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The Yankee Express

Gay City State Park Part 2: A ghost wandering in the woods

Jul 20, 2022 01:14PM ● By Chuck Tashjian


Part One began to tell of the ghosts of Gay City State Park in Hebron, Connecticut. Here is the conclusion for anyone who might want to visit the ghost town and hopefully encounter one of its permanent residents.
The peddler’s ghost, as if seeking justice for his untimely demise, now roams the perimeter of the little hamlet. More than a few visitors have stumbled upon the old charcoal pit, where they have witnessed the ghastly sight of a glowing skeleton hovering just above the ground. The spectral skeleton is not the only permanent phantom of the old village. The spirit of a young man wanders among the thicket eternally trying to appease his employer centuries after they have both turned to dust.
A teenage boy became apprentice to the local blacksmith in hopes of someday becoming his successor. The blacksmith was a gruff, short-tempered man with not much patience for insubordination, but he took on the role as teacher to the young man. One day the apprentice decided he was going to take the long way to the shop, stopping and enjoying the morning every chance he could. When he arrived at the forge, the blacksmith, having expected him to arrive at work on time, was steaming with rage. No one knows what exact words may have been exchanged, but the blacksmith lost his temper and hacked the boy to pieces with a butcher knife. Legend has it that he even lopped the poor soul’s head off. The blacksmith was never brought up on charges, and the ghost of the apprentice now wanders among the woods, hastily making his way to some unknown destination, perhaps for fear of being tardy. Some have seen him running with his bloody head cradled under his arm.
Paranormal investigator and reporter Lauren Neslusen paid a visit to Gay City State Park in the winter to see if the legends of the haunts held any weight. Her account is as follows.
“When I was investigating there I saw and heard some very weird things. The strangest thing I saw was a black mist that disappeared quickly off to the side of a trail. The best way to describe it was about four feet off the ground and maybe three feet wide. It was solid in the middle but seemed transparent around the edges. The second weirdest thing was the other investigator and I were exploring the old mill site and rocks and debris kept falling from the top of the wall to the ground. (almost as if someone was standing there.) We went in the middle of winter while the ground was still frozen so I don’t think it could have been the ground thawing or anything. I took some EVPs (electronic voice phenomena, or ghost voice recordings) at the site but nothing came up on the recorder. As we were walking up to the pond though, we did hear distinct voices coming from the mill site. We ran back but found no one. We even called out and no one answered. The last thing I wanted to mention was we did hear something walking in the woods (you could hear crunching in the snow) but we saw no animal and no people; it was just very strange.”
A few months after Lauren’s encounter, we received an email from an investigator in regard to a visit he and his mother paid to the park. They were wandering the park just before closing, talking about being locked in if the gates closed. When they played their recorder back, there was a third voice accompanying them as they traversed the trails laden with old home foundations and other remnants of the past.