Many of the names and some of the descriptions in this blog have been changed to protect the guilty.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Haunted Springfield

Things do go bump in the night in Springfield—and I’m not talking about cars going over potholes. Yes, there are supposed hauntings in this city, and below are four of them. Are you easily scared? Don’t worry. Count Floyd will guide you.

The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum

A mummy isn’t the only dead body in the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum in the Quadrangle: so are George, the museum’s namesake, and his wife, Belle (pictured below). Their ashes are sealed in a wall. Do their ghosts roam the building at night? This might explain the many bizarre occurrences there.

Last Halloween, WGGB-TV 40 aired several features on the museum, which a reporter and camera person visited with the team from Agawam Paranormal. “We’ve definitely had a lot of reports from the staff here of noises,” said Matt Longhi, director of publications and marketing at the Springfield Museums. Specifically, in the wee hours there are creaking floors as if someone is walking around. Security guard Tom Scorbett has heard weird sounds. “I’ve been here round the clock by myself in this building,” he said. “I think sometimes there are footfall that you hear when there’s nobody in the building.”

Scorbett has also heard toilets flushing and elevators that move on their own, as well as seeing a phantom shadow going across the sculpture hall and into a closet.

The TV segment shows an unattended flashlight blinking on:

There are also pictures of floating orbs, like this one:

They also have a FLIR thermal imaging camera showing two paranormal investigators in the foreground to the right and a tall image, appearing in the doorway behind them, moving to the left:

One of the Agawam Paranormal team members asks if a spirit is present, and the recorder picks up an answer: a whispered “yes” says the voice.

Theodore’s and Smith’s Billiards

Keith Makarowski, co-owner of Theodore’s Booze Blues & BBQ, along with Smith’s Billiards upstairs, was in the basement of Theodore’s one summer night when he heard footsteps above him. When he looked up and saw the floorboards move, he knew someone was in the bar despite the fact that he had locked up.

He ran upstairs with a broken pool stick, but no one was there. Besides, how do you hurt a ghost with a piece of wood?

There had been rumors of a ghost there for years, so in 2009, when Stephen Goncalves, one of the co-stars of the SciFi Channel TV series Ghost Hunters, called Makarowski about doing a show there, how could he refuse? Goncalves’ former band Po’ Boy and the Red Hats used to play at Theodore’s and he heard the old stories: mystery voices whispering, a chill in one part of the basement, the ghost of a small boy sitting on a pool table, the sound of pool balls falling into pockets, objects falling off walls and shelves, and perhaps the most bizarre of all: the sound of bowling balls rolling on the vacant fourth and fifth floors.

Actually, if you believe in that sort of thing, the bowling ghosts (the first I’ve heard of such a phenomenon) may not be that farfetched: there was a candlepin bowling alley in the upper floors of the building from 1905 until the late 1940s:

The eight lanes were removed and relocated to an alley in Connecticut:

Unfortunately, I don’t have any video link to that Ghost Hunters episode. To see it for yourself (on season four), you can order it on Amazon.com. I did read that the Ghost Hunters team claimed to see a “short, shadowy figure” run past the pool tables, and a thermal imaging camera recorded the shape of “an entity.” They also heard “unexplained sounds” in the pool hall and recorded a “garbled voice” in the basement. 


Are there more spirits—aside from the bottled kind—at Theodore’s? By all means, go over there, bend an elbow, look and listen. I’m not sure of their policy on bringing in Ouija boards.

The Tanguay Home

In 2005 the Ghost Hunters TV crew visited the home of Joesph and Denise Tanguay on Redfern Drive in the city’s Pine Point neighborhood. Yes, you usually associate haunted houses being large Victorian mansions, not small houses, but the Tanguays reported that their young son, Zachary, was being yanked by his legs and poked in his feet and head while he was trying to sleep. He also sometimes saw a face on the ceiling.

