Strange New England - Damnation CaveDamnation Cave - GeologyIn 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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Strange New England - Eldon French's CaveThe 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 Beautiful Farm Land Near Eldon French's Home - Caveof 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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Strange New England - Upton Chamber Mystery

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 Chamber-Upton-4Upton 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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Strange New England - Purgatory Caves

pcaves6The late 1980’s was when I first heard of a places in Newport, Rhode Island, called Purgatory Chasm. While chatting with a woman I met at a coffee shop in Providence, I was about to learn the true research value of talking with the locals. It was springtime and we were talking about fun things we planned to do over the summer. I mentioned how I was planning on going to Purgatory Chasm that afternoon, and she told me she had been there before. She got my attention, and I listened closely as she told me all about the reservation. As the conversation continued, something didn’t sound right. We soon realized we were talking about two different Purgatory Chasms. I was speaking of the Chasm in Newport and she was speaking of the Chasm in Sutton, Massachusetts. Now even more interested, I grilled her for as much information as I could get. I thanked her for the lead, and was on my way. Months later, I made it up to Sutton to experience its Chasm, and was pleasantly surprised by what I found.


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Strange New England - Swallow Cave- Folklore

Swallow Cave Print - LegendsNear a small Massachusetts village called Nahant,  is a cave that few people are aware of. It’s roughly 24 yards deep with a ceiling over six feet high.  I had stumbled upon an old print of the cave while researching caves of New England.  Intrigued by my discovery, I spent some time following up on it.  It was difficult to find anything written about the cave.  Eventually, I discovered a short description that mentioned a witch haunted it.  That was more than enough to put it on the top of my to-do list.  I scanned through topographical and nautical maps and found its location.  Spending a few more hours digging through the archives, I uncovered the story behind Swallow Cave.


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Strange New England - Smallpox Den

Recently I was digging through the cold cases and decide to pull out the Smallpox den file. I had known of the den for over ten years. Though it was a fantastic story, all I was left with was the name of the town and brook it lies near. The brook stretched for miles through fields and forest.  Without more clues it would be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack.  I thought I’d review the material to see if I could find something I might have missed.


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Strange New England - Monk Caves

Many places of questionable history and lore are hidden across New England. Few people are aware of their locations, and they wish to keep it that way. These sites consist of stone chambers and monuments of various styles and sizes. Some historians say they are only ‘root cellars’ that were built by colonists. Others entertain the idea that these lithic sites were constructed by much earlier visitors. The fact that many of them seem to be align with astronomical should give one pause. Archaeo-astronomer Byron Dix has determined that New England is chock-full of underground chambers. According to Mr. Dix, there are 105 astronomically aligned chambers in Massachusetts, 51 in New Hampshire, 41 in Vermont, 62 in Connecticut, 12 in Rhode Island, and 4 in Maine. The Early Sites Research Society which has been studying the chambers for over three decades, claims to have documented over 400 chambers in New England. Mystery Hill, and Gungywamp are the only sites that are commercially available to the public, while the rest remain hidden on private land or from public knowledge.


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Strange New England - Pirate Cave

WKidd3For over a year I had been on a search for the Pirate Cave connected to the most famous pirate of all, Captain Kidd. According to most of the stories, it was located somewhere on the coast of Jamestown RI. During my hunt for this cave lost to history, I had stumbled across the mention of a pirate cave in Newport also. This only made my hunt more confusing and difficult. Eventually I did rediscover the Jamestown Pirate Cave. It was an exciting moment but at the same time, I could feel the other pirate cave snickering at me from across the bay. Much like the with the Jamestown cave, it was very difficult to find anything telling me where its exact location was.


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