Due to the remote and secure nature of Quabbin it would make a wonderful place to hide out if you could. There have been numerous reports of unidentified animal sightings. We are all aware of the reports of mountain lions, or cougars, but, what else could be wandering around in the woods? Some believe that there are Yeti, “Bigfoot” who have made Quabbin their home. Although no-one has managed to photograph one here, or almost anywhere else, it would be a haven for a rare and elusive creature we have yet to “discover”.
Among the documented accounts of life in the Swift River Valley there is much fodder for ghost stories. I will now tell you two sad accounts that may explain some of the vibes that people experience in the seemingly serene settings of QuabbinValley.
In Dana in 1809 on the 23rd of November Joseph and John Lindsey, who were brothers, burnt to death in a coal pit (used to make charcoal). It was a cold night and they kept their fire burning. As it got late and they got warm and tired they fell asleep. In the early morning their father found what was left of their remains in the debris that was their shed. They were buried together, as there was no other way, in one coffin.
Also in Dana there lived the blacksmith Moses Marcille. In 1899 his house and place of business burnt to the ground. The family, devastated, moved to New Salem to start life anew. Marcille had some trouble adjusting to their loss and spent some time in an asylum. In 1904 they moved back to Dana and resumed their places there. On March 21, 1907 Moses Marcille was going to bed. Then he decided on something else. He got back up and put on his clothes, went out to his shop and grabbed his gun. He went back into the house, cornered his wife and shot her twice. He then shot himself in the head. His wife lived. The cornerstone of their old house can still be seen on the south side of the road to Dana. It is inscribed “O Marcille 1899” and has a bolt protruding from it’s top.
Even the Victorian period author H.P. Lovecraft was captivated by the darker side of this region. It is fairly well agreed upon that his classic tale of horror and necromantic rites, “The Dunwich Horror” and his story “The Color of Space” are set in the town of Greenwich (before the flooding) and the surrounding areas. Today people claim to hear voices and see ghostly apparitions in Greenwich Village (Hardwick, MA).
Today many visitors to Quabbin still report strange experiences: seeing people walking who just disappear, having the feeling of being watched, hearing ghostly voices, seeing shadows moving through the woods. Some even claim to find odd shapes and lights in their photographs. Fog or mist that they didn’t see when they took the picture. Who is to say that there isn’t something otherworldly out there in the woods and clearings lingering and waiting for a chance to interact with someone once again? Could it be you?
Other Local Activity
Local Reports: Haunted apartment in Ware near railroad track and lumber yard. Allegedly elderly woman died in 1st floor apartment. An internet post on Ghostsofamerica.com claims tenants heard moaning, scratching, smelled the “smell of death”, and saw the figure of a woman standing over them while they were in bed sleeping. Post says the 2nd floor tenants heard footsteps and an unexplained voice that seemed to come from another room. The poster identified themselves as “Naomi”.
Also, listed were a 300 year old house on South St. in Ware with slamming doors. Submitted by “Lynn” and an anonymous posting by a person claiming to have lived on Spring, Otis, and Dale Streets and experiencing *poltergeist* activity at all of them, as well as being pushed down stairs, feelings of being watched, and auditory phenomenon.
Aspen Grove Cemetery: Reports list “misty” images in photos, humanoid images, auditive phenomena, and sensation of being “pushed”. (ghostsofamerica.com) Also, reports of *orbs*, feeling of being touched, apparition of a girl, “black images” or possibly *shadow people*, voice heard. (texashauntsociety.com)
Rutland State Prison Camp and Hospital: This facility operated between 1903 & 1934. It was a home for prisoners with tuberculosis operated in the Western area of Rutland. In 1907 a 30 bed hospital for prisoners was constructed for the prisoners. The detention center and hospital were shut down in 1934 to make way for the Quabbin Watershed and the property sold to the Metropolitan District Water Supply. Today the property and remains of the facility remain in the Rutland State Forest. The grounds are reputed to be haunted by the wife of the Superintendant. There is also a cemetery holding the remains of 59 prisoners in 3 rows. All the graves are unmarked and for all purposes the cemetery is abandoned. (neparanormalresearch.com)
Shad Factory (The Palmer River Manufacturing Co.): This plant was built in 1811 and manufactured cotton yarn until 1826 when it expanded and renamed to “Orleans Manufacturing Company”. In 1831 the mill burnt down. It was was rebuilt in 1832 and remained active until the Civil War. After the war the mill quickly re-opened, but burnt down again in 1884. The corporation was this time abandoned and never re-built. There have been reports of non-existent fires being spotted inside the ruins, *orbs* have been spotted in the wooded area surrounding the site, also the figure of a shadow “man” has been seen walking the premises. (neparanormalresearch.com)
Belchertown State School: The Belchertown State School was in operation from 1922-1992 and was comprised of ten major buildings. It was not actually a school, but an institution built to house the mentally handicapped. It was shut down due to gross negligence, unsanitary inhumane living conditions, and patient cruelty. According to the Site Development Feasibility Assessment prepared for the Town of Belchertown, “The school was nearly self-sufficient, with its own water system, sewage treatment system, power plant, fire department, and telephone system. Other services provided on the campus were hospital, dental, kitchens, laundry, print shop, shoe repair, etc”. One of the “etc.”‘s includes it’s own cemetery. Until 2004 at the Warner-PineGroveCemetery the interred were only identified my numbered markers. Screaming , crying, and mysterious lights are some of the most frequent reports. Other alleged activity includes slamming doors, running footsteps, extreme fluctuations in temperature, apparitions seen on the grounds, a ghostly man spotted in the woods, moaning, lights in the tunnel system, and swings swinging by themselves. Specifically reported at the Tagdell Primary School (which was re-purposed from an original BSS building) are mirrors vibrating and falling from walls, blood trails found in basement bathrooms, feelings of being watched, pencils and other objects being moved around, objects falling off walls or appearing to have been ripped from the walls, and bathroom stall doors slamming and locking. (realhaunted.com & theshadowlands.net) Interestingly, in some of the reports filed during litigation against the state school it is mentioned that the residents bathrooms were lacking doors.