Halloween origins though widely unknown date very far back. Most notably to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The festival day marked the end of summer and signaled a time of harvest in preparation for a cold, dark winter. It served as the start of not only a new season but a new year. Additionally a time when many people faced death.
The Celts believed that on the night before their ‘New Year’ known to us as mischief night a boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred, they believed during the festival of Samhain, ghosts were capable of returning to earth.
Halloween came to the United States in the second half of the 19th century when an influx of Irish Immigrants settled here. At the height of the postwar baby boom (1950’s) trick-or-treating reclaimed its place among other Halloween customs, quickly becoming standard practice for millions of children in America’s cities and newly built suburbs. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion per year on Halloween, making it the nation’s second-largest commercial holiday.
Follow our “spooky legend” to discover just how haunted we think each location actually is, but we will let you be the judge.
#1 Old New Gate Prison, East Granby CT
Copper Mine (c. 1705-1750s)Connecticut’s First Prison (1773-1827)
Open in 2018 until Oct 29th!
A National Historic Landmark and State Archaeological Preserve, Old New-Gate Prison & Copper Mine (1773) in East Granby, Connecticut is the oldest surviving state prison in the nation. The site consists of 45 acres of land, including the one-acre prison yard enclosed by a 12-foot tall masonry perimeter wall that encompasses the entrance to the underground copper mine, a rehabilitated two-story Guardhouse, and the standing ruins of four other buildings: a two-story Chapel, a two-story Nail Shop, a two-story Workshop, and a four-story Cell Block. The dank mine tunnels, menacing perimeter walls, and hulking prison ruins still convey an environment of confinement and awe.
Is it Spooky?Reports of hauntings here include, screams from empty areas of the mine, a ghostly face seen in several rooms and an apparition of a man who appears to be climbing a rope above a shaft as if he were trying to escape. Other stories include unexplainable cold spots, being touched when no one is there, and the feeling of being watched when in empty areas.” Via Haunted Hovel
#2. The Curtis House
Inn & Restaurant, Woodbury CT
Curtis House Inn hosts a full service of guest rooms dressed in antique charm in the main house. The adjacent carriage house boasts additional rooms and is handicap accessible. There is a dining room that serves, lunch Tuesday through Saturday, dinner Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday, and a Sunday Brunch Buffet. A more casual atmosphere can be had in our lower level City Hall Pub with entries both inside the inn and at the rear of the building.
The original 2 story building was constructed in 1734, by Rev Anthony Stoddard, originally built to be a family home. At some point, his grandson, little Anthony Stoddard, opened The Orenaug Inn. In 1754, the grandson changed the name of this “public house”, to The Curtis House Inn. During the next 200 years, 4 unrelated Curtis families lived at one time or another in this house.
Is it Spooky? Orbs have been caught on film and a clear EVP was recorded. People who stay in room 5 have heard voices and someone walking. A young female entity, known as Sally, hangs out on the second floor, and especially likes Room 16. Female guests have had the covers moved or pulled off them.Room 23 – Guests have felt an unseen presence standing watch over them. A male entity dressed in 17th -18th century attire, it is thought that this entity is a former owner and much more.
#3. A Night at the Lizzy Borden House
Fall River, Massachusetts.
Lizzie Andrew Borden (July 19, 1860 – June 1, 1927) was an American woman who gained notoriety as the main suspect in the August 4, 1892, axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts. Borden was tried and acquitted of the murders. The Borden Family residence now operates as a bed and breakfast in addition to offering daily, hourly tours every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Are you daring enough to visit? Tours are $20. Other spooky accounts of this home include a prior tenant, Eliza Darling Borden (a distant relative) killed three of her children by dropping them down a well at the rear of the property and then took her own life.
Is it Spooky? Undoubtedly yes! I am actually so creeped out right now just from looking at the photos that I have to stop – Nicole G, Here is an account by Kelly McClure (for Destination America)
When I arrived at the B&B, after putting my suitcase in the John V. Morse room and taking a quick look around, I was given a tour of the home along with the handful of people who would also be attempting to stay there that night. The tour guide, a retired paramedic and fireman with a heavy Boston accent, told us that almost everyone who stays there experiences ghost activity, and that although he’s seen a lot of horrific things in his past career, he’d rather sleep in a burning building than sleep in that house. Of the many ghost stories he told the most memorable included the fact that Mrs. Borden likes to rip the covers off of people while they sleep, that objects in the home get moved from room to room by unseen forces. Visitors of the B&B often claim to hear the ghosts of these children playing and laughing on the top floor of the house.
