Strange New England has been around for over 15 years hunting down some of the more interesting history, folklore and places in the northeast. Currently we are making the transition from the old webpage to a new blog. Once we get a enough up on the blog we’ll begin posting new stories as we continue to move some of the older ones. This will give us the opportunity to revisit some of the earliest of our great successes and entertaining failures of the past.
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I’ve often thought of Connecticut as the Devil’s State. You can find his name attached to more features, places and landmarks than anywhere else in New England. Even Long Island Sound was referred to as the Devil’s Belt. Because of this, I was not surprised to stumble on the mention of a cave called “The Devil’s Cave,” in Connecticut. I had seen it mentioned in a 1908 article about a spiritualist camp that lies near a cove along the coast. I won’t deny that the cave’s name is what caught my interest.
It wasn’t long before I discovered that this cave has been in many publications in my library. It’s mentioned in a list of lost Connecticut caves as Devil’s Den Caves. Many other authors briefly mentioned it as Indian Cave. The one thing they all seemed to all have in common was the lack of knowledge about its exact location. Some spoke of it as if it were a secret that only locals were aware of.
Posted in Historical, Legends & Folklore, The Underworldwith no comments yet.
In Cumbria, England, is Eden Valley, a quiet part of the UK with its traditional towns and pubs, beautiful hamlets and sandstone villages, some dating back to Viking times. A few miles north of the historic town of Penrith, is a small village called Little Salkeld. On the west side of the village is the Eden River. It was known to the Romans as the Itoun. This name derives from the Celtic word ituna, meaning water, or rushing. It winds its way north toward Carlisle.
The largest house in the village is the manor in Little Salkeld, confirmed by King Edward I. It is said to be the original home of the Salkeld family of landowners and Salkeld Hall built in the 16th century. The village has a vicarage with no church and Little Salkeld Watermill that was built in 1745 and is still operating. Little Salkeld is also known for Long Meg and Her Daughters, a Bronze Age stone circle consisting of 51 stones (of which 27 remain upright). The tallest stone is 3.7 meters high and stands outside the circle. It is made of local red sandstone, carved with a spiral, a cup and ring mark, and concentric circles. Poet William Wordsworth deemed them to be the country’s most notable relics after Stonehenge.
Posted in Historical, The Underworld, Weird Destinationswith no comments yet.
Almost a year ago we had found the counterfeiters den that had been lost for close to 100 years. We promised that we would share the full story behind the Den once our research was complete. Though the story is still not complete and there is much more research to be done, we felt we would share how much we have so far. We have withheld names and particular details of the story because we are currently working with members of the local government to protect it. We confirmed that the den is on private property and we are trying to arrange a conservation easement. For now, the den should be considered off limits. Soon we hope to meet with the land owners to begin discussions. We hope to develop a good relationship with them so that the den can be protected and possibly accessible in the future.
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In August 2003 I returned trip to Purgatory Chasm. With a diet of 90% fish and lots of exercise, I had trimmed down a few belt sizes. When I last visited the Damnation Cave, I hit a road block. The passage to the lower level was much narrower than I remembered. Now, I was ready to squeeze through that final obstacle and make it to the inner sanctum. This time I planed on mapping the cave. This gave the trip a useful purpose, but finding my way to the lower chamber was my true goal.
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New Hampshire has always had a warm place in my heart. My family and I use to vacation in cottages along Lake Winnipesauke every summer. Places like the Polar Caves, Lost River, and The Flume were some of my favorite stops in the Granite State. Little did I realize that hidden within the deep forest and steep mountains there were similar places waiting to be revealed or rediscovered. I was pleasantly surprised when I got a lead on a place called Glacial Park. My friend Super ‘D’ had suggest we head up to Thornton NH for an adventure weekend. His cousin Bryon is the owner and caretaker of Shamrock motel in Thornton NH and also was an avid explorer. Byron enjoyed hiking the NH forest with his kids and knew of several other interesting sites we could visit. Once the seed was planted in Bryon’s ear, he invited my Super ‘D’ and I to stay up at his motel for the weekend. He promised give us a tour of some of the forgotten sites in NH that he felt would make a great addition to the website.
Posted in Natural Wonderswith 1 comment.
Around 8 pm on the evening of January 14, 1942 the residents of North Woodstock New Hampshire were startled by the sound of a crash on the side of Mt. Waternomee. Being so soon after Pearl Harbor, some residents first believed they too were being attacked. Shortly after the crash calls went out to state police, forest service, and civilian volunteers. By 8:15 pm, wearing snow shoes, the first rescue squad began its 2.3 mile climb up the snowy slopes, arriving at the crash site 3 hours later. What they discovered was a crashed American B-18 Bomber.
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Many know of the Dighton Rock. Another popular rock with a rune inscription is called the Narragansett Rock or Pojac Point Rock. It is the second most commonly spoken of landmark in Rhode Island concerning the possible pre-colonial visit by Vikings. The most popular Viking landmark in Rhode Island is the Newport tower. What many do not know is that there are many other rocks in Rhode Island that are believed to also have runes inscriptions. Though most are believed to be hoaxes, Indian markings, or just natural features, they are interesting curios of Rhode Island culture and history.
Posted in Ancient NE and tagged norumbega, norumbega runestone viking runstone runes leif erickson northernmen inscription petroglyph narragansett stone pojac point bristol ri rhode island, viking runeswith no comments yet.
The story of Eldon French’s discovery of a beautiful cave reads like a young boy’s fantasy. It reminded me of those moments in my own childhood where I would read about pirates secreting treasure on some lonely shoreline or the discovery of ancient ruins. I would be out exploring the forests the next day in the hopes of making my own discovery. Eldon was one of the few whose love for exploration and keen sense of observation paid off. He had discovered what is still considered one of the longest caves in New England. Though my own childhood adventures more often met with great disappointment, this would be my chance to revisit those fantasies of my youth while living vicariously through Eldon’s story.
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Over 10 years ago, when we had just begun to delve into the stranger side of New England , a unique site that was top on our list was called the Upton Chamber. We stumbled across it in a book I had purchased from a used book store in Providence, R.I..
Upton chamber is one of the largest underground stone chambers in New England . A six foot high fourteen foot long tunnel leads into the mammoth chamber. The chamber is twelve feet in diameter and twelve feet high and beehive in shape, like a large stone igloo. Upton chamber is an amazing work of dry masonry with a cap stone weighing several tons. Archeologists believe it is just a colonial root cellar built in the 1700’s but there are those that recognized it similarity to early Irish and Iberic stone chambers and believe it was constructed over a thousand years earlier. Most archeologists feel this is fanciful thinking since there has been no evidence of Pre-colonial foreign visitors other than the Norse at Newfoundland in 1000 AD.
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New England has many rocks with mysterious and cryptic messages scaring their surface. One of the more recognized is ‘Dighton Rock’ located along Route 24 in Dighton Massachusetts . Also off of 24, buried in the forests of East Bridgewater , is a strange rock known as Minister’s Rock that not many are aware of. In this case, the words can clearly be read by anyone and the person scribed them is not a mystery at all. What inspired this man to sprawl these words on a boulder is what puzzles me.
Posted in Mysterious Landmarkswith no comments yet.