Albertus Magnus College - Stansbury Hall

Local Haunts: New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven (some) History

In this issue of Local Haunts I will be talking about New Haven, Connecticut. In 1638 New Haven began its life as a self-governing commonwealth. Inhabited by Puritans, they hoped to make a better theological community and had their government closely linked with the church. Disaster hit New Haven in 1646 when they sent out their first loaded ship of local goods back to England. That ship never made it to England, and this event crippled New Haven in the competition of rising trade power. The Connecticut Colony obtained New Haven in 1664 under pressure from England. Fast-forward to the year 2000; New Haven has seen much revitalization, especially in downtown, and currently has 130,000 residents. They also have four colleges, and one of those colleges just happens to be Yale University.

Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery was founded in 1848 by some of New Haven’s most prominent citizens. Today it is run by an association’s board of trustees and is a non-profit, non-sectarian cemetery. The cemetery boasts some notable dead people. The first person of African descent to receive a PhD, Edward Bouchet, rests in Evergreen Cemetery. Sarah Winchester, known for building the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose California, and her husband Oliver Winchester, who was the founder of the Winchester repeating Rifle Company, are buried in the Highland Avenue section. Ilya Tolstoy, Hall of Fame Major League Baseball Executive George Weiss, one of the key contributors to the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (William Chester Minor), two Connecticut governors (Hobart Bigelow, Wilbur Cross), and the first Secretary to the President (John Addison Porter) are also buried here.

Haunts

Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery

Midnight Mary is the primary ghost that haunts this location. Her tombstone can be found LOCATION OF TOMBSTONE. The tombstone is a large pink granite stone that reads: AT HIGH NOON JUST FROM, AND ABOUT TO RENEW HER DAILY WORK, IN HER FULL STRENGTH OF BODY AND MIND MARY E. HART HAVING FALLEN PROSTRATE: REMAINED UNCONSCIOUS, UNTIL SHE DIED AT MIDNIGHT, OCTOBER 15, 1872 BORN DECEMBER 16, 1824. Above that text is a more pronounced black letter text that reads: THE PEOPLE SHALL BE TROUBLED AT MIDNIGHT AND PASS AWAY. After her death, a rumor popped up about Mary being a witch. This rumor is said to explain the black letter quote on her tombstone. They say that those words are a curse bestowed on anyone who visits her grave at night. The result of the curse is the veiwer’s death at midnight. Her life is said to be much more boring than her death. It is said that her parents found her dead at the stroke of midnight and that they buried her the next day. Mary’s aunt had a dream or nightmare about Mary still being alive in the grave. She believed this was a premonition and so she begged the family to dig up Mary. Apparently in those days it was common to accidently bury the living. When the family eventually agreed to dig her up they found her dead, but there were scratches on her casket and blood and wood underneath her finger tips. There is a spirit that wanders Winthrop Avenue and Ella T. Grasso Boulevard asking for rides from unsuspecting drivers; Mary is believed to be this hitchhiking spirit. You don’t have to worry too much, as she is said to leave the car before you arrive at your destination.

Southern Connecticut State University

Southern Connecticut State University was founded in 1893 as a two-year teacher training school known as New Haven State Normal School. In 1937 the college grew into a four year college, and in 1959 the name was changed to Southern Connecticut State College. The college earned university status 24 years later. Their notable alumni list is littered with soccer and football players. A man named Daniel Trust is also on the list between the athletes. He is the founder of the Daniel Trust Foundation and a Rwandan Genocide survivor.

Haunts

Reports that come from the common area are more unsettling than terrifying. Doors and windows are reported to open on their own without regard of the lock. Closets rattle and faucets turn themselves on and off as they please. The worst report is that of a misty black figure that hangs around the common room. A student disclosed an encounter that he had with a massive black force. He said that the force hovered over him and paralyzed him with fear. A psychic has claimed to have cleaned the campus of this spirit. The psychic said that the spirit was of a young boy who was killed on the grounds before it was a campus. It was stated that the boy’s ghost invited more negative spirits while he was haunting the school grounds.

