Haunted Robinson State Park?

Feeding Hills is a section of Agawam MA that plays home to Robinson State Park.   It’s a quiet place that hosts both summer and winter activities on roughly 900 acres that hug the Westfield River on the north.  There are hiking trails, a pond and picnic area for family recreation, and miles of trails to hike, bike, walk, sightsee, and just take in nature’s beauty.  Robinson State Park also offers no place to go that you won’t feel alone.

For me, many years ago, it was a great place to take a textbook and homework to study in quiet. The problem was that it never seemed to be quiet – or calm.  There were noises, not like those made by other people in the park, but soft rustlings.  Sometimes one could hear whispers. Nothing intelligible, just loud enough to be disconcerting as there weren’t enough people around to make them.

Staying focused on study was sometimes difficult.  It seemed as though something or someone was watching you.  You know, the old ‘hair on the back of your neck standing up’ and all.  It felt like eyes were staring right through you.  Did whatever it was have something to say?  Did they – or it – not want you there?  Was it just to get your attention?

Perhaps it could have been any of those things.  At times, one could catch a glimpse of something moving through the trees.  Nothing definitive, only a fast black shadow rushing between the growths of the forest.  For those of you who aren’t big into seeing black shadows, there’s something else for you, too.  On occasions, a white wispy figure could be watched flitting in and out around the water’s edge.

Years ago there was a rumor that a woman was found dead along the side of one of the roads in the park…her body just left for someone to find.  Did this really happen?  I don’t know, but there is something restless in this area.  It seems like it wants to let you know it’s there without being too obvious.  Just enough to heighten your senses, put you a little on edge, and perhaps remind you that your end may just be your new beginning.

–   ashanta

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Haunted Wachusett Dam & Reservoir

We hear about Quabbin Reservoir a lot, but little has been written about the Wachusett Dam and Reservoir.  That project was the first to confiscate land, homes, and properties to create a larger water supply for the thirsty residents of Boston.   Quabbin was the second and larger water supply, carried out by politicians, to give water, and themselves, the comfort they needed at the expense of others.

The Wachusett Dam and Reservoir Project was begun in 1897 and completed in 1905.  Four towns in Worcester County, MA became the target of the land grab.  Clinton, Spencer, Boylston, and West Boylston forfeited over 4000 acres to create a roughly eight mile by two mile water basin for people living on the east coast of the state.

Hundreds of people lost their homes, their livelihoods, churches, stores, their land, and their cemeteries.  Houses, churches, and factories were moved, but mostly they were razed.  It is said that over 4000 bodies were removed and some re-interred in St. John’s Cemetery in Lancaster.  There is an isle in the reservoir named Cemetery Island.  It’s the site of the initial St. John’s Cemetery where many residents were buried.  I wonder, though, if some that had passed on were perhaps laid to rest on a family property, as was sometimes the case back then – what happened to those remains?

These people being forced to move lost a way of life they were familiar with.  Many didn’t know where they were going. They didn’t know what to do.  They no longer had jobs and they had no way to provide for themselves.  There was no government assistance at that time. Residents could no longer go to their churches to seek solace.  Visiting those that had passed on may not have been as easy anymore, either.  After exhumation, coffins were stacked on wagons six high.  Tombstones were carried away, too, but some were lost or broken along the way.  And, how did they identify who went where?

This event has been mostly forgotten today, unless you live around that area.  The water for Boston laps the shores around Boylston, West Boylston, Clinton, Spencer, and Cemetery Island. It still harbors the energies of those who used to call it home and of the many who died working on the construction of the dam and reservoir.

Like Quabbin, this area seems to have a different energy.  It feels haunted by emotions of the past.  Black masses that cannot be explained are seen by some.  Lights have been observed meandering around the trees on Cemetery Island.  Shadows are seen walking in the area. Whistles that seem to come from the water can be heard.  It has been said that if you hear a whistle and return it,  you’ll get an answer.  This is not a residual energy….it’s an energy in the here and now.  Intelligent responses imply there is still active energy existing in the area.  Some have even heard disembodied voices.

It doesn’t seem fair.  Boston gets water and others get loss and hauntings.

– ashanta

Please see our other article on Quabbin  published as:

A Reservoir that Has Created More than Drinking Water

The Haunted Half Mile

There is a certain area on a local dirt road where I’ve heard of several people that have had paranormal experiences. The one thing that really got my attention was their stories were very similar to something I have experienced myself and written about before.

