The Yankee Pedlar Inn, Torrington

January, 2012 by Ray Bendici
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Images by Ray Bendici

The Damned Story: Like so many venerable, old structures across the state, The Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington has its fair share of stories. Unlike some others, however, it's believed to also have its share of ghost stories.

Of course, that really shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. The historic inn has been in operation for over century, and in that time, has seen thousands of visitors come and go, and with them, dozens of tales of curious shadows seen around corners and troubling bumps heard in the night.

For a detailed history of the inn, visit The Yankee Pedlar Inn's website.

For those who are averse to clicking on links, here's the abridged version: In November 1890, an Irish immigrant by the name of Frank Conley and his wife Alice bought the lot on the corner of Main and Maiden in downtown Torrington with the dream of building the finest hotel in the state of Connecticut. Over the next eight months they set about constructing their vision, pouring $40,000 into fashioning a Victorian showplace that featured marble floors, antique oak furniture, two spacious dining rooms and 52 guest rooms, each of which included hot water. The Conley Inn opened in July 1891, and as the proprietors had hoped, it soon became one of the finest and most successful destinations in the region, and remained so until the couple passed away in 1910. The Conleys' niece sold it two years later, when it was expanded; it then passed through various owners over the next few decades, continuing to operate as a hotel. In 1940, the Yankee Pedlar restaurant and bar was added, and in 1956, the entire operation was renamed The Yankee Pedlar Inn. The hotel continued its musical chairs of owners until the music stopped in 1997, when Anil and Dee Patel took possession. The Patels still run it today.

Have a seat ... or not.

Over the decades, there have been various stories about mysterious figures and random odd voices pestering guests. One popular story is that the spirit of founder Alice Conley—rumored to have died in Room 353—still roams the halls of her dream hotel, checking on guests to make sure that their stays are pleasant. Apparitions and strange smells have been reported in Room 353, and Alice's favorite rocking chair in the hotel lobby has also been witnessed to rock on its own. (A sign dissuades guests from making themselves comfortable on it.)

Room 295 has also reportedly been a location with unusual activity; guests here has claimed to have experienced weird smells, felt invisible forces get into bed with them and seen the spirit of a woman. The ghost of a grey-haired gentleman in a black suit—believed to be Frank Conley—has been supposedly been seen in the inn's pub, using the old phone there.

Other paranormal-type events have been reported, including room lights going on and off of their own accord and doors opening and closing without any help. Employees and guests have also told of being pushed or tugged by invisible forces, while others have reported experiencing unusually heightened emotions and disturbing dreams.

Although there have invariably been various incidents in the hotel over the decades, no significant tragedies have been reported as having happened there.

Various groups have investigated the inn, including the Northwest Connecticut Paranormal Society, who captured a spirit orb photo in addition to having a few other weird experiences.

In 2008, horror film director Ti West stayed at the inn while filming The House of the Devil. After talking to the hotel's staff and hearing some of the ghost stories, he was inspired to make a movie revolving around the hotel and thus came The Innkeepers, a horror film released in February 2012.

From The Innkeepers website:

After over one hundred years of service, The Yankee Pedlar Inn is shutting its doors for good. The last remaining employees -Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) - are determined to uncover proof of what many believe to be one of New England's most haunted hotels. As the Inn’s final days draw near, odd guests check in as the pair of minimum wage “ghost hunters” begin to experience strange and alarming events that may ultimately cause them to be mere footnotes in the hotel’s long unexplained history.

In addition to using the inn's actual name in the film, the lines between reality and fiction are also further confused as the production company has set up a clever viral site pretending to be a paranormal investigation portal chronicling the inn's supposed bloody history.

Art imitating life imitating art imitating ghosts ... I think.

Our Damned Experience: We stopped in at The Yankee Pedlar in January 2012 and got the pictures you see here.

The clerk at the counter was very friendly and told us we were welcome to explore the hotel. We wandered around, taking photos as politely as we could without intruding upon any guest's stay.

Infamous room 353 was occupied, so we couldn't check it out. We tried to take a few photos of the door, but maybe because it's at the end of a dark hall and we didn't want to disturb anyone so we didn't use our flashes, we couldn't get a decent shot of it.

