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Yankee Classic: Ghost Town

Yankee Classic: Ghost Town
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The period I have in mind was the time when immigrants came into the valley and opened a vein of copper which extended back into the hills. There on the shores of a lake overgrown with brushwood, one may still see the workings with its piles of slag, and the deep surface pits from which this valuable metal was extracted. The mule trails are still traversed by the curious who have little faith in the superstitions
of the neighborhood. At the foot of the trail still stand the skeletons of more than fifty houses.

Officials of a mining company had sent their engineers in to select a site which would prove suitable for the erection of a town. Thousands of dollars were spent in laying out the project, and a small tram was
introduced for the twofold purpose of bringing out the ores to the river and for transporting the workers from the nearest ferry to the small municipality. A community store was stocked and everything was in readiness for the miners and their families to move in. There were two
hundred persons including the women and children.

Old records tell us, and ancient residents of the nearby towns have attested to the details, that while the preliminary surveys were getting under way, the construction was beset by many and unusual difficulties.

As the first foundations were being laid, an Indian was seen to be haunting the neighborhood by night. On the following mornings the excavations were found filled in. Though watchmen were set at night, no one was able to describe how the day’s work was undone. Later several Indians showed themselves in the workings by daylight.

In the wake of these strange visitations lumber would be found burning, and timbers split in manner unbecoming good building materials. At other times it was reported that kegs of nails and barrels of supplies suddenly would break themselves wide open and spread their contents upon the ground. What had been scheduled for completion in three months took the greater part of a year.

Finally, each night a roof would be removed from a finished house in the town; cleanly and completely it would disappear from over the heads of its tenants, leaving neither a splinter nor a broken slate to indicate in what direction nor by what forces it had been spirited away. One of my informants maintains to this day that he twice saw a huge black cloud gather on the horizon where the pine trees showed themselves
against the blue of the sky, and in the form of a great tawny hand pass its fingers down the valley until it engulfed the superstructures of a building.

Conditions grew steadily worse after the immigrants moved in, and the nocturnal visits occurred more and more frequently. Indians were seen here and there throughout the settlement with but one exception. There was but one place in the village where they never had appeared, and that was in the plot of ground occupied by the tiny church, perched on a slight rise of ground to the north of town.

The pastor of the little flock began to feel that he might be able to learn some things regarding these disturbances if he could meet one of the intruders, and he at once moved into the home of one of his parishioners who had reported these occurrences most frequently. He had not long to wait, for during his second night there a marauder entered the gate-yard and the pastor challenged him.

The exact words which were exchanged are not a matter of record, but the following day the minister had the church bell tolled and the people assembled. He said that the Indian explained the village had been built over an old burial ground of his tribe. In this cemetery there were the remains of many important chiefs who returned every night and sent him and other braves to warn the white man against building his “cave-of-many-rooms” over their sacred ground.

He said that he was told to advise the white intruders to take their town to another location lest the Great Hand of the Evil Spirit descend from the mountain where the sun rises and remove all who remained, even as it had taken the roofs from off their houses.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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8 Responses to Yankee Classic: Ghost Town

  1. Vanessa Silva September 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm #

    Where is this place?

  2. r sparks October 5, 2009 at 12:26 pm #

    I would love to know where this is too…after hours of internet research..I can’t pinpoint the exact spot…does anyone have a clue? Is the author still alive?

  3. Holly Brulia September 1, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    leave the indian burial ground is a sacred place…

  4. Alberta Stewart September 25, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    If i,m not mistaken the place is near Canaan Conn., buit is on private property and you need permission to go there.

  5. Palasa Masulli October 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    I think this is a town in CT called “Dudleytown.” I have heard that real evil resides there. The Warrens (famous CT ghost hunters) have investigated there. They have reported a history of people becoming spacially disoriented while there. Also, there are no animals around and no sound of birds singing–creepy!

  6. Anthony McDonald November 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    No, this is not Dudleytown, which is in Connecticut. The White Mountains are in New Hampshire, and the place spoken of I have visited. I believe it should be left alone, as it is a sacred place, and the only reason I went there was out of respect and to honor those who were buried and those who disappeared.

  7. Rick Sheehy September 24, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    I recall reading this in a collection of old Yankee stories and think it’s an awesome campfire story but don’t think it’s much more than that! If i am wrong and it’s a real town, not Dudleytown please let me know. I’d love to know more!

  8. Holly Hanson June 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    This is one of those stories that you’ll continue to think about long after you’ve read it.

    This story inspired me to write a song based on the events. The song is called “A Blue Sky Turned to Rust.” I released it on my latest album, The 45th Parallel, with my Folk duo Neptune’s Car.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Yankee Magazine!

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