Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dudleytown, a village killed by madness by Barbara Edwards

Dudleytown doesn’t exist anymore, but stories of madness, suicide and horrible happenings keep it from fading into history. Hikers report a dead zone minus any animal activity. Similarly birds are absent except for the day-time hooting of owls.

Dudleytown, CT
Was Dudleytown haunted by something evil? Does the haunting continue even though the houses have fallen into the ground and little remains to mark the spot? I don’t know. According to some local historians, the town’s remains have witnessed madness, suicide, fatal accidents, natural disasters, and vanishings

A curse befalling residents from the mid-1700’s to the early-1800’s makes a scary story. The curse has been traced to an English nobleman, Edmund Dudley, ancestor of the Dudley brothers who settled the town. His head was chopped off for plotting against King Henry VII. A curse on Edmund followed his family to the New World.

Dudleytown doesn’t exist anymore, but stories of madness, suicide and horrible happenings keep it from fading into history. Hikers report a dead zone minus any animal activity. Similarly birds are absent except for the day-time hooting of owls.

Was Dudleytown haunted by something evil? Does the haunting continue even though the houses have fallen into the ground and little remains to mark the spot? I don’t know. According to some local historians, the town’s remains have witnessed madness, suicide, fatal accidents, natural disasters, and vanishings

A curse befalling residents from the mid-1700’s to the early-1800’s makes a scary story. The curse has been traced to an English nobleman, Edmund Dudley, ancestor of the Dudley brothers who settled the town. His head was chopped off for plotting against King Henry VII. A curse on Edmund followed his family to the New World.

One of the Dudley brothers went insane. Other strange incidents included a barn raising where a man fell to his death. Lightning struck and killed a Dudleytown woman on her porch. The curse destroyed a sheep-herder’s family. His wife died of tuberculosis, and his children disappeared. When his house burned down, he wandered into the woods, never to return.

Rev. Gary P. Dudley, a Texas resident and the author of The Legend of Dudleytown: Solving Legends through Genealogical and Historical Research (Heritage Books, 2001), traced the genealogy of his name, found no historical basis for Dudleytown’s cursed reputation or genealogical link to Edmund Dudley.

The final resident of Dudleytown was Dr. William Clarke, a New York City physician who built a vacation home in the early 1900s. The traditional story alleges that Mrs. Clarke was left alone overnight while her husband was summoned to an emergency in the city, and she descended into madness. Rev. Dudley says Mrs. Clarke committed suicide, but in New York, not in Dudleytown.

Before leaving, Dr. Clarke helped found Dark Entry Forest, Inc., an association of property owners that designated the area a nature preserve. As Dudleytown fell to ruin, the land reverted to forest.

Cornwall Covered Bridge, Cornwall, CT

The Cornwall Covered Bridge is nearby and worth a trip.

Anyone can follow directions in a guide to nature walks in Connecticut to the preserve’s main entrance at the end of Bald Mountain Road in Cornwall. The way is blocked by a locked gate and signs announcing “No Parking” and “No Trespassing.” Instead enter Dudleytown from the Mohawk Trail, a bit farther north. Dudleytown is about 1.5 miles from the trail’s entrance.

It’s obvious why Dudleytown’s neighbors don’t cotton to strangers.

The town’s legend attracted paranormal investigators, journalists, hikers, the occasional birder, curiosity-seekers, and just plain folk inclined toward the supernatural. Until in 1999, after the release of The Blair Witch Project (the hugely popular movie about haunted woods in Maryland), trespassers got out of hand.

The internet spread the legend far and wide.

The members of Dark Entry Forest, Inc placed Dudleytown off-limits after complaining of drinking parties, campfires, littering, disorderly conduct, and vandalism. A news release they issued stated in a single year, “law enforcement officers have been summoned 79 times”.

A sign in the Mohawk Trail parking lot warns hikers to keep out from October 25 to November 4. The trail crosses a corner of Dudleytown. The Connecticut Forest and Park Association closes this trail section for several days around Halloween.

I’ve personally hiked the fabled Litchfield Hills in their autumn colors.


A brook bubbling near Dudleytown

The Mohawk Trail follows Dark Entry Road, which climbs steeply past houses and towering tree before narrowing near Bonney Brook. In the forest, a broken stone wall crosses the brook. Once it was a dam—Witches’ Dam, some now call it. Nearby, a hollow moaning comes from a thin stream of water spouting into a rocky pool.

A half-mile beyond the brook is Dudleytown. The trail guide calls it “an abandoned community.” It is so quiet around the doomed settlement’s stone ruins that belief in a dead zone is brought to mind.

Visitors have experienced vortexes and cold spots in Dudleytown; others have seen spirits. A few are recorded on film although cameras and other battery-powered equipment are unreliable here. A few claim to have been chased, even slapped, by ghosts.

I can’t claim to know if the stories are true, but it does make me shiver.

Visit me, Friend me, Follow or Tweet. I’d love to hear from you.

