June 07, 2016

Connecticut's Haunted Fairy Village

Here's a nice creepy story. Not every fairy tale has a happy ending...

*****

Once upon a time, in the early 1900s, a woman and her husband built themselves a stone house in Middlebury, Connecticut. They liked peace and quiet, so they built it out in the woods.

Things went well in their new house for a while, but after a few months the wife became strangely agitated whenever she left home.

One day when they were walking back from town she grabbed her husband's arm. "Can you hear them?" she asked her husband.

"Hear what?" he said.

"Them. The little people in the woods," she said. "I think they're talking to me. I've heard them for weeks now..."

"My love, perhaps you need to rest. I only hear leaves blowing in the wind."

His wife rested, but it did nothing to cure her of the idea that fairies in the woods were talking to her. "They want something from me," she said, "but I don't know what it is. I'm scared they'll come into our house..."

Her husband didn't believe in fairies, but he loved his wife, so at her request he put bars on their windows to keep out the fairies.

One night after they had gone to bed the woman turned to her husband and said, "I know what they want from me. They don't want to hurt us, they just want houses like we have. They want a home like we have. They want us to build them a village!"

From Roadtrippers.com.

In the moonlight the man could see the manic gleam in his wife's eyes, but he loved her, so the next day he set to work building small houses in the woods. Under his wife's direction he built dozens of tiny structures out of stone, brick and shingles.

When the last house was finished his wife clapped with delight. "Now the only thing left to make is the throne," she said.

"A throne? For who?"

"For me. Because I'm going to be the Queen of the Fairies!"

The husband rolled his eyes, but he had already put bars on the windows and built a tiny village, so what was one more concession to his wife's madness? After all, he did love her.

Using a pick-axe he carved a gully into one of the rocky hills, and mortared the stones into a throne. It took him all day, and when it was done he called his wife out to see his handiwork.

From this site about haunted Connecticut.

Exhausted, he sat down on the throne. "What do you think, my love?"

A look of rage came over his wife's face. "What do I think?!"she screamed.

Her husband cowered. "My dear, what's wrong..."

"What do I think?!" She grabbed the pick-axe. "I think you need to get off my throne! I'm the Queen of the Fairies, not you!"

And with that she swung the pick-axe and split her husband's head in two.

The fairy voices suddenly went silent. For months they had been whispering, chattering, singing to her, and now they were gone. Aghast at what she had done and howling with grief, she ran to their house and hanged herself.

*****

Isn't that a great, gruesome story? There is also another version where the husband finally can't take it anymore and kills his wife, but either way it doesn't end well for this poor couple.

The story is told to explain one of the weirder places in Connecticut: the Little People's Village in Middlebury.

The Little People's Village consists of remains of multiple stone structures located out in the woods. There's a house-sized building with bars on the windows, there are the remains of many miniature buildings, and there is also something that looks suspiciously like a throne.

According to local folklore, the throne is cursed and anyone who dares sit on it will die within seven years. Either the fairies, the woman's ghost, or her husband's ghost don't want people to sit there. Needless to say, local teenagers of course go to the Village to sit on the throne.

Other legends say that anyone who lingers too long in the Village will begin to hear the fairy voices and go insane.

Historians say the Village was not built at the bidding of a fairy-maddened woman, but was instead simply part of a local amusement park that has long since gone out of business. Visitors would ride a miniature railroad through the village and admire the charming little fairy houses. It's interesting how something charming and twee can quickly become a source of horror.

I also think it's interesting how supernatural stories arise to explain things that seem anomalous or strange. For example, when I was teenager in Haverhill, Massachusetts one of the local cemeteries contained a headstone surrounded by an iron cage. My friends and I had been told the cage was there to keep the grave's undead resident in, but in reality the cage was to keep people away from the stone. The grave was for a countess who was the subject of one of John Greenleaf Whittier's poems, and in the 19th century fans of the poem would chip off pieces of the stone. The cage was built to keep souvenir seekers away, not to keep a vampiric spirit in. 

That's a bit of a digression, but the same principal is at play with the Little People's Village. The origin of something becomes forgotten and legends arise to explain it. Certain patterns repeat in these legends. For example, the throne in Middlebury is not the only lethal site in Connecticut. People who visit Midnight Mary's grave in New Haven are also rumored to die after seven years. Further north in Montpelier, Vermont, anyone foolish enough to sit on the statue of Black Agnes will die in seven days.

A cursed site, death, and the number seven. You can see how the pattern repeats. I think people find great satisfaction in these stories, grim as they are. We all suspect there are secret powers at work in the world, even in our own hometowns. These stories are reflections of the secret order we hope and fear operates behind the mundane world.

Tony and I had hoped to visit the Little People's Village this spring but we didn't make it. If you go don't vandalize anything (many of the houses have been severely damaged) and watch out for ticks, which may be deadlier than evil fairies. If you can't go, you might want to watch this video of the village.


My sources for this post were Damned Connecticut, Roadtrippers.com, and this page about haunted sites in Connecticut. All excellent sources if you want more information.

One last thought: if you do visit, don't sit on the throne. You never know when a legend might be true.

4 comments:

Wade Tarzia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Tarzia said...

I didn't know you were a Haverhill native. Me too -- Ayers Village, a great area to grow up and learn to appreciate stone walls and empty foundations. Our local legends were less supernatural and more industrial: http://tristramshandy21st.blogspot.com/2012/09/nostalgia-with-bicycle-interlude-with.html?view=magazine The fairy village is a mile from my house, but haven’t been there yet. Must track it down.

Peter Muise said...

Hi Wade! Did your dad teach math in Haverhill? If so I probably had him!

Cool photo of the Martian War Machine in your post. I didn't even know there was a quarry up in that neighborhood.

Let me know if you do visit the Little People's Village - but please don't sit on the throne!

Wade Tarzia said...

My cousin Nick taught at Haverhill High, the first of a few teachers in my family (another cousin and her husband and myself). Though I do not consider myself superstitious, I will NOT sit on the fairy throne! Why tempt some poorly understood corner of the human subconscious, right?