Noah Webster House
227 S. Main St.
West Hartford, CT 06107
The man who created Webster’s Dictionary lived in West Hartford, and according to legend, still does, despite having been dead for 170 years. Although he died in New Haven, his ghost apparently prefers his birthplace and childhood home in West Hartford, which is now a museum that honors and showcases his many accomplishments. The museum sponsors many worthwhile activities and programs, and is a serious and educational facility, but one that also has a sense of humor and whimsy – and knows a goldmine when it sees one. That is why in addition to its regular historic house tours, it also sponsors “Nighttime Cemetery Tours” in October (Saturday the 19, and Friday through Sunday, 25-27). The old North Cemetery on North Main, just up the street from the Webster House, is a key stop on the tour, for from its graves are said to emanate the spirits of a hero of the War of 1812 and the Steele Family, among other local dead people.
Ghosts of New Haven
1070 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT 06510
New Haven is an old city and as such, has more and older legends than any in the state – especially when it comes to ghosts. Taking people to see those haunts is how the people of Ghosts of New Haven tours make their living. According to these professional ghost hunters, there is at least one spirit who flits about among the stacks of the New Haven Public Library. Roger Sherman, New Haven’s first mayor from the 1600s, purportedly still hovers over his old house (now the Union League Café) and darts about down the appropriately named Sherman’s Alley behind it. Cornelius Vanderbilt’s ghost allegedly lives in New York’s Grand Central Station, but reportedly takes Metro North up to Yale once in a while to hang around above Yale’s Vanderbilt Gate. But not all of New Haven’s many ghosts are historical figures or from its distant past. According to Ghosts of New Haven, Jimi Hendrix still plays his guitar now and then at Yale’s Woolsey Hall.
Mark Twain House
351 Farmington Ave.
Hartford, CT 06105
America’s most beloved storyteller lives on at his old home in Hartford, and more than just figuratively. Legend has it that the Mark Twain House on Farmington Avenue is haunted – a legend embellished and given credence to by the SyFy Channel’s own “Ghost Hunters,” who visited the home (now a museum) in 2009. The Smoking Gun Research Agency, a paranormal research society, inspected the house that same year, investigating reports of “knocks, bangs, full-body apparitions, spectral voices, articles of clothing being tugged, cigar smells” and more. According to the Museum’s blog, the agency concluded that the Clemens family home was “energetically active,” and said so in a presentation at an annual paranormal congress in 2010. Museum officers are “skeptical,” but not too dismissive, as these suspicions have helped spark interest in their Friday night Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours – some of which include séances in the dimly lit rooms of the old Victorian mansion.
Related: Weirdest Museums In Connecticut
The Yankee Pedlar Inn
93 Main St.
Torrington, CT 06790
Built in 1891 and still in operation, the elegant, comfortable, Victorian-style Yankee Pedlar Inn is also haunted. Legend has it that the spirit of Alice Conley, who with husband Frank built the inn, still roams the halls. That she died in Room 353 adds weight to the story, as guests who have braved staying in that room in particular have reported seeing apparitions and being teased by unusual smells. Her favorite rocking chair, now in the lobby, often rocks back and forth even though no visible occupant is seated in it. There have been literally thousands of ghost sightings in the hotel, and it has been featured in films and television shows, both for its own ghosts and as the setting for other made-up ghost stories. The Northwest Connecticut Paranormal Society investigators say they have “proof” – having taken a photo of a spirit orb floating about the premises.
Darien, CT 06820
ConneCTions’ own “ghost hunter,” Donna Kent routinely leads a band of fellow spirit-seekers by motor coach to visit historic sites, graveyards and other supposedly haunted spots in the four corners of the state. There are sites of “lost” villages whose inhabitants may be dead but where their spirits still reside, as well as ghostly battlefields and burial grounds, prisons and libraries and even haunted restaurants (where tour goers will stop for a meal). There are four different tours and each fills up quite quickly – and ghost hunters are cautioned to wear good walking shoes, for spirits tend to hide in places the bus can’t reach.
Related: Top Historical Sites in Connecticut
Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.