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22 Cedar Mountain Drive
Status: Heritage Area; Ghost Town
West Castleton was born in the 1850’s with an economy based on mining the nearby slate. A mill was built along Glen Lake surrounded by company houses, a company store and a school.
The town did well for the rest of 19th and into the early 20th centuries. It began to decline in the labor issues causes by World War I and when the demand for slate began to decline. When the Great Depression began in the 1930’s West Castleton was basically abandoned.
Today, all that is left is old basements and remains of the mills. The ghost town is completely within the borders of Bomoseen State Park.
A phantom boat is seen on the lake that leaves no ripples on the water. There are 3 men onboard who rowed out into the lake to go to a tavern but never arrived.
A number of men did die while mining the slate and it is said you can feel them when you’re in the area of the town.
Other Activity: cold spots and feelings of not being alone and being watched.
(Vermont Asylum for the Insane)
1 Anna Marsh Lane
Status: Former Insane Asylum; Private Psychiatric and Addiction Hospital; Grounds are Open to the Public
In 1834 Anna Hunt Marsh left $10,000 in her will for the founding of an asylum to provide humane care of the mentally ill. It was originally called the Vermont Asylum for the Insane but changed its name in the late 19th century to the Brattleboro Retreat.
It was one of the first 10 private psychiatric institutions in the United States and is considered a pioneer in the medical treatment of the mentally ill. It has a remarkable history of firsts for those institutionalized for their mental illnesses including a patient run newspaper, gym and an indoor pool.
The hospital was one of the first to change both the treatment and the way society views the mentally ill. The insane would treated as ill not as flawed people being punished for their sins. They would be treated with respect and given a life filled with exercise, fresh air and good nutrition. Although there are secure buildings on the campus the facility is not separated by a fence from the community as it is at most similar institutions.
Until very recently the Retreat was only of the very few long-term psychiatric hospitals with no black marks on their history. Electro-shock was used very infrequently – this area is now closed – and other treatments such as insulin shock and lobotomies were not used. The patients, however, lived in fear of being involuntarily transferred to one of the State-run facilities were any sense of individuality and respect would quickly disappear.
The Retreat survived the closure of the giant psychiatric hospitals by opening new clinics for such groups as the LGBTQ and uniformed first responders and filling the suddenly empty beds.
Unfortunately, recently the facility has run into the financial difficulties that plagued the massive old asylums in the 1970’s and 80’s. In the last couple of years, the State has refused to help the Retreat financially – suggesting they should plan to sell or close the facility – and they’ve been put under investigation for taking 5 hours to get a patient to hospital for a broken hip. Mental health advocates have also accused them of overusing restraints as well.
Both the financial difficulties and use of restraints have gotten worse since the pandemic began.
This facility owns more than half the psychiatric beds in the State and has the only programs for children and adolescents so a closure would be disastrous to the community.
Due to their near perfect record of treating patients as human beings this facility has no where near the paranormal activity that is recorded in the former giant insane asylums.
Activity has only been reported in 2 places:
The Retreat Tower
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In 1887 the patients built a brick tower on a hill on one side of the campus. It was meant to provide a calming view of the campus from above. Some patients, however, found another way to use the tower. The jumped from the top ending their lives.
The actual number of suicides is unknown, but the tower was closed up forever shortly after being opened. Apparitions are seen jumping off the top that fade away before hitting the ground. Phantom screams have been heard and feelings of hopeless are also reported here.
The Retreat Cemetery
Shadow figures and other movement seen in the corners or people’s eyes. Feelings of uneasiness, being watched, not being wanted and fear.
Green Mount Cemetery
250 State Street
Status: Historical Cemetery; Urban Legend
This historical cemetery dates back to 1854 when the 35 acres of land for it was purchased for $2,210. It contains the graves of many famous Vermont citizens including the 21st President: Chester A Arthur.
It is one grave that we are concerned with though – the grave of a very rich but unethical greedy man – where the statue called “Black Agnes” resides.
Below the statue reside the remains of John Hubbard; who was far more interested in making money quickly rather than actually working for it. Unfortunately, something just as prevalent now as in the 19th century.
Hubbard swindled the town and all of his relatives out of his aunt’s estate. He would die a few years later from liver cancer – just desserts I suppose.
