A Haunted Historical Site – Keystone Arches

One of the things I love about the area I live in is that there are more than a few haunted locations in the Chester, Middlefield, and Becket areas of MA. One of the places that come to mind most people have probably never heard about – even though it has an important place in American history.

The story begins in the mid-19th century. Boston could no longer compete with New York in the transportation industry because of the Erie Canal, which had opened in 1825. New York offered traders and manufacturers access to the expanding Western frontier by way of the Great Lakes. To remain relevant, Boston had to overcome the main obstacle between itself and the young nation’s interior, the Berkshires. The mountains blocked any reasonable chance for a rival canal.

Railroad technology was still young, but the promise was evident. So for dreamers, planners, and engineers, the challenge boiled down to one question: through the mountains or over them?  Investors conceived another route that would utilize the natural gorge cut by the Westfield River on the eastern slope of the Berkshires and the path of the Housatonic River on the west. Investors decided to go over them and build a railroad access.  A series of 10 bridges had to be erected in the rough terrain to create a suitably straight route along the Westfield River. The project was agreed on and started in 1839. It was completed in 1841.

What happens next is what, I believe, leads to the activity some people experience now if they visit the Arches. To accomplish this massive project, the railroad had to employ large numbers, (up to 3000), of laborers.  These men were mostly Irish immigrants who were sought as they were very poor and willing to do the hardest, most dangerous labor, for very little pay. Research tells me those brave men were paid approximately $10 to $15 a month for work no one else wanted or dared do.

Living conditions for these workers were bad as they lived in quickly erected shanty towns also known as squatter areas. Their shelters were constructed of any scrap materials they could gather. Often times during construction workers died either accidentally or due to illness. These deaths were never reported.

Many times while hiking to view these lost stone arches, I have personally experienced what sounded like hammering, and shoveling, and I’ve heard voices mumbling.  Could these men still be working and living in those terrible conditions hoping to leave soon?

–  Bran.

 

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A Haunting or A Lingering Energy?

We’re still fairly new to the Quiet Corner of Connecticut.  This area got its nickname because this is a fairly rural area.  It’s a very rural area if you’re used to suburban living with everything you need just down the street from where you live.  Around here, groceries can be half an hour away.  We’ve found, also, that some of the ‘quiet’ comes from the fact that unless you’re born around these parts, you’re always an outsider.  Conversations are kept polite and stories about ‘happenings’ only come from other transplants that still haven’t been completely taken into the fold.

We bought this place out of necessity.  Our other house sold quickly, we had to move out even faster, and there wasn’t a lot of inventory on the market at the time.  The first time we saw it in person is when we moved in  —  Unless you find an exceptional real estate agent,  not motivated only by the vision of commissions dancing in their head,  this method is not recommended.

The surroundings here are quaint and quite pretty.   Wildlife, and I mean the forest kind, is abundant.  And crime is low on the scale – which is a nice thing.  The energy here, though, is odd.  It doesn’t have a good flow and it’s not an even flow…there’s a strangeness about it.  It’s something that was difficult to put your finger on until a couple of months ago when something may have become plausible.

Someone from another town told us of an accident that happened many years ago somewhere in the vicinity of this house.  If it wasn’t our house, there are only three others it could have been.  We’re all lined up on the same side of the street.

A child was on her bike and started heading down the driveway.  These houses sit on the side of a mountain and as such, the driveways are a nasty pitch upward from the street out front to the rear of the houses.  The road out front is the only major route connecting area towns to major highways.  The child could not stop at the bottom of the driveway and careened out into traffic.  Traffic couldn’t stop in time.

In the short time we’ve been here there have been three or four major crashes right around the front of these houses.  Two have hit our retaining wall that abuts the sidewalk.  The last one split the utility pole next to our driveway into two pieces.  A truck flipped over on its side in front of the next house down from here.   Our neighbor right next door, who we partially share a driveway with told us that a couple of years ago a car took out three utility poles right in front of both our houses….

