Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger
Each week, folklorist, author, and historian Jeff Belanger and radio host Ray Auger explore the ghosts, monsters, folklore, history, and legends of New England. If you give us about ten minutes, we’ll give you something strange to talk about today. The bizarre is closer than you think!
In Episode 223, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger take a New England road trip to witness the first Thanksgiving in Phippsburg, Maine, then jump over to Newport, New Hampshire, to meet the mother of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, and finally end in Medford, Massachusetts, to learn the origins of a Thanksgiving song that’s since been hijacked by Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our legendary friends!
24 min 47 sec
In Episode 222, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger search for Governor John Wentworth’s missing treasure in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. In 1775, with the American Revolution about to come to a boil, British Governor Wentworth is forced to flee his mansion with his family, his servants, and chests of gold and silver. On his way to Portsmouth, the governor is forced to lighten his load, so they say he buried his riches intending to come back for them after England squashes the American rebellion. Gov. Wentworth never set foot in New Hampshire again. Could the treasure still be out there?
11 min 14 sec
In Episode 221, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven, Connecticut, in search of the haunted headstone of Midnight Mary. Mary E. Hart died at midnight on October 15, 1872, and her headstone and epitaph have stood behind various legends about being buried alive, a curse, and her wandering ghost being seen on nearby Winthrop Avenue.
11 min 3 sec
In Episode 220, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Freeport to explore the Desert of Maine. While there, they search for a man named Coffin, the Hermit of Maine, who lived nearby and charged tourists 15 cents to look inside his shack. How did a desert appear in Maine? And who was this hermit?
13 min 25 sec
In Episode 219, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger receive a strange Halloween message with an address in Rhode Island and the promise of seeing a monster. Jeff and Ray follow the clues and wind up trapped in a house with a murdered body and a vampire! Will they make it out alive?!
26 min 39 sec
In Episode 218, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore Hull, Massachusetts, in search of multiple ghosts spotted around the turn of the twentieth century. After a ghostly horse and buggy was spotted by none other than local hero Captain Joshua James, a strange apparition stalked a local actor by the Hull Cemetery. We hear their accounts, and walk the grounds searching for the spooky specters.
14 min 15 sec
In Episode 217, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Pownal, Vermont, to explore the witch trial of the widow Mrs. Krieger. In 1765, the widow Krieger was accused of being in league with the devil. She was given a choice to face one of two horrible tests to see if she was indeed a witch. Though a century had passed since Salem’s infamous trials, belief in New England witches has not gone away.
11 min 34 sec
In Episode 216, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger stroll Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire, searching for the birthplace of a torture device that has plagued billions of people since it was invented by Levi Hutchins back in 1787. Hutchins built a machine intended to defy both God and nature. It was on this humble street, that he unleashed his creation on New England and then the world.
12 min 43 sec
In Episode 215, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger drive to the Buckingham Village shopping plaza in Glastonbury, Connecticut, in search of a bolder where a man believed there was buried treasure because of a dream he had, and because a psychic told him so. In 1921, that man lost his life trying to get the loot. Today that rock still stands as an obscure memorial to long-shot hope and a dream of a better life.
16 min 17 sec
In Episode 214, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore the woods around Moosehead Lake in central Maine searching for some leaping French-Canadian loggers who became the subject of teasing and a neurological study back in 1880. When startled, these loggers would jump up and down uncontrollably and do whatever anyone tells them to do. Was this affliction the result of inbreeding? Boredom? Or something else?
14 min 5 sec
In Episode 213, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore the woods around School House Pond in Charlestown, Rhode Island, searching for the place where a Narragansett boy named John Onion challenged the devil, and the dark rock formation where horrible acts still haunt the woods.
10 min 52 sec
In Episode 212, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger stroll down Brick Kiln Lane in Pembroke, Massachusetts, searching for a tapping ghost who was seen and heard over the span of years back in the 1940s. This ghost has ties to the old shipyard, which has ties to the Boston Tea Party. This ghostly experience was documented by local journalist Curt Norris in the 1980s. Could these taps come from the ghost of shipbuilder Barker Turner?
11 min 19 sec
In Episode 211, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore the haunting of Highgate Manor in Highgate, Vermont. Once the home of Dr. Henry Baxter, some believe the doctor performed strange experiments on his children sending them to an early grave. Later, the house was turned into an inn where notorious mobster Al Capone once stayed. Today the stately home sits empty, save for the ghosts and legends still lurking inside.