I have spoken to some of these witnesses and found all of their stories have at least one thing in common: a feeling of being followed by something from the forest along the side of the road when walking. I believe this is likely a spirit or, at least, something out of place, possibly from another realm-dimension.

I had been planning for a few months to check it out and had decided the best time to try and make contact would be at Samhain, when the veil between life and death grows thin. I was going to bring a small group with me, so as to get everyone’s input, but as things worked out it wasn’t to be. So, I gathered up my K2 meter, recorder, and laser grid pen and started out on my adventure alone.

The information I had gotten from various people about where their experiences occurred covered an area of about a half mile in length along a particular road. My plan was to walk this section of road, see where and if I felt anything, and, if I did, set up my circle of protection to work from.

I arrived at the location in the late afternoon, a bit before dusk, and got out of my car to begin the walk. As I started walking my imagination started taking over. I then realized what was happening and had to stop to ground myself before continuing. I did this because I wanted to be sure that anything I picked up on was not tainted in any way that I could help. In the beginning all I noticed was a dog barking in the distance, but then something seemed just a little different to me. I can’t describe exactly what the difference was, but somehow it was as if I were isolated in my own space separate from the area around. As if I were in a bubble.

I stopped for a moment, noticing how silent things seemed, and really listened hard, but this intense silence persisted. I had the feeling that if someone were nearby yelling to me I would still hear nothing. I live out in the country and can tell you it is often quiet at night, but never like this.

As I continued on things gradually returned to normal and nothing more happened as I reached the end of that half mile stretch and turned around to return to my vehicle. I didn’t have that experience of extreme silence on the way back, although I stopped numerous times to try and recapture it.

Near the end of my walk I felt I was being watched. I didn’t get a feeling of being menaced, just observed. I stopped to the side of the road and pulled out my K2 meter to try and get a reading. There was a spike for a few moments, but that was all. I heard no answers to my questions when I played back the recorder, but the battery had died shortly after I started using it. The thing was I had replaced the batteries just before leaving the house. Were they defective? Maybe, but I don’t believe so.

I got back to where I was parked and decided to cast a circle of protection about 20-30 yards down the road to work from as I attempted to communicate with any spirits or other beings in the area. I surrounded myself with protective energy as I reached out and let my mind open to discover what I could, and hopefully communicate.

I received no information other than feelings of sadness, loss, and anger, but mostly sadness and loss. I decided to leave then. When I started my car, as I looked down the road I saw someone walking towards me. I continued watching for a minute and then turned on my headlights. No one was there!

–  Bran

Wizard’s Glen — Haunted or Just Eerie?

Wizard’s Glen is located along a part of the Appalachian Trail that runs through the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.  Nestled in the hills of Dalton, this site sits along Gulf Road which starts at the intersection of High Street and Park Avenue in the Southeastern part of town.  It’s a four-mile unpaved designated scenic road that looks more like a pathway.

As you traverse up the street the air seems to get cooler as you approach a high rocky ravine cut through flint rocks.  The area narrows as huge boulders ascend skyward through the densely treed area.  Other large rocks that have fallen among the boulders look like they’ve been dumped from the sky to fall where they may.  A lot of the rocks are moss covered and the overgrowth of bushes and dense foliage take over the place.  Even though,  crevasses in the rubble are obvious….at least they were when we last visited the place.

There’s a local myth that claims over a 100 years ago a local man had been out hunting and was bringing home a deer he had gotten when a terrible thunderboomer hit the area.  The rain was blowing sideways and the lightening was frequent.  Not wanting to travel further that night, the man hung his quarry from a tree branch and went to find shelter under one of the overhanging monoliths.  All of a sudden the place started lighting up. He watched as an evil spirit and its minions started dancing around, whirling themselves into a frenzy.  Suddenly, an Indian girl was brought forth and heaved onto one of the large flat stones.  All the demons charged at her with knives, killing her.  As she turned her head away she caught the eyes of the hidden onlooker.  He grabbed his Bible, lunged to his feet, and ordered the spirits to leave her alone.  The scene then vanished in the next crash of thunder and everything was again dark.  When the man rose to leave the next morning he believed it all to be a dream, but found someone, (or some things), had stolen his deer  —  and who else could it have been?  Can the screams of the young girl still be heard on some dark, stormy evenings?