I can’t help but wonder if the tragic event that took that little girl’s life so many years ago didn’t create an area of negative energy that precipitates other accidents.  Negative energy could certainly be created by such an horrific situation that affected so many lives.  The child may not know how to leave the area or find her way to a different plane.  When she feels she is able to pull someone to her that may be able to help, another accident happens.

I also wonder if this negative pocket of energy hasn’t existed in this particular part of town for a very long time causing many accidents over decades that go unremembered or recorded.  This thing almost feels as though it waits and claims what it wants when its energy starts getting low.

I’m not sure if the little girl can be helped or if any of this energy can be mitigated, but have decided to try and reach out to both and see where it goes from there.  It’s a start.

–  ashanta

 

A Cigar-Shaped Craft

Stafford  isn’t far from Bradley Field in CT, so air traffic is a fairly frequent occurrence.  But one afternoon in late November 2017, it wasn’t a Boeing or an Airbus that made an appearance.  While sitting in a shopping center parking lot, waiting for her husband, a woman saw a large, cigar-shaped, metallic craft emerge from the Northeast.  There were no apparent wings or tail structure.  The object was drifting rather low above tree level and didn’t make any noise.   She looked around the parking lot to see if anyone else was noticing it, but anyone who was outside seemed focused on their shopping bags, vehicles, and/or cell phones.

She continued to watch the craft’s trajectory toward the Southwest.  It continued on and went behind a stand of tall trees and out of sight.  She kept watching, expecting it to re-emerge from the other side of the copse, but that didn’t happen.  The object never re-appeared.  There was no apparent place it could have landed and there wasn’t any kind of a crash anywhere.  It simply vanished.

I have neither heard nor read about any other account of this sighting.  I did check on Peter Davenport’s National UFO Reporting Center website, (nuforc.org), in the state of Washington and found eight UFO reports for central MA and six UFO reports for northern CT within a week or so of this sighting, but found nothing from the Stafford area.

How many people look up a lot these days to gaze at the stars, watch the clouds, or even take in a beautiful sunset?  Ancient peoples studied the heavens to determine and plan their cycles of life.   In the twenty-first century, people study the horizon of their cell phones, glued to mundane messages that don’t foretell much past the next few coming hours.    We miss so much and don’t seem to care if we are in touch with our greater universal existence or not.

– ashanta

AI and the Paranormal

Is AI a paranormal subject?  I can’t give a definitive answer to that question, but I do know that it certainly isn’t normal.  If it is paranormal, it is the only paranormal entity that scares me – a real lot.  When the elitists and power-grabbers start infusing machines with the minds of humans, the question of whether ghosts are real or not won’t have to be discussed.  They won’t be.  And – those greedy for power, (under the name of science and technology),  started their subtle quest to conquer humanness into the body of a robotic back in the early 1960’s. After their first attempts to conquer space, NASA figured out that man could not make years-long travels to other destinations in space without changing biological structures as they presently exist.   Even after a few days of weightlessness in space, man starts losing both bone and muscle mass.  It became clear that mechanical intervention has to happen.  But how much is considered necessary?  Now 50-odd years later, the push is on to gain general acceptance for AI and so is the hypnotic rhetoric to the walking sheeple.

Movies like Bionic Man, Wonder Woman,  etc. started making appearances in many flics over the next decades.  This genre has since increased in frequency and great effects like those seen in Arnold Swartznegger movies and others help introduce and romanticize the effects of implanting and sharing human qualities with machines.  This ploy, I think, is meant to lull the masses into acceptance and eagerness to participate in this great new venture.  If Hollywood does it – it has to be good.

The proponents of this technology offer eternal good health, immortality, and the ability to know all you want to know about everything, and do what you want to do forever.  But, will you still want to know? Will you still want to go skiing, biking, to bars, to restaurants, still love your hobbies?  After your mind is sucked into a machine what happens to your enthusiasm for your passion about something or someone?  Does passion still exist?  Passion, dreams, goals to aspire toward, enjoyment, and other emotional drives that make us who we are would no longer be exist within the framework of techno-bionics.   You may be able to live eternally, but who will you be?  Will you be able to recognize yourself?  Will you care?  And, if you do care – what kind of prison have you allowed for yourself to become trapped within?