10 min 10 sec
In Episode 210, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger stroll the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire, searching for a mysterious stone unearthed back in 1872. This fist-sized, egg-shaped artifact has several images carved on it, including a face, corn, and other geometric shapes. It appears to be Native American in origin, but matches nothing seen by tribes local to this region. This rock raises so many questions that some have speculated it could be a Thunderstone--a rock forged in the sky by some deity and then dropped to the earth. The mystery stone has perplexed archaeologists ever since it was discovered.
13 min 47 sec
In Episode 209, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Ledyard, Connecticut, to investigate the death and alleged resurrection of Jemima Wilkinson. Going by the name Publick Universal Friend, this pronounless religious leader started a movement in the late 1700s, then traveled New England ready to perform miracles like walking on water and resurrecting the dead. To many, this person was a fraud and cult leader, to others, this person had the spiritual answers they were seeking.
15 min 19 sec
In Episode 208, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger take a drive down Route 2A through Haynesville, Maine, to see a road so treacherous and haunted, it inspired a 1965 country song by Dick Curless. Behind the song, though, are countless stories of vehicle accidents and strange encounters on this road that may cause you to slow down and look twice. Be warned, Jeff brought his guitar on this trip, and Ray may have sung some of Dick Curless’s song.
17 min 49 sec
In Episode 207, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger take a week off to regroup, so they introduce you to an episode from the vault: Who’s Haunting Smith’s Castle in Wickford, Rhode Island. Originally aired December 26, 2019, we explore the dark history and haunting of Smith’s Castle. The structure and grounds are home to a mass grave, the site of America’s only prisoner to be drawn and quartered, a former slave plantation, and a clumsy ghost who may still be replaying her tumble with destiny.
11 min 23 sec
In Episode 206, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Brookfield, Massachusetts, to examine the crime scene and trial of Bathsheba Spooner -- the first woman hanged in the United States for a capital crime. On March 1, 1778, the body of Bathsheba’s husband was dumped in the family’s well. It didn’t take long for authorities to unravel a murderous plot hatched by the victim’s wife and her lover.
13 min 34 sec
In Episode 205, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger go on a hunt for the 160-foot Vermontasaurus at the Post Mills Airport in Thetford, Vermont. Born in 2010 from the rubble of fallen buildings, the giant beast is the brainchild of hot air balloon pilot Brian Boland, who joins us on this Jurassic adventure. The Vermontasaurus faced extinction not once, but twice, yet still stands lurking by the runway of the airport. Welcome to Vermont’s Jurassic Park! Note: This episode is dedicated in memory of Brian Boland.
15 min 22 sec
In Episode 204, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger stroll the haunted grounds of the Enfield, New Hampshire, Shaker Village. In July of 1863, Civil War veteran Thomas Weir returned to Enfield to try and retrieve his daughters who were indentured servants to the Shakers. For over a year, Weir tried to reason, beg, and even threaten the Shakers to get his daughters back. When they refused, Weir pulled out a pistol and murdered Caleb Dyer, and set a tragic haunting in motion that can still be felt today.
15 min 7 sec
In Episode 203, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore Brookfield, Connecticut, to examine the infamous 1981 “Devil Made Me Do It Case” involving Arne Johnson, his girlfriend, Debbie Glatzel, and famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. After Debbie’s youngest brother went through a demonic possession and a series of exorcisms, all was quiet until a fateful day in February when a man was murdered. Arne Johnson was found guilty of manslaughter, but to this day he insists he was not operating under his own power at the time. Hear the real story behind the new Conjuring 3 movie!
In Episode 202, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger take a 40-mile ride across our solar system in New England's ultimate roadside oddity! Beginning at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the scale model of our solar system is the brain child of Professor Kevin McCartney, PhD, who rides along with the guys via phone to explain how the model went from idea to roadside reality. Starting at the Sun, Jeff and Ray travel beyond the speed of light past Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and all the way out to Pluto (it will always be a planet in our hearts).
14 min 38 sec
In Episode 201, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger go on a fishing expedition in the Olneyville section of Providence, Rhode Island. At an unremarkable intersection it once rained fish down from the sky back on May 15, 1900, but that wasn’t the only weird thing to make the headlines that day. Just across town, an explosion in a trolley car covered the occupants with a mysterious goo. May 15, 1900, may just be Providence’s weirdest day.
12 min 20 sec
In Episode 200, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger break format just this once to present an audio documentary exploring the movement that has become the New England Legends television series, podcast, smart phone app, calendar, Facebook group, and family of people sharing weird legends from all over the northeastern United States. You get to hear from those behind the scenes and from a bunch of our legend seekers who called in.
40 min 47 sec
In Episode 199, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger search for the lost village of North Pepperell, Massachusetts. Once a bustling center of commerce back in the early 1800s, all that’s left today are a few cellar holes and former foundations sinking into the woods. The reason the village disappeared is because of a witch’s curse placed on the town after the locals drove out a peculiar old woman by branding her face.