Denise (pictured below) had a problem as well: she often got nauseous in the basement.

But this visit turned out to be much ado about nothing. The team thought that Zachary’s experiences was due to the fact that he was a restless sleeper because he played video games before he went to bed. They also thought the heat kicking on and off was waking him up. Because the team got some high EMF (electromagnetic field) readings in the basement, they explain that Denise might be sensitive to this, and not some apparition.

Okay, the verdict on the Tanguay home?

Nope, not scary at all.

Van Horn Park

There is a legend that in the 1920s, two boys died in the pond in Van Horn Park and that park visitors can still hear them laughing and splashing—and see the water ripple—even though there is no one in the pond. Curiously, there isn’t much of an online presence or details of this haunting, and there are no reported drownings in the park in the 1920s, according to a newspaper archive search.

That is not to say, however, that there weren’t drownings in Van Horn Park: there were nine that I’m aware of. Two drowned in the 1990s: Keith Robinson, 31, on July 4, 1991, and 28-year-old Gerald O’Keefe on July 13, 1990. 

Prior to those tragedies, one has to go back to the 1970s and further: on June 11, 1973, 11-year-old Edwin Garcia of 18 Massasoit Street drowned in 15 feet of water. On May 12, 1970, Israel Rodriguez, 22, of 415 Franklin Street, died in the pond during a family picnic and fishing trip. On July 26, 1939, Ira J. Croteau, who was 11 and lived at 19 Cumberland Street, drowned in the park. On July 18, 1938, 14-year-old Henry Korets, shared the same fate. The pond was the scene of the presumed drowning suicide of Winifred Dillon, 25, on October 2, 1936.

The only double drowning fatality to occur at Van Horn Park were two young girls on March 19, 1932, when six-year-old Louise Musante and four-year-old Shirley Hannon fell through the ice (pictured below). Perhaps that is the source of the legend, although they were girls playing on the ice, not boys in the water. But you know how legends get twisted.

Anyone hear of the Van Horn park haunting or any other ghosts in Springfield? Leave a comment! These guys will look into it!

Seriously, leave a comment. I'm sure Springfield has many more ghosts than these!


Anonymous said...

No Comments....."Very Scary"!

barrooman said...

i miss the count floyd show

Unknown said...

The house at 104 Mulberry St (across from the Mulberry House) was haunted...we used to conduct seances there. However, the house burned down in 1978.

Hell's Acres said...

Hey Timothy,

Thanks for the info.

How did the haunting manifest itself? Did you live there or know someone who lived there?

Unknown said...

Well, both me and my parents are from Kansas, but my parents divorced when I was 3. My mother moved to Springfield after that, and the custody arrangement was that I was with my father during the school year, and with my mother for the summers (until I was 14). My mother lived in the Mulberry House (101 Mulberry St) during 1968-1975. There was a family that lived in that house (which had about 4 stories)--Labbe was their surname. Robert, John, Fran, Suzanne, and Linda were the kids that lived there. I hung out with them during the summers I visited Springfield. Some rooms in the upper floors were rented out--a tenant died in one of the rooms, and his remains weren't discovered for several days after his death. After his death, unexplained noises started emanating from that particular floor, which were attributed to his ghost.

Hell's Acres said...

What did you see/hear in the seances?

Anonymous said...

I grew up in the area of Van Horn Park during the 1960s and early 1970s. As a kid, I was present at the lower pond when a drowning occurred. That was either 1970 or 1973, I can't remember which. A crowd of people watched as the rescue personnel, wearing rubber diving suits, search the pond for the victim. Very sad.

Cruz said...

The house i use to live at was most definitely haunted its on Tracy st in springfield ma

Unknown said...

