Tag Archives: Andrew Lake

Spotlight on: Charlemont Inn Charlemont, Massachusetts

Ghosthunting Southern New England

It seems that a number of people who have either lodged at or worked in this inn during its long history are still there in spirit. Andrew Lake, author of Ghosthunting Southern New England, tells us all about it.

Charlemont, Massachusetts, is a very popular year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Situated on the historic Mohawk Trail in the Berkshires, the area offers many great locations for hiking, camping, white-water rafting, and skiing. A favorite spot in town to stay and to eat is the Charlemont Inn, which has been offering food and accommodations since 1787. Some of the notable figures who have stayed there include Mark Twain and President Calvin Coolidge.

Charlotte Dewey and Linda Shimandle are the co-owners of the inn. When Charlotte came into the business some 20 years ago, Linda, who had already been with the inn for some time, told her about the building’s haunted reputation. Linda informed Charlotte that one of their ghosts is a mischievous teenager, whom she and the staff have affectionately nicknamed “Elizabeth.”

Charlotte didn’t put too much stock into the idea of ghosts until one morning when she walked into the kitchen and saw a bag of potato chips floating in midair. Stunned by this scene, Charlotte stopped dead in her tracks and said, “Elizabeth, put those down!” The bag of chips dropped to the floor on her command as Charlotte retreated with haste from the kitchen.

A prank the teenage ghost likes to play is the mysterious removal of personal items belonging to both guests and the staff. Two objects that disappear with frequency are eyeglasses and hairdryers. What use these articles have for a ghost on the other side of the spiritual veil is yet to be understood.

The Charlemont Inn has been visited by many mediums and psychics over the years, and some of them have hit upon the paranormal activity in the building with amazing accuracy. Charlotte told me that she likes to keep most of the ghost stories quiet, so as not to influence people. About five years ago, a woman with psychic ability visited the inn and informed the owners that there was a ghost of a 14-year-old girl who died of tuberculosis haunting the building. She didn’t get the name Elizabeth. The name she got was Fidelia with the middle name Elvira.

Charlemont Inn

The psychic also received the girl’s last name. When a local woman volunteered to do research to see if there was any record of this girl, she found an exact match with the same age and cause of death. The woman was even able to locate the teenager’s grave. Charlotte explained to me that she had to withhold the girl’s last name from me out of respect for her descendants who still lived in the town of Charlemont. Further research showed that the Charlemont Inn was used during Fidelia’s time as a place for local patients to meet with the regional physician. It is possible that Fidelia died at the inn while waiting for medical care.

More than a couple of psychics who have visited the inn have sensed the spirits of a little boy and girl, with a cat, hanging around near the bottom of the main staircase by the front desk. No one has ever seen these little wraiths, but members of the staff have commented on feeling a presence on the stairs, and some have even heard a cat in the same vicinity.

An apparition of a Colonial soldier has been seen on the second floor, but not of late. The room this ghost haunts is now used for storage and is seldom opened. A ghosthunting group took photographs inside the storeroom and captured strange distortions that they believed to be evidence of a vortex or doorway into the spirit world.

One of the guestrooms on the second floor is also notorious for providing photographic anomalies. A guest once took a picture of this room and noticed there was an image of a tic-tac-toe game within the mirror. When the mirror was examined, no explanation could be found for it. Nothing was discovered on or behind the glass to account for the phantom marks.

A guest who stays regularly at the inn during hunting season had an experience in that same room that caused him to leave for the woods much earlier then usual. It was around four o’clock in the morning when Charlotte saw this man come down the stairs and head for the front door. She could see that he was badly shaken and immediately asked him why he was up and leaving so early. The man was ashen and couldn’t form a coherent sentence but said he would explain later. When the guest was finally able to talk to Charlotte about his rapid departure, he told her that he had been woken up by being pelted with little bars of guest soap. When he jumped up out of his bed, he could see no one responsible for the toiletry attack. The man then noticed there was a full-body impression on the mattress of the unused bed in the room. This was too much, especially since he had checked into the room alone. The hunter decided it would be a lot safer in the woods, so he headed for the hills as fast as his legs could take him.