We didn't experience anything unusual during our visit, but we were only there for an hour or so, and during the day. The place has plenty of ... "atmosphere," as Kate put it—creaky floors, worn carpets, chipped woodwork, etc. We wouldn't have been surprised if we turned a corner and saw twin girls at the end of a hall, a la The Shining.

Still, the inn is full of "Old World charm," as they say. We didn't get to stay the night this trip, but maybe another time. Certainly worth a visit.

If You Go: Unlike the premise in the movie, the The Yankee Pedlar Inn is not closing and is open to the public. Guests can stay in any of the 60 rooms, but as with any hotel, reservations are required (866.484.8247). Rooms start at $59/night + taxes.

Visitors can also dine year-round at Bogey's Restaurant & Pub, which "serves delicious New England comfort food in a cozy atmosphere."

The inn is located at 93 Main Street in downtown Torrington.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Click on any image to enlarge.

 

Comments

Submitted by Just me (not verified) on

Is this just marketing to get business?

Submitted by TTown (not verified) on

I am from Torrington, and I have to say that I never even heard it may be haunted before the movie was about to be released. I stayed two nights there in 2004, and the only thing that scared me was the mold (Anyone remember when we were all scared of the hotel on East Main near Friendlys? Some lady was stabbed in there in the 80s I believe and it was said to be haunted). HOWEVER, right across the street of the parking lot of the Yankee Pedlar (on Maiden Lane, not Main St.) is an apartment complex (used to be "Maiden West" not sure if it still is). This is the most haunted, or even possessed place I have ever been to. If you look directly over the garage door, that is the apartment I stayed in for a few months with a friend. The back story, which I couldn't find any info. on, is that it used to be an auto garage and workers were getting crushed in the circular portion of the floor that lifted and turned to move cars because it is such a tight space. At one point we were the only occupants, yet around 3AM we would hear people running up and down the halls. Looking through the peephole, it was empty, as well as the fact that you can't even get into the garage without the garage door opener. The bathroom was insane. It sounded like a war was going on in there. You open up the door and bottles of shampoo are flying everywhere, then stand up perfectly next to each other against the wall on the floor. Whispering, growling, laughing, electrical problems, you name it. Constantly yelling at the roomate to get out of the bathroom because they were taking too long, and you could clearly hear them bustling in there. Finally open the door and no one was there. Etc, etc... Check that out if you can.

Submitted by Brooke (not verified) on

I work at the Pedlar, and we recently had Entities Inc. come do a reading in the hotel for nat geo. They have found a lot of evidence to support the haunting of the Inn

Submitted by barbara berg (not verified) on

My husband and I got married there on the 29 of feb. It was the most amazing thing ever. But let me tell you, u can feel a presence. Room 353 was locked when I went exploring 10 mins later when I showed my husband the room the door was open we walked in to check it out and I got chills. The day of our wedding I was walking around and everytime I felt a chill I invited whoever to join the fun, better to have them there having fun then to ruin it. A few days later my mother inlaw was showingme pictures she took while my husband was dancing with his gram, there was a huge white orb in like 7 of the pictures, one was faded and off to the side like who ever it was was walking out of view. It was awesome. I can't wait to go for a night. The place is magical and beautiful.

Submitted by Amanda Pimenta (not verified) on

Nossa, muito legal poder ficar por dentro de assuntos desse tipo. Eu me interesso muito por pesquisar ou interagir com grupos de pessoas por coisas paranormais. Sempre tento ter algum tipo de conecção nesse assunto. Isso é muito incrivel!!!

Submitted by Dylan M (not verified) on

im from Torrington too, and when i stayed there before we moved in i was only six, but my mom told me the stories that happened to me there. my mother said that i was talking in the middle of the night into a mirror, saying "this old lady wont let me go to bed" and other things. one night i guess i wanted to take a bath, but there was not baths, only showers, that same night while walking down the hall, a door behind us opened, and the only thing in the room was a tub. believe it or not, it is haunted, but i think by nice spirits, not evil ones that are made up

Submitted by dee (not verified) on

we stayed there in october. my son was in the room by himself and the wicker mirror that was on the wall in the bathroom fell. we were both very aware that the place is haunted. it's a great old hotel. very charming.

