Strange New England - Lost Cave of Monroe

1858 Map of MonroeRumors of a lost cave in Monroe Connecticut have circulated for a long time. It has most likely been the inspiration for many young boys to explore the deep forest during those warm summer days. Tradition says that an adventuresome man named sharp stumbled onto a treasure hidden in a hillside of Monroe Connecticut. The story goes on to say that with 400’ of rope, Sharp explored the cave as far as safety would permit. What exactly he saw would remain a mystery. In the 1820s the cave was mined for Silver and limestone, but the ore acquired from it proved to be very poor quality. Eventually the mining ceased.

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Strange New England - The Glocester Ghoul - Folklore

Dark Forest - FolkloreSome might say that northwestern Rhode Island had been cursed by some dark force in the past. It has been the source of many foul tales of devilish specters and hideous brutes. Its forests appear darker and colder than others. On all sides are ancient trees with branches that writhe like tendrils over its roads. As a fog settles over the evening, you can’t escape the feeling that stygian beast skulks within it. Though you might expect these sensations are borne from the darkest corners of our imagination, there are five men who would strongly disagree. For one late night in Glocester, Rhode Island, they encountered a fiend like no other; the Glocester Ghoul.

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Strange New England - The Glowing Thing of Moore Lake - Folklore

Connecticut River - FolkloreThe Connecticut River is the largest river in New England. It 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 seemingly beautiful and peaceful by day, its undulating coils hide many stories and secrets along its path to the Devil’s Belt. One is a mysterious glowing thing that lurks in its waters.

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Strange New England - The Connecticut River Serpent - Folklore

Connecticut River - Folklore

Hidden within the undulating arm of the Connecticut River is a serpent that has frightened those who’ve lived on it banks since colonists first settled there. Often it has been described as an eel or snake-like serpent over one hundred feet long. Though over the past three hundred years it has been spotted by people across three states, it still appears to remain a mystery.

In the early 1800s, spotting strange creatures off the coast of Connecticut was not uncommon. Sailors would return to port with tales of ghastly leviathans they encountered in their travels. The most peculiar of these stories frequently surfaced in the local publications. One that crossed the pages of the New York Times and Scientific American was not reported by sailors at sea, but by people deep in the heart of Connecticut. This beast appeared to make its home in the Connecticut River.

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Strange New England Podcast - Folklore

Strange History is the audio companion to the blog Strange New England where we investigate the forgotten, unusual, and simply strange folklore, history and destinations in New England.

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Strange New England - Headless Skeleton of Swampton - FolkloreWashington Irving wrote of the Headless Horseman, a tale of a Hessian of Sleepy Hollow who had Headless Horseman - Folklorelost his head in war. It’s a wonderful story that all enjoyed in their childhood. In RI though there is a more gruesome tale of a headless spirit in Swampton. This story may even predate Irving’s tale, and cause most to shudder in fear, when alone on Indian Corner Road.

In the early 1800s a large portion of Swampton consisted of over grown forest and wetlands. Virtually all of the roads that traverse through the wilds of this portion of RI didn’t have names. Often the locals would apply names to them that best described their location. While some were adorned with pleasant names like Rathbun and Sunnyside others had much more gruesome rubrics. Dark Corners, Purgatory Rd, and Robbers Corner carried names that both identified them and warned the weary traveler. Though most names changed over time, there are those who’s now formal name still carries the spirit of its location.  Indian Corner is the most interesting and frightening of those lonely byways.

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Strange New England - Rhode Islands Tea PartyMarket House - New EnglandAs you all may recall from history class, in 1773 a group of Boston residence that were upset by the high taxes from the British, tossed the bales of tea into the bay. This  would come to be known as The Boston Tea Party.  If you were fortunate enough, you may have even visited the museum that celebrates this historic event during a school field trip. What you might not be familiar with is the Rhode Island Tea Party.

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Strange New England - The Terror of Lake Memphremagog - FolkloreBeast - FolkloreAlong 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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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 - Harvard's Statue of 3 Lies - HistoryJohn Harvard StatueIn front of university hall at Harvard University stands a bronze statue of John Harvard. Danial Chester French sculpted the statue in 1884.  The statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial is one of Mr. French’s better-recognized works.  It had been originally placed on a granite pedestal to the west of Memorial Hall but was moved to its present location forty years later.  Harvard’s Statue had been unveiled for the University’s 250th birthday in 1885. There is an inscription on the statue that reads, “John Harvard, Founder, 1638.”  Though it may come as a surprise, none of it is true. All across campus the students refer to this monument to a great man as “the statue of three lies”. (more…)


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