The Ghosts Are Very Comfortable at the Inn at Duck Creeke

Ghosthunting Southern New England

Andrew Lake, author of Ghosthunting Southern New England, explores the haunted Inn at Duck Creeke, one of Wellfleet’s unspoiled landmarks. Located on Main Street, the inn was originally built in 1810 as a home for a sea captain and his family.

The Inn at Duck Creeke is actually made up of four separate buildings. Along with the Captain’s House, there are three other buildings that occupy the five wooded acres. They are named The Saltworks House, The Tavern, and Carriage House. The tavern building is referred to as “The Hodge Podge” because it is made up of sections of homes from the seventeenth and eigh- teenth centuries. This uniquely styled building houses both the Sweet Seasons and The Duck Creeke Tavern restaurants.

The Duck Creeke Tavern is the oldest existing tavern in Wellfleet. The current owners of the inn are Bob Morrill and Judy Pihl. Bob and Judy first became associated with the inn in the mid-1970s when they were leasing the Sweet Seasons restaurant. In 1980, they bought the inn. Shortly after Bob and Judy had settled into the property, the ghosts made their presence known to them.

It was December 1980—the couple’s first winter on the property. They were living in The Saltworks House, which is located about 100 feet from the back of the Captain’s House. Bob and Judy were getting ready to prepare their first lobster dinner in their “new” home. Judy needed a large pot to cook the lobsters in, so she sent Bob to retrieve one from the kitchen of the Sweet Seasons restaurant. It was a cold, dark night as he walked up the lane, flashlight in hand, and entered the kitchen from the back of the restaurant. Bob recalls, “I was walking through the kitchen and a large, metal, one-gallon measuring can flew off the shelf. It didn’t fall on the floor; it flew all the way across the kitchen in front of me and then rolled another 20 feet. I grabbed the pot and went back home to Judy and said, ‘That’s the last time I’ll go in there after dark, alone!’”

The ghost of Eulalia, wife of Joe Price, may have been responsible for that flying piece of kitchenware. People who remember Eulalia say she was a serious, hardworking woman. She managed the hospitality side of the inn’s business and was responsible for booking all the entertainment. Mrs. Price was from New York and had a background in the theater. Well into the early 1970s, she wore long, old-fashioned dresses that were starched and ironed to perfection. A woman who worked for Mrs. Price told Judy Phil that Eulalia was the kind of manager who would line her staff up for inspection and count the number of peas on the plates. “She was a strong character. This was her place; this still is her place,” says Judy.

Inn at Duck Creeke

Mrs. Price is believed to be the woman in white who has been seen at the restaurant and its kitchen. Judy saw her ghost one afternoon in the lobby area of the restaurant. She says, “I just happened to be walking through the kitchen, looking out towards the lobby and something caught my eye. I took two steps back. I then watched a very diminutive woman float from one side, with the sun behind her, cross the lobby and back again, and then disappear. It was three-dimensional; you could almost see through it, and it was female.” Judy finishes by saying, “It was a very interesting moment.”

At the other end of the “Hodge Podge” is The Duck Creeke Tavern. Even though these two restaurants are attached, there seems to be a different group of ghosts in The Tavern Room. Over the years, Bob has learned of three deaths that occurred on the property. Two of those deaths happened inside the Tavern Room. Years ago, when the tavern was called The Chart Room, a husband-and-wife musical act used to play there regularly. One night while they were performing, the wife died on stage. The late singer’s husband would come to the Tavern Room in his later years and just sit and watch the stage. He would never order anything to eat or drink; he wouldn’t even ask for a glass of water. Judy used to wonder if maybe he could see his wife on the stage. A female ghost has been seen around the Tavern Room, and most feel that it is her spirit.

