With workers and visitors alike reporting ghostly apparitions, mysterious dark figures, strange smells and hearing odd noises and voices, it is no wonder that the Yankee Pedlar Inn is one of the most notably haunted places in Torrington, Connecticut.
But there is one house in town that may give it a run for its money.
Just a few miles west of the Yankee Pedlar Inn is a 1512 square foot single family home that was built in 1900. Known here only as the Guilford house, the following account is from a male member of the family who lived there in the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s.
The year was 1976 and the George family, consisting of a man and woman in their 30’s, and four kids, whose ages ranged from infant to 12, was at the house finishing up some last minute details with the previous owners.
“When we moved into the house, I was about ten years old. I remember the first day we were in the house. The previous owners were going over some final paperwork with my parents, while I ventured upstairs to see my new room,” said Theodore.
From the house’s living room, an excited Theodore quickly made his way up two sets of stairs, arriving at a hallway that led to the family bedrooms. Facing east, Theodore walked down the short hallway to the biggest room. Just kitty corner to the master bedroom, facing south, was a smaller room.
“I knew the big room wasn’t going to be mine, nor the yellow room next to it. The colors seemed too girly. I figured that was going to be my sisters’ room.”
Directly across the hallway from the yellow room was a door with an old-time looking white knob on it. Theodore headed over to it and put his hand on the door handle.
“I jiggled the white knob a couple times to see if the door was locked when all of a sudden, I got the chills, along with a healthy dose of dread. I immediately released the knob and stood there unsure of what had just happened. Feeling a bit spooked, I hastily moved on down the hallway.”
At the end, on Theodore’s left, was a room more fitting for a boy.
The room’s color were dark blue and blood red. There were two wooden desks built into the room’s walls on the right and wooden bunk beds on the left. The top bunk was barely below the ceiling while the other bed started at the foot-end of the top bunk, resting on the floor.
“I crawled up on the top bunk and noticed an old matchbox jet fighter that had been left behind. I greedily snatched it up and ran down the stairs to tell my Dad about the loot I had just pillaged from the previous owners. I was so excited about finding that toy that I had forgotten all about my first creepy encounter in that house.”
Soon, the George family had settled in, but at the same time, some unsettling chatter made its way to their front door.
“Numerous people who lived nearby would tell us stories about strange noises that would emanate from the house, as well as seeing lights go on and off. One particular neighbor, Mrs. Myerjack, whose bedroom window faced one of our attic’s windows, said she would sometimes see a woman standing in our attic window. And all of this when no one was at the house.
Unfazed by the silly neighborhood stories, the George family went about its daily routine just like any other family.
“I remember my family was really happy in the beginning after we moved in. My Dad was always goofing around with us. My step-mother seemed very happy to me and my two sisters and brother all seemed to get along just fine. We were just a normal middle-class American family doing our thing.”
But within a year or two, that changed. The family’s lively attitude had diminished and some unexplained things began to happen.
“I noticed that there seemed to be more strife in the house. My Dad didn’t seem to be as playful as he had been before. He seemed angry. My step-mom didn’t seem happy either. The overall atmosphere had definitely changed.”
Weird sounds started coming from the basement.
The door to the basement was accessed from the kitchen. Going down the narrow wooden stairs led to a large room with light blue painted rock walls and a slick gray cement floor.
“It was just a creepy place all on its own.”
They figured the sounds coming from the basement were of natural origin.
“Our parents said it was probably just the heater or something. But sometimes, when just my older sister and I were home, we would hear scratching sounds coming from the basement. It sounded to me like someone taking a knife and stabbing the rock wall repetitively. I don’t think that was the heater.”
Tony, the younger brother of Theodore, told him that many times when he was trying to walk up the cellar stairs, he would feel something grab his leg, trying to keep him from moving.
“Needless to say, we didn’t venture down there much but when we did, it was daytime. If it was nighttime, the light was on and someone was with you.”
The stairway that led from the family room to the second floor had its share of phenomena too.
“My step-mother was at home alone one day in the family room watching TV when she heard someone walking down the stairs. She looked up and her heart stopped. Standing there in the doorway was a woman in white, just staring at her.”
And she wasn’t the only one to encounter something ghostly by the stairs.
“My father was watching TV one night when he too heard someone walk down the stairs. The door flung open and someone, or something, passed in front of the TV.”
Strange things were also happening with the upstairs bathroom’s west facing widow.
“My parents would keep finding the dang window open. Since my room was across the room, I was the most likely suspect. For years they blamed me for it and it wasn’t until after they realized the house was haunted, that they finally believed it wasn’t me.”
But nothing in the house was more active and spine-chilling than the attic.
“My brother was up in the attic with his friend when they suddenly exited the attic in a screaming panic. When they finally calmed down, they explained that they had seen my sister’s string puppet, I think it was in the form of a flamingo or Dodo bird, walking across the attic floor on its own.”
And each night the attic would host a concert of footsteps for the audience in the bedrooms below.
“Every night as I laid there in bed, with my head just a foot or so from the ceiling, I would hear footsteps above. My sister did too. We were told it was just the house settling. But after awhile, I began to realize that the footsteps were not random noises but purposeful movements that would end up stopping right over my head. I was terrified.”
And one morning, something physically attacked Theodore.
In the next article, Theodore talks about his attack, the dreams both brothers still have to this day, and a possible reason behind the haunting.