Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

The tale has been documented by Michael Norman and Beth Scott, in Historic Haunted America about a tunnel in western Massachusetts. The tunnel is the Hoosac Tunnel in North Adams.

It began construction in 1851 and wasn’t finished unti 1874, for 24 years workers chipped away at the rocks and around 200 men lost their lives by explosions, fires and drowning in what became known as the bloody pit. It seems that many of those were accidental but one may have been more sinister.

Nitroglycerin was an explosive introduced in 1865 to the miners and used for the first time at the Hoosac Tunnel. 20th March, 1865, three men planted the nitroglycerin and ran for the safety bunker, they were Ned Brinkman, Billy Nash and Ringo Kelly. Kelly had prematurely set the charges and it buried both of his colleagues under a heavy pile of rocks.

After the incident Kelly disappeared and he was not seen again until 30th March, 1866 where his body was found two miles into the tunnel. His strangled corpse was at the spot Brinkman and Nash had been killed by the explosion. The Deputy Sheriff thought the murder had happened between midnight and 3am but no suspect was on the cards and his murder went unsolved.

The workers felt the spirits of Brinkman and Nash were the culprits and feared the area was cursed, they felt unhappy about having to go inside. The work slowed to the point that an investigation was called for. Paul Travers was a highly respected cavalry officer in the Union Army. He went into the tunnel with Mr Dunn, they went in at 9am and went to the spot where they heard what sounded like a man groaning in pain. They agreed that it did not sound like the wind.

It was a month later, 17th October 1868, when thirteen miners died in a gas explosion, the gas explosion blew apart one of the surfaces pumping stations. The debris filled the central shaft where the miners were working. It was the single worst disaster during the tunnels construction and a local reporter said that a miner, Mallory, was lowered down by a bucket and rope to search for survivors. He emerged almost unconscious, lifted back up, saying there was no hope. With no pumping station the 538-foot shaft filled with water and the bodies of some of the unfortunates began to surface from it. A year later the remaining men’s bodies were found on a raft that they had built trying to use it to float up on the water as it rose up.

All the time that they were missing the villagers spoke of vague shapes and the muffled wails of what the believed were the dead men. Workmen saw them carrying their picks and shovels through mist and also the snowy mountaintop. They left no footprints and only appeared briefly before they vanished. Once the last of the missing dead were located the strange sightings stopped.

That may have been the end of one tale but in 1872 another report came up about Dr Owens and James R McKinstrey who went into the tunnel. They went down the two miles down and halted to rest, the place was cold and dark, the only light was from their lamps. Both men heard a moan like someone in great pain. A dim light came down the tunnel and as it came closer the light took on a blue hue and looked more like the form of a human being with no head.

The strange light was so close it could have been touched but the men stood with gaping, open mouths and were most likely terrified. It eventually turned away and vanished, Owens was unable to come up with a rational explanation for the very thing they had witnessed.

16th Octobre, 1874, another bizarre event came up, a local hunter named Frank Webster vanished and three days later a search party found him stumbling around in shock, along the banks of the Deerfield River. His story was he had been ordered by strange voices to go into Hoosac Tunnel, when he did ghostly figures were walking around. Suddenly his rifle was seized from his hands, it was used to knock him him out around the back of the head and he woke up outside without the rifle and without any memory of leaving.

The first train went through on 9th February, 1875 and with its completion the stories still carried on. That fall a man named Mulvary, a fire tender, was driving a wagon load of firewood into it. He suddenly turned his cart around, whipped the horses flanks and was never heard of again. Three miles from there they did find the wagon and in 1977 a man named Impoco said he heard someone yell “Run, Joe, run!” as he was chipping ice from the tracks and there was a train coming. The voice alerted him and most likely saved his life.

The tunnel is very much in use today, the Boston and Maine railroad is very busy. It’s an impressive feat of engineering and visitors can talk to local old-timers who will recount the local tales.

