Downs Road, Hamden

January, 2009 by Ray Bendici
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The Damned Story: On the woodsy west side of Hamden lies a road to nowhere . . . except trouble!

Like many suburban towns across this great state, Hamden claims a lonely ol' street that seemingly exists as a home to everything from ghosts and phantom creatures to inbred hicks and supernatural feelings of dread.

Behold Downs Road.

Originally a complete thoroughfare from Hamden to Bethany, the road has been closed at both ends, leaving an abandoned unpaved segment through woods. Along this stretch are a few old foundations and other remnants of past inhabitation. Over the years, many stories have sprung up about the area, including that of a Downs Road Monster, which may or may not have been an ornery albino horse, among other things.

Others who have visited Downs Road have claimed to seen apparitions of children and other spooky spirits, as well as to have been accosted by unknown creatures (think Melon Heads) who have clawed the outsides of parked cars or chased away wayward hikers. In short, it's supposedly not a welcoming place for outsiders, as those who do manage to stay for a while also report inexplicable feelings of doom and fear.

It also seems to be a place that draws many teenagers for partying and others looking for trouble, which only help to enhance the reputation of a place of weird goings-on.

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downs_roadOur Damned Experience: We briefly visited Downs Road in January 2009 at the beginning of a snow storm and didn't get too far along the trail before turning back. As it seems with many of the damned places around the state -- both Melon Head roads (Shelton and Trumbull), Little Genessee settlement, etc. -- the property is owned by the local water company. (Steve and I are building a theory on this -- get your tin foil hats ready!) Hmm . . .

Although we didn't stay long and didn't see much other than snow, we did have one sort of odd moment. While we were walking, a small tree near us suddenly shook violently as if bird or squirrel had launched itself off it. The weird part was that with no leaves on the trees around us, if there was any sort of animal around, we would've seen it instantly.

Other than that, we didn't see any odd Melon Head-like creatures, nor did we have any unusual feelings or experiences.

Maybe when we go back in good weather, it'll be more of a Down-er. [*groan*]

If You Go: There are two parts of Downs Road in Hamden -- if you're at the part with the YMCA Camp, you're at the wrong end. The side you're looking for ends in a cul de sac and has a gate across the entrance. As mentioned, the property is owned by the Regional Water Authority and can be hiked with a permit.

View Downs Rd in a larger map

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Comments

Submitted by Taryn (not verified) on
I live on Pheasant Lane, right near Downes Road (it is spelled two ways!), and I cannot say that I have seen anything suspicious despite my many hiking trips there; however, I am still a believer in these apparitions and monsters. I want all of the stories I hear to be true: it makes my living in the "boonies" interesting for a change. Also, when I do walk there at night and get hit with rocks that these creatures throw, I will make sure to post a video or a picture so everyone can see that the legends are NOT in fact concocted by unintelligent teens just looking for some fun.

Submitted by Matt (not verified) on
They're called Mongaloids not Melon-Headed creatures.

Matt- this is what we called them in North Haven growing up too, but they are more popular as melon heads south of new haven.

Submitted by Tre (not verified) on
I went to the Melon head house in Shelton. I was only about 12 but it was still extremely scary. I remember seeing claw marks on the trees & things that glistened in the moon light that looked like heads. Very fun.

Submitted by danielle (not verified) on
This might sound sort of far-fetched, but did anyone consider the possibility of aliens. It just came to me when i read the description of the so called " melon heads".

Submitted by kyle (not verified) on
i live in bethany, have been to downs road many times, including tonight (just left there). the mongaloid stories are all fakes, there is no downs road monster, just another made up tale. its a nice place to hike, its perfectly legal to walk down it. But its not haunted. we had a nice long talk with the guy who lives on the end of the road in bethany, the downs side, not the hamden downes. his name is mike and he gave us a good history lesson on the place. urban legends is all you will find on this road, trust me.

Submitted by Mark (not verified) on
The Hamden side had a house where the road began that had mongoloids living in it. the house has since been taken down but I frequented the house many times back around 2002-2003... I saw a woman screaming out of the top window to get off the property-she was not normal looking.. I have been in the house and on the lawn (which looked like a radioactive zone- weeds everywhere growning through rusted toys, cars, manicans, etc.) Literally like a scene from the move 'The hills have eyes'. I also had one of the scariest things in my life happen to me at that house- something ill never forget, and 3 other people with me witnessed it.. SO UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN IT DONT OPEN YOUR MOUTH!! IT WAS THE HAMDEN SIDE< NOT BETHANY!!!!