Musicians have reported hearing a woman singing while they were performing. One night when a piano player was on stage, Bob noticed that he was moving his head around and swatting at the air with his right hand. When he took a short break, Bob asked him why he was jerking his head and wav- ing his hand around. He looked at Bob very seriously and said, “Because she was pulling my hair!”

Oddly enough, the woman’s death isn’t the only one to have played out on the tavern’s stage. A piano player also passed away suddenly while performing. If this pianist is haunting the stage, he might be responsible for the microphones and amplifiers being turned off while musicians are playing.

The third death known to have taken place on the property was first reported to Bob and Judy by one of their former waiters, a young Irishman named Eugene, who was a “sensitive” who could feel and see things that others could not. One vision in particular that he told his employers about was seeing a man hanging himself from a large locust tree in back of the tavern. Bob had cut the locust tree down 10 years before this young man had started working for them. In June of 2010, an old man stopped by the Tavern Room and while reminiscing about the summers he had spent in Wellfleet as a boy, he mentioned that his college roommate’s father had hanged himself from a tree on the property. Bob and Judy said they had never doubted Eugene, especially when he told them that their inn was haunted by many ghosts.

The Saltworks House is the oldest building on the property. It was built in the early 1700s and was originally located by the harbor. The house is named for the grinding stones that were taken from an old salt mill and used to make its front walk and steps. The couple no longer lives in the house; it now contains five small guest rooms. During the years they did live there, Judy said she would sometimes hear the sound of someone walking around, softly, upstairs. On more than a few occasions she heard what sounded like beads from a broken necklace bouncing across the floor, but she could never find the source.

One season, some guests who were staying on the ground floor of the Saltworks House complained about the patter of little feet in the room above theirs. Another time, a couple had commented on hearing a baby crying in one of the upstairs rooms. A check of the inn’s register and a quick word with the staff confirmed that there were no infants or children staying in the Saltworks House when these sounds were heard.

The Captain’s House has at least three ghosts, and they seem to be the friendliest of all the phantoms. Bob and Judy are pretty sure they are the wife and two daughters of the sea captain who lived in the house. As far as anyone knows, the two daughters were seen only once, but are often heard moving about on the second floor. The Captain’s wife is reported to appear as a beau- tiful woman in white and also appears to be a kind soul. In the early 1980s, a female guest awoke with a scream when she found a strange woman in her room. This woman glided across the bedroom, through the furniture and up to the guest. She then placed her hand on the frightened woman’s shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, everything will be all right.” The guest was able to go back to sleep, but she checked out in the morning.

About a year after that incident, the inn got a phone call from a couple who recently had stayed in The Captain’s House with their 4-year-old daughter. They wanted to know the identity of the woman whom their child kept talking about. The young girl told her parents that a nice lady, dressed in white, had talked to her in their room. This woman wanted to make sure the little girl was taking her medicine. The couple couldn’t understand this because their daughter was not on any medication. The bemused innkeepers told the couple about the other guest’s encounter and left it at that. As Judy says, “Our ghosts seem very comfortable here, and we are comfortable
with them.”

For more haunted stories from Southern New England, check out Andrew Lake’s book Ghosthunting Southern New England.

Belcourt Castle

Belcourt CastleBelcourt Castle was built between 1891 and 1894 for Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont as a summer home. It was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, who used Louis XIII’s hunting lodge at Versailles as the model. Belmont’s wife, Alva Vanderbilt, added to the original structure with examples of English, Italian, and German architecture. From 1933 to 1955, Belcourt (as it was originally called) passed through several owners and saw more neglect than restoration. The property was purchased in 1956 by the Tinney family of Cumberland, Rhode Island. The Tinneys conducted massive renovations to the whole building and made it a showplace for their extensive collection of antiques.

