Vermont Ghost Stories
Haunted Vermont Stories & Folklore
Vermont has more than its share of Mysteries, Ghosts and Legends – Champ, the serpent of Lake Champlain, the infamous Catamount Mountain Lion, and the focus of this article, which involves an international lake and a serpent named “Memphre”. The legend of “Memphre” dates back to the days of Vikings and Indians, long before White Man settled the regions now known as Northeastern Vermont (The Northeast Kingdom) and the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Ask us about Vermont haunted places or share comments. To feature your Vermont business, contact us.
Vermont Ghosts & Haunted Places
“From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggity beasties and things that go Bump! in the night, Good Lord deliver us!
Everyone loves a good ghost story. Who hasn’t heard the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the ethereal encounter between unfortunate schoolmaster Ichabod Crane and the headless horseman?
Many folks think of Vermont as pristine and quaint, but things are not always as they seem. Let’s take a ride on the “Ghost Train” and meet a few of Vermont’s specters. All Aboard!
Many country inns report spirits of past owners or guests haunting their rooms, but The White House of Wilmington in southern Vermont will help you find them.
Each year at Halloween the White House sponsors a Halloween Weekend, where guests are treated to a séance complete with tilting tables and howling screams. “We begin with a paranormal discussion about why ghosts behave the way they do,” said innkeeper Adam Grinold. “Then each guest is given a dowsing rod as we go on our ghost hunt, checking out all the hot and cold spots in the inn, including the original sitting room where the ghost of original owner Mrs. Clara Brown might be.”
According to Grinold, a guest whose name was also Brown came down to breakfast and reported that she dreamt a woman was sitting at the foot of her bed, and told her, “There is room for only one Mrs. Brown here.” Apparently, this happens each time a guest named Brown checks in.
Next stop Stowe, and the Gold Brook Bridge, also called Emily’s bridge named after the young woman who haunts it. According to legend, Emily was in love with a young man whom her parents disapproved of. They were to meet on the bridge and elope, but had a lover’s quarrel, he left and she killed herself. According to legend, Emily still waits for his return, her anger increasing with each passing year. She has been known to slash livestock, scratch paint on cars, and grab door handles and shake them, terrorizing their occupants.
We are taught in school that the steam engine was invented by Robert Fulton, however, it was actually invented by Samuel Morey, and stolen by Fulton due to a technicality in the patent registration. Captain Morey was so angered, that he sunk his boat, the Aunt Sally to the bottom of Lake Morey in Fairlee, and on a still, moonlit night, the Aunt Sally rises to the lake’s surface and floats without sound or ripple, as the ghost of Captain Morey watches from shore.
On to Burlington and some of its specters. The University of Vermont supposedly has fourteen haunted buildings. In one the spirit of Henry, a suicidal medical student plays pranks in Converse Hall. Spirits of a very sad lady and an old sea captain have also been reported.
The ghost of a WWII nurse reports for duty in the maternity ward of Fletcher Allen hospital, many times helping patients before the duty nurse responds to their calls.
Our journey continues to Enosburg Falls. Its Opera House, where “Willy,” the son of a laborer fell while working in the attic, broke his leg and died there forgotten by everyone. This good-humored ghost likes to steal playbooks and move props. He hasn’t been seen, but many have reported hearing ghostly footsteps in the attic.
As we travel through the Green Mountain National Forest near Lincoln Gap, we might see human shapes fleeting through the trees, or smell a campfire although there is no evidence of smoke. It’s believed that a colony of Native Americans lives here trying to keep the land out of the hands of developers.
We head to St. Johnsbury Academy, whose Brantview House (see photo left), once a private residence is haunted by a dog-loving ghost. One evening the house mother was reading in the parlor, when her Afghan, resting at her feet, suddenly began snarling. The house mother noticed the dog’s fur being ruffled by an “invisible hand.” The dog relaxed and watched the visitor leave the room politely closing the door.
Our last stop concerns an old haunting also in St. Johnsbury where a house concealed by maple trees has been known to silently shake on its brick foundation, watched by the woman with a look of pure hatred in her eyes. Is this house as well as the woman spectral? Who knows!
Well, we’ve come to the end of our journey and have barely scratched the surface of spectral Vermont. But wait just a minute! Everyone knows there’s no such thing as ghosts. Right?!
– Marianne L. Kelly
for Vermont Living Magazine