Hoosic.jpg
By en:User:Acela2038 – en:Wikipedia, Public Domain, Link

 

The phrase for the area was coined by Joseph A Citro, an author, in 1992 when a radio broadcast discussed the area in Southwestern Virginia in which people had gone missing. A number of people went missing between 1920-1950 and has similar characteristics to the ‘Bridgewater Triangle’ in nearby state Massachusetts.

12th November 1945 – 74 year old Middie Rivers disappeared. He was with four hunters and got ahead of them but he never showed up again or met with the other four. It was a local area that he was familiar with so it felt as though there was little to suggest he had got lost.

1st December 1946 – 18 year old Paula Weldon disappeared, she went out for a hike. She was seen by a couple and they say she was 100 yards ahead, she went around the corner and they too walked that way but when they got around the corner they found no sign of Paula. She never showed up, nor any trace, despite a $5000 reward and the FBI’s involvement.

1st December 1949 – James Tedford a veteran went missing three years to the day later. He had been visiting relatives and was returning home on the bus to Bennington Soldier’s Home when he went missing. He was according to witnesses, on the last stop before his destination. His belongings were still in the luggage rack, the open bus timetable was on the seat and he was nowhere to be found.

12th October 1950 – 8 year old Paul Jepson was with his mother in a truck. She left her son in the truck to go feed the pigs, she was gone for about an hour. When she got back he was gone, search parties were formed and with Paul in a bright red jacket he should have been easy to spot.

28th October 1950 – 53 year old Frieda Langer and her cousin Herbert Elsner left the family campsite to hike. She slipped and fell into a stream and said she would go back to change her clothes if he could wait there. When she did not return he went back to the camp and was told that she had not been back there, and for the next two weeks search parties extensively combed the area. 12th May 1951 her body showed up in a spot that had been searched very well at the time, there was no chance for it to have been there at the time. Unfortunately due to the time lapse a cause of death could not be determined.

A quick analysis of these and I would conclude that given today’s forensics there might well have been clues, also there have probably been other missing people cases locally over the years but they had been singled out as a phenomena suddenly making them extra-ordinary as a collective.

Paul Jepson may not have vanished, he may well have been kidnapped, for instance if he had been taken away and the abductor was gone by the time the alert was raised that would mean he was another victim of child abduction and not so much a paranormal/mystery event.

Frieda Langer’s mystery might also have a more mundane and grizzly explanation. Abducted and killed away from the scene with the speculation high and searches constantly going on, there is a chance that the killer waited and kept the body concealed until the hype died down enough to dump it back there.

However given the the disappearances seem to have stopped after a spate that went up until the 1950’s, one may have to wonder why.

Okay here goes! This one is pretty famous to those of us that like to watch horror at the very least. As the setting for the Session 9 Film (the cast of CSI in a horror?) it has a very interesting history let alone the ghost stories… so hold on to your coffee/tea and get ready for a blog that could be rather lengthy. The State Lunatic Hospital was a psychiatric hospital located in Danvers, Massachusetts. Built in 1874 and opened in 1878 it was a self-contained hospital built according to the Kirkbride Plan. One of the rumours boasts it as a birthplace of pre-frontal lobotomy (lush!).

It was originally two main centre buildings which had the administration and had four radiating wings. There were kitchens, laundry, a chapel, dormitories, boiler  house and other detailed rooms from the plans and records that exist. The water came from Middleton Pond. Over the years they added other buildings and most of the buildings on the campus were connected by a series of confusing underground tunnels. Part of this underground myriad of tunnels was a hub for maintenance; this was nicknamed “The Wagon Wheel”. The older tunnels were used in the Session 9 film. With the original plan being to house 500 patients it’s no surprise that with over 2000 by the late 40’s overcrowding was a major issue. People were held in the basements of the Kirkbride and of course this will add to the stories of  ghosts, tales of horror and anguish.

