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Yankee Classic: Ghost Town

Yankee Classic: Ghost Town
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When the good man had asked the Indian why it was that his church never had been the object of a visitation, he is said to have declared that the Great Spirits had directed that this was a bond to prove to the white man that even as the Indians had honored the
sacred place of the intruder, they expected the white man to do likewise — and depart.

At these words a great silence hung over the gathering, until certain individuals, bolder than the rest, began to scoff at the story, saying that the pastor was “just entering his second childhood,” and maintaining that all tales of spirits and Great Black Hands were the work of prattling old women.

Folks returned to their homes, and after a day or two of hushed discussions and placing of the family Bibles in the positions deemed to give the most protection against witches and other supernatural visitations,
the whole matter was promptly forgotten.

For a while there were no repetitions of the earlier misfortunes. The miners returned to their work in the pits, and housewives busied themselves with keeping their homes clean and putting up vegetables and preserves against the coming winter. The youngsters played in the village streets as usual and attended the Saturday and Sunday schools conducted by the old minister. Allwere lulled into a false sense of security.

And then …

It was late in August of that year. The diggings at the mines were just beginning to produce on a paying basis. About four o’clock on a sultry afternoon the sky became overcast. The sun’s rays which filtered down through the trees were of an eerie orange color. The slight breeze which had been fanning the tree tops suddenly ceased.

The orange hue deepened to a reddish vapor as though a Gargantuan shaker were pouring paprika down from the mountain top. At the mines a mile away the workers hastened to collect their implements and return home, but the sand banks which bordered the copper pits started to slide down. Ton after ton of sand and stones must have engulfed the poor wretches, leaving them not even the relief of an outcry. There were sixty-one miners in all.

As this catastrophe was enveloping the little group at the quarry, there appeared upon the eastern horizon a tiny speck of a cloud, black and sinister. It increased in size until it resembled a patch of soot pouring through the notch in the ridge of the mountain. As it passed to the river’s edge it grew larger and larger and the uneven, serrated borders which it had exhibited took on the semblance of fingers; long tentacle-like digits which spread from one end of town to the other; from east to west and from north to south it poured down on the settlement and its inhabitants.

Then as suddenly as it had appeared it was gone. A brisk breeze sprang up and the air cleared with that brilliant intensity which follows a summer thunderstorm. But this time it was not the roofs of the houses that were missing — it was the inhabitants themselves. Among all those dwellings marked by this scaring hand, it was the little church alone which remained unscathed — as you may still see it to this day.

No explanation has ever been advanced. No one has ever been found who survived that red day in August more than one hundred years ago. The buildings still stand, to be sure, some leaning, awry and bat-infested, but no new tenants seek them out. The depressions which mark the mines in the nearby hills are still there to be excavated by those who pooh-pooh the legends.

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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