The fusing of mankind into machines  —  AI  —  Accepted Imprisonment.    It would be nice if this new technology would be used for the betterment of humanity, advancements for the environment,  and general well-being for the concommitance of existence we live within, but who determines and governs what measures of integrity will be accepted and enforced?  Does integrity still exist today?

–  ashanta

And – Cryptids in Connecticut

Part 1: The Black Dog of West Peak
Do you believe in harbengers of fortune? The Black Dog of West Peak is believed to be one.
In the area of Meriden, Connecticut there has been tale of of a small black beast believed to forecast man’s future. He silently emerges from the forest with his onyx coat and intensely sad eyes. When you see him he may even wag his tail, but don’t be fooled, he is not to be confused with any ordinary dog. He now holds the key to your fate and no matter how comfortable you become with his company you best hope when you part ways you never see him again.
Tales of this prophetic canine have circulated the Hanging Hills area for as long as the late 1700’s. Residents past told tale of a mysterious Black Dog. He makes no sound, be it bark or stride, leaves no track in dirt or snow, who appears out of nowhere and, if spotted, “…once, it shall be for joy; and if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time he shall die.”
W. H. C. Pynchon was a geologist from New York who set out on a geologic survey to Meriden to study the unique outcroppings of the Hanging Hills which were formed over 200 million years ago by volcanic activity. The area is rugged and rural with an unforgiving terrain of craigs and fishers that can be trecherous even today.
While out collecting samples for study on the West Peak, Pynchon was surprised as he looked up from his work and saw that he had been joined by a medium size black dog. He spoke to the animal and it seemed to acknowledge him, but was just as happy investigating the terrain as Pynchon was.
Throughout the day the dog followed his wagon and stopped with him at each stop to examine the area, just as W. H. C. did. As the night drew in Pynchon, in need of dinner and lodging, began the trek back into town. The dog kept close and even followed ahead for a while, but stopped at the spot Pynchon first saw him and “quietly vanished into the woods.” He had grown quite fond of his new companion’s company and thought warmly of the beautiful day they had shared together.
Some time later Pynchon returned to the Hills to collect more samples and data. Along the way he ran into an old friend and colleague, Herbert Marshall of the United States Geological Survey.
After some catching up the topic of conversation turned to the legend of the Black Dog. Both men had seen him before, but were still not convinced that it was anything more than a quiet, friendly tramp. Pynchon as a man of science dismissed the warnings as pure superstition and folklore. Marshall had seen him 2ice, but was adamant that he did not believe in bad omens and they made plans to set out for West Peak the next day.
It was winter and the ground was covered in a thick layer of snow. The cold was bracing, but the men were entheusiastic and looking forward to reaching the summit of the peak. Despite their good humors the terrain was difficult and the ascent, which was physically exhausting, went at a slow pace.
Nearing the top Pynchon took a rest to catch his breath and steady himself. When he looked up he saw his companion Marshall, who was in lead, stone still, speechlessly pointing toward the top of the cliff. He followed his gaze and to his shock he saw the Dog, Stygian black against the white snow, staring intently down at them. He glanced back at his friend. All color had drained from Herbert’s face and he was now shaking in terror, “I did not believe it before, I believe it now; and it is the third time.”
As Marshall uttered the last sentence the outcrop of stone on which he was standing crumbled beneath him and he fell to his death.
W. H. C. Pynchon’s story ends both in his belief in the legend of the Black Dog and his acceptance that this will also be his fate. His account is followed by an excerpt from the New York Herald detailing his death at the foot of West Peak very near where Marshall’s body had been found.
Even today there are still accounts of people seeing the Black Dog and tempting their fates with the possibility of encountering him too many times.
In 2006 Connecticut Windows On The Natural World published an article on their blog that featured an interview with a man named Michael Anatasio, an ex-marine from Meriden, who claimed to have seen the Black Dog and showed his photo of it.  (Link HERE):
Judging by the comments that followed he was not alone.
Unearthly dogs have been described in many cultures around the world.
In Scotland and the Hebrides there is the Cú-Sith, a mythological hound similar to the famous “Hound of the Baskervilles” from Sherlock Holmes. This giagantic wolflike creature is said to be dark green or white and shaggy. It is a harbinger of death and similar to a Banshee it wails. By it’s third call you will die and it will carry your soul away. Similar Dogs exist in Welsh and Irish folklore.
Does the Black Dog of West Peak really exist? Could he be the American relative of the Cu-Sith who immigrated with America’s first settlers? Are his eyes so mournful because of his burden to warn Man, his best friend, away from his fate?
                      –  Moonchild