I grew up around the Five Mile Pond area, it was thought to be old bog lands at 1 time, I remember hearing a few times that the surrounding area out towards Indian Orchard used to be Native American Territory at 1 time, I'm not sure if it's documented.. But either way, growing up I used to play in all the woods surrounding tha Five Mile Pond and out towards 16 Acres, honestly have found alot of creepy stuff with in these patches of woods, from what looks to be possible burial mounds, circular ditches dug, a few small caves, more so like 1 room..maybe it was som1 homeless and made a dug-in, but they didn't have any evidence of any 1 that may of lived there, but still kind of a weird find... Well as for paranormal, alot of areas around 16 Acres, Pine Point, Indian Orchard an into Ludlow have this creepy vibe, as if your being watched, fallowed and even stalked... I don't recommend people tredging thru tha patches of woods scattered about this area at night alone, especially tha woods on tha back roads of 16 Acres, tha Dunes of Hell's Acres, which I believe they built candos, used to be said to be a pet cemetery possibly, no actual proof was found, but that place used to spook me as a kid, within all these areas seen shadow figures, the sense of being watched, an fallowed, orbs, ghost animals, certian areas you could feel as if you were having a "out-of-body" feeling, chills even during tha hottest parts of summer, being thouched, tha feeling of being unwanted in an area, certain areas would even seem like they were trying to mess with your mind and dissorient you... Have fun, but watch your back 😏


My grandfather, along with his partner (whose last name "Feinstein" is all I remember)owned Growers Outlet in Springfield, along with a few other supermarkets of the same name in Connecticut. It didn't "soon" become something else but lasted from the mid 1930's till a few decades later. My grandparents lived in Longmeadow on Western Drive in a house that I, too, lived in while my parents looked for a house in Connecticut right after the War. They may of lived across the street frowith time, Forest Park, but at any rate there was what seemed to be a large wooded area across from their house. I still retain a photo, framed, in my NYC apartment. The wealth we had as children dissipated with time, and we all scrambled for a livelihood, fortunately ending up fine. But the "Growers," a small chain, and its demise haunted my childhood! I am now by the way, a very old man!

Hell's Acres said...

Thanks for commenting, TIER !V.

The wooded area across the street from Western Drive is King Philip's Stockade. Check out this link for its history:


Unknown said...

We hung out in our teens inside the old Peppins warehouse behind Springfield Plaza and Wilkum Hill in the woods behind Vansickle Jr High. Peppins was creepy as hell at night.

Anonymous said...

I used to play Baseball at Van Horn and one of my friends at the time lived very close to the park. He saw a translucent man walk past his window late at night. Springfield has more hauntings than mentioned in this site. The abandoned house gated off at the end of my street was eerily inaccessible. No driveway, no gate entrance. My father spoke of the old animal shelter downtown Springfield as haunted. My old house my dad currently lives in has strange occurrences every now and then from footsteps to lights shutting on and off by themselves or the fact as a child I saw skeleton bones in my Bathroom but these were just visions as I think I had Psychic abilities at a young age that slowly disappeared to my adult years. I thought it was weird but brushed it off as me just being too imaginative. I forgot to mention the Black Wolf at the top of my stairwell. The vivid nightmares of me getting pushed off the top of that very stairwell. The nightmare where I witnessed all my mothers exercising equipment moving on its own. There was a tap on my Shoulder one night as I was sleeping adjacent to my sister but it wasn’t her as she was sound asleep. I used to go to my parents bed every time I felt very uncomfortable. I’m not sure if the Spirit was menacing though it seemed like there was a female energy that was nurturing and the other was a unknown origin. I feel the female presence has saved me as I once fell from the top of my bunk bed and I didn’t make very hard impact on the floor as I should have. Something lightens the fall if gravity would have done much worse. My parent told me as a baby I was in those walking carts and I went over the edge of the basement stairs and tumbled down the whole fight but I didn’t have a single scratch, Broken bone or even worse I should have died.

Anonymous said...

What about the old York Street jail
I've heard lots from everyone while growing up here. I'm 40 and a lot of the ppl growing up would end up there with crazy haunting stories...