Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you all got your human costumes on!
Despite the rain, Halloween must go on, as the old saying goes. And you know how Baby Boomers will make us sit through 30 new think pieces about how kids are weak these days if god forbid we move Halloween over a single night.
However, one of my favorite activities involving eating candy out of a car’s trunk has been moved inside: “Trunk or Treat” has been moved to the Wilbur Cross gym.
So it’s time for a SPECIAL HALLOWEEN EDITION Of Between Two Rocks where I present you with some of the SPOOKIEST THINGS about New Haven. Cause people love lists and I love clicks. Nature’s greatest cycle.
So let’s get spooky!
1. Midnight Mary at Evergreen Cemetery
On a giant Granite Pink Tombstone in Evergreen Cemetery, Mary E. Hart’s epitaph reads:
“At high noon just from, and about to renew her daily work, in her full strength of body and mind, Mary E. Hart, having fallen prostrate remained unconscious, until she died at midnight October 15, 1872 — born December 16, 1824.”
According to legend, Mary fell and died at midnight that night, but after a quick, but her Aunt had a dream she still lived, and upon finally convincing everyone to exhume the body, found evidence she had been buried alive.
Which sounds like something that 100% definitely happened, even though the huge-ass granite tombstone says anything but “we buried this lady quick.”
2. New Haven Green Has A Bunch of Dead Bodies Under It
Just remember as you lie down on the lush green grass with your partner, staring up at the vivid autumn leaves. You’re probably sitting on someone’s skull. You like that, don’t you?
A few years ago, an upended tree on the Green revealed a centuries-old skull.
According to Wikipedia: ” It is conservatively estimated that between 4,000 and 5,000 people remain buried there, including Benedict Arnold’s first wife, members of President Rutherford B. Hayes‘ family, Reverend James Pierpont (founder of Yale University), and Theophilus Eaton, one of the founders of New Haven and the church and governor of the New Haven Colony for 19 years. ”
Hell yeah, 5,000 bodies! If that doesn’t get you in the mood, what will?
3. Yale’s Berkley College Has Its Own Ghost
Never one to be outdone by Harvard, Yale’s Berkley College has its very own Civil War era-ghost, and I’m not talking about the stained-glass windows depicting Yale’s oppression both past and future.
No, apparently students in Berkley College aka North Middle dorm, have described supernatural experiences with an apparition which definitely cannot be chalked up to prevalent cocaine use. Back in 1870, Yale Magazine speculated, “Many are the weird tales that are told of nocturnal visions and phantom visitors.”
So, uh, I guess people were hooking up back in the 1870’s, too. Very cool, very spooky.
4. The Voynich Manuscript Remains a Mystery
While not exactly spooky in the ghost sense, the Voynich Manuscript at Beineke is certainly the stuff of legends.
Carbon-dated back to the 15th century, the Voynich Manuscript (named after the Book Dealer who purchased it in 1912) remains an indecipherable codex with 240 pages of text and diagrams, none of which anyone has any idea is about.
Cryptographers from all over the world has analyzed it and yet nobody has actually deciphered the text.
Is it a constructed language? Is it art? Is it a code or cipher?
There’s only one way to find out. And it starts with eating this edible, and ends, as Halloween always must, with tears and candy.
5. The Crypt under Center Church
You know Center Church, right? It’s the middle church. Of the three churches. On the Green.
Ferris wheels? Picnic tables? Vendors? Absolutely none of that is allowed on the Green. But churches oh man we love a good church or three.
Underneath Center Church is one of the “exceptional colonial burial grounds to remain untouched.” They provide tours on Saturday between 11am and 1pm. If you wanna check out some “famous deads,” as my buddy Dennis joked.
Among the highlights are Benedict Arnold’s first wife, who probably tried to talk him out of the whole affair. And Sarah Whiting, 1669-1726, described as “The painful mother of eight children of whom six survive.” She was described as “faithful, virtuous and weary.”
My spirit animal. I hope people see me and think, “That guy looks… weary.”
Welp I hope you enjoyed your tour, folks. Those are the five spooky things I found about New Haven that I was willing to research.
But before you go, I wanted to share one thing: As many of you know, I am a frequent commenter on the New Haven Independent. Recently, a few folks decided, against all good judgment, to create a “People’s Campaign for Toni Harp” so they could continue to support her in the general election despite every possible reason why (and indication that she wouldn’t).
The Independent reported on this, uh, wise choice, which led to my all-time greatest comment, and possibly the one I hope to retire on:
I just want to thank Paul Bass for letting that one go, and for Harp’s campaign for reaching out to me angrily. Maybe if you’d come on the Podcast you wouldn’t be in this mess?!
(You definitely still would.)
You can find the original comment in all its glory here: https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/harp_unsuspends_campaign/
Have a spooky day, everyone!