An Uncomfortable Story

This is a personal account and one of the first that confirmed for me that all the things I had been experiencing may have actually been real.  I was not yet a teen, my father had died, my mom remarried, and we moved to a different state, (MA), to a new life.  I had a step-sister about 17 years my senior.  She had a fantastic job in the Boston area and lived there alone with her very young daughter.

One day, not too long after our move, we got a call that Barb, (not her real name), had been found dead after a presumable jump from her 10th, (or so), floor apartment.  This didn’t seem right.  She loved her daughter and had plans for their future together.  Her job was secure and she was successful.  Suicide just didn’t fit the picture, but I guess it often doesn’t make itself apparent.   But, there was this mystery man in her life that no-one in the family had met or knew.  No one knew who her daughter’s father was, either. According to neighbors of hers, this man visited her place often.  But who was he?  Did she really jump?  Why would she have done something like that with such a bright future and a kid she loved so very much?

Since I was considered, by my stepfather, too young to go to the funeral, I stayed home.  There were subsequent investigations by police into her case.  There were things that just didn’t seem plausible or to fit into the scenario.  There were some clues that could have suggested foul play.  There were questions that no one found answers to, but nothing ever came to fruition that I know about.  If this situation may have been a homicide it certainly has remained a cold case.

As I got older I decided I’d like to visit her grave.  I knew she was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Florence, MA – a suburb of Northampton, but had no clue about where.  I parked the car and got out, walked around for a bit, and then just stopped and looked.  Suddenly, I saw this woman with short brown hair and a blue dress wave to me.  She motioned with her hand to follow her.  I did.  She took me right to the site I was looking for. I had found my step-sister and she helped me do it.

Later that day, after arriving back home, I related the story to the family.  They looked either shocked or surprised….  It seems Barb had been buried in a blue dress.  I couldn’t have known that – I never saw her in that attire.  Her hair was short and brown.  And the area of the cemetery was correct.  Her name was on the stone at my feet.

Either there were no more investigations by the police or the case just turned cold and stayed that way.  I don’t know, but nobody was ever accused of pushing her over her balcony even though suspicions loomed.  Yet, every year on the anniversary of her death there were red roses placed on her grave by someone no one could identify.

-ashanta

A Mountain Adventure

One of the popular attractions in the Connecticut River Valley in MA includes Mt Holyoke with its many hiking trails and programs offered at the Summit House that sits atop the mount.

Early in the 1800’s a guest house was built on Mt. Holyoke by a local organization, but in the 1850’s the place was purchased by  John & Fanny French.  The Frenches added-on to it and increased the space to provide a number of guest rooms and a dining facility.  The new resort was then called the Prospect House.  John French also built a tramway to get supplies in and make transportation easier for his guests.

