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New England Oddities A to Z continued

A Guide to Weird, Strange, Wacky and Odd Attractions in New England


You've probably heard about New England witches, but what about vampires? Learn about both as our look at New England oddities A to Z reaches the end of the alphabet.

    Rhode Island Vampire - Wanna see a vampire's grave? Head for Exeter, Rhode Island, where the famous story of Mercy Brown took place. According to stories, Brown died in 1892 at the age of 19, shortly following the deaths of her mother and eldest sister. At the time, her brother, Edwin, was terribly ill, and in an effort to save him from what appeared to be a curse on the family, the women's bodies were exhumed. Ol' Mercy's body had moved inside the coffin, it appeared, and blood was present in her veins and heart, the latter of which was burned upon a nearby rock before the poor girl was reburied. Feeding poor Edwin the heart ashes dissolved in medicine, alas, did not save him: He died two months later. But, Mercy's legend lives on as one of Rhode Island's best-known vampire tales.

    Salem Witch Museum - A decidedly disturbing display of dioramas depicting the 1692 witch trials in Salem, Massachusetts, both entrances and horrifies visitors to the Salem Witch Museum. Sit on the floor in the darkened theater as the tale of accusations and executions is told via a recorded narration and life-size figures, eerily illuminated around the theater's perimeter. The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily with extended hours to 7 p.m. in July and August. Admission is $9.50 per adult, $8 per senior citizen and $6.50 per child. For more information, call 978-744-1692.

    The House of Seven Gables - Immortalized by Nathaniel Hawthorne and occupied for many years by his Salem, Massachusetts, relatives, the House of Seven Gables, one of the oldest surviving 17th-century wooden mansions in New England, is open for visitors to explore its nooks and crannies and even a secret staircase! The site is open daily year-round except the first two weeks of January, and admission is $12.50 for adults, $11.50 for seniors and AAA members, $7.50 for children ages 5 to 12 and free for children under 5. For more information, call 978-744-0991.

    U.S. Battleship Massachusetts - Admit it! You've always wanted to stay overnight on a battleship. Well, now you can run amok aboard the Battleship Massachusetts, docked at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts. For details on overnight programs for youth organizations and families, call the Group Sales Manager at 508-678-1100, ext. 101.

    Vermont's Old Stone House Museum - According to lore, when the Reverend Alexander Lucius Twilight, the U.S.'s first black college graduate, asked the Board of Trustees to build a dorm for the students of the Brownington Academy, they refused. So, he built one himself using extraordinary methods, including a staging platform which rose as an ox turned a treadmill. As the building rose, so did the ox and the treadmill. And, since there was no way to get the ox back down when the building was completed, it was slaughtered for a great feast of celebration. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. mid-May through mid-October. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students. Call 802-754-2022 for more information.

    World's Largest Bug - At 58-feet long, "Nibbles Woodaway," the world's largest bug, is 928 times the size of an actual termite. He's perched atop the roof of Big Blue Bug Solutions (formerly New England Pest Control) in Providence, Rhode Island, and, you'll be quite pleased to know, Nibbles is the world's only hurricane-proof giant insect. You can see Nibbles from highway I-95 near Exit 19.

    WaX Museum - Wax nostalgic about one of the most gruesome events in American history as you witness a multi-media presentation starring realistic wax witches, victims of the hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. The Hysteria Pass (not available October weekends) gets you into the Salem Wax Museum and the Salem Witch Village. Call 978-740-2929 for information and directions.

    Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park - Tourists who are smarter than the average bear know that Jellystone Park isn't just a cartoon location, it's an Ashland, New Hampshire, vacation destination. Camp or rent a cabin or RV, and take part in a variety of family fun activities. For reservations, call 603-968-9000.

    Zombies and Other Film Ghouls - If you're a fan of zombies, ghosts and other screen ghouls, you'll find the annual Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival eerie-sistible. The week-long horror flick fest is held in Providence each October.

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