Holyoke’s Haunted Highway? (MA)

There is a road in Holyoke MA that has frequent, and many times, severe accidents. While that in and of itself doesn’t seem odd or unusual, the fact that most all of these accidents have occurred in almost the same places along an appoximate two mile stretch of highway does seem strange and uncanny. So is it coincidence? It seems like more than coincidence would allow. And, who really believes in coincidences?

Westfield Road is a part of US Route 202 and initially was a trail used by the Agawam and Woronoco tribes. It starts where Westfield MA meets Holyoke along a ridge on East Mountain. The area is a rugged, heavily-wooded rural section that crests the ridge of the mountain and quickly starts a rather steep descent. There are several sharp turns that offer limited sight of on-coming traffic as well.

As you drive down the mountain and look to your right all you see is trees and water – lots of water. Beautiful Ashley and McLean Reservoirs rest along the side of the highway in their picturesque basins which are fed by numerous smaller ponds and streams. Looking over this scene you think picture perfect postcard, but that’s not the feeling you get while driving down this old Native American pathway. The road is creepy.

Westfield Road continues on until it reaches Route 5 further down through town, but the end of the two-mile stretch stops at the bottom of the mountain. There is a small road, on the right that leads down to the Ashley Reservoir Hiking Trail. There’s room for some limited parking and there is no sign identifying it.

Police, fire, emergency crews, and towing companies are all familiar with this locale. Their help is frequently needed there and more often than not, in the same spots over and over again. Some accidents happen in front of homemade markers memorializing past accidents. Feelings of foreboding embed that small part of the highway and it’s as though it is heavy with the energy of other presences. You never feel alone.

The vibe is dark. Maybe the negativity is from all the water surrounding the road, but it seems like more than that. Could it be interference from residual energy still existing there, acting out past accidents? Could it be an interruption from intelligent energies wanting to interact with the living? I don’t know, but I do know that if there was another way to go so I wouldn’t have to use that part of the road, I’d take it. It only takes a spark of time to maybe catch a glimpse of something weird out the corner of your eye and end up somewhere you don’t want to be. The weight of these accidents, injuries, and deaths sits over this part of 202 distributing dark energies that linger. Do they draw others into the same fate that awaited them?

– ashanta

Deer Warning

This is an experience my wife had a couple years ago. She has never had much interest in the paranormal, although she is open to it. It seems apparent to me she is sensitive to this type of phenomena and these kinds of experiences like the one I am about to share.

She was driving from the country towards the city when she saw a person on the side of the road. As she got closer to the figure she was shocked to see that it appeared to be a Native American medicine man. She had an intense feeling that she was being warned to slow down, then the figure disappeared.

About 200 feet further down the road a deer stepped out into her lane from the forest and was followed by a second one with three fawns. They stopped in the center of the road and just looked at her. It took about thirty seconds before they continued on their way. On her way back home from the city two more deer stepped out into the road and wouldn’t move. She got out of the car and walked towards them trying to shoo them away until they finally they moved on. She told me they were unafraid and she could have touched them if she had wanted to. It didn’t end there, either. As she was getting close to home three more deer stepped out of the woods and stopped in the road. They moved on and she finally got home.

My belief is that she was being shown that the deer is her spirit animal.  She is the kind of person that doesn’t much care about her ancestry, but when I asked she told me she had been told as a child that both sides of her family had some Native American ancestors. She has had other similar experiences usually of being forewarned.


Is Smith College Haunted?

Some years ago I knew a woman who worked in the kitchen and dining hall of Sessions House, a dormitory for women attending Smith College in Northampton, MA. It wasn’t long after she started working there that she noticed odd things happening. Glasses would be tipped over, things disappeared or moved, and noises could be heard when no one else was there to make them. Eventually, it seemed she had company in the kitchen. One late afternoon as she was preparing dinner she felt as though someone was standing close by watching her. The hair on the back of her neck stood up. As she slowly turned around to look, she saw someone standing there staring at her. As soon as their glances met, the woman faded away. Not knowing what to do next, I guess, she finished preparing the meal. She never felt freightened, but she never felt alone again, either.

Turns out this wasn’t the first time this woman has been seen and it probably wasn’t the last. But, who is she?