Fort Nathan Hale

Fort Nathan Hale - Memorial

Fort Nathan Hale - Memorial

Fort Hale Park sits on twenty acres on the east shore of New Haven Harbor. Two forts find residence on this plot of land: one is from the Revolutionary War (built in 1659), and the other is from the Civil War and was named after Nathan Hale. Nathan Hale is Connecticut’s official hero and worked as a spy for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He was caught by the British and executed. His last words were “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”. Fort Hale Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and that included three buildings, one site, and three structures.

Haunts

Fort Nathan Hale - Bunker

Fort Nathan Hale - Bunker

The first reported haunts were from English settlers. They reported seeing green glowing orbs, which are now reported underground in the bunkers that are barred off from the public. They are believed to be the spirits of the Native Americans that lived in that area. There have been spottings of ghostly figures along the beach by the bunker. These ghosts are believed to be those of men from the many battles that have taken place there. Several different people have reported disembodied voices ranging from their name being called to hearing whispers of conversations.

Old Union Trust Building

Postcard: The Union & New Haven Trust Building

Postcard: The Union & New Haven Trust Building

The Old Union Trust Building was built for the Union and the New Haven Trust Company during the 1920s. In 1981 the Union Trust Company moved to Stamford, but they kept a branch open on the ground floor of the building. In 1995 a company that is now known as Wells Fargo purchased the building, and they opened a branch on the ground floor. In 2013 it was purchased by Cooper Church LLC. Throughout the years, the building had been used as office space for various businesses. Cooper Church has turned it into a luxury apartment building.

Haunts

Photograph: The Union & New Haven Trust Building

Photograph: The Union & New Haven Trust Building

Many of the hauntings that have been reported have come from the after-hours staff, including cleaning staff, security guards, and building managers. Most have felt the eerie feeling of being watched and heard distant footsteps in a building that they knew was empty, but those things couldn’t compare to the terror of having their names called by disembodied voices. Any security guard caught sleeping on the job was awoken by a fierce “PSST, PSST”, and many of them witnessed the shadow man that appeared just before dawn walking in front of the entrance doors. The tenth floor had many meetings that were only attended by the undead. During their meetings they would leave the light on and whisper loudly to each other until their conference was over, and then they would turn the light off. Some living agents would hear the footsteps or children playing in the building after hours only to be met with the vacancy of children. Some carpenters were doing work on the 12th floor of the building one day when they came upon the most awful of haunts: a man hanging; they quit the job the same day. There were many reports of mild haunts, such as lights being turned on, music playing, moans, and orbs passing through walls.

Albertus Magnus College

Founded in 1925 by the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs, the college’s initial goal was to educate women. In 1940 Albertus Magnus College expanded to its present size of fifty acres. This meant the inclusion of a beautiful variety of surrounding mansions which are used as dorms or offices. Albertus Magnus College began welcoming male students into their college in 1985.

Haunts

The dorms on this campus have their own hauntings. Dominican Hall was built in 1956, rented out in 1970 to Yale as a psychiatric institution, and is now a co-ed dorm. The residents of the Dominican Hall have reported many different hauntings. They have stated that they have heard knocking on their walls, doors slamming, running through the halls, disembodied voices, televisions or stereos turned off if the sound was too loud for the ghosts.

Albertus Magnus College - McAuliffe Hall

Albertus Magnus College - McAuliffe Hall

This is not the only dorm to report hauntings on this campus. McAuliffe Hall and Stansbury Hall also have reported hauntings. McAuliffe Hall has reportings of two ghosts. The first is of a young boy, roughly 8-10 years of age, who is always looking for a playmate and who often changes the orientation of objects if not moving them completely. The other ghost in McAuliffe Hall is that of a woman wearing a green dress. She is said to haunt the front staircase. It is believed that she will try to shove you down the stairs if you do not hold the handrail after midnight. A student who lived in McAuliffe Hall once reported hearing the Green Woman singing around 10:00 p.m.

Albertus Magnus College - Stansbury Hall

Albertus Magnus College - Stansbury Hall

There is another dorm that has reported hauntings on campus, and that is Stansbury Hall. Girls in the dorm have reported having been poked and scratched as well as seeing objects fly off of the shelves. Some had such a hard time getting to sleep individually that they huddled up together in the middle of a room for protection. They have also seen a shadow pacing around the hall, and there was even a report of students being picked up and thrown against a wall.

Do you have any stories from the haunted locations listed or other haunted places in New Haven? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

Posted by Alan Smithee

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