The statue erected over his grave – that would come to be called “Black Agnes” – is actually that of Thanatos, the Greek mythological representation of nothing short of Death itself. Albeit a female representation of the one force no one avoids.
It is unclear when the legends about Black Agnes began but it is thought to be over a century ago – probably shortly after the statue appeared. Some people say the curse is only in effect at midnight on the night of a full moon while many other say Agnes is not so particular about who she embraces or when.
Either way it is said if you dare to sit in her lap – either on a particular night or any night; probably not something that should be left to chance – Agnes will embrace you. Oh, not the actual statue itself which would scare the living crap out of anyone but the force she controls: death. In short you will die in the next 7 days.
In some version legends you and 7 of your friends which seems a bit over the top.
Apparently, someone did dare to sit on Agnes’ lap – decades ago of course – and he and 2 of his friends paid the ultimate price: 1 died in a car accident, 1 drowned and, curiously, 1 was spared and just shattered his leg in a fall.
Easy to dismiss all of this – and of the other Black Agnes and Black Auggies in the world – as just another Urban Legend. Still, never forget all Urban Legends started with a truth at some point.
317 Academy Road
Status: Former Tuberculosis Sanatorium; Government Building
In the mid-19th century 1 in 8 people died of tuberculosis – the White Plague. The pathogen causing the disease wasn’t even identified until 1872 – before that vampirism was frequently blamed for those dying of the disease – let alone a cure.
Believing that fresh air was a cure – as well as trying to control the rate of infection – those suffering from the disease were put away from the general population in sanatoriums.
Tuberculosis actually comes from a bacterium and, as was found out much later, tuberculosis bacteria’s growth is actually inhibited by both fresh air and sunlight.
In 1905 Senator Redfield Proctor decided to use land his family owned through their fortune made by selling marble to construct a facility for those who were not rich and contracted the disease; in other words, the majority of the sufferers.
In 1907 he built the main building – which is now the Police Academy – as a place where the less fortunate could get treated. The building, originally, was surrounded by 250 acres (101 hectares) of land on which two 80 foot cottages were built as patient housing; one for men and one for women.
In 1921 the ownership of the sanatorium was passed to the State of Vermont. At which point costs did increase but not by a large amount; although patients from out of State did pay more.
Despite the State increasing the size of the facility it was always operating at maximum population. Most of the population was between the ages of 16 and 35.
By the end of the 1940’s great strides in antibiotics had been made and it was found that Streptomycin killed the bacteria causing the disease. As the rates of tuberculosis began to drop the quickly the sanatoriums became a financial burden on the State governments. They began to look for new ways to use the now useless infrastructure.
In 1966 the Vermont Sanatorium closed it’s doors and a new use for the buildings and land needed to be found. The first plan was to create a prison was that never made it past the thinking stage.
In 1967 the building began to be remodeled into a training school for Vermont Police Officers. In 1968 the first classes were begun.
Today, there is also fire fighter academy on the former lands of sanatorium as well.
We couldn’t find any records of how many people passed away in this sanatorium but based on other sanatoriums in North America and Europe it could be in the thousands.
The most well known ghost in the academy is that of Mary a former nurse in the sanatorium who contracted and died from tuberculosis. Mary’s presence is felt through the building but it is said if any of the recruits press the old call buttons in their rooms Mary will come to them in the night.
Mary is said to be quite friendly to the living.
Other Reported Activity: apparitions of former patients; disembodied voices; phantom footsteps; light anomalies and feelings of not being alone.
(Laurel Glen Mausoleum)
John P Bowman – who built both the house and the mausoleum – started as a tanning apprentice in Rutland County, Vermont. Once he learned the trade, he moved to New York State and saved his money while working in the tanneries there.
Once he returned to Vermont, he had enough money to both open his own tannery and marry his childhood sweetheart Jennie Gates. In the 1850’s he also opened a tannery in New York and made even more money selling leather to the Union Army during the Civil War.
John and Jennie, unfortunately, had more than their fair share of family tragedy. Their first daughter, Addie, died as an infant from Scarlett Fever in 1854 and then their second daughter, Ella, died in 1879 at age 22 probably from typhoid or cholera. Six months later Jennie herself passed away.
