The Devil’s Hole, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
By Thomas D’Agostino
Many years ago, French Canadian immigrants began settling in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Life was hard for these poor folk and they toiled from sun up to sun down building a life for their families. Even today, the visual history of their legacy is prominent in the local cemeteries, street names, and architecture of the area.
A certain Catholic priest desired to erect a beautiful stone church for his parishioners but found it difficult, as they were all committed to their day long jobs at the local mills. The priest looked to the heavens for guidance and his prayers were quickly answered when, one night, the Virgin Mary appeared to him with a gift.
“Outside in your yard, you will find a fine horse that will easily cart all the stone you need to build a church. He has the strength of many horses and will easily carry any load you set upon him. But, under no circumstances must you ever remove his bridle, for it is sanctified. If you remove the bridle, the horse will vanish in an instant.”
The next morning, the priest found the horse as stated, with a glistening bridle around its face. He was an enormous beast, black as the deepest night with glowing red eyes. It did not take long before the priest surmised that it was an incarnation of the devil himself. He named it “Old Nick” and presented it to the foreman to assist in carting the stones for the project. The foreman was also warned to never remove the bridle and duly obeyed the priest’s request. Old Nick tirelessly moved all the stone needed to build a fine church.
One day the foreman could not make it to work and a new foreman was called in to oversee the completion of the church. The new foreman was forewarned of the bridle and set about his tasks with his new workmate, Old Nick. He and Old Nick got along real fine and soon became friends. The young foreman was not very smart, but always performed a hard day’s labor with no complaint.
On a very hot summer day, the foreman took the horse to the Blackstone River to cool down. As the foreman splashed around in the cool water, he looked over at Old Nick, who appeared to be hot and thirsty. The man decided to remove the bridle so the horse could get a cool drink. As soon as the bridle was let loose, the horse gave an earth shattering neigh, then kicked the young man into the river. Old Nick leaped across the Blackstone in one bound, landing on a ledge. His impact split the ledge and the horse quickly vanished into the crevice.
When the priest discovered what had transpired, he rushed to the scene but he was too late, the horse had returned to hell. For many years after, the area of the chasm was prone to unholy happenings. Horses would buck and shy as they neared the hole, wagons would lose their wheels and unearthly wailing was often heard emanating from the rock. Witnesses also reported wolf-like creatures entering and emerging from the evil hole. It was clear to all that the devil had created a portal to this realm to punish the parishioners for keeping him captive.
A new priest came to lead the parish and decided enough was enough. He placed a wooden cross over the hole, sprinkled it with holy water and said several prayers. The hellish doings ceased as far as anyone knew and the devil never returned. The Devil’s Hole is located in the Fairmont section of Woonsocket but no one is really sure where it is.
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.