12 min 12 sec
In Episode 198, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger take a drive up Lakeside Avenue in Burlington, Vermont, searching for a train bridge built by a ghost. In June of 1900, Mary Blair was killed crossing the train tracks in front of the Queen City Cotton Mill. The event triggered a haunting that made the newspapers, with reports coming from inside the mill late at night, and out on the tracks where the accident occurred.
12 min 26 sec
In Episode 197, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger hike the Appalachian Trail up to Mt. Moosilauke near Benton in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, in search of three hikers who went missing in a ravine long ago, and an immortal mad doctor who abducts the unsuspecting to perform ungodly experiments.
14 min 34 sec
In Episode 196, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger check out the haunted Daniel Benton Homestead in Tolland, Connecticut. This three-centuries-old home has seen a lot of human activity, but it was a tragic event that took place in the winter of 1777 between two star-crossed lovers caught between a war and a deadly virus that still haunts us today.
14 min 42 sec
In Episode 195, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore Union, Maine, tracing the steps of Dr. Augustin Thompson, a local man who developed a nerve tonic in 1876 that would eventually launch a war that continues to this day. After moving to Lowell, Massachusetts, Dr. Thompson added a key ingredient that turned his medicine into a New England staple, and eventually introduced the world to a new word that’s synonymous with guts, spunk, grit, and determination.
13 min 8 sec
In Episode 194, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Union Street in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, to search for the long-lost location of a haunted farmhouse that made the newspapers back in 1887. Though it was reported to be haunted before a tragic event left a final scar, after a child was lost inside, the building rotted away to nothing except a spooky story almost lost to the ages.
12 min 40 sec
In Episode 193, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore the Boston Athenaeum in search of a rare book -- the 1837 memoirs and deathbed confession of thief and highwayman James Allen, alias George Walton (among others). Allen’s dying wish was to have one copy of the book bound in leather made from the skin of his own back. That one copy is embossed with the Latin: Hic Liber Waltonis Cute Compactus Est. - This book is bound in the skin of Walton.
21 min 42 sec
In Episode 192, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger dive into the legends of Lake Willoughby in Westmore, Vermont. From Devil’s Rock, to a giant serpent, to a mysteries underwater tunnel that may connect to another nearby lake, Willoughby is home to many strange legends. Devil’s Rock is still here, and we found newspaper articles related to the killing of the giant serpent, but could a descendant of that giant beast still be lurking in these cold waters?
11 min 54 sec
In Episode 191, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore the woods around the Notchland Inn in Hart’s Location, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, searching for the ghost of Nancy Barton. In the winter of 1788, Nancy left her boarding house in Jefferson, New Hampshire, to trek 30 miles through the snow to chase down her faithless lover who had stolen all of her money the previous morning. Not only are the nearby brook, pond, falls, and mountain named after her, but her ghost is still said to roam the area.
11 min 34 sec
In Episode 190, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger hike into the woods of Kent, Connecticut, in search of Molly Fisher Rock, a boulder with strange petroglyphs, with ties to an old folk healer from the late 1700s, and a possible connection to a cursed pirate treasure of Captain Kidd.
In Episode 189, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger visit a memorial off the side of the road in Alfred, Maine, that marks the site where America’s first elephant was gunned down in cold blood back in 1816. The elephant named Old Bet had toured throughout New England for eight years before a jealous farmer named Daniel Davis gunned her down as she approached the town of Alfred. Old Bet was part of one of America’s earliest circuses, and if not for the tiny memorial along Route 4, her legend may be lost forever.
12 min 16 sec
In Episode 188, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore the woods of Narragansett, Rhode Island, in search of a strange configuration of stone monuments locals call the Druid’s chair and Witch’s Altar. In the 1880s, these monuments and the house across the street were built by eccentric Spiritualist Joseph Peace Hazard. Though Hazard built these structures, he would tell you the design was dictated by spirits, but for what purpose? He never knew.
13 min 32 sec
In Episode 187, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Leominster, Massachusetts, in search of Joseph Palmer and Silas Lampson, two men who were persecuted and even jailed for wearing a beard in the 1830s. Though they were both devout Christians, they were attacked, mocked, and even accused of being in league with the devil, all for sporting facial hair. Though both men would live to see the times change, these non-conformists suffered due to the ugliest and most judgmental aspects to society.
13 min 59 sec
In Episode 186, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger lurk the streets of downtown Manchester, Vermont, searching for a demon vampire. In 1793, the body of Consumption victim Rachel Harris Burton was exhumed after three years in the ground. Her vital organs were cut from her chest and burned in a nearby forge. Those ashes were then fed to Isaac Burton’s second wife, Hulda, in an effort to break the vampire’s spell. When there’s a plague, monsters are never far behind.
