Strange New England

Dragons hole map2Strange New England has been around for over 15 years hunting down some of the more interesting history, folklore, legends, monsters 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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Strange New England - Lost Cave of Monroe

1858 Map of MonroeRumors of a lost cave in Monroe Connecticut have circulated for a long time. It has most likely been the inspiration for many young boys to explore the deep forest during those warm summer days. Tradition says that an adventuresome man named sharp stumbled onto a treasure hidden in a hillside of Monroe Connecticut. The story goes on to say that with 400’ of rope, Sharp explored the cave as far as safety would permit. What exactly he saw would remain a mystery. In the 1820s the cave was mined for Silver and limestone, but the ore acquired from it proved to be very poor quality. Eventually the mining ceased.

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Strange New England - The Glocester Ghoul - Folklore

Dark Forest - FolkloreSome might say that northwestern Rhode Island had been cursed by some dark force in the past. It has been the source of many foul tales of devilish specters and hideous brutes. Its forests appear darker and colder than others. On all sides are ancient trees with branches that writhe like tendrils over its roads. As a fog settles over the evening, you can’t escape the feeling that stygian beast skulks within it. Though you might expect these sensations are borne from the darkest corners of our imagination, there are five men who would strongly disagree. For one late night in Glocester, Rhode Island, they encountered a fiend like no other; the Glocester Ghoul.

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Strange New England - The Glowing Thing of Moore Lake - Folklore

Connecticut River - FolkloreThe Connecticut River is the largest river in New England. It meanders its way through the hills and forest of Northern New England between Vermont and New Hampshire and discharges itself in Long Island Sound. This leviathan consumes over 11,263 sq miles of the Northeast. Traced by many cities and small towns, it’s an icon of the New England lifestyle. Though seemingly beautiful and peaceful by day, its undulating coils hide many stories and secrets along its path to the Devil’s Belt. One is a mysterious glowing thing that lurks in its waters.

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Strange New England - The Connecticut River Serpent - Folklore

Connecticut River - Folklore

Hidden within the undulating arm of the Connecticut River is a serpent that has frightened those who’ve lived on it banks since colonists first settled there. Often it has been described as an eel or snake-like serpent over one hundred feet long. Though over the past three hundred years it has been spotted by people across three states, it still appears to remain a mystery.

In the early 1800s, spotting strange creatures off the coast of Connecticut was not uncommon. Sailors would return to port with tales of ghastly leviathans they encountered in their travels. The most peculiar of these stories frequently surfaced in the local publications. One that crossed the pages of the New York Times and Scientific American was not reported by sailors at sea, but by people deep in the heart of Connecticut. This beast appeared to make its home in the Connecticut River.

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Strange New England Podcast - Folklore

Strange History is the audio companion to the blog Strange New England where we investigate the forgotten, unusual, and simply strange folklore, history and destinations in New England.

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Strange New England - Headless Skeleton of Swampton - FolkloreWashington Irving wrote of the Headless Horseman, a tale of a Hessian of Sleepy Hollow who had Headless Horseman - Folklorelost his head in war. It’s a wonderful story that all enjoyed in their childhood. In RI though there is a more gruesome tale of a headless spirit in Swampton. This story may even predate Irving’s tale, and cause most to shudder in fear, when alone on Indian Corner Road.

In the early 1800s a large portion of Swampton consisted of over grown forest and wetlands. Virtually all of the roads that traverse through the wilds of this portion of RI didn’t have names. Often the locals would apply names to them that best described their location. While some were adorned with pleasant names like Rathbun and Sunnyside others had much more gruesome rubrics. Dark Corners, Purgatory Rd, and Robbers Corner carried names that both identified them and warned the weary traveler. Though most names changed over time, there are those who’s now formal name still carries the spirit of its location.  Indian Corner is the most interesting and frightening of those lonely byways.

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Strange New England -Sutcliffe Cavern - Folklore

Pleasure Parties - Folklore

Pleasure Parties

While digging through the archives in 2013, I stumbled across a fantastic story in the Dec 3, 1888 edition of the New York Times about a cave in Connecticut known as Sutcliffe Cavern. According to the article it had been discovered four years earlier in North Stonington, Connecticut while digging out the cellar on the Sutcliffe farm. It soon became a popular stop for local pleasure parties.

I had never before heard about this cave before nor do I live far from North Stonington. I thought I found a real treasure, and couldn’t wait to rediscover it.  Anxiously, I read on and the details of this cave soon revealed that it was a treasure, but not the kind I first thought it was. The article claimed that Polly Sutcliffe, Known local as “Aunt Polly”, believed that a pot of gold was hidden in her basement. She had dreamed about the gold for three weeks. When laborers began digging the cellar for her home they soon broke through into the cave. (more…)


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Strange New England - Castle Caves - GeologyCastle Caves Topo - New EnglandMonk Caves, Pirate Caves, Spouting caves and now Castle Caves. I never really expected that the crew here at Strange New England would be encountering so many caves this summer. Each one seemed to be stumbled upon by accident. Castle Caves was no different. As I was examining an old United States Global Survey (USGS) topographical map of the Sutton MA area, the words ‘Castle Caves’ just jumped out at me. It was only a few miles directly south of Purgatory Chasm. I was surprised I had never noticed it before.

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Strange New England - Rhode Islands Tea PartyMarket House - New EnglandAs you all may recall from history class, in 1773 a group of Boston residence that were upset by the high taxes from the British, tossed the bales of tea into the bay. This  would come to be known as The Boston Tea Party.  If you were fortunate enough, you may have even visited the museum that celebrates this historic event during a school field trip. What you might not be familiar with is the Rhode Island Tea Party.

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Strange New England - The Terror of Lake Memphremagog - FolkloreBeast - FolkloreAlong the northern border of Vermont is a finger lake known as Lake Memphremagog. It’s the second largest lake in the state and is shared by Canada. Though a seemingly tranquil spot, it has been the home of many tales of a strange and frightening beast; a mysterious monster that some say the local Indians warned the settlers to avoid.

The creature in Lake Memphremagog has long been a part of the lore of the Abenakis, the indigenous people who gave the lake its name. When the settlers arrive the Abenakis warned the settlers not to bathe or swim in the lake due to a predatory monster that patrolled the lake and was known to devour unsuspecting humans.

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