In Episode 165, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger stroll down Tucker Hollow Road in Foster, Rhode Island, in search of the ghost of Aunt Lonnie – a hermit of a woman who placed a curse on her house. Her wish upon her death was that her home be dismantled so no one else could ever live there. Today she still haunts the old dirt road.
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[DRIVING DOWN ROAD]
RAY: And just up ahead we’ll make a right.
JEFF: Yup, there’s the sign: Tucker Hollow Road right here in Foster, Rhode Island.
RAY: So we passed a couple of houses, but now the road seems pretty empty. With the fall leaves, and the sun sinking low. This place does seem kind of eerie.
JEFF: This is the perfect setting for creepy tales of ghosts, suicide, and most notably, a cellar hole cursed by a woman known as Aunt Lonnie.
JEFF: Hi, I’m Jeff Belanger and welcome episode 165 of the New England Legends podcast. If you give us about ten minutes, we’ll give you something strange to talk about today.
RAY: And I’m Ray Auger. Thank you for joining us on our quest to document every legend in New England one story at a time. This is more than just a podcast, it’s a television series on PBS and Amazon Prime, it’s a Web site, a free app for your smart phone so you too can check out some of these legendary locations, it’s a super-secret Facebook group of people sharing strange tales, and it’s a growing community of people who connect over the weird in New England.
JEFF: And we can’t do what we do without the support of our patreon patrons who kick in just $3 bucks per month to get early access to new episodes plus bonus episodes that no one else gets to hear. More than anything, these legendary listeners are the backbone of what we do. And we appreciate it more than we can express. If you can help us out, please head over to patreon.com/newenglandlegends to sign up.
RAY: We also have our first-ever virtual Halloween party coming up Saturday, October 24th from 7 to 9PM. Tickets are just $5 and go to benefit the Old Colony History museum. You can find a link for that on our Web site.
JEFF: It’s October, which means my virtual story tour is going on every night. It’s a multi-media program where I take you through the haunts and legends. You can interact and ask questions, and we can spend a little time together. You can attend from anywhere, just check our Web site for links to register.
RAY: Okay, Jeff, this road is already spooky with the fall leaves, it feels remote, like maybe out here… no one would hear you scream.
JEFF: It’s always been remote, Ray. Those few houses we passed earlier aren’t that old. But there is one foundation out here that dates back to the 1700s. And if we’re to believe the legend…
RAY: We usually do.
JEFF: No one better build on this foundation ever again, lest they stir up a centuries-old curse of Tucker Hollow Road.
RAY: Let’s head back to 1798, and set this up.
RAY: It’s 1798 here in Foster, Rhode Island, and we’re walking behind an old woman pulling a wooden cart toward Hopkins Mills.
[OLD WHEELS TURNING]
JEFF: We shouldn’t get too close to her, Ray. We don’t want to draw her attention.
RAY: Why’s that?
JEFF: Because that is the widow Aunt Lonnie. She’s a hermit who lives on Tucker Hollow Road. She doesn’t cotton to strangers. Shoot, she’s not that fond of locals either. She pretty much wants to be left alone.
RAY: I feel bad, though. She’s clearly pretty elderly, and lugging that heavy wagon into town? Excuse me… can we offer you some help pulling the wagon?
AUNT LONNIE: Stay away from me!
RAY: Woah, I see what you mean.
JEFF: She doesn’t come into town that often, and Aunt Lonnie isn’t the kindest old lady. She loads her wagon with food and other supplies, then lugs it back up the hill to Tucker Hollow Road.
RAY: You’d think with a name like AUNT Lonnie, she’d be more friendly.
JEFF: You’d think. In fact, some folks in town suspect she may be a witch.
RAY: We’ve seen that before. Any old woman who lives off on her own away from others must be a witch.
JEFF: I know, it’s not fair, but in this case, maybe there’s something to it.
RAY: What do you mean?
JEFF: Aunt Lonnie is getting on in years, everyone knows it, including her. And she’s made her wishes known on her infrequent trips to town.
AUNT LONNIE: My wish is that no one is to live in my house on Tucker Hollow Road after I’m gone. You must destroy the house after my death. If so much as two boards are nailed together, I shall haunt this town.