Before Jennie’s death she made plans with her husband to build their dream house. John went ahead with the plans but not before building a family mausoleum in the cemetery across the road. He also upgraded the cemetery itself making it a small copy of the fancy parkland cemeteries in the big cities.
The Bowman House/Laurel Hall was built right across the street from the cemetery and the remains of his family. Bowman, himself, only lasted 10 more years after the house was built before dying himself – in the house in 1891 – probably from stomach cancer.
John left money to keep the house the way it was – even to the point of having family dinner cooked every night – and keep up the cemetery. In 1894 a foundation was created to take over care of the cemetery. In the 1930’s-40’s the fund began to run out of money – due to bad investments – and in 1953 all the furniture had to be sold and the family dinners stopped.
The house was left abandoned, but it was taken care of by the same volunteers who were caring for the cemetery.
The house is now owned by private owners who were looking to turn it into their residence but instead turned it into a museum.
Renovations are currently ongoing; the house will, hopefully, be open to the public at some point in the future.
In a very unique level of paranormal activity there is a blood stain on the stairs – thought to be from John Bowman himself when he was dying – that affects the living both in the physical and etheric worlds. People viewing the blood stain get nauseous, dizzy and feel a powerful sense of unease.
The apparitions of John, Jennie, Ella and even baby Addie are seen throughout the house. Paranormal investigators have said the ghosts are very active at night and very curious about the living; they will approach and interact with investigators.
Jennie is the ghost that’s the most active. She is most often seen as a translucent woman that still wanders the home that she never got to live in, doing chores. Her best known story involves a little girl who was behaving very badly on the tour – so badly she was even irritating the other guests – who stuck her tongue out at a portrait on the wall. The portrait immediately fell off the wall and hit the girl in the head.
Disembodied voices are heard and recorded as EVP’s in the house frequently. The phantom cries of Addie are heard as well.
Shadow figures are often seen both in and around the family mausoleum. The disembodied voices of a woman, a man, a young woman and the coos of the baby are also heard here.
(The Gold Brook Bridge)
Covered Bridge Road off of Gold Brook Road
Status: Historic Haunted Covered Bridge
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A picture-perfect covered bridge by day; but by night this 150-year-old legend comes to life. This bridge was built in 1844 and is still used.
There are many stories at as to what happened on this bridge all those years ago, they range from a depressed woman jilted by her lover hanging herself on the bridge to a woman who said she made it all up to scare her children.
Whether Emily was once a living human or is the creation of a tulpa (an actual entity created through pure willpower alone) those that have met her on dark nights do not doubt her existence.
Emily is said to shake cars that stop on the bridge. Claw marks have appeared in people’s cars. The sound of dragging feet is heard on car roofs – as if you were driving under someone hanging from a noose.
Countless people and horses over the years have been scratched while travelling over the bridge. The scratch marks become visible and heal just as a normal scratch would.
Other activity – light anomalies, grunts, phantom voices, sounds of something rubbing on the bridge and dysfunction and odd behavior from electronic equipment.
700 Trapp Hill Road
Status: Historic Resort
Although hugely fictionalized the famous film The Sound of Music was loosely based on the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp and there really was a von Trapp family who escaped the Nazi Annexation of Austria in 1938. When the emigrated to the United States they moved to Vermont in 1942 and built a new family home.
When Baron Georg von Trapp passed away in 1947 the family expanded the house and turned it into a 27 room ski lodge and opened it to guests.
On December 20, 1980 and fire completely gutted the structure – killing one guest – and a new 93 room hotel was opened in 1983.
In 1987 when Maria von Trapp died the property was owned by 32 family members jointly. In 1994 Johannes von Trapp forced a merger to remove the ownership from all other family members. The rest of the family did not feel they were compensated enough resulting in a legal battle that went all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court.
The 2,500 acre (10.11 square kilometres) resort is now managed by Johannes’ son Sam. It features cross country skiing trails as well as mountain bike trails, wagon and sleigh rides, tennis courts, pools and even grow their own vegetables for their 3 restaurants. They even make their own maple syrup and – since 2010 – brew their own craft beer.
While the history of this site is quite interesting this article was actually written to prove a point – a lot of the information on the internet is misleading.