The Damned Story: One of the most renowned damned places in Connecticut is the abandoned—and allegedly cursed—village of Dudleytown.
But as with many “dark” places, Dudleytown wasn’t always like that.
Like much of Connecticut, settlers came to the area around what is now the quiet little town of Cornwall in the mid 18th century, and that includes the first Dudleys who came from England (via Guilford) to the Litchfield Hills in 1747. They helped create what became a thriving community, known then as Owlsbury, primarily fueled through the region’s growing iron industry. Homes were built, the land was farmed, iron was forged, the town grew and prospered, and all was well.
Or so it seemed.
Some attribute the demise of the town to multiple mundane factors—the depletion of the farmland, the decline of the area’s iron industry, the natural progression of younger Americans heading west to settle new lands, etc. Of course, there are others who simply believed the Dudley clan was cursed, as an inordinate number of Dudleys supposedly came to untimely ends, and that the curse extended to the village they helped found. Whatever the cause, Dudleys died off and the settlement’s population continued to dwindle until about the turn of the 20th century, when the last resident finally gave up and abandoned what was left of the town. The surrounding forest slowly swallowed up the homes and buildings, and today, the only remnants of what had been are a few crumbling foundations and empty cellars . . .
Oh, and the curse of the Dudleys.
The story goes that anyone who has tried to live in what had been Dudleytown has come into some terrible misfortune. Over the years, there has allegedly been everything from suicides to demonic possessions, and all the hysterical drama in between. The Warrens famously recorded a Halloween special from Dudleytown in the early 1970s, declaring it officially “demonically possessed,” which essentially opened the supernatural floodgates. Since then, it has been home to all sorts of alleged paranormal experiences, with visitors witnessing all manner of spirit and phantom as well as having unsettled feelings of dread and fear. As you might expect, the area has also drawn the attention of those enthralled with dark forces and demonic rituals, plus a healthy number of amateur ghost busters and teenagers simply searching for trouble. In short, it’s become a damnation destination.
Of course, much of the mythology around the “curse” of Dudleytown have been debunked (by a Dudley descendant, no less—the Rev. Gary P. Dudley), but why would anyone let that get in the way of a good spooky story? Quite simply, there are no curses, otherworldly events or dark tragedies in the actual history of the town.
Our Damned Experience: We have yet to visit Dudleytown as a group, but Kate visited back in the day—she didn’t have any unusual experiences of note, but did find a number of old foundations and a few odd bumps in the ground.
If You Go: You can’t. The remains of Dudleytown are on private property owned by the Dark Entry Forest Association who vigorously discourage all visitors. It is heavily patrolled by local and state police, who will not hesitate to arrest and prosecute any trespassers.