The Vermont Cynic

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Burlington’s Haunted History

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Halloween season is in full swing and it’s not unusual to see ghosts prowling the streets, usually sporting bedsheets and various party paraphernalia. However, collegiate mischief is not the only spooky thing afoot in Burlington.

PHOTO BY EVA BARTELS

PHOTO BY EVA BARTELS

“Surprisingly, Burlington has more haunted restaurants in one place than many other cities I’ve visited,” said Thea Lewis, an expert on all things spooky in Burlington.

Lewis, an author and historian, runs Burlington’s Queen City Ghostwalks. One of the most haunted places in town is American Flatbread, she said.

“There was a time, when a previous restaurant was in that location, when female servers were not allowed to go into the basement alone due to the paranormal activity,” Lewis said. “Lights going off. Objects moving. Even ghosts getting physical with those who ventured down alone.”

Paranormal activity has also been reported closer to campus. Converse Hall, one of the oldest buildings on campus, is known for being haunted.

Traditionally, the story goes that an unhappy student named Henry, terrified of failing his exams, hanged himself in the Converse attic.

“He’s been accused of spooking students by moving objects in their rooms and startling them when they are doing things they shouldn’t,” Lewis said.

Henry must have a busy schedule.

Most residents in Converse take a lighthearted view of their neighborhood ghost–residents joke that the recent spate of fire drills or the malfunctioning lights are the result of Henry’s antics. However, his story continues to be passed down through generations of students.

“There’s a lot of the universe we can’t begin to understand,” Lewis said. “We only use a fraction of what our brains are capable of. Whether you’re dealing with spirits or other phenomena, it pays to be open minded.”

Her advice, regardless of your view of the paranormal, seems sound. Whether dealing with paranormal activity or just the abnormal activity of those around us, keeping an open mind can work wonders.

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Burlington’s Haunted History