Northampton Massachusetts was first inhabited around 1654. Dwellings went up and strong stockades were erected for protection from possible Native American uprisings. Around 1710 Capt. Jonathan Hunt decided to leave the confines of the encampment and built a large, three-story colonial home just outside the stockade. Realizing that attacks from local tribes were probable, Hunt had a secret passageway built that led down to the Connecticut River as an escape route for the household.

As the house changed hands from family to family over time,the house has had additions and renovations, but the secret staircase still exists. The last family to occupy the house was that of Mrs. Ruth Huntington Sessions. She used to rent rooms there to students attending Smith College. In 1921 she sold what has become known as Sessions House to Smith College and it remains a dormatory for women living on campus.

There are a number of theories about who the ghost could be, but no one has any kind of conclusive evidence as of yet. British General John Burgoyne is said to have been detained at Sessions House during the Revolutionary War. It is rumored that during that time he and Jonathan Hunt’s oldest daughter, Lucy, fell in love and met in the secret tunnel to escape her parents disdaining glance. It was during one of those secret trysts that Lucy fell to her death sneaking from her room to meet her love. Is she still there waiting to see her beloved, “Johnny”, once again?

Although this is a wonderfully romantic story, I have not been able to find any solid information supporting the hypothesis that Burgoyne had ever been near Sessions House after his defeat at Saratoga.

Another theory is that a woman once living in the house with her family awoke one night to noises. She went to explore with ax in hand. Thinking she had stumbled across home invaders she struck out only to find she had killed her children. Could she still be there stuck in the emotion of the terrible act she committed?

And one other story relates to Halloween eve festivities at the dorm. Girls have an hour to try and find the secret passageway. It is rumored that one of these celebrations led to the death of two young women who were found beneath a hidden staircase. Could it be one of them?

Whatever the true story turns out to be, someone is still walking the halls of Sessions House keeping an eye on things and the people who reside and work there.

         –  ashanta

Strange Company

We live in a house in Holyoke MA that was built in the late 1880’s and will remain unidentified for obvious reasons.  It’s a humble eight room place with garage and old carriage house.  When it was built the city looked much different from the way it does today. Many landmarks have recessed into history and are almost forgotten.   There used to be a small pond at the bottom of the hill where a street full of houses now stands.  Not far away was the old slaughterhouse – from the time before the city crept away from its start further downtown.  Holyoke was the first planned industrial city in the United States and during its inception planned the streets around mills that were prevalent in the area at the time.

We’ve only lived here a few years, but it was evident from the start that the house was already occupied by others before we moved in.  We’ve had the usual doors opening and closing by themselves, the sound of footfalls where the living weren’t walking, unusual raps and knocks, and course fickle lighting that goes off and on at will.  Occasionally one can even catch a glimpse of someone walking around that soon vanishes when they realize they, also, are being watched.  These things are all o.k.  It’s the other one that is a bit disturbing….

I think it’s old, it’s definitely strong, and it’s black.  Darker-than-night black.  We didn’t believe it at first, but as time went on it proved itself to be here.  This thing – and I doubt it was ever a person – can emit unusual smells.  That, in and of itself, isn’t so bad, but it can mess with your head, too, if you let it.  Initially we wondered why, all of a sudden, one or another of us would get an encompassing feeling of such grief that crying was inevitable.  For no reason.  Other times, it is overpowering depression – a dark downer.  It can also manifest and share anxiety and anger.

It likes to enter where you’re sleeping and stand beside the bed looking at you until you wake up or turn over.  Its large blob of a self is darker than the night and you can feel its stare.

It took a while to understand what was going on….it was subtle at first.  Getting a handle on this thing has provided some protection against it.  Banishing rituals have also been useful in mitigating its ability to influence your feelings.  But this thing doesn’t like these rites.  I’ve gotten scratches that bleed from something unseen when nothing or no-one else was close enough to me to do it.  Suddenly, it’s just a sharp hot that takes some time to heal.  Hair tugging happens, too, and isn’t as bad as bleeding.


I’ve done a history on the area of the house and there doesn’t seem to be anything here – that I can find – that would contribute to this activity.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t somehow associated with the land.  Many Native American settlements were close and I’m sure there were skirmishes.  I don’t think it was anyone who lived or died here, either…. as I said, don’t think this thing was ever human.

It’s still here and probably always will be.  It’s a matter of who’s will is stronger….  so far – we’re one up.

—  ashanta