Harle Tinney is the last surviving member of the family since her husband’s death in 2006. Mrs. Tinney believes that the ghosts of Belcourt Castle are spirits who are attached to certain items that her late husband, Donald, and his parents brought into the house. One of those items is a small, wooden statue of a monk.

Monk Statue at Belcourt Castle Believed to be Haunted

When the statue first came into the Tinneys’ possession, they placed it on display at their previous home. That was the first time they caught sight of the shadowy figure who seems to be linked to the wooden monk. Two weeks after the statue was brought to Belcourt Castle, the dark figure was spotted again. Since then it has been seen no fewer than five times and always within the vicinity of the statue. Donald and Harle Tinney saw the ghost in the Great Hall when the statue was displayed there on a stand by the door to the ladies’ room. At first, they both thought the figure was Donald’s father. However, as the figure opened the door to the restroom the couple could clearly see it was not Mr. Tinney. What also struck them was the fact that the door, which always creaked loudly, emitted no sound. Donald and Harle found no one in the small room when they checked.

The wooden monk is now kept in the Chapel Room on the first floor. It was moved there after a psychic told the Tinneys that the entity attached to the little monk wanted it placed there. That hasn’t stopped the dark shadow from making an appearance from time to time. The most recent sighting was on July 7, 2007, at seven o’clock in the evening. Belcourt Castle was playing host to a wedding when Harle Tinney saw what she thought was a guest heading in the wrong direction. She moved after the figure as it went into the foyer, but as she reached the spot she found no one there.

Bloodcurdling Screams from Inside the Ballroom of Belcourt Castle


The Gothic Ballroom located on the second floor has had its share of unsettling moments as well. One night in the mid-1990s, Harle Tinney heard three bloodcurdling screams while standing in the middle of the darkened ballroom. Her two dogs reacted to the screaming, but they were far too afraid to enter the room. There is an impressive collection of knights’ armor on exhibit in this room. The suits of armor are all excellent reproductions, except for one helmet that is known to be authentic and does show a battle scar. It is believed the knight who once wore the helmet haunts the armor and what Harle Tinney heard that evening were his death screams.

The late Donald Tinney once heard the sound of a party in progress in the ballroom. It was late in the evening and the house was very still. When he went to investigate the phantom gathering, the family cat came along with him. It seemed to be well aware of the music and chatter. The cat started growling and the fur on its back and tail stood up when the two of them reached the ballroom. The sound then faded away into nothingness as Donald Tinney opened the doors to the room. This ghostly encounter is believed to have been a trace haunting of a happier moment in the home’s history, possibly from the Gilded Age.

belcourt-castle2In 1996 a woman who was a guest at a private party being held on the first floor came upstairs to use the ladies’ room that is located in Ruth Tinney’s (Donald’s mother’s) old bedroom. Most of the room is roped off, leaving only the bathroom accessible to the public. As the guest entered the room she noticed there was a lady sitting at Ruth Tinney’s desk. The guest addressed the lady and informed her that no one was allowed behind the ropes. The mysterious lady ignored the woman and her warning. Unnerved by this, the guest went to alert security of the intrusion. A guard was standing close by and lost no time getting to the bedroom. The lady was gone without a trace. No one could have left the room without being seen and there was no place for anyone to hide. When Harle Tinney heard the guest’s description of the lady it was a perfect match for her late mother-in-law. That day was also the one-year anniversary of  Ruth Tinney’s death. Twice in 2010, the bedspread on Ruth Tinney’s bed was seen to be disturbed. A young Englishwoman taking a tour of Belcourt Castle told Harle Tinney that she had witnessed the bedspread move as if someone was getting up off the bed. In July of that same year, Harle Tinney took a couple on a tour of the house; while they were in the bedroom, she mentioned her late mother-in-law. The bedspread, as if on cue, flew right off the bed and landed several feet away on the floor. All Harle Tinney could do was say, “Hi, Mom!”

