Connecticut Curiousities

From the front, it looks like any grand home in Hartford, but from the side, well, The Austin House is not quite what it seems.
The Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry is a unique place, home to one of the leading puppetry schools in the world as well as dozens of antique puppets and marionettes, making it just a little bit creepy, too.
Home to such curiosities as the Feejee mermaid and the 4,000-year-old mummy Pa-Ib, the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport is dedicated to the colorful history of the King of the Humbugs.
Boothe Park proves the old adage, "If you have time, money, space, some significant eccentricities and the inclination to build stuff, then you too can create a bizarre memorial to yourself that will last for generations!"
Center Church in New Haven is a little different from your normal centuries-old place of worship as it was built over a cemetery -- not on, but over, as the original tombstones and graves sit as they have for 300 years in a crypt beneath the raised-up building.
According to local history, notorious pirate Captain William Kidd visited Milford during his final voyage in 1699, a stop along the way to Boston (where he would be subsequently arrested and imprisoned before being returned to England for trial and execution). Although he actually buried treasure at Gardiners Island just off of Long Island, it's always been believed that he also hid a portion of his fortune on Charles Island, possibly beneath a giant boulder known as Hog Rock. And of course, being a good pirate, he cursed anyone who would go looking for his treasure.
Sure, you can get your car washed in any number of fine establishments, but how many of them have a dinosaur ripping through the roof?
The latest edition of Connecticut Curiosities is out, and it has a very strong connection to Damned Connecticut this time around.
We may take it for granted, but a state park solely dedicated to the fossilized footprints from creatures that lived over 180 million years ago is sort of an unusual attraction. Plus, everyone loves dinosaurs!
One of the most renowned damned places in Connecticut is the abandoned—and allegedly cursed—village of Dudleytown. Over the years, there has allegedly been everything from suicides to demonic possessions, ghostly spirits to dreadful feelings, and all the hysterical drama in between. In short, it has become the Connecticut damnation destination.
Rarely does a location steeped in wealth, affluence and luxury seem capable of bringing doom and woe to those who live there, but such is the case of Dunnellen Hall.
The Damned Story: Sitting proudly along the eastbound lane of Route 66 in the area of the Hebron-Marlborough border is Eagle Rock, a painted and patriotic landmark that has been watching over cars cruising up and down the road since 1989.
Gardner Lake in Salem is known for many things -- its natural beauty . . . its excellent fishing . . . an entire house sitting on its murky bottom . . . and of course, its mysterious piano music that seemingly rises from the depths.
It hardly occurs to most Connecticut residents that having a medieval-style castle looming high over a placid New England river valley is anything out of the ordinary. But trust us, Gillette Castle is far from your ordinary Connecticut domicile.
In Groton, there exists an unusual complex that has been dated back to nearly 2,000 B.C., with stone chambers and mysterious formations. Behold: Gungywamp! We finally visit Gungywamp for ourselves to get the story. With lots of pictures, too!
When she was alive, Hannah Cranna was known as "The Wicked Witch of Monroe," a reputation that continues to follow her over 150 years after her death.
We've all seen it while driving along either Route 8 or I-84 through Waterbury: the huge crucifix high atop Pine Hill. Many already know about it, but the 50-foot high cross marks the spot that was once Holy Land USA. UPDATE: We make the pilgrimage to Holy Land and return bearing numerous photos.
One of the first museums in North America, Joseph Steward's Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities is testament to the fact that even over 200 years ago, people loved the damned!
Little People's Village in Middlebury is a complex of crumbling doll-sized houses that's rumored to be the legacy of a crazy woman who thought she was "Queen of the Little People." As with any good legend, "the story" and "the truth" are two quite different things.
Since the United States seems to be lacking in destinations for religious pilgrimages, in 1958 the Montford Missionaries decided to construct a replica of one of the most-visited sites on the planet, right in the Litchfield Hills. Why? Well, as someone famously sang -- you gotta have faith.
From what scant historical accounts there are, Mary Hart led an unremarkable life. It was, however, her alleged unusual death -- and what happened afterward -- that has made her story memorable.
One man's joy is another man's nuisance. And nowhere is that more evident than in the case of the monk (or Quaker) parakeets that now inhabit a number of towns along the Connecticut coast.
The first prison (as well as the first copper mine) in U.S. history has seen its fair share of heartache and tragedy -- and also stories of ghost sightings and other paranormal activity.
Yale University boasts one of the most exclusive and enigmatic groups in the world, one that dates back approximately 175 years and features numerous U.S. presidents, senators and governors as well as some of the world’s powerful elite among its members.
One of the most popular hiking destinations in Connecticut, the story of Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden includes Native American legends, dead bodies and, in our case, a sea of poison ivy!
Animal lovers, beware! Over the years, people have told of encounters with a small, vaguely spaniel-like, short-haired black dog. Often, it is described as having come out of nowhere, and despite its sad eyes, being quite happy to have human companionship. Like any good phantom, it leaves no footprints and makes no sound when it barks or howls, yet it leaves quite an impression. For it is said of the Black Dog: "If a man shall meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; and if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time, he shall die."
When it comes to eccentric Connecticut vagabonds, none is more renowned than the curious case of the Old Leather Man. But the mystery of the dapper Darn Man of eastern Connecticut is just as compelling.
In the beautiful countryside of New Canaan sits an unusual structure, a unique residence designed (and inhabited) by famed architect and designer Philip Johnson.
Everyone is going green -- including Jesus, whose likeness allegedly graces a sycamore tree in New Haven's Wooster Square Park.