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.
Please see our other article on Quabbin published as:
A Reservoir that Has Created More than Drinking Water