The Damned Story: The three Colonial buildings that comprise the Wharf Lane complex of the Milford Historical Society — the Eells-Stow House, the Bryan-Downs House and the Clark-Stockade House — are a triple threat as paranormal activity has been reported at all three. Individually, none of the homes has a particularly dark past, or what might be considered an extraordinarily high level of reported unexplained phenomena, but when combined together, they make for an interesting trio.
Believed to be the oldest house in Milford, the Eells-Stow House still stands on the spot where it was erected in 1670 by Samuel Eells. (The other two houses were built in other parts of Milford then moved to Wharf Lane more recently.) Nothing much happened over the next century until it was inhabited by Captain Stephen Stow, who died heroically in 1777. The town doctor, he had volunteered to care for 200 soldiers who were infected by smallpox; ultimately, the disease claimed him as well as 46 of the unfortunate men. Capt. Stow’s efforts were truly selfless — four of his sons were already serving with the Colonial Army in its bid for American independence, so no one would begrudge him for feeling as if he had already done his fair share.
Some visitors to the Eells-Stow House have reported sensations of being watched; others have supposedly witnessed “inexplicable” events. EVPs have also been captured here.
The Bryan-Downs House was orginally built in 1785 on the Post Road, being dismantled and moved to its current location in 1977. The Bryan family (which through marriage became the Downs family) lived there for at least three generations, expanding and remodeling the original home. After the Downs family died off, the house was a rental property for a number of years before coming into possession of the Milford Historical Society. There were no noteworthy traumas or tragedies in the house’s existence that might explain the supposed paranormal activity taking place there.
Unexplained voices have been heard in the house; people claim to have sensed invisible entities monitoring their actions, with some even suggesting they were touched by the entities.
The Clark-Stockade House is recognized as the first house in Milford built outside the stockade fence that protected the colonists from attacks by Native Americans. The first version of the house was constructed in 1659 by Deacon George Clark; that structure was dismantled around 1780, with many of the pieces used in a new version — the one that stands today. It was moved to its present location in 1974. Like the Bryan-Downs house, no significantly unfortunate events has been recorded in Clark-Stockade House’s long history.
Again, witnesses have claimed to observe unusual activities in the Stockade House, including hearing the crying of non-existent babies.
With nearly one thousand years of history between the three houses, it’s not a surprise that there could be claims of unusual happenings here — even if two of the houses have been moved. I guess since spirits have no boundaries, traveling a few miles down the road is not much of a problem for them. And what else do they have to do anyway?
Our Damned Experience: We stopped by briefly on a sunny day in late September 2009 and snapped a few pics. We didn’t have any paranormal-type encounters, but then again, we weren’t there long enough for anything to really occur.
It also was the middle of the day, which never seems to be the right time to see anything spooky.
Our friend Don Carter (paranormal investigator and author of Connecticut’s Seaside Ghosts) and his team investigated the property in 2007 — they recorded a few EVPs as well as had a few firsthand experiences that could be categorized as paranormal. You can check out a gallery of infrared images from their visit at his site.
If You Go: The Milford Historical Society is located at 34 High Street, and is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The main parking lot is quite small, but there is other places around to park your car.