Hobomocko, the Algonquin spirit of death, is attributed to being the organizer of the human sacrifice made that terrible night.  And the area already had a reputation for being a power spot for the Native American shamans who performed their invocations and rituals.  Even now, the huge, flat, altar stone can still be seen.  Some claim the red iron ore stains are really the spilled blood of many unfortunate others who became the ritual gift to a higher deity.

–   ashanta

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A Haunted Museum – Wistariahurst

Wistariahurst Museum is the magnificent homestead of silk manufacturing mogul William Skinner. It is nestled in the southern Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and houses a wealth of history. And – it’s haunted.

This 26-room historic mansion has been situated in Holyoke, MA since 1874 after being moved, piece by piece, from it’s original site in Williamsburg, MA. The Skinner’s lived there until 1959 when the youngest of their children, Katherine Skinner Kilbourne, deeded the homestead to the City of Holyoke for philanthropic purposes.

The first incarnation of the Skinner estate, “Wistariahurst” as it came to be known (and spelled in it’s German variation), sat across the street from the Skinner’s first three-storied brick manufacturing plant on the Mill River, which supplied its power. When the Mill River Dam broke in 1874 it brought death and financial ruin to mill workers and owners alike. William Skinner, finding himself in almost complete financial devastation and mill-less, accepted an offer from the Holyoke Water Power Company to move his silk business and family home to Holyoke. A deal too good to refuse, Skinner accepted and the house was moved from “Skinnerville” in Williamsburg to the city block it now occupies in Holyoke.

The house was built large after the fashion of any wealthy manufacturer of its time. It was made larger,and more magnificent by Ruth Isabel “Belle” Skinner, a spinster daughter of the silk industrialist. Money was no object and Belle didn’t mind spending it – especially if it made her look even better in the society to which she had become accustomed.

Many stories have been written about the family, the house, and their history. Nothing, yet, has been mentioned about the peculiar activities that happen on the premises when the visitors leave…and before they arrive.

Formerly, I worked as a volunteer for the museum and was responsible for preparing the house to open for visitors and closing it down when museum hours were over. I’ve been throughout the house on many occasions and have had a number of experiences that weren’t ordinary and cannot be easily explained.

I was on the second floor of the house one late afternoon turning off lights, closing displays, and getting ready to lock doors when there was the sound of a door banging loudly. Could it have been another volunteer or administrator coming in? I called out, “Hello! I’m closing up, up here. (Listening) Hello?.. (Listening. Walking toward the noise.) Hi, where are you?..” No reply. Nobody. No closed doors.

I found the other staff and volunteers downstairs and mentioned the noise. All present said they had heard it, but none knew where it came from.

Other things seen and unseen:

Moving shadows out the corner of one’s eye.

Plugs and extension cords thrown into the middle of hallways.

Footfalls.

Doors closing behind you when you enter a room.

A few of the former servant’s quarters have been closed to the public for one reason or another, but those are the places where a lot of the activity takes place. Perhaps that’s why they aren’t opened that frequently.

On another occasion I was on the second floor locking up one of the servant’s areas. There was always an uneasy feeling in these rooms, like you were never alone. I made sure everything was secure and locked the door. As I was walking down the hallway toward the back staircase when the space between the door and the jamb rattled violently and then slammed shut again. It had been closed when I left it moments before….

Sometimes I had to go to the third floor where the head housekeeper had her bedroom and office. Her name was Hulda and she was like a member of the Skinner family. You never feel alone on the third floor. There are footfalls that follow you and doors will close behind you – even when you don’t want them to.

While the servants quarters seem to be the most active areas of activity, some of the family members also still remain – at least during some parts of the year because you can hear them. And – sometimes see them.

I’ve seen Kittie, the youngest of the Skinner children, at the top of the wrap-around staircase from the main hall. She was elegant in her long, champagne silk gown starting her descent along the suspended stairs. When she got to the landing overlooking the great room she vanished. Her hair was swept up in a loose twist and she wore a string of pearls.

Although Wistariahurst now offers candlelight tours around Halloween time, their actors and effects cannot produce anything like the real thing!!! Seeing and hearing are believing. Artificial presentations don’t produce the same phenomena as the real thing does.

– ashanta