Submitted by christina (not verified) on

I look forward to staying there,not for the fact that its haunted..but rich in history,and I feel Drawn there naturally I would..thats how it always seems to happen. The movie btw the innkeepers...awful and ad it wad playing i left the room and when to read about the story of the hotel. Would you like to knpw ehat my mediumship says...relax..enjoy what they wanted you to enjoy the beautiful comforts of the grandest places that they worked hard to offer its guests.. and there are four theres also a woman who died on a corner lot near there. Not much more i can offer..just enjoy the stay il sure the owners of this place now work as hard to ensute this is ket like the owners that roam the hall in spirit..cheers..i think im up for a scenic night drive and a romntic.outing with my love..we are due.

Submitted by christina (not verified) on

Please excuse my typo's typing on this phone is a nightmare..

Submitted by Tony w and othe... (not verified) on

we from new york city,stay two night here,we come to ski next town,i didnt know this hotel is haunted hotel!! i ask the hotel when i check out!! Why?becourse something came up!?The first night have something Paranormal happen?!when i and my girl friend go to sleep,i keep my bathroom lights on,around like 3am,i feel my bad shock it!i think maybe is my girl friend shock it?!but 1 min later my bad keep shock it again!so i open my eye,the fxxking bathroom lights is off?not my gf turn off the lights,she go to bathroom i was know it!?and then,of course im not go to check it!!and next morning i ask her:did u go bathroom last night?she said no!! im not tell her what happen,if she know,she will check out right now!!but i tell my friend whats going on,he tell me last night he have a dream?the dream he talk to one old lady?!the lady ask him:how long u guy to stay?OMG...!!this is happen!!untill now me and my friend not to tell girl friend whats going on!!but....i feel.............COOL,i ask my friend,do u still want stay this hotel next time??Haha.......im Crazy.

Submitted by Crystal (not verified) on

I worked at the Yankee Pedlar Inn back in '99. I was 18 years old. I went so far as to go into the attic of the Pedlar and down to the basement and Ive also explored the pub after hours listening for sounds or anything creepy. The only thing creepy about it was the elevator that more often then not, didn't work. Its not haunted. No way. Thats bologna.

Submitted by Rick (not verified) on

The Yankee pedlar inn has a definite presence. Do not stay in room 353 alone.

Submitted by Crystal (not verified) on

I spent a lot of time in all the rooms, alone, including 353. There is no presence. Its bologna.

Submitted by Jay (not verified) on

Hi wife and son stayed in adjoining rooms several months ago. Some strange things did happen, i.e. noises in the middle of the night from the next room that wasn't occupied, stuck door that wasn't stuck before. They stay in room 353. My wife and 18 year old son didn't know of the hotels past when they stayed. My wife called and told me they had a rough nights sleep. While she was telling me I looked up the hotel on-line. I jokingly asked if they stayed in Room 353? She thought I somehow knew, that my son may have told me, which he didn't. When I told her the things I had read, she said, "Doesn't surprise me. There was something going on". I find the whole thing interesting.

Submitted by boss (not verified) on

My girl and I stayed here a little over a year ago. Right after we checked in our room -- I don't remember the room number -- I went out to the car to get a few more things and she got locked in the bathroom. The door handle wouldn't catch, just turned and turned. I took my time, not knowing this, and she was stuck in the bathroom for 10 or 15 minutes, where she heard moaning sounds coming from the toilet. Could have just been a faulty, old door handle and a hotel guest who'd had a few too many in the room next door, but hey, what fun is that?

Submitted by PM (not verified) on

More hype for “marketing” (a way to harness the hungry believers)… LOL
Nevertheless, all this ghost stuff has gotten very out of hand! Too many ghost hunter shows. These devices (e.g., EMF) that supposedly pick up noises and images well, if you’re scanning a wall that has electrical wiring or cable connectors you will have to pick up some disturbance (e.g., energy from “manmade materials”).

At any rate, these stories, sites, and sittings have always intrigued me as well humor me :)

My Best to the Damned CT authors.

Happy Halloween!!!
~PM

Saw Innkeepers, scared to pieces, creepy. Now, information about death of owner. Wow. No thanks. I believe that over the alleged jilted bride Madeline. Both make me cringe.

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