Website: www.barbaraedwards.net for excerpts and buy links

Facebook: http://facebook.com/BarbaraEdwards

Twitter: http://twitter.com/barb_ed

Authors Den: http://authorsden.com/barbaraedwards

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbaraedwards
One of the Dudley brothers went insane. Other strange incidents included a barn raising where a man fell to his death. Lightning struck and killed a Dudleytown woman on her porch. The curse destroyed a sheep-herder’s family. His wife died of tuberculosis, and his children disappeared. When his house burned down, he wandered into the woods, never to return.

Rev. Gary P. Dudley, a Texas resident and the author of The Legend of Dudleytown: Solving Legends through Genealogical and Historical Research (Heritage Books, 2001), traced the genealogy of his name, found no historical basis for Dudleytown’s cursed reputation or genealogical link to Edmund Dudley.

The final resident of Dudleytown was Dr. William Clarke, a New York City physician who built a vacation home in the early 1900s. The traditional story alleges that Mrs. Clarke was left alone overnight while her husband was summoned to an emergency in the city, and she descended into madness. Rev. Dudley says Mrs. Clarke committed suicide, but in New York, not in Dudleytown.

Before leaving, Dr. Clarke helped found Dark Entry Forest, Inc., an association of property owners that designated the area a nature preserve. As Dudleytown fell to ruin, the land reverted to forest.


Cornwall Covered Bridge, Cornwall, CT

The Cornwall Covered Bridge is nearby and worth a trip.

Anyone can follow directions in a guide to nature walks in Connecticut to the preserve’s main entrance at the end of Bald Mountain Road in Cornwall. The way is blocked by a locked gate and signs announcing “No Parking” and “No Trespassing.” Instead enter Dudleytown from the Mohawk Trail, a bit farther north. Dudleytown is about 1.5 miles from the trail’s entrance.

It’s obvious why Dudleytown’s neighbors don’t cotton to strangers.

The town’s legend attracted paranormal investigators, journalists, hikers, the occasional birder, curiosity-seekers, and just plain folk inclined toward the supernatural. Until in 1999, after the release of The Blair Witch Project (the hugely popular movie about haunted woods in Maryland), trespassers got out of hand.

The internet spread the legend far and wide.

The members of Dark Entry Forest, Inc placed Dudleytown off-limits after complaining of drinking parties, campfires, littering, disorderly conduct, and vandalism. A news release they issued stated in a single year, “law enforcement officers have been summoned 79 times”.

A sign in the Mohawk Trail parking lot warns hikers to keep out from October 25 to November 4. The trail crosses a corner of Dudleytown. The Connecticut Forest and Park Association closes this trail section for several days around Halloween.

I’ve personally hiked the fabled Litchfield Hills in their autumn colors.


A brook bubbling near Dudleytown

The Mohawk Trail follows Dark Entry Road, which climbs steeply past houses and towering tree before narrowing near Bonney Brook. In the forest, a broken stone wall crosses the brook. Once it was a dam—Witches’ Dam, some now call it. Nearby, a hollow moaning comes from a thin stream of water spouting into a rocky pool.

A half-mile beyond the brook is Dudleytown. The trail guide calls it “an abandoned community.” It is so quiet around the doomed settlement’s stone ruins that belief in a dead zone is brought to mind.

Visitors have experienced vortexes and cold spots in Dudleytown; others have seen spirits. A few are recorded on film although cameras and other battery-powered equipment are unreliable here. A few claim to have been chased, even slapped, by ghosts.

I can’t claim to know if the stories are true, but it does make me shiver.

Visit me, Friend me, Follow or Tweet. I’d love to hear from you.

Website: www.barbaraedwards.net for excerpts and buy links

Facebook: http://facebook.com/BarbaraEdwards

Twitter: http://twitter.com/barb_ed

Authors Den: http://authorsden.com/barbaraedwards


Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbaraedwards

11 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

Really cool and creepy legend. Sounds like a Stephen King book! Thanks for sharing.

vicki batman said...

Barbara, this is totally fascinating. Thank you for sharing.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Interesting, Barbara. My husband just learned, on the internet, that 'Texas' (the word) is the same as 'crazy,' according to the Norwegians. If that's true, the originator of this legend, may be nutzoid. Don't believe in this stuff, but it does make for interesting stories.

Alicia Dean said...

Oh my gosh, interesting and creepy! I love hearing about stuff like this. Gives me chills. Thanks for sharing!

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Jannine,
Definitely creepy. Connecticut has some weird places.

Barbara Edwards said...

Vickie,
You're welcome.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Rolynn,
Since Dudleytown is an actual place, it makes it doubly weird.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Alicia,
Thanks for commenting. I love to share stuff like this.

MJ Schiller said...

I will leave it to all the thrill-seekers. Not this chick! Love to hear stories like this though. Thanks for sharing, Barbara!

Leah St. James said...

Fascinating. I love creepy old legends like this. :-)

Margo Hoornstra said...

Very enjoyable read, if not more than a little scary. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing.