My, oh, my. Colonists were flayed here, their heads put on pikes. A rash of tuberculosis deaths in 19 year old girls caused a century long vampire hunt. Sea Serpents washed up not once, but twice on Block Island. Rhode Island has some very strange stories, indeed...
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Block Island - Harborside Inn
Room 302 is haunted by a woman in black Victorian era clothing. Staff reports the sensation of being shoved or grabbed.
Newport - Agassiz Mansion at Castle Hill Resort
The "Inn" portion of this sprawling mansion turned resort is said to be haunted by a restless female apparition for the past several decades. Dishes have also been known to fly from the shelves
Newport - Hotel Viking
In the back part of the hotel a phantom party that sounds as if it originates from an unused part of the hotel awakens guests.
Providence - Fairfield Inn by Marriott
A ground floor room is said to be haunted by a man in Colonial era attire with a leathery, wrinkled face who gets up in your face and mumbles incoherently. (I wonder if this was a late night encounter with a drunken war re-enactor... lol) 36 Jefferson Blvd
Rhode Island Vampires
the late 1700's and throughout the 1800's an odd phenomena took place among the
young women of Rhode Island: vampirism. Obscure compared to the Salem witch
trials, this bizarre phenomena seems to have begun in in the 1790's, when a Mr.
Stephen Staples dug up his recently deceased daughter in Cumberland, so as to
conduct an "experiment" in order to "save" his other ailing daughter. Just a few
years later in Exeter, the family of Stuckely "Snuffy" Tillinghast largely took
ill. One after another died. Some of the children, in the throes of death said
that their dead sister Sarah, the first to go, had come in the night and
"pressed on (their) chest". After Snuffy had lost his sixth child, he decided to
take matters into his own hands. He exhumed Sarah, who by accounts of the ordeal
had "fresh blood" in her heart and arteries. Snuffy cut her heart out and burnt
it. Awhile later in Foster, Nancy Young, age 19 at the time of her untimely
death, was plucked from her coffin and robbed of her heart. This time the
girl's family inhaled the burnt ashes of the organ to "cure" the ailments that
inflicted them: to no avail - four more children died. In Peacedale, one father
was convinced his dead daughter was of the vampiric persuasion, and followed
suit. Young Nellie Vaughn (read more below) of West
Grenwich was also post-humously labeled a vampire. In 1892 Exeter, 19 year old
Mercy Brown died of the same mystery disease (most likely tuberculosis) that
took her sister and mother before her. She was placed in a "keep" (a temporary
crypt that was used to prevent burying people alive, and if the ground was too
frozen to bury them at the time of their death), and stunned townsfolk claimed
to have seen Mercy, pasty faced but nevertheless mobile, walking around town.
Brother Edwin was by this time ill, and father George decided to raid the family
crypt. To his and other bystander's horror, Mercy still appeared as fresh as a
daisy, and looked as if she had shifted in her coffin. Her heart, which
according to the local paper was full of fresh blood, was burned, the ashes
mixed with "medicine" and given to young Edwin as a tonic. Edwin croaked not
Years later, and after the success of the novel "Dracula", among Bram Stoker's personal belongings was found clippings about the Rhode Island heart burning fad. It has been largely speculated that he based much his book on these events.(1)
Bristol - Colt State Park
Formerly a family farm, a hired hand died in what is now the park office. Staff complains of lights that shut themselves off, doors that open and close themselves, the apparitions of two little girls on the "Suicide Hill" area of the beach, and a child's giggling in the same area. Local legend says that two little girls drowned there in the 1970's. Do not visit after dark.
Coventry - Nathaniel Greene Homestead
Visitors to the home of this Revolutionary War general report phantom footsteps, doors that slam themselves shut, cold spots, and the noise of cannons and screaming. I can't find any information on if this home offers tours. There is a map of the area here.
Cranston - The Governor Sprague Mansion
This mansion's namesake, Amasa Sprague, was murdered in 1798, and visitors report hauntings throughout his residence. As early as 1925, a female apparition was seen on the staircase by the woman who lived there. A "lady in black" has been known to fade away in the cupola, and a woman in antebellum style hoop skirts has been seen in the ballroom. The antebellum lady has been speculated to be the spirit of Amasa's daughter in law, the beautiful wife of a Civil War hero. The Doll Room has had reports from visitors of footsteps when no one is around, and the wine cellar has a spirit who likes to touch visitors.
Cumberland - The Edward J. Hayden Library
This former monastery (Abbey of Our Lady of the Valley) has a ghostly monk who moves books about, a ghostly rider on horseback has been seen on the back trail, and the apparition of a child has been seen on the trails near the swamp. A monument on the grounds commemorates "Pierce's Fight"; the deaths of nine colonial militiamen who were killed by really, reaaally pissed local Native Americans on March 26th, 1676. The nine men were flayed (skinned alive), their heads put on pikes with sticks placed to hold the corners of their mouths in a "grin" to symbolize the smiling, lying white men that the Indians had quickly grown to hate. Screams are reported in the vicinity of the massacre, and some people claim that if you hold your ear to the stone, you can hear the screams as well. The monastery is apparently located on Rte 114, whereas the Nine Men's Misery monument is located on Diamond Hill Road
This Gilded Age mansion is open for tours. The chapel is reported to have a sculpture or statue of a monk. It was formerly near the staircase, and visitors would see the apparition of a monk nearby. The spirit seemed to have been put to rest since the statue was moved. The ballroom is said to have a haunted suit of armor that cries out sometimes during the month of March; also in the ballroom are two "haunted" chairs that might throw a person off if he tries to sit in either of them.