RAY: That’s a strange request. Why would she care what happens to her house after she’s gone?
JEFF: I don’t know. She must have her reasons to be so bitter. Another year passes and Aunt Lonnie grows more frail. In 1799, she passes, and is buried.
RAY: But the folks in town can’t be bothered to tear down a house for no reason. So Aunt Lonnie’s home on Tucker Hollow Road sits abandoned and rotting. But soon ghostly rumors start flying.
JEFF: What kind of rumors?
RAY: There’s talk of Aunt Lonnie’s disembodied screams of anger and other strange occurrences.
JEFF: Let’s go walk by her house and take a look.
[WALKING ON DIRT ROAD]
RAY: I can see the small house is already looking run down. It doesn’t take long, does it?
JEFF: No it doesn’t.
AUNT LONNIE’S GHOST: (Soft moan.)
JEFF: What was that?
RAY: Okay, I’m feeling an icy chill floating near us.
AUNT LONNIE’S GHOST: Ghostly scream!
RAY: Let’s get out of here!
JEFF: We’re not the only people to experience the screams. In the coming years, more people will be haunted by something around this house. It takes a few years, but finally some of the locals have had enough of Aunt Lonnie’s ghost haunting them. They show up with hammers and saws…
JEFF: And tear the house down. Finally, once there are no longer any boards nailed together, and just the empty cellar hole remains, Aunt Lonnie, at least for now, can be at rest. And that brings us back to today.
RAY: Was that the last Aunt Lonnie’s ghost?
JEFF: Not exactly. You can see there’s a bunch of no trespassing signs today. Out there beyond that stone wall is Aunt Lonnie’s cellar hole. But, it’s empty as it should be, not even two boards nailed together. But, if her ghost is still haunting Tucker Hollow Road, it’s not near her former home anymore. Let’s head up the road just a little ways.
JEFF: Check out the cemetery on the side of the road.
RAY: Yeah, this is a really small boneyard. Maybe 30 graves or so in a small rectangle of land surrounded by colonial stone walls. The sign says Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Foster #27.
JEFF: It’s better known as the Hopkins-Tucker Plot because those are the families buried here. Some people claim to see the ghost of Aunt Lonnie sitting on this stone wall, still watching over Tucker Hollow Road. Maybe making sure no one builds on her old foundation again.
RAY: I was reading online about a few other haunting stories along this road.
JEFF: What did you find?
RAY: There’s a story of a man who murdered his wife in the 1800s in these woods. But we couldn’t find anything concrete on it. There’s also the story of a town worker who, in the 1960s, drove his town truck out here with his dog. Completely despondent, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head right in front of his poor dog.
JEFF: That’s horrible!
RAY: There’s also the story of a ghostly woman who has been seen walking along Dolly Cole Brook, which runs parallel to Tucker Hollow Road. She’s possibly someone who drowned way back when.
JEFF: Foster, Rhode Island, is full of ghostly legends. And I can see why this road is so mysterious. It’s right off of two main roads, Routes 6 and 101, but Tucker Hollow Road is a dirt road. Parts of it is nothing but trees and old colonial stone walls.
RAY: …And plenty of no trespassing signs. I’m guessing a lot of people come here looking for ghosts.
JEFF: The stories do draw you in. And the Internet is filled with accounts of people hearing disembodied screams and seeing ghostly figures all around here. We just can’t let the ghost of Aunt Lonnie go because maybe her ghost connects us to a time when the people on the outskirts of our society were villainized.
RAY: There’s always some reason we keep a legend around. And we like keeping you around as well. If you don’t already subscribe to our podcast you should because it’s free. You can hit subscribe wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss a single story. Also, please post a review for us, and share your favorite episodes on social media. That helps us grow.
JEFF: I know everyone is in a rush to get rid of the year 2020, and I have good news! On our Web site, you can find a link to buy the limited edition 2021 Haunted New England wall calendar by yours truly and featuring the eerie photography of Frank Grace. We only print a limited number, so get yours soon.
RAY: We’d like to thank Lorna Nogueira for lending her voice acting talent this week, and our theme music is by John Judd.
VOICEMAIL: Hi, this is the Friedels from Welcome, North Carolina, until next time remember the bizarre is closer than you think.