and slamming doors, and ghost hunters claim they have picked up signs of the dead on their Ghostbusters-type equipment. Although the origins of the ghosts aren’t clear, some are convinced it’s the old bank’s long-dead founder, Edward N. Shelton. Others believe the hauntings are tied to a 1955 flood that damaged a nearby cemetery.
Union Cemetery (Easton). The old burial ground at the intersection of Routes 59 and 136 is haunted by both a “White Lady” and a spook known as “Red Eyes.” Sightings of the spectral lady in a flowing gown – some say she wears a bonnet or night cap – are numerous and the phantom has also been seen strolling along Route 59. People in the cemetery after dark have reported seeing a pair of “red eyes” watching them from a distance.
The Warner Theater (Torrington). The Art-Deco theater at 68 Main Street opened August 19, 1931, and at some point, acquired a ghost called “Murph.” According to legend, Murph was a homeless man who sought shelter in the theater and fell down the stairs. There are reports of cold spots and strange activity in the balcony.
Yankee Pedlar Inn (Torrington). Originally The Conley House, built and operated for many years by Frank and Alice Conley, the hotel and restaurant at 93 Main Street has more than one hangover from days gone by. A grey-haired man in a black suit – believed to the original owner – has been seen in the pub using an old telephone. His wife Alice is said to have died in Room 353 and her spirit supposedly walks the halls, still checking on guests. People staying in Room 295, have reported weird smells, felt invisible entities in their beds and some have seen the apparition of a woman.
Sources: "Hauntings In Connecticut," The Hartford Courant; Thrillist, October 8, 2018; Chris Garafola, "Connecticut's Most Haunted Places," The Connecticut Post, October 30, 2017;.Susan Dunne, "Midnight Mary and Other Haunted Tales from Connecticut's Spooky Spots," The Hartford Courant, October 25, 2017; Haunted Connecticut: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Constitution State by Cheri Revai; Marlese Lessing, "Down to Dust: An Inside Look at the Mansfield Training School," The Daily Campus, October 24, 2016; Haunted Places; and Damned Connecticut.