By the 1860’s the Frenches sold the place to John Dwight, but maintained management of the tourist spot.  After both the Frenches and John Dwight died the hotel found itself in the hands of Joseph Allen Skinner, son of silk magnate William Skinner of Holyoke MA.   Joseph Skinner was a prosperous businessman and his interest in the mountain was environmental rather than financial.  He was concerned that the fast growth in the valley would destroy the natural beauty and importance of nature and wildlife.  In 1940 Joseph donated about 375 acres to the State of MA to be preserved as a state park.  The only stipulation was that it bear his name.

Many people frequent Skinner State Park and extensive renovations have recently been completed.  But, there is a feeling on this mountain, in this place, that you are never alone.   Flashes of a white streak through trees can be seen.  Orbs of bright light suddenly appear.  Footfalls can be heard on the porch.  And occasionally, there is a soft murmur of what could be voices – or is it a gentle wind blowing from the woods?

For me, the feeling of unseen presences is the most consistent. It isn’t scary, it’s just there.  Maybe it’s one of the Frenches or Mr. Dwight wanting the welcome another guest.  Fanny was known for her graciousness and both men enjoyed their visitors and offering great hospitality.  Maybe they decided not to leave the place they loved best.

-ashanta

A Mystic Experience in CT

Mystic, CT draws hundreds of tourists each year to experience its many attractions.  The town is rich in history.  It’s home to Mystic Seaport, one of the best maritime museums in the country,  Mystic Aquarium, and numerous marinas and restaurants.  As in most early settlement locations, Mystic has its share of old cemeteries.  Two of them are quite interesting each in its own way.

Elm Grove on Greenmanville Avenue, (Rt. 27), was established in the mid-1800s by a board of leading families from the area. Their Victorian influence created a resting place that looks like a park bordering the Mystic River.  Streets were laid, plots were planned out, trees and flowers were planted, and benches dotted the area for people to relax during their walks around the grounds – a common weekend activity.

One of the last times we were there, we were on the west side of the cemetery.  The land slopes down to the water and you can look out and get a picturesque view of the Seaport Museum.  There are many boats traveling up and down the river, too.  As I was turning around I saw a woman dressed in a flowing white dress.  She seemed to come from somewhere near the middle of the area.  She floated to a spot on the shore and just stared out to the sea as if waiting for someone.  She remained visible for two or three minutes before fading away.

The woman looked to be in her mid-thirties.  She had long dark brown hair. She looked like a living person and if she hadn’t floated I probably wouldn’t have watched her.  I tried talking to her, but her gaze stayed riveted on what she was looking for.  She could have been residual energy, or just very focused on perhaps finding what she had lost.

Whitehall Burying Ground on Whitehall Avenue, close to the Whitehall Mansion Inn, is quite  stark in comparison to the gracious Elm Grove environment with its artistic monuments.  It dates back to the 1600s.  The stone markers are mostly rectangular and domed and seem to be made of sandstone, limestone, and/or slate.  Decorations run from willows, angels of death, scrollwork, skulls, and other earlier types of art generally reflecting the solemnity of death.

Whitehall seems to host early settlers, sea captains, veterans of wars gone by including the Revolutionary and I think, Civil Wars.  It’s a rather small spot, but larger than the older, widely used family burial plot usually established on the person’s property who once lived there.

You don’t seem to ever feel like you’re alone when walking around Whitehall.  Shadows can even be seen in broad daylight.  Shadows are apparent at night, too, as well as orbs.  Orbs are commonly thought to be circles of energy visible to the naked eye.  Some skeptics call them ‘dust’ or ‘bugs’ and this could be true in some instances, but I find it difficult to believe that in a place as dark as Whitehall is at night, you’ll be watching illuminated, dancing dust particles.  And if you happen to visit in the autumn when dried leaves have fallen, sometimes you can hear what sounds like footfalls crunching them behind you as you walk through that spot of eternal rest  —  or unrest as the case may be.

So maybe next time you’re in Mystic you can add a couple of more places to your ‘have to see’ list.  And if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get to experience even more.

ashanta

A UFO??

