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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ricker Mills a.k.a. Ricker Basin, Vermont - Ghost Town

The following content is taken directly from Obscure Vermont ~ It is so perfectly written, I could not do it justice on my own.   

"In the early 1800s, pioneers cleared fields, rocks, and stumps in Ricker Basin and Cotton Brook. A settlement of 50 or so families once lived in this area that became known as “Ricker Mills” due to the large number of people who settled there bearing the same last name. The hard demands of the land and harsh weather forced younger generations to eventually abandon the farms and buildings of the village.

On November 3 and 4, 1927, torrential rains created a disastrous flood that paralyzed Vermont. Little River’s rising waters drove the valley residents to their roofs and isolated the hillside farmers. By then, most of the population had moved away, and in 1934 a second flood occurred that put an end to community. The 1934 flood inspired the construction of Waterbury Dam, which created the Waterbury Reservoir that flooded the remains of much of the community. Five thousand men of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Civilian Conservation Corps (C. C. C.) completed the dam in 1938.

Today, old cemeteries, sawmill remains, old town roads, bridges and many cellar holes can still be seen as evidence of a past community. Little River State Park owns the land now, and a walk on one of it’s many hiking trails make these ruins easily accessible for anyone who wants to see them.

But does something else remain here other then stone foundations and weathered gravestones? Does something unknown skulk among the trees and silent swampland? I've heard rumors that Little River State Park was haunted, but never have actually heard any specific accounts of anything happening, that is until I heard this story."

"A few years ago, John, an experienced hunter took a hike into the wilds of Ricker Mountain. His plans were to spend a few days in the woods hunting and camping under the stars – a little much needed rest and relaxation.  Being an experienced woodsman, he planned carefully. He found a suitable spot for his campsite, and began to clear it of brush and tree branches. He even found some nice flat stones nearby to construct a fire pit from. The first night, he was almost asleep inside his tent when he heard a strange noise. In the darkness, he listened carefully. It sounded like fingertips that were scratching the outside of his tent. He knew he had cleared the area of any tree branches, and it was a windless night, so he thought it had to be an animal. But he noticed that the woods had descended into an eerie silence, a silence he has never heard before.  And the tapping stopped. He waited for it to start up again, but it didn't.  He soon forgot about it and fell asleep.

The next night, he awoke to the sound of someone-or something, tugging at his tent straps. Again the woods fell into that eerie silence. He sat up and tried to assess the situation, but couldn't really think about what to do other than wait for something to happen. The tugging soon stopped, and nothing ever happened. But he didn't go back to sleep – and spent the rest of the night in anticipation, waiting until the sun rose. The next morning he noticed that the tent strap hadn't just been pulled, it had been cut! It was a clean cut, as done with a knife, Yet he hadn't heard the sound of tearing fabric, or the sounds of any other human around.

Weighing his options, he decided to stay another night, probably trying to jump to a logical conclusion that could explain the previous nights events while wishing he could just forget about them. But on the third night, John got the surprise of his life. He woke up suddenly when the bottom of his sleeping bag, which was touching the tent wall, was grabbed violently “as with human hands” and forcefully yanked towards the tent door. He instinctively grabbed his shotgun next to him and yelled “try that again and you’ll be sorry!” and waited with baited breath for something to happen. And nothing did. Again he noticed the eerie, almost unnatural silence of the woods. There was absolutely nothing making a sound. He knew it would be foolish to leave in the middle of the night, especially because he didn't know exactly what was out there waiting for him. So he spent the rest of the night awake, shot gun at the ready, and as soon as the sun’s light hit the mountains he packed his things.

As he took down his tent and began to leave, he noticed something peculiar. One of the stones he had used for a fire pit had been turned over, revealing it to be an old gravestone. Somehow, unknowingly, he had used some fallen gravestones from an old cemetery as the circle of his fire pit. I asked John if he would ever go back to Ricker Mountain, now knowing what may just have been the cause of the bizarre events that plagued him on that camping trip. He just shook his head and said “nope”. I guess I can’t blame him."