Vermont has its share of history and legends, but these stories have been told time and time again and the locals swear them to be true. Ghosts, noises and peculiar happenings are afoot in these 10 places that have stories which will leave you terrified. Are you brave enough to explore?
1. Emily’s Bridge – Stowe.
While Stowe may best be known for its skiing and the Trapp Family Lodge, the town has a spooky claim to fame as well: The covered Gold Brook Bridge, better known as Emily’s Bridge.
Emily is said to be a brokenhearted woman who haunts the bridge. The legends vary slightly, but they all involve her being jilted by a lover she was going to marry. One story ends with driving a fast moving carriage off the rocky bank and dying in the brook below. The other and more common story says Emily hung herself by the rafters of the bridge. A history of bizarre occurrences on the bridge has circulated for decades.
Some of the paranormal activity visitors have experienced include scratch marks on cars and feelings of being scratched or grabbed. Sounds resembling footsteps, ropes, and screams have been reported. Apparently, the more hostile manifestations have been aimed at males who cross the bridge. Full body apparitions have also been reported, with most of the activity occurring in the hours immediately after midnight. Whether or not the story of Emily is the real cause of the bizarre activity at the Gold Brook Bridge, paranormal investigators believe something supernatural occurs there.
2. Hayden House - Albany.
The old Hayden House still stands on the outskirts of Albany, Vermont, in the Northeast Kingdom. The Hayden Family is thought to have perished under the vengeful curse of William Hayden’s mother-in-law, Mercie Dale.
You see, Mrs. Dale tried to be a good mother-in-law and lent her daughter's husband large sums of money to go towards the family's business. Instead, Hayden Sr. squandered it away supporting his lavish lifestyle and refused to pay the money back. Things went from bad to worse when Dale suspected her son-in-law was poisoning her.
Legend has it that on her death-bed in 1806, Mercie cursed her party animal son-in-law and his family, saying that the third generation would be the last of the Hayden line.
In 1854, William Hayden Jr. built the mansion that still stands today looking the same as it did more than 150 years ago. He is thought to have been a party animal like his father as plans for the building included a spring-suspended dance floor on the third floor to add a little bounce to his ballroom dances.
Mercie's curse from the grave came true because by 1927, according to various accounts, the entire Hayden family had gradually died due to an assortment of inexplicable illnesses. The curse was now complete.
The Hayden family, along with Mercie Dale, are all buried in a family cemetery in Albany and some have said they can see ghostly lights near the property thought to be spirits of slaves that perhaps were buried in unmarked graves in the field near the farm. Some say phantom violin music can sometimes be heard in and around the old mansion, probably a flash-back to one of the lavish parties during happier times. The moral of the story is: Always pay back your mother-in-law.
3. Golden Stage Inn - Okemo Valley.
One of the stagecoach stops in Vermont said to be haunted is the Golden Stage Inn which is still in its original form since it was constructed in 1788. This popular bed and breakfast in Okemo Valley is known for more than its great meals and historic architecture. Originally it was a stagecoach stop in Southeast Vermont that may have also been an important part of the Underground Railroad. At one point, it was re-purposed as a private home for nearly 100 years until it reopened as an inn in the 1960s.
Although it has changed hands over the centuries and now guests come and go, some residents are there to stay. A newer section of the inn may be home to a kind hearted and handsome ghostly spirit. He reportedly looks like Robert Redford and wanders the halls in an old-fashioned coat. Other people have heard unexplained footsteps and electronics turning on and off on their own.
4. Brattleboro Retreat Tower - Brattleboro.
Formerly known as the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, the Brattleboro Retreat is still a treatment center for mental health patients. It was founded in 1834 and today there are 58 buildings on a sprawling 1000 acres with only 20 of the buildings being modern, and the remainder built between 1838 and 1938.
One abandoned and closed-off building, the Retreat Tower, was built between 1887 and 1892 by patients. Legend says that the tower was closed shortly after being built because too many patients jumped to their death. One of the most common sightings today in the tower is a ghostly figure jumping but never hitting the ground.
5. American Flatbread - Burlington.
American Flatbread is a favorite restaurant in Burlington with its wood fired thin crust pizzas made from organic and locally farmed ingredients and its own brewed beer.
But before this premesis became American Flatbread in 2004, it was Carbur’s Restaurant and the current manager of says that the restaurant’s first two years were full of creepy experiences such as doors without locks locking mysteriously and a wreath above the fireplace flying across the room.
Previously, the workers at Carbur’s Restaurant reported similar happenings, including a server who mysteriously got locked in a cooler.