Newport - Brenton Point State Park
The old stable in the kite flying field is reported to have strange noises such as horses trotting and unexplained voices.
Providence - Benefit Street
A street that is crammed with well kept historical homes from the colonial era, Benefit street is rumored to be haunted by, among other things, a phantom horse drawn carriage, a ghostly old woman who peers from the attic window of one of the buildings, and even the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe - who had a girlfriend who lived here. The Providence Preservation Society offers walking tours of the street.
Warwick - The Aldrich Mansion
This mansion, which is now rented out for weddings, is haunted by one of the Aldrich family daughters who flung herself from a balcony.
Riverside - Crescent Park Carousel
An adjoining ballroom to this century old carousel burnt down in the 1960's, and reportedly there were some deaths involved in the fire. Employees have stated that the lights and music turn themselves on, a female apparition in a hoop skirt has been seen near the water, and a phantom train is heard and it's lights seen on the bike path where tracks used to be. There are cold spots on the beach that are associated with a man who buried his murdered wife in the sand there in the 1980's.
West Kingstown - Great Swamp Monument
Marking the massacre of a 1675 battle between natives and colonists, many Indians were slaughtered and are buried here. Visitors report hearing Native American war cries, the sounds of gunfire, screaming, crying, and even ghostly Indians in war paint walking in the swamps. Route 2
Newport - Newport on Foot
(possibly offers walking ghost tours) (401) 846-5391
Newport - Haunted Newport
Bristol - Roger Williams University Dance Theatre
Made from two renovated barns, the students have nicknamed their resident theater ghost "Banquo". Legend says that a farmhand froze to death one winters night in one of the barns, and dancers say they experience cold spots, whispered names, and moving curtains when there is no draft.
Newport - La Petite Auberge
This historic 1714 boyhood home of American Naval hero Stephen Decatur, is said to be haunted by him. Decatur had a meteoric rise in the newly established Navy, and died relatively young and at the height of his fame in a duel. A cook saw a uniformed man sitting at a table in an upstairs room after closing time and he vanished when she approached him. The same apparition appeared behind another employee who was doing paperwork. Other oddities includes silverware that rattles for no apparent reason on the table. 19 Charles St
Newport - White Horse Tavern
This historic New England tavern has had sightings of a man dressed in shabby old - fashioned clothes for many years. Usually it is near the right side of the fireplace in one of the dining rooms, but one little boy spotted the man in an upstairs men's room. One night two employees each ran downstairs to confront an "intruder" they could hear walking around after they had locked up - and found the place completely empty. The current owners were lucky enough to come across a clipping from the 1700's of a man who died there when they housed overnight guests. He died suddenly where he was sleeping - near the fireplace - and was quickly buried in a pauper's grave for fear that he may have died of smallpox or some other communicable disease. His identity remains a mystery. (1) 26 Marlborough Street
Block Island - The Palatine Light
Visitors report the sounds of a baby crying. Reports of a spectral, flaming ship have stemmed from the horrific voyage of the Princess Augusta: in 1738 the ship came from Rotterdam. Many of the German passengers died of a gastrointestinal ailment en route, then a tremendous blizzard kept them 12 miles from the coast, hung up on a sandy crag on the north tip of Block Island. The captain, for whatever reason, wouldn't let the ailing passengers off of the boat at this point, and several more died before they were allowed off. The ship was so scarred from the storm that it was cut loose and allowed to crash into the rocks and sink. Today, locals report a fiery ship, called "the Palatine light", off the north coast in December. A scientific account of the light from 1811 stated, "This curious irradiation rises from the ocean near the northern part of the island. Its appearance is nothing different from a blaze of fire; whether it actually touches the water or hovers over it is uncertain. It beams with various magnitudes, when large (as a ship with canvas spread) it displays either a pyramidical form or three constant streams, often in a constant state of mutation. The duration is not commonly more than two or three minutes..."(1) The "Palatine" (another name for the Princess Augusta) dropped off among the three surviving passengers, a black woman who settled there and later was rumored a witch, opium eater, and fortune teller. "Tall" Kattern was her name, and she became another piece of the island's folklore.
Block Island -The "Block Ness Monster"
In 1996 and more recently in 2004 "sea serpent" like remains of an undetermined creature washed ashore on Block Island, setting off a small local controversy. Nicknamed "Block Nessie", the 1996 remains mysteriously disappeared before they could be properly identified.
Cumberland - Tower Hill Road
This winding road has had reports of phantom children, including a little girl in a front yard, a boy with a dog, and a toddler on a tricycle.