The asylum was established for residential treatment and care for the mentally ill, in the 1890’s Dr Charles Page, superintendent, declared the use of mechanical  restraint as unnecessary and harmful in some cases. There was more then one account of the way in which people that been treat, the idea of inhumane shock therapies, lobotomies, drugs to control the patients and the time honoured tradition of the straight-jackets. June 24th 1992 the hospital closed, the buildings were left to rot and it was not until many years later it was demolished.

The property was sold to Avalon Bay Development in December 2005 and they demolished most of the buildings, despite an outcry about the matter. June 2006  spelt  the last of the demolition, including the Kirkbride, only the Danvers Reservoir and original block shell remain, buildings are worked around it, Avalon Bay predicted they would have properties ready by Fall 2007.

A spanner in the works came up April 7th, 2007 when four of the complex buildings and four of their construction trailers burnt down. The fire was visible 17 miles away in Boston and investigation began. Avalon Bay provided a live webcam of the construction at the old hospital site however they cut out around 2:03am; it could be due to the damage from the fire. The underground tunnel to the power plant still exists though it is blocked off, and now the only thing left of the asylum are the cemeteries, blocked off tunnels and the brick shell of the Admin, D and G Wings.

So what of the ghosts? Now converted into apartments there have been reports of flickering lights, of full body apparitions, footsteps and audible sounds, and the doors that like to open and close seemingly of their own accord. Here goes:

2001 horror Session 9 is filmed around here, I thought it was a pretty good film.

In Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz teenagers break in to investigate the haunted asylum.

In Mage: The Awakening (Role play game) the hospital in the World of Darkness was administered by vampires who fed on the patients.

It is also believed to be a widely used source of inspiration for H P Lovecraft’s Arkham Sanatorium, alongside the Asylum that shares the name in Batman. It is referenced by name in H P Lovecraft’s Pickman’s Model.

The Dover Demon is a cryptid that comes from the Massachusett’s area, USA. It was first reported April 21st 1977. He has attracted enough interest worldwide to have figurines of him made in Japan.

The Dover Demon was first sighted by three 17 year old boys driving through the area, the cars headlights caught it as they passed near a bar. Bill Bartlett was the driver that reported the sighting saying that at first he thought it was a dog or cat. On closer inspection they found it was a rather unearthly-looking thing crawling along a stone wall, Farm Street.

He watched it long enough to get a desciption, which is that it had a disproportionately large head with illuminated orange eyes. It has long thin arms and slender fingers. It was hairless with a rough skin and had no eyes, ears or mouth that he could see. Other witnesses say the creature has green eyes, chalky grey skin and that it makes a blood curdling screech, however the sexless, featureless descriptions are a match.

It was then seen an hour later by two more teenagers who were walking home. Both of them said it was bipedal, this also matched the same description from two people the next day who said the same information as Bartlett however he reported the eyes as green not orange. All witnesses have remained steadfast with their description and they all drew sketches. Bartlett’s included a note to say he also would swear on a stack of Bibles that’s what he saw.

So… how does he fit in with theories? Let’s jump straight to alien, a possible human/alien hybrid that escaped from a secret compound? How about a being from another dimension?

A curiously mundane (and perhaps more sensible) suggestion comes from zoological sources who say it might be a newborn moose. Some of the descriptives are very similar but a moose has hooves not fingers. Also it was disputed saying that at the time the offspring would be larger and no records for them exist in eastern Mass- for 1977.

So the conlusion is that there is so far nothing evidence wise to prove or disprove the Devon Demon. The description is also similar to that of the Mannegishi creature native to Cree Indians in Canada. It could also be similar to some aquatic beings, like a merbeing type. A similar description also comes up in the Carribean legends of the Backoo.

Unfortunately there was also a greater deal of skepticism due to the age of the people involved. Some skeptics like to cite that this is nothing more than teenage pranking, but before the reportings had been put together after the fact there is nothing to suggest the teenagers had even met. Another one for the unsolved case but intriguing none the less.

A funny comedy vid about it