In Episode 125, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger take a drive up to Haunted House Curve in Hampton, New Hampshire. The stretch of road along Route 1 next to the General Moulton House has the ominous moniker not only because of the many car accidents reported there, but because the nearby house is said to be haunted. It’s also the place where they say General Moulton made a deal with the devil. Check your mirrors and your breaks if you drive by!
Read the episode transcript.
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Produced and hosted by: Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger
Edited by: Ray Auger
Additional Voice Talent: Michael Legge and Eric Altman.
Theme Music by: John Judd
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Postcard of the General Jonathan Moulton House in Hampton, New Hampshire.
*A note on the text: Please forgive punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes. Like us, the transcripts ain’t perfect.
[RIDING IN CAR]
RAY: Okay, I’ll make a right off of Drakeside Road here in Hampton, New Hampshire, and that puts us onto Route One.
JEFF: Also called Lafayette Road. The house we’re looking for is coming up on the right. But be careful, because they say the General Moulton House is haunted.
RAY: Okay, but the houses are set pretty far back, Jeff. I don’t think we’re in danger of hitting any buildings on this stretch of Route One.
JEFF: No, I hear you, Ray. But there’s more than just ghosts in this house. They say the devil used to come calling here once a month. And though the house is set back a ways, this curve in the road up ahead is notorious for accidents. That’s why they call it Haunted House Curve… Look out!
JEFF: Hi, I’m Jeff Belanger, and you just skidded into episode 125 of the New England Legends podcast. Give us about ten minutes, and we’ll give you something strange to talk about today.
RAY: And I’m Ray Auger. If we can survive the streets of Hampton, New Hampshire, then we’ll continue our quest to find every sing legend in New England.
JEFF: If you haven’t been to our Web site in a while, it’s ournewenglandlegends.com, and there you can find tons of stuff. We have an archive of all of our past episodes, and most of those episodes include photos from the locations we cover. There’s video clips from the New England Legends television series, which you can watch right now on Amazon Prime. You can find links to our super-secret Facebook group, a way to email, call, or text us, dates for my ongoing story tour, and of course a link to our patreon page.
RAY: Our patrons help us with our production and hosting costs. For $3 bucks per month they also get early access to new episodes, plus bonus episodes that no one else gets to hear. For less than the price of one draft beer per month, you get to become a bigger part of this movement.
JEFF: Okay, Ray, I guess we’ve just been introduced to Haunted House Curve. And that stately mansion set back from the road would be the General Jonathan Moulton House, one of the prominent early settlers of Hampton. He’s the man who haunts his former home as does his wife, who he may or may not have murdered. Moutlon is also a guy, they say, who made a deal with the devil.
RAY: Oh man, there’s a lot to unpack here. So let’s head back to the year 1769 and set this up.
RAY: It’s January of 1769, and though Hampton was first settled over 130 years ago, it’s still a very rural and sparsely populated town. Still under British rule, there’s talk of revolution, which is a topic that Brigadier General Jonathan Moulton is struggling with.
JEFF: Jonathan Moulton was born in Hampton back in 1726. He learned a trade as a young boy, then found himself a Captain of a ranger company in the New Hampshire Militia. He fought valiantly in King George’s War against the Indians, and once again during the French and Indian War. By the end of his second war, he was granted large tracks of land, and that made him wealthy, at least on paper.
RAY: Moulton is a feisty guy. He’s already survived two wars, and now he’s building this large house in his hometown of Hampton.
[HAMMER AND SAWING]
RAY: But a big house doesn’t come cheap.
JEFF: No it doesn’t. And while owning land is a great thing…
RAY: Right, it’s the one thing they’re not making more of.
JEFF: Right. Land is only worth something if someone wants to buy it, or if you can sell what’s on it. Moulton needs money now. And he finds it. His neighbors swear the man makes a deal with the devil.
RAY: The deal Moulton makes with Old Scratch is this: he’s willing to sell his soul in exchange for a boot filled with gold payable each month. Moulton is supposed to set his boot out on the hearth so the devil can drop the gold down through the chimney.
RAY: The deal is done and agreed to, and that’s when Jonathan Moulton gets to work on his boot.
JEFF: What does he do?
RAY: He cuts the bottom of his boot off, and places it on the hearth. So when the devil comes to deliver the gold.
[COINS FALLING ON STONE]
RAY: The boot can’t be filled. The gold falls right through, fills up the room, and now Jonathan Moulton is not only rich, but he keeps his soul.
JEFF: Ooooo clever. Another New Englander tricking the devil.
RAY: But the devil doesn’t take kindly to being outsmarted. Because just two months later, in the early morning hours of March 15th, Moulton’s house mysteriously burns to the ground.
RAY: The best guess is that a beam of wood by the hearth in his parlor caught fire and spread to the rest of the house.
JEFF: That may be the official cause of the fire, but locals suspect it was the devil who burned the place to the ground to get even. Still, the fire doesn’t stop Moulton. He rebuilds his mansion that some year.
[CUTTING AND HAMMERING]
JEFF: Now the house is even bigger and better than before.
RAY: I guess with so much gold, one can afford fancy things like a bigger house.
JEFF: Things are going fine until 1775. That’s when Jonathan’s wife, Abigail takes ill.
JEFF: It appears to be smallpox, which is so often deadly.
