John York House, North Stonington

August, 2010 by Ray Bendici
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The Damned Story: The John York House has served as a family home, a tavern and an inn for over two and a half centuries. Apparently, it's also been the primary residence for a spirit or two during that time as well, as tales of ghostly activity here go back to the 18th century.

Built in 1741 for -- you guessed it! -- John York, a businessman and farmer, the dwelling was originally inhabited by York and his family. When the Revolutionary War broke out, York's house did double duty as a tavern, and that's where the story of the eventual haunting begins.

According to the legend, one night during the war, two soldiers were enjoying the libations offered in the tavern, and as men are wont to do after a drink or two, started talking about women. In this case, however, it wasn't too long before they realized that they both were keen for the same local girl -- and proving that certain situations have not really changed all that much over the centuries, an alcohol-fueled brawl over the lass broke out.

Of course, you can't have a good haunting without tragedy, and so the tale goes that, in the heat of the fight, one of the soldiers pulled out a knife and mortally wounded his comrade. Distraught over his actions, the soldier then ran off and committed suicide.

The alleged paranormal activity began immediately -- the legend says that the murdered man's blood could not be scrubbed off the floorboards, so they were torn up and flipped over. This apparently did not quell the dead man's spirit, and thus began the odd phenomena: shadowy forms, inexplicable noises and random cold spots about the house. These kinds of activities allegedly continued as the decades and centuries passed.

None of these events were particularly significant until 1963, when Hugo and Miriam Wilms bought the John York House and moved in with their family. Noticing the ghostly events, Miriam attempted to get to the bottom of whatever was going on by holding seances. Unfortunately, this only seemed to exacerbate the situation, and the paranormal activity supposedly intensified -- witnesses claimed that items flew off walls, loud footsteps and other noises were held, doors opened themselves and household items operated on their own.

After one of the Wilms' sons reported being attacked, the call went out to Ed and Lorraine Warren, who came in and "identified" the spirit of a young Revolutionary War soldier. The Warrens worked to have the troubled spirits leave the house, and although there were reports they succeeded, the Wilms moved out in 1987 anyway.

The John York House sat empty for a while before a couple bought it in 1997 and ran it as a bed-and-breakfast. They claim that they never experienced anything out of the ordinary outside of the occasional odd voice, but did say that a few of their guests saw more unusual things from time to time.

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Have the damned soldiers moved on, or are they still hanging around, fighting over that girl from long ago?

Our Damned Experience: Although we have fought amongst ourselves from time to time [*cough cough* Steve and Kate *cough*], we have yet to get the point where one of us has stabbed the other. Yet.

Likewise, we have yet to visit the John York House.

If You Go: The John York House is located at 1 Clarks Falls Road in North Stonington, which is at the junction of routes 49 and 216.

Up until recently it was a bed-and-breakfast, although that may not be the case any more -- their website is no longer available and a phone call gets a "This number is no longer in service" message. If anyone has any additional information, we'd appreciate it!

Still, the yellow house is very close to the main road and quite visible. It is private property, so please be respectful.

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Comments

Submitted by Jeanine Standley (not verified) on
I recently moved to North Stonington. My boyfriend pointed out the "haunted" house to me one day as we drove by. The second time we drove by my boyfriend drove very slow so I could look at the haunted house. There seems to be no one around. As we drove by, I could see that there are furnishings in the house. The yard is maintained.

Submitted by Daniel Wilms (not verified) on
I am one of 3 Wilms brothers who grew up in that house and I can attest that the things mentioned here really happened -The only errors in the story is that my Mother's name was Miriam not Mariam and our last name is Wilms not Wilm.

Submitted by Ray Bendici on
Thanks Daniel -- I made the corrections you mentioned.

cough cough...

Submitted by Linda Schmartz (not verified) on
Hello, today we took a ride to see the haunted John York house, we were hoping we could walk around, and maybe go inside, but there was no one around,, there are curtains and furniture in the house, and a HUGE Turtle sculpture in front of the house, we did take a few pics with our phones,, I could send you them,, the yard was well maintained, so it sure looks like someone lives there! but there were no signs of it being a B&B, which is too bad, because my husband and I would love to stay there! you could feel the History there as we looked at it! its a beautiful house and property! if you give me a FB or an email, I could send you a couple of pics we took! Linda Schmartz

Linda -- You can always post pics on our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Damned-Connecticut/43105963894" rel="nofollow">Facebook</a> page -- Or e-mail us at damnedct@gmail.com.

Submitted by Becky (not verified) on
Was the girl they fought over ever identified? Has the female ghost in the house been identified? There is another group called Ghost Busters in Warwick,RI that could maybe help, and I believe they do it for free.

I know for a fact that this location is not an active B&amp;B anymore. Also, it is now owned by a gentleman who bought it yet has no idea as to what to do with it. He doesn't use it for anything and keeps the electricity and lights going as he stops by every once in awhile. I can get that contact info for you, should you want to go there. I love the location and have been there a few times, given the fact that it is 10 minutes down the road from my house. I'm planning on an investigation there in the very near future, too, should you want to accompany us and get pictures for your site.

Submitted by Gene Pouliot (not verified) on
I am the owner of the John York House. Before any investigation of the house is planned, contact me.

I live in ashaway ri about 3 miles from the york house . I have been by it dozens of times on my way to fish green falls. On my way back after dark theres always lights on in the bed rooms. Never anyone there .People in the town of north stonington have said at night driving by have seen figures walking by the bedroom windows or someone standing in front of the window. I creep by always looking but have yet to see anything yet.

Submitted by Kevin Gassen (not verified) on
Hello, I'd like a little more information on the John York house if someone could help me. My grandmother was recently admited to a nursing home and we were subsequently packing things up in her apartment when we came across a geneaology chart dating back to 1608. In 1608, James York I was born in England, he died in 1683 in Stoningto CT. According to my chart, his great grandson was a John York I, born in Stonington in 1716, subsequently, John York II born 1745, and John York III born 1771, all in Stonington. I'm thinking that John I was the builder and owner of the house. If anyone has any more information, I'd love to hear it. I don't know much about that part of my family. I live in central Texas and have never been up that way. If it turns out that this is part of my family history, it would definitely be worth the trip someday. Thank you to anyone who can help. Sincerely, Kevin Gassen

Submitted by L. Tennant (not verified) on
I grew up and still live just a few miles up from the York house, on the same street/ same town. I pass it multiple times per day. The property is still vacant, yet still maintained. The turtle mentioned above was recently stolen (dragged by a pickup truck), broken, recovered, repaired and replaced on it's spot on the side lawn.

Submitted by Mackenzie (not verified) on
i live on clarks falls and i remeber when the turtle got stolen and broken so sad

Submitted by Mackenzie (not verified) on
i live 1 mile away from the jonh york house

Submitted by chelsea (not verified) on
i am McKenzie best friend she is not leing and if you look at the top window you can see a scary face it totally scary and weird from Chelsea