The establishment has a sordid history starting decades earlier when a young cook killed himself. Before that, from 1790 to 1820, a man named Gideon King ran the trade on Lake Champlain, and during an embargo he built a series of tunnels to illegally transport goods under the building. Legend says that later, during the prohibition era, the tunnels were part of the booze trade.
Strange happenings continue at American Flatbread, mostly in the basement. A word to the wise: Don’t go down there alone.
6. Green Mountain Inn - Stowe.
Emily’s Bridge isn’t the only haunt in Stowe. The Green Mountain Inn is a historic hotel and haunted building.
In 1840, “Boots” Berry was born in the inn’s servants’ quarters, now room 302. His mother was a housekeeper at the inn, and his father took care of the horses, with Boots following in his father’s footsteps becoming a stable hand. He also became a much-loved member of the community, once stopping an out of control stagecoach and saving all on board.
As the years passed , Boots developed a drinking habit and was fired from his job. He then travelled around the country and learned to dance while in jail (hence the nickname “Boots”). 1902 he came back to visit the inn and a young child had snuck onto the roof and was stuck there during a snowstorm. Boots saved the child but wasn’t so lucky himself. He slipped after the rescue and fell to his death. Visitors and employees claim to hear the sound of dancing feet coming from the roof.
7. Lake Bomoseen - West Castleton.
West Castleton was once full of quarries and mills with immigrants from Italy, Ireland and Eastern Europe thriving in the busy village. But by the 1930s, West Castelton was completely abandoned and is now known as a ghost town and not just because no one resides there. No one living, that is.
Residents would travel by rowboat to their favorite pub at the other side of the lake. But one night, three friends set out and never returned to West Castleton. In the morning, their empty boat was found floating in the lake. Today it is said that a ghostly rowboat can be seen moving across the lake, the oars not making ripples in the tranquil water.
8. Shelburne Museum - Shelburne.
Many Vermonters have visited the Shelburne Museum in northern Vermont, soaking in the 45 acres of historical buildings, ships, carousel, and an old farmhouse. In addition to the rare works of art and hundreds of antique dolls, folks say ghostly spirits can be found wandering the grounds.
One of the buildings that's part of the museum collection is the Dutton House.
Originally built in 1782, the house moved to the Shelburne Museum from the small town of Cavendish in 1950 and museum employees have experienced odd occurrences in the old-fashioned colonial home. Tour guides have reported seeing apparitions of an old man, and others have heard a young child crying in the shadows. In the off-season, the house is said to emit unexplained noises and no one but terrified maintenance workers are there to hear them.
9. Hartford Railroad Disaster.
It was a frigid -15 degrees Fahrenheit on February 5, 1887 as the Boston-Montreal Express train pulled out of the White River Junction at 2:10 am. It crossed the White River on the West Hartford Bridge when the train started to sway and the back carriage swung off the bridge. After the train fell off the tracks and tumbled to the river below, it caught fire and burned down the bridge along with the train.
The disaster killed 37 people and injured 50. After the crash, a nearby barn became a makeshift trauma unit where some of the injured survivors died. The barn still stands, and passersby have heard crying coming from there. The area where the bridge stood has been known to emit the smell of burning wood. Some see a ghostly manifestation of Conductor Sturtevant, believed to be patrolling the bridge to prevent another accident. Others see the ghost of a young child in 19th century clothing, hovering above the river, staring at where the crash occurred.
10. University Of Vermont.
The University of Vermont, better known as UVM, is not only the largest higher education institution in Vermont, it has more haunted buildings than anywhere else in the state. UVM has bought many former homes in the city and turned them into campus buildings. One such building is the Counseling Center and people have reported seeing there the ghost of Captain John Nabb, the house’s former owner. Nabb causes havoc by knocking over buckets and slamming doors and windows. The nearby Public Relations building was once owned by one John E. Booth, and some think that he makes banging sounds around the building and speaks when no one else is around.
One of the most haunted buildings on campus is the Bittersweet House. Multiple people have reported seeing full body apparitions there and the ghost is believed to be Margaret Smith, who lived a solitary life in the house after becoming widowed at a young age until her death there in 1961. Some have seen, in detail, a woman with neat hair and a long dress. Other people have claimed to see a blurry version of the woman.
Perhaps one of the most tragic stories on campus is the residence hall Converse. In 1920, a young medical student named Henry committed suicide there. Students have experienced lost items, and unexplained movement of doors and windows.
Tell us about other haunts you know of in Vermont! What are things you want to see? Please tell us in the comments and forward this to your friends.