The Haunted Town of Dudleytown, Connecticut



The story of Dudleytown, Connecticut.

During the 18th century, where woods now stand in Cornwall, Connecticut, there was a small village known as Dudleytown. Although now extinct, the town remains fascinating to genealogists and historians as it is one of the most highly debated ghost towns in history.

Thomas Griffis was the first to come to this place in 1738 and he took a piece of land for himself. It wasn’t even ten years after that that the Dudley family also started to slowly join the area and take up residence in the area around Griffis’ home. The settlers used the woods in the surrounding area as timber for building their homes, personal use, and mainly for selling to earn their living. Iron production took place in a neighboring town and this timber was used to support the factory. But Dudleytown was not an ideal place to live. Located right in the mountains, it is very rocky and the soil is acidic. Due to the surrounding mountains, Dudleytown also did not see a lot of sun.

The Dudley family is the main source of contention with experts today. Some believe that the Dudley family was all cursed in England and that when they travelled over to the town, the curse followed them. The reasoning for this believed curse is different, depending on which version of the tale you hear. Some believe that in England, the Dudley’s had angered part of the royal family, who then placed a curse upon them. Some think that the entire Dudley line was doomed to live a sad life and that some members carried the Bubonic Plague while another Lord in the family lost his head at the same time of Lady Jane Grey. Still others say that it was the land that was cursed and not the Dudley’s and that it had been for quite some time before the family came to settle there.

The four known Dudley men were Abiel, Barzillai, Gideon and Abijah and although it is thought that these men were brothers, there is no actual proof. The first one to ever be heard of was Abiel when his tax records from 1744 were found. He was also the first known Dudley to be cursed when he first lost his mind and his money was soon to follow. He lived in poverty the rest of his life and would take the small odd job to be able to survive. After that Dudleytown became a place known for deaths, whether they were murder or suicide, as well as insanity. The first story including a tragic death occurred in 1792. A man by the name of Gershom Hollister was hired by William Tanner to repair Tanner’s barn. While he was working high up in the barn, Hollister fell to his death. Many believed that Tanner had killed him and Tanner soon went insane due to the constant suspicion he was under.

In 1763, the family of Nathaniel Carter came to make a home for themselves in Dudleytown but they were soon all killed by Indians. Later in 1804, a woman by the name of Sarah Swift came to live there with her husband, General Herman Swift. She was soon killed by lightning and after her death he appeared to have lost his mind. Mary Cheeney, who was married to Horace Greenley was the town’s most infamous resident and she took her own life there in 1872 by hanging herself. In the short time that followed Dudleytown saw many other unusual deaths as well as other strange and frightening things including mutilated corpses and reported visions of beasts and other apparitions. The people of Dudleytown became increasingly afraid and started to desert the town. By the year of 1900, Dudleytown was completely abandoned.

Another strange tale within the town is that of Dr. William C. Clark. He brought his wife to Dudleytown to summer there together. One night he came back home after being away for several days on a business trip. His wife sat in the house laughing hysterically. After asking her why she was laughing, she told him of the demons and ghosts that had been staying with her while he had been away. After returning home to New York, his wife killed herself. Dr. Clark took another wife and continued to bring her to the town over the summer. He also established the Dark Entry Forest Association, which help to preserve Dudleytown the way it was.

Today it’s believed this area is a place of negative energy where life cannot survive. People can visit but few choose to. A woman riding a white horse has been seen many times in the area as well as numerous other ghosts. Wagon wheels can often be heard running through what would have been the town’s roads and other sounds are also sometimes heard. There is no sound however of any life form and animals that do come close to this negative space of energy seem to run away from it as fast as they can. The area is considered dangerous and still belongs to the Dark Entry Forest Association. Only visiting during the day is allowed as it’s considered trespassing after sunset. It is determined to be a dangerous area because past visitors have felt as though they were being pushed or hit by hands that could not be seen and some have even received a few minor injuries.

Where Dudleytown Once Stood

The Haunted Town of Dudleytown, Connecticut

The Haunted Town of Dudleytown, Connecticut

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