The Damned Story: On the woodsy west side of Hamden lies a road to nowhere . . . except trouble!
Like many suburban towns across this great state, Hamden claims a lonely ol' street that seemingly exists as a home to everything from ghosts and phantom creatures to inbred hicks and supernatural feelings of dread.
Behold Downs Road.
Originally a complete thoroughfare from Hamden to Bethany, the road has been closed at both ends, leaving an abandoned unpaved segment through woods. Along this stretch are a few old foundations and other remnants of past inhabitation. Over the years, many stories have sprung up about the area, including that of a Downs Road Monster, which may or may not have been an ornery albino horse, among other things.
Others who have visited Downs Road have claimed to seen apparitions of children and other spooky spirits, as well as to have been accosted by unknown creatures (think Melon Heads) who have clawed the outsides of parked cars or chased away wayward hikers. In short, it's supposedly not a welcoming place for outsiders, as those who do manage to stay for a while also report inexplicable feelings of doom and fear.
It also seems to be a place that draws many teenagers for partying and others looking for trouble, which only help to enhance the reputation of a place of weird goings-on.
Our Damned Experience: We briefly visited Downs Road in January 2009 at the beginning of a snow storm and didn't get too far along the trail before turning back. As it seems with many of the damned places around the state -- both Melon Head roads (Shelton and Trumbull), Little Genessee settlement, etc. -- the property is owned by the local water company. (Steve and I are building a theory on this -- get your tin foil hats ready!) Hmm . . .
Although we didn't stay long and didn't see much other than snow, we did have one sort of odd moment. While we were walking, a small tree near us suddenly shook violently as if bird or squirrel had launched itself off it. The weird part was that with no leaves on the trees around us, if there was any sort of animal around, we would've seen it instantly.
Other than that, we didn't see any odd Melon Head-like creatures, nor did we have any unusual feelings or experiences.
Maybe when we go back in good weather, it'll be more of a Down-er. [*groan*]
If You Go: There are two parts of Downs Road in Hamden -- if you're at the part with the YMCA Camp, you're at the wrong end. The side you're looking for ends in a cul de sac and has a gate across the entrance. As mentioned, the property is owned by the Regional Water Authority and can be hiked with a permit.
View Downs Rd in a larger map