23

Oct 2009

Haunted New England

witchneonBy. Jim Crooks

New England is arguably the most historic corner of the U.S., and with all of that history comes many stories of paranormal activity…such as tortured spirits and ghosts that continue to haunt their former stomping grounds. With the help of the website realhaunts.com and the stories of Shannon Reinbold-Gee (and others), here are some of the spookier haunted houses and ghost stories throughout New England
Pocatello High School- Oakdale, Connecticut

Built in 1893, the school is shrouded by a number of ghost stories. The most well-known story involves the locker room just beneath the stage. In this story, the lead actress in a play was strangled in the locker room by a jealous understudy. The understudy simply went on the stage and took the murdered girl’s place. If one stands on the balcony at night and shines a red light on center stage, he will be confront by a girl in a polka dot dress.

Captain Buck’s Tombstone – Bucksport, Maine

Long ago, a man named Captain Buck fell in love with a woman who was known to be a witch. In order to protect his reputation, he left her for another woman. The witch cursed him, saying she would leave her foot upon his grave. Today, an outline of a foot is seen on his tombstone. The stone has been scrubbed and even replaced; the outline still remains.

Joshua Ward House – Salem, Massachusetts

Built on the foundation of the house of the former sheriff that was responsible for hanging witches during the infamous Salem witch trials, many reports of hauntings have been reported. The sheriff used an old English law that allowed him to crush a suspected witch with rocks to make him plead guilty or innocent. The man (Giles Corey) eventually died, but before he did so he “cursed” the sheriff. The sheriff died 5 years later of unknown causes. Candles have mysteriously been taken out of their holders and melted, trash cans have turned over, it is always cold in the corner of one room, alarms are set off for no reason, and one guest has seen an elderly ghost sitting by the fireplace.

Mount Washington Hotel – Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

At the base of scenic Mount Washington sits a glorious testament to wealth and love. The Mount Washington Hotel was built in 1902 (after 2 years of construction), a show of the wealth owner Joseph Stickney had amassed through his investments in coal mining and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Stickney spared no expense on the massive structure, using what was then state-of-the-art construction methods including heating, plumbing and private phones. A staff of 350 people waited on the guests—sometimes outnumbering them. It was truly a wealthy man’s paradise. And Joseph Stickney’s wife, Carolyn, loved the hotel nearly as much as she loved her husband. She also loved to dress up to the nines to outshine her guests.

Carolyn outlived her husband by a number of years. First she remarried a French Prince, but after his death she returned to the hotel where she ultimately passed away. Rumor has it that she still wanders through the elegant hotel and its rambling grounds. Visitors have reported hearing a ghostly romantic melody playing through the hotel, and some say they’ve glimpsed a woman fitting Carolyn’s description peeking down from the balcony…perfume drifts into rooms and tubs start filling themselves, according to some guests. Mysterious lights are sometimes seen and although the hotel staff has been taught not to tell ghostly tales, some hint at odd occurrences. In room 314 there supposedly still exists a hand turned and handcrafted four-poster bed that Carolyn shared with her first husband. Some have reported seeing a woman on the bed’s edge, slowly brushing her hair.

Inn at Shadow Lawn – Newport, Rhode Island

According to local lore, in 1913 a young heiress and her husband moved in to the beautiful mansion. For a while they seemed quite happy, but he was young and, as a doctor in the town, had many reasons to meet with his patients. Especially the attractive ones. He soon tired of his wealthy wife and began a pattern of cheating on her—often and sometimes publicly. Perhaps his boldest move was using a hefty part of her inheritance to purchase one of the first automobiles. Sure, he took her out in it a few times for a spin, but soon it was just a convenient way to travel to and from his trysts. A flashy car impressed the ladies, even then it seems.

His wife, utterly disillusioned would wait by the windows facing the drive. Every day she waited. And every day he’d come home, fresh from his womanizing ways, expecting she would simply accept his behavior. She did for a while. Then one day in June she took matters into her own hands. She waited in the bushes by the driveway and when her ne’er-do-well spouse rumbled in and stepped out of the vehicle, she shot him. She was charged with his murder but finally acquitted. There had been no witnesses, although everyone in town could surely imagine her motivation. But murdering one’s spouse (even a flaky philandering spouse) was “simply not done” in that era. So, although she never served jail time, it seems that the town shunned her.

Living a tortured and then lonely life, it is no wonder some aspect of her seems to linger around the beautiful house where she had dreamed so often of happiness. Occasionally mysterious footsteps are heard and a filmy figure has been spotted near the windows she used to watch for her husband through.