Haunted History

Get in the Halloween spirit with a little local lore

So Rhode Island Magazine ·

It’s the time of year to get spooked. If you’re looking for a spine-chilling experience this fall, you need go no
further than your own backyard. With a history rich in folklore, superstitions and some grisly deaths, Southern Rhode Island is full of creepy spots that will make this spooky season memorable.

Witches’ Altar and Druidsdream
Northwest corner of Hazard Avenue and Gibson Avenue, Narragansett

Walk a little into the woods off Gibson Avenue in Narragansett and you will see a mystical circle of smooth, upright stones, ringed around what appears to be a central altar stone. The circle of stones bears little trace of wear and tear, some of them offering pools of rainwater in the smoothly carved depressions at their top. This unusual spot can become a place for rituals and spells with only a small amount of imagination.

This antemortem tomb of Joseph Peace Hazard, a member of one of the oldest and most eccentric families in South County, was erected in the early 1880s. An avid traveler, Hazard was fascinated by the Druids and upon returning from a visit to Stonehenge in England, constructed a tomb and monument to his family, naming it Kendal Green. He named the nearby stone house Druidsdream. He placed an unusually curved stone a little way off from the circle, calling it “Druids Chair.” Although Hazard is not buried at the spot and it was not intentionally constructed for ritual use, the mystique of the stones and their placement has prompted countless ghost stories and spine shivers for decades. Take a walk around the circle and it’s not hard to imagine what might have happened at this spot.

General Stanton Inn
4115 Old Post Road, Charlestown

In 1655, Thomas Stanton, an interpreter for Native American tribes, was given a parcel of land by a Niantic Sachem. After brokering a deal between warring tribes for the safe return of an Indian princess being held hostage, Stanton was rewarded for his efforts and moved his house onto the tract of land, using it as a schoolroom for Indian children as well as his own. The building remained in the Stanton family for the next 200 years, and grew from housing a dairy business to being a busy coach stop between Providence and New London and a haven for gamblers. Wellknown figures in politics and high society frequented the inn, which continued to thrive even throughout the hard times of Prohibition.

It’s been said that some inhabitants from the inn’s colorful past continue to reside there. Visitors and guests have reported noises and strange sensations, as well as actual apparitions. The Washington Room seems to be a hot spot, home to a male ghost who enjoys tapping people on the shoulder as they wander through. The inn was
featured on the Syfy Channel show Ghost Hunters in 2007, and people continue to report experiences both at the inn and in the nearby General Stanton cemetery.

Tours are available, as well as overnight accommodation for the truly adventurous. Any spirits who linger on from the inn’s past have so far been mild-mannered, lightheartedly bringing the past into the present. The possibility of their presence makes a visit not only exciting, but educational as well.

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