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 - Runestone of Leif Erikson

Narragansett Runestone - FolkloreMany 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 landmark in Rhode Island that is claimed to have been built by Vikings 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.

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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 - Little People Village - Demons Village - Legends

In the city of Waterbury Connecticut, not far west of Holy Land, is a curious tract of Nearby Swamp - Village of Little People - Folkloreland 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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Strange New England - Devil Monkey -  Folklore

Since 1923, the Appalachians have been believed to be the stomping ground of what some people call Devil Monkeys. Though they are thought to lurk in the Toy Monkey- Legends mountains, every so often they are seen venturing into suburbia. They are described as between three and eight feet in height, with baboon or dog-like snouts, and dark black hair. These hostile primates are said to sport long claws, pointy ears and white hair from neck to belly. What makes those who have witness them so frightened is not only how out of place they appear, but that they have been reported to attack and sometime kill, small game, livestock and dogs.

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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 - 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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Strange New England - Witch Island

signA quarter mile off Maine’s shore, at the east end of South Bristol’s Harbor, “The Gut”, lays an 18-acre Sanctuary called Witch Island. The name beckons images of Hardy Boys adventures as does its strange history. In the late 19th century a woman know as the “Witch of Wall Street,” lived on the island. She was a mystical consultant that foretold people’s financial futures. She was very successful and lived a happy quiet life in John’s bay. As to what became of her no one is sure. Some say that she retired and quietly continued to live on the island. One-day locals realized they hadn’t heard from her in a while and when they went out to her home she was found dead in her cabin. Some people have said that she haunts the island. Some evenings a strange glow has been seen floating around the island.

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