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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Along 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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In Colebrook Conn. it is rumored that there exists a cave of mammoth proportion. Colebrook Cave was alleged to have been discovered in the 1800’s, and rediscovered around 1926, only to be lost once again. Some say that this tale was a hoax created by local pranksters. Though the story reads much like the typical legend, as you dig deeper into its history you begin to find evidence to support it.
Connecticut is the home of many caves, large and small, most New Englanders are not aware of. The largest of these are the Twin Lakes Caves in Salisbury. These caves are impressive in size and called the Champions of New England caves. Though previously commercial caves, they are now closed to the public.
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The Connecticut River is the largest river in New England that 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 seeming beautiful and peaceful by day, within its undulating coils it hides many stories and secret along its path to the devils belt. One a Mysterious is a Glowing Thing that lurks in its waters.
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The Atlantic Ocean is teaming with many unusual and very frightening creatures. For centuries sailors have spun tale of denizen from the deep that would make even the bravest of anglers shudder in fear. Giant serpents, colossal fish with razor sharp teeth, and behemoths with tentacles that could crush the hull of a ship were believed to lurk beneath the waves. One of them that came to the shore for all to see was the Blockness Monster.
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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.
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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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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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In the city of Waterbury Connecticut, not far west of Holy Land, is a curious tract of land that is home to a local legend. Flanked by a major highway, private homes and business, this triangle of forest and swamp is not easily accessible. Hidden near its apex are the remains of what has been the inspiration for this lore. The popular name for this spot is The Little People Village but it has also been called The Daemon Village.
There are many different versions of this strange legend but I’ll try to summarize the most common facets of this odd tale.
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Near 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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