Author Archives: Kent Spottswood

Back from the wormhole

I’m sharing this from The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe for three reasons. First, this is why I laugh when someone cites quantum physics as justification for religion, hauntings, time travel or, you know, whatever they want. Second, after more than two years of neglect, it feels great to breathe life into this old blog again. And […]

Rune stone records Viking visit … in 1964

NORTH KINGSTOWN, Rhode Island — The fabled Narragansett Rune Stone, taken by some as proof of a Viking visit 600 to 1,000 years ago, is only 50 years old, according to the Providence man who claims he carved it. Only the runes, of course. The stone itself is ancient, just about whatever age you’d expect a six-ton, 7- by 5-foot chunk […]

Saving Bathsheba, Part 1

Since the earliest Neanderthal burials, our humanity has been defined by how we treat our dead. Today I submitted the following piece for inclusion in the March issue of the Burrillville Historical and Preservation Society newsletter. There is a lot more to this story. I have a feeling I’ll be working on it for a […]

A story teaser … and an epistemological teaser

BURRILLVILLE, Rhode Island — Last night I joined Norma Sutcliffe to speak about an alleged haunting in a remote Rhode Island town.  We filled the room at the old Sweeney School after the meeting of the Burrillville Historical and Preservation Society. Norma is an owner of the house that is supposedly haunted. Ever since the […]

This Is the End: The Death of the St. James Hotel, 1986

WOONSOCKET, Rhode Island — This hamlet on the Blackstone River, like other New England mill towns, once rattled around the clock with a populace hard at work and play. Huge buildings—factories, residences, hotels, recreational facilities—sprang up at the river’s edge and along the main streets. But by the 1970s most of the city’s industry had […]

The Curse of Dark Swamp, Part 1: Howard’s Hike

GLOCESTER, Rhode Island — Most swamps around here don’t have names. But in this old farm town, there’s one they call Dark Swamp. It’s official—you can see it in 12-point italic on the earliest U.S. Geological Survey maps. The name is appropriate. It’s dark there, especially when the leaves are fully grown and the water-bound trees […]

The shade of the Old North Bridge

CONCORD, Massachusetts — We don’t know his name. We don’t know what he looked like, where he was born, or what amused him. We can only guess what he thought about the tiny, backwater port of Boston, where he was stationed in the service of a king three thousand miles away. But we know a […]

Fine food and spirits, too

GLOCESTER, Rhode Island — The Tavern on Main in the village of Chepachet has been serving hearty Yankee meals and liquid hospitality off and on for 212 years. Last night they topped off our meal with a ghost hunt. They call it Paranormal Night. It’s a presentation of the tavern’s history and hauntings by Thomas D’Agostino and Arlene […]

The Hermit Cave

THOMPSON, Connecticut — East Thompson, snug in the northeastern corner of boxy Connecticut, is a miniature mecca of local lore. In 1789, the tiny village nearly assassinated the nation’s first president with its rough roads and rougher roadside fare. A century later, it was the scene of the worst railroad crash, measured by number of […]

Glocester’s mysterious Indian grave

Cool. How many blogs get to have their first entry dated February 29? GLOCESTER, Rhode Island — Out here in the boonies we’ve had record winters for snowfall the past two years. Last year we got way too much. This year we hardly got any. Last year we broke the official record for complaints about […]