Newport is famous for miles of enchanting coastline, awe-inspiring Gilded Age architecture, an eclectic shopping scene and dynamic culinary marvels, not to mention our fair share of history (381 years to be exact). But truth be told, you don't get to be this old without a few skeletons in your closet. These 5 spooky spots in and around Newport are said to have a haunted past - read on to decide for yourself.
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All we ask when you land on these shores is that you play your part in keeping everyone safe. Please be kind, wear a mask, wash your hands and maintain six feet of social distancing from others.
The White Horse Tavern, America's Oldest Tavern
The oldest, and supposedly most haunted tavern in America, White Horse Tavern opened in 1673 at which point it served as a courthouse; a meeting place for Colonists, British soldiers, pirates, sailors and founding fathers; and lastly, a private residence. According to legend, and some eye-witness tavern employees, several ghosts still occupy the tavern, with accounts of being tapped on the shoulder and footsteps overheard from nearby empty rooms reported often. Spirits are said to include an elderly man in Colonial garb, a seamen who previously died on the premises, and a female reported floating above one of the dining tables.
The 160-foot long cliff overlooking Second Beach in Middetown is rumored to be haunted dating back to the 1600s. Legend believes there once was a Native American man chasing a young woman supposed to be the object of his affection. As they reached Purgatory Chasm, she leapt across to the other side while he unfortunately fell to his death. Legend believes his ghost is still trapped there searching for the woman.
Belcourt of Newport
The sixty-room, Louis XIII style estate on Bellevue Avenue has a long reputation of being haunted. It was purchased by the Tinney Family in 1956, who used the estate to showcase their expansive art and antiques collection. On July 28, 1957, Belcourt opened its doors to the public for guided tours of the museum. One night, Harle Tinney awoke to find a man standing beside the bed wearing a long brown robe and a hat that covered his face. Moments later, the figure walked through the wall and disappeared. Years later, when the family was remodeling that same room, they discovered there used to be a doorway where the robed figured previously exited.
Harle also recounts another haunted encounter in Haunted Newport:
"No one was home so I thought it was strange that the lights were on in the ballroom. Being naturally conservative and not wanting to burn the electricity unnecessarily, I went through the ballroom to turn out the lights. After I had turned off the switch, there was a very little light left. As I passed the front of the armor, something screamed at me. It was a horrible and loud, roaring sound. Then the lights went back on and I turned them off again and the armor screamed. When it screamed a third time, I ran as fast as I could from the room. The scream was terrifying. It sounded like someone was being killed."
Fans of the 1960's television series "Dark Shadows" would most likely recognize this French renaissance chateau located on Newport's Ruggles Avenue. Used for all of the external shots of the television series' Collins mansion, Carey Mansion has a bit of haunted history of its own. Edson Bradley built the mansion, originally known as Seaview Terrace, in 1907 in Washington DC. In the 1920s, Bradley relocated himself and his family to Rhode Island, and along with them came Seaview Terrace, dismantled into pieces and then rebuilt on Ruggles Avenue. In 1929, Julia Bradley, Edson Bradley's wife, died. Bradley held her funeral the chapel located within the mansion. Five years later, Edson himself passed away. One year later, the mansion became an exclusive all-girl summer boarding school, renamed Burnham-by-the-Sea where incidences of smoke detectors going off for no reason, bottles flying off desks and radios turning on and off by themselves were often reported. It's believed that Bradley's late wife Julia felt such a great attachment to the house that she refused to leave even after her death.
Colt State Park
Colt State Park in Bristol originally operated as a farm until it was sold to the state. Prior to being sold, it is believed that a stable hand died in the barn. To this day, staff of the park shut off lights and close doors only to find them on or open when they return a few hours later. One visitor reported walking to his car in an area referred to as Suicide Hill when he saw two little girls walking up the path towards him who vanished as he got closer. A staff worker similarly confirmed that he has seen and heard the same girls giggling in the woods near that area. According to many, two young sister drowned in the waters in the 1970s.
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