In Episode 270, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger search for a house in Berlin, Connecticut, that was once so haunted locals wouldn’t live there very long. Doors opened and closed by themselves, but most frightening, the last tenant was haunted by the ghostly cries of an infant though no children lived in the house at the time. The haunt made the newspapers back in 1888.
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Produced and hosted by: Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger
Edited by: Ray Auger
Theme Music by: John Judd
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*A note on the text: Please forgive punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes. Like us, the transcripts ain’t perfect.
[AMBULANCE SIREN DRIVING BY AND FADING OUT]
RAY: Let’s pull over here so he can pass.
RAY: An ambulance siren is one of those sounds you can’t ignore.
JEFF: No you can’t. It’s piercing. You hear it coming a long way off.
[AMBULANCE FADES OUT]
JEFF: You know what other sound you can’t ignore, Ray?
RAY: What’s that?
JEFF: A baby crying.
RAY: Right. Another piercing sound that demands your attention. It’s been a bunch of years since I had a baby in my life, but I’ll never forget waking up to those cries at all hours of the day and night.
JEFF: Me too. Okay, we’ll make a right here onto Meadow Lane.
JEFF: And we can pull over anywhere there’s room just up ahead.
RAY: What brings us to Meadow Lane in Berlin, Connecticut, Jeff?
JEFF: Ray, we’re searching for a house haunted by the cries of a ghostly infant.
JEFF: Hello, I’m Jeff Belanger and welcome to Episode 270 of the New England Legends podcast.
RAY: And I’m Ray Auger. Thanks for joining us on our mission to chronicle every legend in New England one story at a time. We’re a community of legend seekers always on the hunt for ghosts, monsters, roadside oddities, and all the amazing weirdness that makes New England like no other place.
JEFF: We can’t do what we do without you. So thanks for being part of this. Please like and subscribe to our podcast wherever you get your podcasts, because it’s free, and we don’t want you to miss any of the weirdness. We also appreciate it when you share our episodes on your social media. It helps a lot.
RAY: Before we go searching for this haunted house in Berlin, Connecticut, we want to take just a minute to tell you about our sponsor Nuwati Herbals!
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JEFF: What’s that?
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[CAR STOPS DOORS CLOSE]
RAY: So Meadow Lane in Berlin, is pretty residential.
JEFF: It is.
RAY: There are some very nice homes on this street. Some of them look expense and fairly new. A lot of these homes couldn’t be more than 10-15 years old. Plus, there are plenty of developed neighborhoods off of Meadow Lane.
JEFF: Very true. The house we’re looking for is no longer here. But it was somewhere close by this spot at one point. To find it, let’s head back to 1888…
RAY: It’ late October of 1888 here in Berlin, Connecticut. Grover Cleveland is president, and he’s facing a tough reelection campaign against challenger Benjamin Harrison. But the election is still a few weeks away. Right now, folks in Berlin are discussing politics, sure, but the real buzz going around is about a house they say is haunted.
JEFF: The house is situated on the Blair Property near Belcher Brook—right near the ruins of the old Blair Factory that burned down three years ago in 1885. The house is average for this region. A typical Colonial house that’s been here a while.
RAY: And people have been whispering about this house being haunted for a while too. At least for the last several years. The reason we’re here today is because Berlin Butcher James North told us about the haunt. He said he was the last person to live inside, but had to move out because it’s so haunted.
JEFF: James may have been the last to live here, but it was Frank Burt who was the first to notice the strange activity inside. They say he moved out because of it too. In fact, no one has stayed in here very long. Let’s go inside and take a look around.
[DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES]
JEFF Let’s light that lantern over there.
JEFF: That’s better.
RAY: This house seems pretty normal to me. It’s empty except for a few boxes and an old chair that no one wants. Empty old houses are always a little creepy.
JEFF: They are. Still, it’s quiet right now… but from what I’m told, we’re going to have to settle in for the evening, because the house is most active in the wee hours of the night.
RAY: Got it. I guess we should get comfortable then.
[CRICKETS / NIGHT OWLS FADING IN]
JEFF: What time is it, Ray?
RAY: It looks like it’s just after midnight.
JEFF: The house feels different now. It’s almost too quiet…
[BABY CRYING WITH ECHO/GHOSTLY DISTANT]
JEFF/RAY: What was that? Do you hear that?
RAY: It sounds like a baby crying!
JEFF: There’s no one in the house except the two of us.
RAY: Doesn’t it sound like it’s coming from upstairs?
JEFF: Yeah. Let’s go see.
