ms bannerThe hill where Minsters Rock Lives

New England has many rocks with mysterious and cryptic messages scaring their surface. One of the more recognized is ‘Dighton Rock’ located along Route 24 in Dighton Massachusetts . Also off of 24, buried in the forests of East Bridgewater , is a strange rock known as Minister’s Rock that not many are aware of. In this case, the words can clearly be read by anyone and the person scribed them is not a mystery at all. What inspired this man to sprawl these words on a boulder is what puzzles me.

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In the city of Waterbury Connecticut, not far west of Holy Land, is a curious tract of Nearby Swamp - Village of Little Peopleland 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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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 132750728_8f0342f1acmountains, 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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moundsSometimes while out on an adventure, the greatest discoveries made are the unexpected ones. Recently I had come across one of these amazing finds. I was exploring the Wickaboxet State Forest in West Greenwich Rhode Island looking for and trail to a cemetery of legend and lore. As I explored the north end of the property, I saw some fairly large mounds of dirt. At first I assumed that they were from animal borrows or maybe just remnants of decaying trees that had been exploited by termites. As I proceeded, I noticed some more along the road and the size was increasing. I decided to get a closer look and to my surprise, found that they were ant mounds.

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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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At the intersection of Westminster and Weybosset Street in Providence Rhode Island is a site that has puzzled many. It has been called the Turk’s Head Building. Rumors of secret organization, religious cults, and eccentric men have been circulating around this fair city for as long as I can remember. In my search for the truth, I discover that some of these rumors contain a measure of truth.

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The Eighth Gate to Hell!

gate4In Leicester Massachusetts on a forgotten dirt road lies an old Quaker cemetery that has developed quite a reputation. The proper name for this place is ‘Friend Cemetery’ and the Worcester Pleasant Street Friends Meeting owns it. The fact that there is no marker or nameplate showing its name; visitors have dubbed it Spider Gate Cemetery due to the spider web like pattern that adorns its beautiful wrought iron gate.

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When most people think of mummies, images of deserts and pyramids come to mind. On a recent trip to NH, Bryon the owner of the Shamrock Motel mentioned that there were mummies in No. Woodstock NH. Memories of a story concerning mummies that were reburied in New England came to mind. Byron claimed no knowledge of real mummies in NH but that he knew of a curious rock formation from long ago. He explained that ‘The Mummies’ was an outcropping of bedrock that  Crooked Brook carved into what resembled mummies. Though not as admired as ‘The Old Man in the Mountain’, it once was a popular roadside stop for tourists and locals.

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swallo1Near 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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Some people are well aware of the idea that Leif Erickson, long before Columbus, visited New England. Some historians even suspect that the Portuguese were aware of our coast but kept it a secret. Evidence had been found to support each of these theories but there are those who still disagree. The strangest band of men many believed to have crossed the Atlantic to visit our shores is the Templar Knights. Though many find this difficult to believe, Westford Massachusetts may have evidence written in stone to support it.

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