Submitted by Padt (not verified) on
I nearly got stranded off of Downes Road about four years ago. I went to see what the hoopla was about with the guitarist for the band The Lifted and his girlfriend. I don't know what exactly we were looking for but I did find the new stop signs at the "intersection of Nowhere and Nonexistant" very strange. The thing that concerned me most was that one of the high falutin types living in one of the McMansions nearby would call the heat on account of us snooping around in the wee hours. I really wanted to see the Upright Walking Dog in the Robe with a Staff or whatever mystical creature who wnated to appear that early, early morning, but unfortunately I saw nothing unusual except for the stop signs and big obstructive dirt piles, etc. Guitar Man blew out a tire in a pothole. I said "well, let's get out the spare". Guitar Man replied "that was the spare" AAA came and thankfully the driver bent the rules and allowed 3 of us in the cab w/him. Otherwise, since I drew shortest straw I would have had to walk a few miles to civilization and MAYBE call for a ride from someone at 4AM on a Sunday morning. That would have been the scariest.

Submitted by Mako Ruu (not verified) on
@ Kyle &amp; Ray My Mom used to live in Bethany and New Haven and all that where this area is before I was born. She was about 15 or 16 at the time, so this was about thirty five years ago. But my Mother and some of her friends had decided to go down there for whatever reason, and it was late at night, and they pulled over to have a sit down with some food and drinks in the middle of the woods. - I guess teens did that before they invented Internet and video games, or whatever. Anyways, the longer the short, My Mother walks off to fill the needs of the body, and while she's having a break from the others she hears something loud starting to walk toward her from behind. She calls out "Okay guys, it's not funny." Cause obviously any fifteen year old girl doesn't want to be pranked when she's in the middle of having a piddle. Regardless, the sound continues to come closer and closer, and all the while she's pleading with it, thinking it her friends until finally she gets up and starts walking back up the hill toward where her friends are. - And as she does, the crunching gets closer and louder, and faster. My Mom turns around to finally yell, and she see's a massive creature standing in front her about fifteen feet away. She can't recall the story to this day without coming to tears, or getting eerie goosebumps and shaking. She claims that it was a Big Foot, but it was something. I came across this website completely by happenstance watching videos on Youtube about the "Hyote" spotted around Maryland. And something triggered in my brain to look for Big Foot reports coming out of Connecticut, and here to find that there's a Downs Road Creature with its own legends and sightings. At your request, I'll make a video of my Mother retelling her tale and post it for you on my Youtube channel.

Hello Mako, A video would be wonderful if she is game. We would post if on the website Steve-

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on
I live on North Woods Road, which is right off of Downes Road in Hamden. I go running on this section of the road all the time. It is not at all creepy and all of these stories are urban legends - although they are fun to talk about. I have also heard that they are called mongoloids and not melon heads. Mongoloid is a very derogatory term for people with Down's Syndrome, so the stories probably come from making fun of the name of the road. I would be a little creeped out to go there at night though!

Submitted by Rick (not verified) on
Spent many a night up there as a teenager....Hamden cops never came that far out to patrol and only Frank Stopkowski lived there. We knew him well during the day but at night things would change. He was a hard working mason by day who liked to hit the sauce at night. He would sometimes come out the back door firing his shotgun at the noises he heard, which was just us hanging out in the area of that new development. Frank was the one who made Downes road spooky. He is now gone, but his house is still there. RIP Frank, you were a good man......

Submitted by Maui (not verified) on
I know from my friend that he has come in counter with these "melon heads". He was in East Haven, however, and he was about 10 then (11 years ago) They had their headlights off, his sister and father alongside in the car, and was driving on a road that was in the woods. They didn't expect what would come next. A "melon head" (this is a very rude word to use for these people, I feel wrong using it) had come out from the front of them only to hit their car and smash their windows. Eventually, others had come around to do this work, and it scared my friend and his sister. He doesn't remember the street, but I asked my mother about these mongaloids, and they're right here in North Haven. They used to live on Mansion Road, but they were kicked out of the state. They lived in one big house and barely came out. My mother also shared that she once was in Shelton and with her sister, she went to a mongaloid house. She was freaked out and ran back to the car. They definitely still can be around, just like there are still squatters in North Haven. They're most common here and Ohio and other states. Personally, I'm really afraid of people with this condition... but that's because I'm scared of so many things! As another note, my friend's friend and 3 other friends went down Mansion Road to see them. They were there around 2006-2008 era. Don't know if they're still there now...

Submitted by Maui (not verified) on
What pictures, Griffin? And I haven't been to Downes Road, but I go to Blue Hills Road, a street right off of Mansion Road, and it's strange there too. All of the back grounds on Mansion Road look like legitimate Michael Myers location sets. They're very narrow roads and it's scary to see them as I drive by at night going to a friend's every week. There's been 3 occassions where I've seen weird and strange things on that road. I've seen movement, not by deer or forest animals, but something else crouching down to the ground, then another time where there were 2 dead deer beside each other as I passed. The last time was when I saw a fort made with sticks- though that could just be some kids. A new house is being built on that road.

