Connecticut December 30, 2017
Few People Know A Certain Kind Of Haunting Was Once Illegal In Connecticut
Haunting a tavern was once illegal in Connecticut. That statement might cause you to scratch your head and think that our lawmakers were out of their minds, but we aren’t talking about spirits and ghosts floating around. This illegal haunting is about those colonial drunkards who spent far too much time drowning their sorrows in spirits of the liquid kind found in every local tavern.
Colonial life was difficult. Tragedies like barns burning down, sickness and death of children, harsh weather that ruined the food supply and other disasters fell upon the colonists quite often.
It wasn't like today when resources were plentiful. In the early days, one event could quite easily trigger a lifetime of despair. Sometimes the anguish led people straight to the local watering hole.
Work days were long and difficult back in the 1700s. Most labored from sun up to sun down just to put food on the table for their families. It was not uncommon to hit the tavern after work to unwind a bit.
The problems arose when tavern goers did not want to leave and head home. In the eyes of the lawmakers, excessive drinking was a road straight to ruin and poverty.
The Connecticut Legislature created strict laws around the amount of time that any person could spend in a tavern. Those that broke the laws were considered tavern haunters.
Frequenting their favorite haunts became a little more difficult for people craving a drink, but the laws were enforced loosely and inconsistently throughout different parts of the state and illegal haunting still continued to take place.
The law books were written to ensure residents spent no more than one continuous hour in consumption of strong drink or idleness. Only one hour of relaxation and no more!
Exceptions to the laws were made for businessmen who conducted meetings in the taverns or for out of town travelers.
Authorities posted the tavern haunters names outside of all nearby taverns. The law then prohibited the haunters from entering and the tavern keeper from serving the individual.
In the late 1700s the penalties were pretty severe. Tavern haunters that were caught could spend 2 hours in the stocks or be fined 20 shillings. The tavern keepers had a much steeper price to pay with a fine of three pounds and repeated violations causing a loss of their license to operate the tavern.
Unfortunately for the colonists, partying and drinking became a challenge in their day. But the laws were somewhat ineffective and luckily for us, haunting a tavern is no longer illegal.
Taverns still exist in Connecticut today though few and far between. A tavern license allows only for the sales of beer. wine, cider and food. The cost is significantly lower than getting a full liquor permit to operate a bar.
The Griswold Inn is the oldest continuously run tavern in the United States. You can find this historic watering hole right here in Connecticut.
The Griswold Inn was established in the late 1700s and served its fair share of colonists. Undoubtedly it also saw a fair amount of illegal haunting at the bar.
To check out a different kind of haunting in Connecticut, take a look at
these places that are rumored to be inhabited by spirits!