(or the town so haunted, it died)
On the outskirts of Cornwall, Connecticut, if you look hard enough–and are brave enough–you’ll find Dudleytown. Named for the sheer number of Dudleys (allegedly descended from the Dudleys who got into so much trouble in the 16th Century) settled there, it was an isolated community which legend says was so cursed that it killed the town. Strictly speaking, of course, it’s technically not so much a town as it is an outpost of the Cornwall township, whose church served the community.
A run of bizarre deaths–barn-raising accident, attacks by hostile Native Americans, cholera outbreaks, lightning strikes and suicides–swept the town through the 18th & 19th Centuries, along with tales of missing animals, dementia and madness, and finally the disappearance of two children (who were never found). There were rumours of hauntings and demonic activity and slowly, the community dwindled.
Its location can’t have been much of a help: surrounded by hills and forest, winters there were long and harsh, the soil was rocky and the ground swampy. Not exactly the ideal spot to build a town. But the stories that came from Dudleytown left their mark and soon it was deserted.
In the early 20th Century, so the story goes, a Dr Clarke from New York bought the land in which Dudleytown sat and built a second home there. He and his wife would spend weekends and summers there–until one weekend he was called away to an emergency, leaving his wife behind. When he returned a day later he found his wife completely insane, raving about terrors that had come from the forest. She took her life soon after.
The land is now owned by the (ominously named) Dark Forest Entry Association, who have closed it off–not that it stops the tourists, ghost-hunters and thrill-seekers. The remains of Dudleytown still stand, although in recent years they have been vandalised: like they haven’t had to deal with enough.
Whether you believe the stories or not–whether it’s ghosts and demons, or whether it’s plain bad luck and a collision of circumstance–there’s something odd about Dudleytown. Visitors who have braved the considerable wrath of the DFEA report a strange atmosphere about the place, of hearing strange sounds, of being touched or even scratched by unseen hands.
Maybe it’s all just a legend, something built upon with each telling. Or maybe not. But whatever might have caused the place to be abandoned, it seems that it still has plenty of ghosts…