A few nights ago, after quite a hot day, we went outside to sit under the stars and enjoy the coolness of the evening.  We live in Stafford Springs, CT and there isn’t a lot of light pollution here to obscure the night sky’s vista.  There were a few planes going over here and there and a lot of lightening bugs signaling in hopes of finding a mate.

Suddenly my son-in-law said, “What is that – right up there?”  pointing to the South-Southeast.  There was a bright circular light about the size of a large star traveling in a straight line toward the North-Northwest.  It didn’t twinkle as a star does and it didn’t have any blinking lights that would indicate it was some sort of airplane.  We wondered if it could be some kind of satellite.

As it got right overhead from where we were sitting, or more accurately now standing, it stopped.  It stayed stationary.  The object didn’t move for maybe four or five minutes.  It then got darker and almost disappeared.  Just as quickly, it got very bright.  It moved forward again, maybe another degree, and stopped once more.  The darkening and re-brightening process repeated.  The object stayed still for another few minutes before continuing on its path until it just vanished.

We haven’t seen it again since, but will keep looking to see if anything else happens.  I wonder if anyone else noticed anything unusual?

ashanta

A Reservoir that Has Created More than Drinking Water

Quabbin Reservoir in western Massachusetts is a beautiful place, but many things haunt it, and their presence is palpable.  Construction on Quabbin began in the 1930’s as it was created to supply water for Boston.  The project was completed in 1946.  During those years pain, sadness, upheaval and relocating bodies – maybe,   left their mark.

The western MA towns of Dana, Enfield, Prescott, and Greenwich were decimated to quench the craving of eastern MA for more and more water to support its burgeoning population.  The satisfaction of some came as a severe sacrifice to others.  Politics, it seems, never changes.  Lives of those who were displaced, those many years ago, were never the same and the emotional scars never went away.  This agony alone can cause disrupting energy that can still be felt today.

In all, approximately 2500 people were forced to leave the only home they had ever known.  Whatever they could move was saved, what couldn’t be moved or carried was gone forever.  Houses were razed, homesteads were destroyed, and what remained was bulldozed and then set on fire.  Even the six to seven thousand dead were said to have been moved.  But, were they?

According to the documentary Under Quabbin:  The Search for the Lost Towns  …[i]

there were many stacks and broken shards of grave stones lying next to old cemeteries. These markers were not taken away when the supposed exhumation of the long dead happened in the lost towns of the Swift River Valley.  Bodies were allegedly taken and reinterred at Quabbin Park Cemetery in Ware – dedicated as the new home of the dead from the drowning villages.  But, with so many memorial stones left behind, can anyone be sure no bodies remained with them?

No mention has ever been made about the sacred grounds of the Nipmuck Indians who lived in this central Massachusetts area for hundreds of years.  They had settlements around the Swift River Valley and surely had dedicated burial grounds for their people.  These dead were not moved by any account I can find, so it’s possible that some of the deceased still remain under the waters.  [ii]

If you ever go to visit Quabbin, the beauty of the spot is wonderful.  But, as you  walk around, view the water, and listen to the wind in the trees, you start to feel something.  The energy isn’t as comforting or easy as such a scenic place might inspire.  There’s a restlessness, a sense, that something isn’t quite right.  And you feel like you aren’t alone.  It feels like those who were forced to leave have come home.  They have reclaimed what was always theirs.

http://www.foquabbin.org/valley.html

[i]

Author:

            Ed Klekowski; Libby Klekowski; Jonathan Williams; Michael Volmar; University of Massachusetts (Amherst campus); All authors

Publisher:

Springfield, Mass. : WGBY, a division of the WGBH Educational Foundation, 2003.[ii]

                “The only graveyrads left untouched were those known to be old Native American burial grounds. For some reason, the decision makers chose not to disturb the dead from such consecrated locations.” -referencing the relocation of the deceased to Quabbin Park Cemetery.

Haunted Massachusetts:  Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Bay State, by Cheri Revai, Stackpole Books, 2005.

–  ashanta

ashantaofthelema@gmail.com