[SLOWLY WALKING UP THE STAIRS]
[CRIES GETTING LOUDER]
RAY: I think it’s coming from that bedroom over there!
[CRYING ABRUPTLY STOPS]
JEFF: It stopped!
RAY: The rooms are all empty up here.
[GHOSTLY CRYING IN THE DISTANCE]
RAY: Wait… I hear it again! Now it sounds like it’s coming from downstairs!
[QUICK STEPS DOWNSTAIRS]
JEFF: It stopped again. Wait… why is the front door open?
RAY: I have no idea. I’m positive it was shut before.
JEFF: This is freaking me out.
RAY: Me too. Let’s get out of here and head back into town.
JEFF: Okay, I caught James North on his way to work this morning. He told me when he was living in the house, he would double check to make sure the doors were securely closed when he went to sleep. In the morning he’d wake up to find some of them open. This happened more than once. Combine that with the ghostly crying of the infant, and it was more than he could take living there.
RAY: I found out after Frank Burt moved out, the house was sold to the Webster Family who didn’t last very long before they moved out. They sold it to James North who lived there with his brother who also verified the place is haunted.
JEFF: A lot of people seem to know about this house. Let’s head over to the old tavern in town, and talk to some more locals.
RAY: Excuse me… do you know anything about the old Blair house by Belcher Brook? (BEAT) No?
JEFF: Do you know anything about the Blair property?
RAY: Okay, I just spoke to one old timer who said that old place was once a house of ill-repute back when it serviced men who worked at the factory. He said he heard a baby was murdered inside to cover up an affair. This would have been about 25 years ago.
JEFF: That’s horrible! But maybe that’s the reason everyone around here knows it’s haunted. Those ghostly cries would chill anyone who hears them. And that will bring us back to today.
RAY: I’m not sure there’s anything as frightening as ghostly children and babies.
JEFF: I agree. It’s heartbreaking. I can’t imagine anything worse than the loss of a child. And to hear those cries in your home when you don’t have children living there?
RAY: Nope. I’d be out in two minutes tops.
JEFF: Everything we know about this story comes from a March 3rd, 1888 newspaper article from The Meriden Daily Republican newspaper.
RAY: The headline reads: Berlin’s Haunted House. A Ghostly Baby that Keeps Up a Continuous Crying.
JEFF: Those are the kinds of headlines that are tough for us to pass up. All we had to go on as far as location is a line in the article that said the house was quote “the old Blair property.” So we reached out to the Berlin, Connecticut, Historical Society, and they were kind enough to send us an old map that marked where the Old Blair factory was located–north of Meadow Lane and near Belcher Brook.
RAY: The Berlin Historical Society also sent us information on the former building. What became known as the Blair Manufacturing Company got its start in the year 1800 when a local tinsmith used the property to build a new kind of stove. In 1850, Charles Blair came to Berlin from Collinsville and bought the factory to manufacture rakes, hoes, axes, chisels, and other tools like those. The factory burned in 1885.
JEFF: I’m guessing this haunted house may have been living quarters for a factory manager or foreman at some point, but then changed hands. The story that it was a house of ill-repute during the Civil War era, was a local rumor reported on by the newspaper article.
RAY: Either way, the factory ruins, and the house are long gone now. We only know the general vicinity of where it was. None of these modern homes date anywhere near the right time to this story… Sometimes, that’s how it goes.
JEFF: Still, the idea that house was so haunted that no one could live there very long… Man, it makes you wonder. This haunt was so profound it even made the newspapers at the time! I think I could live with doors opening and closing by themselves… but the endless cries of a ghostly infant… that’s more than I could take.
RAY: Sometimes I’m grateful my house is NOT haunted.
JEFF: It would actually help us out a lot if it was… Which brings us to After the Legend, where we take a deeper dive into this week’s story and sometimes get sidetracked.
RAY: After the Legend is brought to you by our Patreon Patrons! Our patreon patrons are the lifeblood that fuels our show. They kick in just $3 bucks per month… that’s like buying me and Jeff a couple of candy bars for Halloween… and our patrons get early access to new episodes, plus bonus episodes and content that no one else gets to hear. If you can help the cause, please head over to partreon.com/newenglandlegends to sign up. We’d appreciate it.
If you’ve got your own strange local strange tale to share, please don’t assume we’ve heard it! Most of our story leads come from you! Reach out to us anytime on our Web site. Or stop us on the street. We loving hearing about your local tales of the weird.
We’d like to thank our sponsor, Nuwati Herbals, thank you to the Berlin Historical Society, thanks to our patreon patrons, and our theme music is by John Judd.
Until next time remember… the bizarre is closer than you think.