By Thomas D’Agostino
The Hamonassets were a peaceful tribe that lived along the shores between the Agiciomock River and the Connecticut River in Killingworth, Connecticut. Their Sachem was known as Sebaquanch, “the man that weeps.” Uncas, the famous Mohegan sachem, married his daughter, thus inheriting the Hammonasset land. He then sold a generous parcel of real estate to George Fenwick ESQ. of Saybrook. On November 26, 1669, Uncas sold the rest of the land to the residents of Killingworth. The remains of an Indian village are located about a half of a mile north of Route 80 near the junction of Roast Meat Hill Road and Wolf Meadow Road. The village consists of several rock shelters where Indian artifacts have been found. A place called Nineveh Falls sits not too far from the village within the Killingworth Land Conservation Trust near Lake Hammonasset.
The falls have a haunting legend concerning an Indian maiden whose betrothed was a warrior who went to battle with a promise of marrying her upon his return. Sometime after his departure, false news arrived of his death during battle. Heartbroken and distraught over the loss of her beloved, she went to the falls and threw herself into the rapids. The brave returned to find that his lover was dead and in an attempt to join her, jumped into the same rapids as she.
Now, when the full moon casts a blanket of light upon the land, witnesses can see two ghostly figures walking along the edge of the falls, hand-in-hand in eternal wedlock.
There is another forlorn tale of a beautiful young woman who fell in love with a local farm boy. The young farmer was the sole provider and caretaker for the farm as well as being in charge of looking after his aging mother. According to legend, the young man did not care for the girl and resisted her affections towards him. This caused the jilted lover to throw herself from the cliff into the rapids below. The place has become known as Lover’s Leap.
Another legend associated with the area involves one of the early settlers most feared entities: witches. Yes, even Killingworth has a history of those who were in league with the devil. These old hags were said to frequent the Nineveh and Chatfield Hollow areas, brewing their concoctions and casting spells on unsuspecting undertakers passing by the wicked realm where they held consort with the most evil one. A few of these hags were Goody Wee and her daughter Betty Wee who traveled back and forth from Killingworth to North Madison, casting their spells on people for goods and profit.
In a 19th century book called “The History of Middlesex County,” neighbors claimed that the Wee witches had the power to curdle their finest cream so it could not be churned into butter. It is written that no farmer could pass by these two hideous creatures without a cessation of goods from their carts. If they refused, the carts would mysteriously topple and all of their cargo would be lost.
Ghosts also lurk in the woods around the falls. Who they actually are is probably forever lost to antiquity, but they have been blamed for many abominable occurrences that have taken place in the area over the centuries. One such tragedy took place at the end of the 19th century when a woman was approaching the falls in her horse drawn chaise. Something supernatural suddenly spooked the steed and he started bucking before breaking into a sprint at a Godspeed pace down the hill towards the bridge. The woman tried in vain to pull the reigns and halt the horse as he dashed straight through the wooden railing and off the bridge sending the surrey and all into the river below. Needless to say, the woman and the horse did not survive the “ghostly” encounter.
Thomas D’Agostino and his wife Arlene Nicholson are seasoned paranormal investigators, authors, and co-organizers of Paranormal United Research Society. You can find out more about them by visiting www.tomdagostino.com.