The Damned Story: The John York House has served as a family home, a tavern and an inn for over two and a half centuries. Apparently, it’s also been the primary residence for a spirit or two during that time as well, as tales of ghostly activity here go back to the 18th century.
Built in 1741 for — you guessed it! — John York, a businessman and farmer, the dwelling was originally inhabited by York and his family. When the Revolutionary War broke out, York’s house did double duty as a tavern, and that’s where the story of the eventual haunting begins.
According to the legend, one night during the war, two soldiers were enjoying the libations offered in the tavern, and as men are wont to do after a drink or two, started talking about women. In this case, however, it wasn’t too long before they realized that they both were keen for the same local girl — and proving that certain situations have not really changed all that much over the centuries, an alcohol-fueled brawl over the lass broke out.
Of course, you can’t have a good haunting without tragedy, and so the tale goes that, in the heat of the fight, one of the soldiers pulled out a knife and mortally wounded his comrade. Distraught over his actions, the soldier then ran off and committed suicide.
The alleged paranormal activity began immediately — the legend says that the murdered man’s blood could not be scrubbed off the floorboards, so they were torn up and flipped over. This apparently did not quell the dead man’s spirit, and thus began the odd phenomena: shadowy forms, inexplicable noises and random cold spots about the house. These kinds of activities allegedly continued as the decades and centuries passed.
None of these events were particularly significant until 1963, when Hugo and Miriam Wilms bought the John York House and moved in with their family. Noticing the ghostly events, Miriam attempted to get to the bottom of whatever was going on by holding seances. Unfortunately, this only seemed to exacerbate the situation, and the paranormal activity supposedly intensified — witnesses claimed that items flew off walls, loud footsteps and other noises were held, doors opened themselves and household items operated on their own.
After one of the Wilms’ sons reported being attacked, the call went out to Ed and Lorraine Warren, who came in and “identified” the spirit of a young Revolutionary War soldier. The Warrens worked to have the troubled spirits leave the house, and although there were reports they succeeded, the Wilms moved out in 1987 anyway.
The John York House sat empty for a while before a couple bought it in 1997 and ran it as a bed-and-breakfast. They claim that they never experienced anything out of the ordinary outside of the occasional odd voice, but did say that a few of their guests saw more unusual things from time to time.
Have the damned soldiers moved on, or are they still hanging around, fighting over that girl from long ago?
Our Damned Experience: Although we have fought amongst ourselves from time to time [*cough cough* Steve and Kate *cough*], we have yet to get the point where one of us has stabbed the other. Yet.
Likewise, we have yet to visit the John York House.
If You Go: The John York House is located at 1 Clarks Falls Road in North Stonington, which is at the junction of routes 49 and 216.
Up until recently it was a bed-and-breakfast, although that may not be the case any more — their website is no longer available and a phone call gets a “This number is no longer in service” message. If anyone has any additional information, we’d appreciate it!
Still, the yellow house is very close to the main road and quite visible. It is private property, so please be respectful.
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