belcourt-castle3I spoke with Ken and Dave DeCosta, the father and son co-founders of the Rhode Island Society for the Examination of Unusual Phenomena (R.I.S.E.U.P.). Their paranormal team has been allowed into Belcourt Castle to conduct investigations and public ghost hunts. They told me that they have not seen or caught any of the ghosts on camera, but they have recorded examples of electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) throughout the property. Ken and Dave told me the EVPs that were recorded seem to be of a personal nature, so out of respect for the Tinney family they have declined to give me any further details on what the spirit voices said. The most interesting moment caught by R.I.S.E.U.P. on video was a session involving two electromagnetic field (EMF) meters. A member of the team asked if any spirit present could make the lights flash on one of the meters. After the lights on one of the meters flashed on and off, they asked if the spirit could do the same with the other EMF meter lying nearby on the same table. That meter’s lights flashed on and off while the first meter’s lights stayed off. The team continued asking the spirit to please go back and forth between the two meters and the lights flashed on and off as requested. All cell phones were switched off and no other electromagnetic interference could be found within the room.

To explore the scariest spots in Southern New England, check out Ghosthunting Southern New England by Andrew Lake.

Photo credits
Drawing Belcourt Castle: Public Domain
Ballroom Belcourt Castle: Public Doman
Knight armor: Andrew Lake
Outside picture of Belcourt Castle: Stilfehler at wikivoyage shared [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The White Lady of Union Cemetery Easton, Connecticut

Union Cemetery EastonOne of Connecticut’s best-known ghosts haunts the Union Cemetery in Easton. The cemetery sits beside the centuries-old Easton Baptist Church near the intersection of Routes 59 and 136. The locals call the ghost “The White Lady,” and she has been seen by dozens of witnesses since the mid-twentieth century.

The legend of The White Lady contains several explanations about who she was and how she came to haunt the cemetery and nearby Route 59. One account says she was buried in the cemetery after she died during childbirth, and her confused spirit is desperately looking for her child. Two other versions say she was the victim of foul play. She was either murdered near the turn of the twentieth century and her body was thrown down a sinkhole behind the church, or her husband killed her sometime in the 1940s.

The White Lady of Union Cemetery Easton Appears Directly in Front of People’s Cars as They Drive by the Cemetery

Though her ghost has been seen moving about the cemetery late at night, most encounters take place on Route 59. The White Lady has a habit of appearing directly in front of people’s cars as they drive by the Union Cemetery, causing them to break hard and swerve to avoid impact. Any driver who has stopped to make sure the woman is all right finds no one around. A local fireman driving by the cemetery one night thought he struck a dark-haired woman in a white dress, who had walked right out into the road. Not only did this man feel the impact, he also discovered a dent on the hood of his vehicle. A search of the area turned up nothing.

union-cemetery-eastonWriter and paranormal enthusiast Jeff Belanger told me he grew up in this part of Connecticut and had heard many people talk about the White Lady. Jeff was once shown a video clip that was shot by the legendary paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who staked out the Union Cemetery one night in 1990. The Warrens had set up a video camera on a tripod in front of the main gates to the old burial ground and waited to see if The White Lady would make an appearance. Later that night they recorded nearly six seconds of video that Jeff Belanger called “compelling.”

Ed Warren told Belanger that at about 2:40 a.m., he heard the sound of a woman weeping in the cemetery. When Warren looked out into the field of headstones, he could see little points of light coalescing into the shape of a woman. This female form then began to move in his direction. Being the fearless ghosthunter that he was (Ed passed away in 2006), Ed tried to walk towards the specter, but as he did so, it dissipated and vanished from sight. Belanger said the video recording captured what looked like “a misty white form” taking shape into the outline of a human. The form then moved several feet through the graveyard before it faded into the ground by the front gates.

The Union Cemetery is closed after sunset, and the police do take notice of trespassers. So, if you do go for a visit, please be respectful.

To explore the scariest spots in Southern New England, check out Ghosthunting Southern New England by Andrew Lake.