The 6 Most Haunted Places In Vermont
In the United States, nobody does ghosts like New England, and Vermont does her part to uphold that proud tradition. From the tragedy of lost love to death by misadventure to an inventor’s eccentric tinkering beyond the grave, Vermont has plenty of stories to keep a paranormal investigator busy. What are the most haunted places in Vermont? Read on as we explore this and more.
West Castleton, a town on the shore of Lake Bomoseen, was a thriving town of Irish immigrants who worked in the slate quarries surrounding the lake. After a day’s work, quarry workers would travel across the lake to carouse at a tavern on the other side. One night, three quarry workers crossed the lake despite approaching bad weather. The boat eventually drifted to the opposite shore—without the three men. It is assumed that they drowned, but their bodies were never recovered. It is said that, on nights with a full moon, you can sometimes see a boat drifting silently along the lake, oars dipping into and out of the water, with not a soul to be seen on the boat.
These days, West Castleton is an abandoned ghost town, and you can visit it during a trip to Lake Bomseen State Park.
Address: 22 Cedar Mountain Rd., Castleton, VT 05743
Brattleboro Retreat Tower (Vermont Asylum for the Insane)
The Brattleboro Retreat was an asylum built in 1834 as the Vermont Asylum for the Insane. The name was changed to Brattleboro Retreat later in the century to avoid confusion with a state-run asylum. Residents of the asylum built the tower, as the doctors thought that the labor would be therapeutic and that the fresh air taken in from the top of the tower would be refreshing—a tonic for the soul, as it were. Though initially a popular destination for the locals, it soon attracted vandalism and delinquency. It was bricked up in 1938, as local boys took to meeting near the tower to fire guns, eventually shooting a dog, owned by one of the retreat’s doctors, in the leg.
In addition to a confirmed suicide by a cellist of the New York Metropolitan Opera, it was rumored that patients had also lept to their deaths. It is told that one of the ghosts that can be seen near the tower will leap from the top but is never seen to hit the ground. Others report a vague, unsettled feeling when they are near the tower. Nearby, there is a cemetery with some graves only marked with numbers or the designation “unknown.”
Though the retreat still exists, the tower sits in the middle of a network of trails managed by a nonprofit in conjunction with the retreat.
Address: 45 Farmhouse Square, Brattleboro, VT 05301
Emily’s Bridge, also known as the Gold Brook Bridge, was built in Stowe, VT, in 1844 and may be the oldest covered bridge in the U.S. This picturesque wooden bridge crossing the Gold Brook may have historical significance. Still, it is its paranormal significance that attracts most people.
Legend has it that, in the late 19th century, a young girl, Emily, had arranged to meet her lover at the bridge to elope (her family did not approve of the young man). One story says that she was thrown from, or crushed by, her horse. Another says that she was jilted by her love and hanged herself from the bridge rafters in despair. Today, paranormal enthusiasts and others claim to have seen strange apparitions at the bridge. Some claim that they have been physically scratched upon crossing the bridge. Others claim to have found strange scratches on their vehicles afterward.
There is, to this day, some controversy around the tale. Legends of hauntings began around 1948 without reference to the ghost’s name. A local woman, Nancy Wolfe Stead, also said she had created the “Emily” variation in the 1970s to scare children. Nevertheless, the legend has now taken on a life of its own, appealing to paranormal investigators everywhere.
The bridge is located south of Stowe on Covered Bridge Road, just before it meets Gold Brook Road.
The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa
The history of the Equinox begins in 1769, when it was known as the Marsh Tavern. It was a popular location for revolutionaries of the time and was taken over by them when the owner declared his loyalty to the British. The inn changed hands and names numerous times before it was established as the Equinox House in 1853. Over the years, the inn has hosted U.S. Presidents, Vice Presidents, and other famous guests.
Much of its paranormal reputation can be attributed to the visit of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln during the Civil War. She enjoyed her stay so much that she reserved rooms for a year later. Unfortunately, President Lincoln was assassinated before they could avail themselves again of the luxuries of the Equinox. It is said that employees have seen the ghost of Mary Todd Lincoln and a small child drifting through the rooms. Others have felt a chill in the air or heard whispers. Guests in their rooms have reported items being moved within the space without their knowledge or lights coming on in the middle of the night.
Though there are no spirit-related events hosted by the Equinox Golf Resort & Spa, you can book a room at the resort to enjoy the pampering that impressed Mary Todd Lincoln—and perhaps catch a glimpse of her yourself.
Address: 3567 Main St. Manchester Village, VT 05254
Hartness House Inn
The Hartness House was built by James Hartness, an inventor and former governor of Vermont. When the house was built, he commissioned tunnels underneath the estate and out to a telescope on the front lawn. He planned to use these tunnels as his offices and workshops. They also included a library, lounge, bathroom, and study. These tunnels now house the Hartness-Porter Museum of Amateur Telescope Making.
Visitors of the Inn have reported hearing noises like clanking underground. They have also told of objects in rooms disappearing and then reappearing elsewhere and of lights randomly turning on and off. Some believe that the ghost of James Hartness is still busy tinkering and inventing in his underground workspace.
Hartness House operates as a house and hotel. Stays can be booked through their website. The telescope museum is also worth a visit if you’re there.
Address: 109 Front Street, Springfield, Vermont 05156
Phone: 802-885 8022
The Shelburne Museum
The Shelburne Museum consists of a collection of buildings and structures brought together by Electra Havemeyer Webb in 1947. She wanted to create a museum dedicated to American arts and design. This included houses, barns, a schoolhouse, a covered bridge, a lighthouse, the steamboat Ticonderoga, and a jail, among other things. These were carefully situated in a village-like setting and landscaped to accentuate their designs. Though the museum dates back to 1947, the individual structures have their own histories. Presumably, this would include their paranormal histories.
The first house moved to the museum site—the Dutton House—was originally constructed in 1781 for the Dutton family. Generations lived and died in the house before its relocation in 1950. Legend has it that an elderly ghost with a cane, as well as the spirit of a little girl, made the trip as well. People have claimed that both ghosts have been seen accompanying tours and that they have heard the little girl crying on the grounds.
Whether you believe these tales or not, the Shelburne Museum is an intriguing slice of Atlantic Coast Americana and well worth the visit.