Rhode Island’s Most Haunted Spots

Saturday, October 29, 2011


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What tavern is among the most haunted spots in Rhode Island?

Thomas D’Agastino is perhaps the preeminent source for all things supernatural as it relates to New England. D’Agastino, a native Rhode Islander, has been performing paranormal investigations for nearly thirty years and has authored nine books detailing New England's haunted past.

With Halloween just a weekend away, GoLocal decided to ask Thomas where the best ghostly hot spots are and why Rhode Island is considered one of the most haunted places in America.

What got you interested in the supernatural?

I have always been interested in ghosts and haunts. I grew up in a haunted house.

How long have you been researching Rhode Island-based hauntings?

I have researched and read about them since I was a child. I seriously started researching them after I saw the ghost of Betsey Grayson in 1972 while fishing at Hopkins Mills. I was 12 then.

How does Rhode Island compare to the rest of New England in terms of paranormal activity?

There are more haunts per capita in RI than any other state. It also has the most cemeteries in the US with over 3000.

What would you say is the most haunted place in Rhode Island?

The Tavern On Main in Chepachet.

I read that you've performed more than 1000 paranormal investigations; do you have any particular favorites?

Ramtail Factory in Foster, RI is my favorite. The Tavern On Main in Chepachet is next. Also the Victorian in Gardner, MA; The Charlemont Inn, The John York House in Stonington, CT was very important to my wife, Arlene and I. We were the first and only in many, many years to investigate that place after the owner approached us at a book signing in Mystic. Anyone who claims to have been there was with us as we took a few other investigators along and it was a one shot deal. The Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport- We were also the first to investigate that in both 2005 and 2006. I wrote about it in FATE magazine in 2006. Bara-Hack in Pomfret, CT; Dogtown in Cape Ann, MA, Portsmouth, NH; Old York, ME; The Monastery and Nine Men's Misery in Cumberland, RI to name a few. There are many other private cases that must remain confidential that my wife, Arlene and I hold dear as well.

Belief in vampires was widespread in the late 18th and 19th centuries in RI, can you discuss the reason for this?

Tuberculosis, then known as consumption ran rampant among the people. They would become gaunt, wanton and pale, coughing up blood. They did not know it was contagious. Many slept several in one bed for warmth or coughed across the dinner table thus spreading the infliction. When they died, fear was that the spirit was rising from the grave, feeding on the living and returning to the grave to nourish the body there. It was stated in several writings that the belief was as long as the body in the grave remained whole or in part, the spirit would feed upon the living. Voltaire wrote about vampires, stating that while feeding upon their victim, that person would contract consumption and waste away while the corpse in the grave remained nourished and fresh.

I believe that this writing may have had a major influence on the link between consumption and vampires during that period. The families would search for the vampire among them and in most cases when discovered, would cut out the heart, liver, lungs and burn them. They then fed the ashes to the ill in hopes of curing them of the evil infliction. In the Nancy Young case in Foster, they burned the whole body while standing around it inhaling the smoke in order to rid the family of the dreaded disease.

Prior to programs like Ghost Hunters, the paranormal seemed to be something that the general public scoffed at or that believers may have been afraid to discuss. Why do you think it took popular paranormal shows to alter this perception?

Between the shows and the Internet, people began to see that the subject was not so taboo anymore and many were not afraid to tell their story as they began to read of others who had similar experiences. This made them feel more comfortable as opposed to afraid to be ridiculed. We are definitely in a new Spiritual age.

Lastly, you've covered many topics in your books such as ghost towns, haunted ships and vampires among others; what can readers expect in your next book?

Arlene and I have a few in the works but we are not sure which one will be completed first. In the meantime we are promoting our present books doing lectures, programs, conventions and investigations as well. You can keep up with our work or check out some of our cases and paranormal evidence at www.nepurs.com or check out the presentations at www.curiousnewengland.com

For more information about Thomas and the New England Paranormal United Research Society visit www.nepurs.com. Fans can meet Thomas on Monday, October 31 at 6:30 p.m. at the Halloween Ghost Hunt Dinner at the Tavern on Main 1157 Putnam Pike, Chepachet.


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