#4. The Merchant – A Lark Hotel
Known as The Joshua Ward House
Before I say anything about #4 on our Spooky New England visits, I had to do a lot of research to discover that the Joshua Ward House is now a luxurious boutique hotel owned by the Lark Group. Though very beautiful, it is extremely evident they have gone through extensive lengths to hide the property’s dark history. The Joshua Ward House, now The Merchant has been the site of numerous paranormal phenomenon, including a famous picture of a witch’s ghost. The story goes that a woman was snapping a polaroid picture within the house (in the early 1980s) and when it processed, the bone-chilling image of a woman with black hair and a black dress showed up in one of the hallways of the mansion. (The image was so terrifying, I couldn’t bring myself to share it here.
Is it Spooky? Items are turned over randomly, as well as cold spots that make the hair stand on the back of your neck, are felt frequently. Some even claim that the house is cursed, as it was built on the foundation of the Sheriff who condemned Giles Corey to
death in 1692 (Sheriff George Corwin). It is alleged that he used his private home as a sadistic torture dungeon for the innocent victims of the Witch Hysteria and that his violent spirit still stalks the land now hundreds of years later. – Via Haunted Rooms
Good thing you can stay here, in the absolutely gorgeous rooms designed by The Merchant – do you dare?
#5. The Cemetery at CT Valley Hospital
Spooky or just plain sad? Between the years 1878 and 1957 there were 1652 people buried here in graves marked only by numbered stones. Since 1999 there has been an annual ceremony to honor and name those buried on the grounds, and large stones have been erected to list the names, year of death and age of each person. It is hoped that the patients buried here will finally receive respect and that the former stigma of mental illness will be erased. – via findagrave.com. Many stories depict family members discovering their distant loved ones had been buried here.
One story in particularly fascinating was written for the N.Y Times by Patricia Weiss, in 2001. Titled: Unclaimed and Mostly Forgotten: A Testament to Troubled Lives. It tells a story of a James J. Byrnie, an artist who decorated circus wagons for P. T. Barnum. As the story goes, Byrnie left his home in 1902 when his son was just 4 years old. No one ever knew what happened to him, until his grandson Robert Byrnie (71) began searching. After scouring local sources the family discovered the fate of James Byrnie who presumably died of lead poisoning as well as dementia in 1906 was buried in grave plot #403. Read full story here.
Is it spooky? Surely ominous.
#6. OMNI Mount Washington Hotel
Bretton Woods, NH
Bretton Woods is part of a land grant made in 1772 by Royal Governor John Wentworth. The area was named after Bretton Hall, Wentworth’s ancestral home in Yorkshire, England.The superstructure of The Mount Washington Hotel boasted a steel network, uncommon in its day. The Mount Washington Hotel was built by New Hampshire native Joseph Stickney, who made his fortune in coal mining and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Additionally, The Mount Washington Hotel has long been rumored to be the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write his classic horror novel and subsequent movie “The Shining.”
Is it spooky? Carolyn Stickney, the widowed bride of the Mount Washington Hotel’s owner, Joseph Stickney played a principal role in the development of the hotel and visited the hotel during peak season every year. She became known as “the Princess” after re-marrying to French royal, Prince Jean Baptiste Marie de Faucigny Lucinge, and often held extravagant parties in her own private dining room, now called the Princess Lounge. After her death in 1936, caretakers and managers prowling the property during the winter hibernation months reported catching glimpses of the Princess descending the stairs for dinner or lights switching on and off in one of the towers.The Princess often returns to a third-floor guest room at the Mount Washington Hotel, where her four poster maple bed still resides. Several guests staying in that room have reported being awakened to find a woman sitting at the end of the bed, brushing her hair. – Via Omni Mount Washington Hotel
#8. The Crypt Room
The Inn at The Agora, Lewiston Maine
The Hotel Crypt is part of the Inn at the Agora, which is currently for sale and sadly not taking reservations for 2018. Still, we had to share this as our #8 spooky place in anticipation for its reopening. Thrill seekers and lovers of bizarre and spooky experiences? Look no further than The Hotel Crypt – the only attraction of it’s kind. In 1890, Father Wallace was the first priest of the former St. Patrick’s Church in Lewiston, Maine, which opened in 2016 as the Agora Grand Event Center. In he was laid to rest in a crypt below the church’s mortuary chapel. Today, except for a few modern comforts such as furniture the crypt remains just as Father Wallace experienced it until 2009 when his remains were moved.
The crypt is authorized to be used only for entertainment and novelty value, not as a hotel room. Guests must return to their regular hotel room by 2AM and there is no bathroom in the crypt. Now, novelty seekers, adventurers, the fearful, the fearless, the believers, and the skeptics can enjoy a peaceful nights rest (ha) in this creepy, beautiful, spooky, fascinating crypt where Father Wallace’s body decomposed for over 100 years. We say no thanks.
Is it spooky? I would say so. If I were Father Wallace, I would be mortified.
How many of these “spooky” places have you heard of, or better yet been to? New England Weekender Contributor Amanda Olsen visited The Lizzie Borden House – you can read about here experience here.