*See Rhode Island Vampires
An accused vampire's (either Sarah Tillinghast or Mercy Brown) grave is supposedly located here; she is aid to appear on the road in front of you as you cross the second bridge. A phantom truck is also said to be spotted along this road. - located down "a long and winding road where you go over two mini bridges and at the end there is a church and cemetery" . Mercy Brown's grave is definitely located at RI Historical Cemetery No 22 in Exeter, RI on Route 102.
Exeter - Joseph P. Ladd Center
One of the many crumbling former psychiatric institutions in this fine land of ours, the "Rhode Island School for the Feeble Minded", as it was known in 1908 housed the mentally retarded and others who were unable to function in society at the time. Life was no picnic in these places during the era of ice bath "therapy" and the lobotomy pick. This institution closed in 1993; it has since become a haven for paranormal enthusiasts. Phenomena that has been reported includes: photographic anomalies, beds and wheelchairs that move themselves, and foggy apparitions on the grounds outside. During a paranormal investigation, one person reported having her camera knocked from her hand, then once again after she picked it up. When the group was on the 3rd floor they claim that a tremendous din that sounded like a piano being drug across a floor or the keys being banged on lasted a few second before they bailed out of the building. Like most places of this type, I'm fairly confident that this is private property and trespassers will be arrested.
Foster - Tucker
Scattered graves along this road hold the bodies of victims of a kiln explosion and a local outbreak of plague. However, the real local legend is about a dead cross dresser from 1893.
27 year old Dorothy "Dolly" Cole was murdered near her home in these woods in 1893. Her case was buried in the headlines of the Lizzie Borden trial in Massachusetts, and her murderer was likely never brought to justice. Local legend embellishes the story to say that she was burnt down in her home, an accused witch, vampire, or in some stories, prostitute. (none of these accusations, by the way, have any credibility) Dolly's ghost is said to be spotted by hunters in the sportsman's club that is located here. She is said to be wearing men's clothing (this might be a stretch, but I'd guess that her attire didn't fly well with the locals) and have long, brown hair. She fades away as quickly as she appears. She has also been spotted from afar, standing near the swamp and Dolly Cole bridge, near where her body was found. This area has a sportsman's club and there is much GUNFIRE and FLYING STEEL TIPPED ARROWS not to mention COPS!! Please ask the owners for permission to poke around their private property.
Exeter - Exeter
Grange Graveyard Keep
see Rhode Island Vampires
The "keep", or temporary tomb, that famed local "vampiress" Mercy Brown was briefly interred in is said to have the sounds of crying nearby, as well as the occasional apparition of a young woman walking around. Route 102
Newport - Elks Lodge
The portrait of the woman and child at the top of the staircase is reported to indicate that the child's ghost is walking about the building when the image of the child in the painting becomes blurred. People report a child's apparition on the second floor, lights that flip themselves on and off, and footsteps from empty upper floors. 141 Pelham St
North Kingstown - School Street
The area near post road has had reports of spook lights and apparitions in the graveyard there.
Providence - Ridgeway Ave
Apparitions are spotted in the woods on this street.
Rumford - Bent Road /Wannamoisett Country Club 18th hole
walk off of bent road onto the fairway of the 18th hole, it is reported that two
Indians on horseback will run at you then disappear just as they get close.
Warren - Kickemuit River/Schoolhouse road
During colonial times, some settlers were slaughtered and their heads were put on pikes as a warning by the natives to others. Reports of the re-appearance of these heads and pikes have been reported near here. Take Rte. 136 South in Warren to Schoolhouse Road
West Greenwich - RI Historical Cemetery No. 2
The grave of alleged vampiress Nellie Vaughn is said to be cursed, and that nothing will grow atop her grave. Oddly enough, this particular vampire tale seemed to evolve from a case of mistaken identity. Nellie Vaughn, it seems, only became included in the list of accused vampires after a high school teacher accidentally sent her students to the wrong graveyard in the 1960's, intending to direct them to the grave of Mercy Brown. (*see Rhode Island Vampires) Nellie was 19, like Brown was at her death, and also had a rather creepy epitaph on her stone, "I am waiting and watching for you"; the students latched onto the story and perpetuated the myth. In the early 1990's, however, there were reports (all by a local woman and her husband) who claim that on visits to the graveyard they had experienced odd photographic anomalies on the pictures of Nellie's grave, that the man had been clawed in the face just after hearing a woman's voice say "I am perfectly pleasant", that a apparition in women's Victorian era dress was seen among the headstones, that a woman hovered above the grave, pulling at her hair, and even that a mystery lady walked up to the aforementioned woman and agitatedly denied that Nellie was ever a vampire, and mysteriously disappeared. Other people have reported hearing the voice say "I am perfectly pleasant". (1) Plain Meeting House Road. Nellie's headstone has been removed by locals to protect it since repeated visits by assholes whose vandalism escalated to the grand heights of digging up a coffin in 1993. Nellie's grave, now unmarked, reportedly has a full growth of grass atop it, and is unrecognizable from the surrounding lawn. Do not visit after dusk.
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