13 min 25 sec
In Episode 185, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Deerfield, New Hampshire, in search of a 175-year-old mystery thundering from below ground. Between 1834 and 1846, a series of explosions emanating from below ground were reported in the southern part of town. The sounds were as loud as cannon fire, and the concussion could knock over a stone wall. The only problem is no source was ever found, and earthquakes don’t behave this way. The events made the local papers for years. Scared locals pleaded with the scientific community for answers, but none could be found. Some speculate it could be secret underground mines, trolls, or even an underground UFO base.
20 min 12 sec
In Episode 184, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger don their gym shorts and pump some iron in Voluntown, Connecticut, while they search for Elmer Bitgood: the strongest man in New England. Bitgood kept himself in the newspapers between 1909 and 1916 by performing various feats of strength, including lifting 2600 pounds in front of reporters! But when you make bold claims, others will come gunning for you. Enter Bartello the Great for a potential showdown.
13 min 46 sec
In Episode 183, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore the haunted Nordica Auditorium on the campus of the University of Maine, Farmington. Lillian Nordica was an opera singer from Farmington who rose to international fame in the 1880s. Unlucky at love, but adored by millions, she’s considered the first American Diva. They say her ghost can still be heard warming up in the auditorium named after her.
12 min 58 sec
In Episode 182, for Valentine’s Day, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger visit a Little Compton, Rhode Island, cemetery in search of the grave of Elizabeth, whose epitaph reads: Should have been the wife of Simeon Palmer. Elizabeth died in 1776. Was her epitaph an indication that she’s still pining for Simeon, the guy who got away? Or is there something else behind the strange message?
12 min 38 sec
In Episode 181, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger stroll down Charles Street in Newburyport, Massachusetts, searching for a haunted schoolhouse. Back in 1870, the schoolhouse ghosts kept this building in the newspapers for years to come, drawing in the curious and the skeptical. Much was published on the details of this on-going haunting that rattled the students and the poor teacher.
13 min 57 sec
In Episode 180, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger travel to the banks of the White River in Hartford, Vermont, searching for ghostly legends that dates back to 1887, when the Montreal Express train jumped the track just before bridge. The event led to a horrific loss of life, it changed the way the rail system operates, and left a stain on this region that can never be washed away.
13 min 47 sec
In Episode 179, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore the shores of Beaver Lake in Derry, New Hampshire, searching for the Derry Fairy. In the 1600s, Tsienneto, came to the lake and built shelter on an enchanted island in the middle. While hunting near the lake, he had a run-in with the local Pawtucket people. The capture lead to prophecy and legend with later ties to colonists and even (possibly) the United States space program.
10 min 41 sec
In Episode 178, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Peck’s Hollow in Franklin, Connecticut, in search of Micah Rood’s former farm and a cursed apple tree that dates back to an alleged murder from the early 1700s. For many decades, folks in eastern Connecticut had to wonder when they bit into a Mike apple if those red specs were just pigmentation, or drops of blood from a murdered French peddler.
12 min 10 sec
In Episode 177, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger explore the shores of Rockport Harbor in Maine, searching for the legend of a seal who stole the hearts of locals and tourists from 1961 to 1986. Andre the seal was adopted by Harry Goodridge when he was two days old, then became a local fixture. His story led to books, a statue, and even a Hollywood movie. But not everyone loved Andre.
11 min 49 sec
In Episode 176, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger return to the scene of a New Year’s Eve murder in Cranston, Rhode Island, in search of the events that lead to the haunting of the Governor Sprague Mansion. The accused man was hanged in 1845, but posthumously pardoned in 2011. So who done it? And who haunts the Sprague Mansion today?
12 min 55 sec
In Episode 175, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger stroll Boston Common to see this year’s Christmas tree. The tree is an annual gift from the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia – a gift that traces its roots back to a horrible tragedy that took place December 6, 1917, when a French ship carrying munitions exploded, instantly killing hundreds of people, and injuring thousands more. Out of this dark day came a bright light of hope when neighbors reached out to help neighbors.
13 min 30 sec
In Episode 174, Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger head to Jericho, Vermont, in search of snow. In 1885, Wilson Bentley figured out a way to attach his camera to a microscope and capture the first close-up photograph of a snowflake. In the coming years he would photograph thousands of images showing the intricate beauty of these ice crystals. His images would be published around the world and even hang in art galleries proving no two flakes are alike and earning Bentley the title: Snowflake Man.
12 min 2 sec