The emotional and psychic impression left behind when opposite forces clash in mortal battle is one that usually well outlasts the memory of the actual event. The now-silent forests and meadows of Southern New England are no different.
Cultural differences, personal tensions, and increasing violent incursions onto one another’s lands ultimately climaxed into the two-year bloodbath historians would later name the King Phillip War. The ghosts of those bloody days often remind Southern New England residents and visitors alike of the carnage of those times. Few public reminders exist that tell of this conflict.
Perhaps this is one reason they annually report so many hauntings in the areas where these bloody battles between the Native American and his white adversary raged. Of the surviving reminders of this forgotten war, none has more paranormal activity associated with it than the wooded area surrounding the Nine Men’s Misery memorial.
The site’s simple stone and mortar monument marks the area where Indian pursuers overran eight Rhode Island militiamen and their leader. Their flailed (skinned alive) bodies evidenced their slow, agonizing deaths, their only escape coming when their tormentors finally beheaded them and placed their heads on stakes.
For years, with reports reaching the Rhode Island Paranormal Research Group as recently as March 2004, paranormal activity has been verified in this area. Reported phenomena include sudden temperature drops and the audible, mournful sobbing of men. Visitors to the monument have submitted many photos containing questionable phenomena, including energy streaks in the immediate area.
However, of all the known ghosts of the war, these former monastery grounds still hold within their grasp one of the most disturbing. Sightings often confirm that one does not have to believe in ghosts to experience seeing one, including the ghost of a little girl dressed in mid-17th-century clothing whose presence we repeatedly see or feel on the grounds.
The experience can leave one shaken, however, as witnesses always observe her desperately darting through the area’s woods in a panic. Some have only heard her footsteps running toward them and heard her panicked panting. In either situation, the girl’s ghost always and quite abruptly vanishes, perpetually fleeing her Indian pursuers.
Written by — Andrew D. Laird Founder and Director, The Rhode Island Paranormal Research Group
NINE MEN’S MISERY MEMORIAL
DIAMOND HILL ROAD
CUMBERLAND, RHODE ISLAND