RAY: Jonathan Moulton isn’t one to let his poor wife suffer without help, so he enlists the aid of Abigail’s friend, Sarah Emery. She’s pretty. She’s single. And she’s willing to nurse poor, dear, Abigail.
JEFF: That’s good! So Abigail has someone to take care of her.
RAY: Well, I’m not one to gossip, but I heard from several neighbors that while Sarah Emery was taking care of Abigail, Jonathan Moulton was taking care of Sarah Emery… if you know what I mean.
JEFF: Oh, I know what you mean!
RAY: This is scandalous. Just as the rumor mill is reaching fever pitch, Abigail Moulton dies. Some suspect foul play. Others say it was the smallpox.
JEFF: Foul play just because Jonathan Moulton took all of the bracelets and jewelry he had given his wife Abigail and gave them to his new girlfriend, Sarah?
RAY: Yeah, that might have had something to do with it.
JEFF: Foul play because Jonathan and Sarah are married less than a year later?
RAY: Yes, those would be more reasons.
JEFF: Poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem titled “The New Wife and The Old” about this very scandal.
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER:
God have mercy! — Icy cold
Spectral hands her own enfold
Drawing silently from them
Love’s fair gifts of gold and gem.
“Waken! Save me!” Still as death
At her side he slumbereth,
Ring and bracelet all are gone.
And that ice-cold hand withdrawn;
But she hears a murmur low,
Full of sweetness, full of woe;
Half a sigh and half a moan:
“Fear not! Give the dead her own!”
JEFF: Whittier’s poem tells the story of how Abigail Moulton’s ghost showed up at the bedside of Jonathan and Sarah on their wedding night, and how the ghost removed the ring from Sarah’s finger.
RAY: Yikes, that’s creepy!
JEFF: Jonathan Moulton and Sarah Emery will have four children together. But eventually… the Hampton rumor mill just moves on.
RAY: I’m sure locals move on because there’s much bigger issues happening all around them.
[CANNONS AND MUSKETS]
RAY: The American Revolution. Colonel Jonathan Moulton is tapped to defend New Hampshire’s 18 miles of seacoast from the British. In the Fall of 1777 Mouton marches his men to the Battle of Saratoga, New York, and it’s there that General George Washington is so impressed with his skills that he promotes Moulton to Brigadier General.
JEFF: Jonathan Moulton dies September 18, 1787, but offers us one more eerie story before he goes. They say at his funeral, one of the pall bearers notices that his casket doesn’t seem all that heavy. Curious, he sets the casket down.
[CREAKING DOOR OPEN]
JEFF: He opens the lid. And he’s shocked to find there’s no body in the casket! Just a box of gold coins and the devil’s stamp on the coins.
RAY: Jonathan Moulton is buried without a tombstone. Within a few years, his location is lost to time.
JEFF: But this isn’t the end of his story. Though we don’t know where his body remains, there’s plenty of stories regarding where his restless spirit resides: Still at his old house. In addition to writing that creepy poem, John Greenleaf Whittier reported on the ghostly rumors.
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER: It was said that he haunted the old house, and used to tramp up and down stairs in his military boots.
[BOOT STOMPS ON FLOOR]
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER: Parson Milton of Newbury was sent for to lay him.
RAY: When Whittier says Parson Milton was sent to quote “lay him,” that’s referring to an exorcism.
JEFF: An exorcism that didn’t work if we’re to believe ongoing reports. And that brings us back to today.
RAY: So this house is why they call this stretch of road Haunted House Curve?
JEFF: It is. And the reason why I warned you to be careful earlier isn’t because I thought you were going to hit the house, but because maybe there’s a curse on this bit of road in front of General Moulton’s house.
RAY: A curse?
JEFF: Check out this article from the August 13, 1938 Portsmouth Herald.
REPORTER: Another Crash at Haunted House Curve. Possibly the ghost of Hampton’s haunted house made famous by John Whittier Greenleaf’s poem, is again active and haunting the curve that is in front of the old home of General Moulton, because the second accident in less than a week occurred there last night. A few years ago a series of accidents in front of the colonial structure were blamed on the ghost that is reputed to have haunted the house.
RAY: The article goes on to say that one crash sent the drivers to the hospital. The reporter sort of implies that Moulton’s ghost may be to blame.
JEFF: And maybe he is!
RAY: How so?
JEFF: Think about it. You’re driving along
JEFF: Craning your neck trying to get a glimpse of the haunted house, you’re not watching the road, and then.
RAY: And then you become a permanent part of the legend.
JEFF: Just like we’d like to become a permanent part of your week. If you don’t already subscribe to our podcast, you should because it’s free! You can find us on iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
RAY: And hey, please tell a friend or two about our show. Word of mouth is still the biggest way that people find our show.
JEFF: We’d like to spend a special 12th birthday shout out to Conner Biggie! Conner and his dad listen to us each week.
RAY: A little bird told me the Haunted Biltmore Hotel episode which is number 74, is his favorite. Happy birthday, Conner!
JEFF: We’d like to thank Michael Legge and Eric Altman for lending their voice acting talents this week, and our theme music is by John Judd.
VOICEMAIL: Hi, this is Chip Ingram in Redding, California, until next time remember the bizarre is closer than you think.
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