Submitted by griffin (not verified) on
Pictures of the logs with the writing on it

Submitted by griffin (not verified) on
Me and my friends have venture through this part of downes rd and further in the mountain side of this road there is a old beat up car. From.what ive been told this car belonged to a couple who was over here one night and were attackd by these "creatures" the boy was found Hung above his car and the girl was missing. Also me and my friends made a little fort back here and we came back months later only to find logs saying "hi we are watching" I have pictures of the log!

Submitted by Maui (not verified) on
An update: There's a house on Mansion Road in North Haven that's blue and brown and is very large. My boyfriend knows some of the people that live there. This is a house that holds about 12-14 people, and my boyfriend has seen some of the rooms before. The people that he only sees there are an old man, a wife-looking woman, a younger woman, and every so often a young teen boy. They all are seen to be "regular" or "normal", and nothing is mutated about them. However, they don't show the full family ever to anyone and they take separate cars out at separate times. I know for a fact that they are somewhat interbred because there is a pair or two there with children that are blood related. I never see the children, though. I've visited a couple of times making stupid excuses to visit, and most the time, they're ok with it, but don't want anyone to enter the house. My friend that used to see the "melon heads" has a father that built the house they live in, and all he can tell me is that it was a weird set up and has 6 bathrooms, 8 bedrooms, and a lot of space. He said he vaguely knew the owner but thought he was nice. Originally it was a family of 4, but people started to move in, it seems. So, I don't think they're "melon heads", though I do know for a fact some of the children are interbred and there is a lot of incest.

Submitted by Matt M. (not verified) on
Ok almost every day I visit my friends who lives on north woods road and thats right next to downs roard so what im getting at is that I have to go on that street to get to my friends houses. Nothing strange has ever happend when i walk there. But one thing i can say is it gets creppy as hell. One time is when me and my friend walked to "mongaloids trail" the path to get there is abbanded, dark (because of the woods), and most of all scary that is if your a kid like me. Thats not all though the trail it's self is like a horror movie. What I mean is that even though it was summer with like animals and all that, I keept hearing some trees move that where like some ones behind it. So my advice is dont go on the path if you scare easily and always stay on the street next to it if its dark out!!!

Submitted by Jack (not verified) on
First hand account.. After visiting this old house, which has since been demolished, I had 2 encounters with strange looking people and unexplained activity.. This house was something straight out of a horror film.. "Hills have eyes." I am convinced incestual people inhabited this old house, as I once saw a small, grimy, ugly, retarded looking man leaning out the top window screaming for my freinds and I to exit his property.. A seperate occasion, a freind of mine had the back, passenger side window smashed out unexplainably. The yard was filled with old toys and manicans, and within the house (which I entered as a dare) was decorated with grabby old curtains, aged hardwood floors and furniture, and smelled of moth balls and cat piss.. This is no joke.. First hand account. I would have never taken the time to post had these stories not been true.. These types of things happen in old deserted, hick towns.. Not in Hamden.. Thank you god this house has since been destroyed, and that twisted, inbred gene pool is hopefully now a shit stain in the history books.

Submitted by Mark (not verified) on
I EXPLAINED IT EXACCTLY AS YOU DID! AND WAS IN THE CAR! I WONT MENTION LAST NAMES BUT THE 4 PEOPLE IN THE CAR THAT DAY WERE KATE, MIKE, TIM AND MYSELF. YOU KNOW 1 OF THOSE PEOPLE?>>

hey maui is your sisters name caui? thats crazy cause i know you lol how are you doing?!?

Submitted by Sparks (not verified) on
I have lived on this road my entire life when there was no pheasant lane, north woods, or nature trail. You guys have no idea what happened here before all the developments went up. Don't talk about this if you don't know your facts. Downes Road is haunted. It's a road none of you know anything about. All the ones who think it's not haunted...well maybe you hike up there in the middle of the day..obviously its a lot less scary when you can see 100 yards down the road. Venture out at night with just your flashlight and let me know if you think Downes Road is haunted or not. Its amazing being one of 6 other people who actually knows what history this road has. Nobody knows this neighborhood better then me and the other 6.

