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 - Dark Shadows of the East Side Tunnel - HistoryAs residents tromp about their business on the East side of Providence, something evil lurks below. A dark chasm in the bowelsTrain - New England of college hill is the home of many frightening tales. A winter home for transients, a frat house for college parties and a church for satanic masses, the abandoned Eastside tunnel serves up a heaping dish of excitement for all those who venture inside.

The tunnel was built in 1908 as a means for easy access to Union Station in downtown Providence. The tunnel is an impressive 22 feet high, 31 feet wide and about a mile long. At its deepest point it is 110 feet below Prospect St. Originally the tunnel contained 2 tracks used by an electric commuter trolley for the first part of the last century. The trolley ran passenger to and from Warren, Bristol, and Fall River. After 1940 the tunnel seems to only have been used by freights of the Providence & Worcester RR. In 1981 they raised the Seekonk Bridge one last time and put an end to its use. Now the tunnel remains as an attraction for the curious and mischievous New Englander.

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Strange New England - Deadmans Cave

Old Graphite MineI’m often asked how we uncover these interesting places and history in New England. Often, I will stress the worth of libraries and lots of reading, but forget to mention the immense value of just talking to people. Many of our greatest discoveries come from a conversation with a friendly person we meet in our travels. One of those casual conversations is what led to my discover of Deadman’s Cave.

In fall of 2012, I was once again reminded that chatting with friends and family around you can also pay off. I was told that my father in-law Richard Gallo had a story about a long-forgotten cave in Cranston Rhode Island.  Though I found it hard to believe I could have missed something like this, I was intrigued.

When I met with Richard, I immediately asked where the cave was located. Expecting to hear that it lay on a lonely hill in the western extremes of Cranston, I was surprised by what in his story revealed.

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Strange New England - The Devil's Cave

Pine Grove Spiritual Camp - New EnglandI’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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Strange New England - Lacy's CavesIn Cumbria, England, is Eden Valley, a quiet part of the UK with its traditional towns 1and 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.

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