8: The Haunted Haven, A Ghost Post (New Haven)
New Haven Ghost Tour
"Vampires, Mummies, and the Holy Ghost. These are the things that terrify me the most"
Guide: Colleen O'Conner, Sundays and Wednesdays by appointment only
Did you know approximately 20,000-30,000 unidentified bodies are buried directly under the New Haven green?!
Well, now that I have your attention- let us not bury the lead.
We downed some cups of "liquid courage" Sunday night, walked a couple blocks to the Chapel Street Starbucks and awaited our fate. We went into the tour blind, one friend having only seen a poster advertising the tour about a week earlier. We decided to give it a shot, for the blog, and for our own curiosity. I'd tell you what curiosity did to the cat, but *spoilers* I'm here blogging about it- so we clearly survived.
As 7pm rolled around, we began searching for our guide. Twilight was beginning to descend on New Haven, and we were bubbling with anticipation (a.k.a. booze). The guide, Colleen, arrived shortly after 7, gathered us and other tour takers outside, and began to give us our marching orders.
2 hours and NO bathroom breaks (Oops. We shouldn't have had that last beer...)
Colleen warned us-you might actually see ghosts. She went on to explain she is NOT a medium (like me, she was more interested in the history), BUT she would absolutely fill us in on any paranormal activities the Mediums had previously relayed to her.
I'm not going to detail the whole tour, because it would be ruining all of her material, and would render it pointless for you to take said tour. However, I will say- as a blogger with a History Degree, when I got home I started researching some of her talking points. Connecticut Socials will never recommend something we didn't experience first hand, and fully research. Let me tell you though, her facts check out!
I thought the tour was quite informative, historical, and also gave room for the paranormal believers. Murders, accidental murders, mysterious deaths, unrequited love, wayward soldiers, historical figures- you name it, the New Haven Ghost Tour had it!
Our guide dabbled in some early Native American history and their bloody battle on The New Haven Green. She touched on Puritan churches, ghosts, and the ghost-ridden Grove Street cemetery. The guide appealed to CT's Revolutionary significance with anecdotes about George Washington, Roger Sherman, and Benedict Arnold. And she also tied in some post-revolutionary history with stories of Yale, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Shubert theater, and the survivors of the 1839 Amistad Revolt.
As a life-long Connecticut Resident, it was fairly interesting to learn ghost stories from my own back yard. I have taken Ghost Tours in cities such as New Orleans and New York- but New Haven being one of the oldest cities in America, we have QUITE a bit of bloody history on our own hands.
Email Colleen, Oconnorct1@yahoo.com to make an appointment for your group, she prefers Wednesdays but will work with you around her schedule. I found an article about Colleen online, in which this website is also used to reserve tours- www.ghostsofnewhaven.com. The website boasts Hartford Ghost Tours as well, so keep an eye out for that upcoming ghost post from Conn Socials!
Overall, this was really fun to do with a group of friends- I suggest you have a couple drinks first, and enjoy the nice walk through Downtown New Haven. Leave your skeptics at home, and bring your walking shoes. You may learn stories about buildings you've walked past 1000 times, and, like me- you may now stop using the Wells Fargo ATM on the Green. ;-)
Thanks to Colleen and the rest of our tour group for putting up with three giggly girls. Special thanks to my entourage of beautiful souls. I look forward to taking the tour again with a couple more friends! Invite Connecticut Socials if you book for your group- we'd love to tag along!