Submitted by Dan (not verified) on
I have lived on Downs road for the last 25 years. I live on the real spooky part &amp; enjoy walking at night with the flashlight turned off. We have heard the "screech" and we have seen the shaking trees &amp; moving bushes. The "screech" is normally associated with a bobcat and the sound is kind of scary even when you are armed. One time I walked up on a fox at night &amp; he scared the heck out of me. On several occasions, we have heard large "animals" walking toward us when we are ourselves were being quiet in the woods. One time a coyote dragged a live fawn right in front of me while the mother deer ran to the other side of me. This is all normal when you live in the forest (especially a forest where the cities are encroaching from all directions. Downs road in Bethany is mostly water company property and it is where ALL the animals strive to be located. I even saw a pileated woodpecker earlier this year. (That is the Woody Woodpecker bird with the crested head that can stand 20 inches tall). I think it was four years ago when we had a long-tail cat feeding on Downs road. It ended up being not one but TWO mountain lions which we determined when we heard them communicating at night. They killed a full size deer one night on the south of my house &amp; the next day we found a large male turkey slaughtered to the west of our house. I attribute all these things to wildlife but keep the spooky stories coming. BTW, we always have weapons handy if any critters get out-of-line.

Submitted by Dan (not verified) on
Hello Sparks, Glad to hear that you have lived on Downs Road all your life. We are apparently neighbors. My house is the blue-color 1-floor ranch on the west side of Downs Road (I drive the Crown Vic cop car). Please wave &amp; say hello if you are ever walking by. Do you remember Felix who lived on the corner (at the new stop sign to nowhere)? He was upset when they painted the yellow line in the middle of Downs road. Felix was on Downs Road for a long time. My best friend on Downs Road was Walter Anderson who was married to Isabel Downs but they are both deceased now. Isabel used to talk about spooky things on Downs Road but that is all hearsay today. I suspect the earliest white person on Downs road was Samuel Downs when he settled in 1717. He was located at the intersection of Carmel Rd where we have our only Downs Road street light. One of Samuel's relations (Scott Downs) still lives on the road. I was going to take Scott to the sportsman's fair at Blue Trail Range but it didn't happen this year.

Submitted by Luke (not verified) on
I live in Bethany for 7 years. I have seen the old foundations while hiking around the area. But I have never felt or seen anything supernatural. The onlythings we see on this road are deer, turkey,squirrels , and occasionally coyotes. It's a very nice road. It would be pretty cool though if Downs Road was haunted.

Submitted by Robin (not verified) on
I lived up that way for 19 yrs and there is something mystical up there! I am related to the Warner's an old Hamden family and the land we had built our last home on was in our family for 7 generations! Indian folklore very prevalent in the area! I know my grandfather God rest his soul had pointed out several burial mounds in the area, and if these get disturbed there can be repercussions! Also I know of a barn had been set on fire and 2 of the children who were smoking died because they were afraid of the trouble they would have been in! Also 2 suicides and a body was found in area! Getting back to the Indians they would winter in the hills we found many quartz arrowheads and old oyster shells when farming! They would come up after a good rain. My husband found an old trunk on the side of the road and could not resist it is rounded at the top which I found out the wealthier travelers would pay extra to round them so when they were stacked in transit the steamers with the round tops would be on top! Well the picture inside was a beautiful young girl 1800s with pin curls well did we have activity after that! I will not bring it in my new home it is safe in a barn. Thanks all!

Submitted by Darien n melanie (not verified) on
Ok so me and my friend live on north woods which is right next to downs rd. We always go back there and take the trail to get to my house after walks. Personally over the years I've never noticed anything thats soooo suspicious maybe a few noises but that's it. I know what everyone says but it's not totally true. I've been there at night and it's not that bad.

Submitted by marie (not verified) on
you want to do a story about something haunted in that area take a look at the doolittle family plot. I would swear it's haunted. I live on west woods rd and when we were kids we used to get scared silly cause the place looks illuminated at night all by itself.

Submitted by Colleen Redmond (not verified) on
Hi ... Maybe you all live there , and maybe it's not haunted,but it sure is where they looked for bodies back in the 70's when we had a bunch of young women that went missing, including Dawn Cave. My friend Gabriell took a swim out there at night in the swimming hole, broke her neck and died, That is the truth, and I have never been back. believe what you want...the road is CLOSED for some reason ....right?

Submitted by Colleen Redmond (not verified) on
I live down the street from Mansion Road ,, thats a bunch of crap ...it's mostly farmland

Submitted by Dan (not verified) on
Hello Colleen, I'm not familiar with the "swimming hole" or "Mansion Road" or "farm land" you mention in your two posts. This thread is about Downs Road which conects Hamden, Bethany, and Woodbridge.

Submitted by Ken (not verified) on
I grew up in Bethany and still own property there. I have been to Downs road many times and have nothing to report.... I do remember reading an actual article, which I am trying my hardest to locate on line. It was the actual story of what occurred on Speary / Downs road when Bethany was first inhabited. It was the story of a murder that took place along a great length of the road. Mental Illness was not unknown back then and someone went on a killing spree from house to house until he was cornered in the woods and pinned to a tree with a pitch fork. This is the all my fuzzy memory has left. The New Haven Register is who I believe published the story.

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