If there is one place in Rhode Island that deserves mention in the realm of ghosts, it is the Ramtail Factory. Not only do the locals have endless tales of the ghostly mill, the state even acknowledges the place as a haunted locale in the 1885 State Census, page 36. This makes it the only recognized haunted site in the whole state, if not all of New England, at that time.
In 1799, the Potter family ran a fulling mill. William Potter expanded the mill in 1813 and took on his son-in-law, Peleg Walker, as a partner. The Potters ran the mill by day, and Peleg with lantern in hand would act as night watchman. At the break of dawn, he would ring the bell to summon the workers to their daily routines. All was well for several years until William and Peleg had some sort of disagreement.
During this argument it was said that Mr. Walker stated that they would one day have to remove the keys to the mill from the pocket of a dead man. This promise was fulfilled on the morning of May 19, 1822, when the bell failed to toll. They entered the mill and found Peleg Walker hanging from the bell rope, keys to the mill dangling from his pocket. They buried him in the family plot, but he did not rest.
That night the bell began ringing at the stroke of midnight. They checked out the mill but found no visible person who would have caused the sound. For a few more nights, the bell sounded at the witching hour, again, with no hand to pull the rope. This forced the Potters to remove the bell, but Peleg had more in store. At midnight the next evening, the villagers were awoken by the clatter of the mill running full tilt.
When they arrived on the scene, they stood agape as they watched the mill in full operation by itself with the great waterwheel used to run the mill moving in the opposite direction of the stream. The villagers left the area for fear of their lives, and the mill soon closed for good. Witnesses reported seeing the specter of Peleg Walker meandering from building to building with a lantern in hand, creaking in the wind.
In the 1880s, the factory burned to the ground, but the foundations still grace the forest to this day. I did several investigations of the factory and proved it is still haunted. On one particular night, Rhode Island Paranormal saw a glowing apparition move about within the factory walls at the height the floor used to be. Another night we stood in the dark silence as the crunching of the leaves and the sounds of a swinging lantern moved by us into the foundation of the main building then move by us again to the smaller foundation just behind us.
The sounds were recorded on tape and are distinct. It seems that Peleg Walker still makes his eternal rounds in the dark of the Foster woods. This just proves that the Ramtail Factory is still alive and full of spirit. The ruins of the Ramtail Factory are located in the woods of Foster, Rhode Island. Take Route 6 West. When you get to Hopkins Mill District in Foster, take a left onto Ramtail Road. The entrance to the trail leading to the factory runs along Dolly Cole Brook just before the little bridge on Ramtail Road.
—Thomas D’Agostino Writer, Paranormal Researcher, and Investigator, Rhode Island Paranormal
RAMTAIL FACTORY IN THE WOODS
OFF OF ROUTE 6 AND RAMTAIL ROAD FOSTER,
RHODE ISLAND 02825