Haunted Places in Rhode Island

  • By: Timothy Rose
  • Date: 12 October 2023
  • Time to read: 15 min.

Rhode Island, the smallest state in the United States, is known for its stunning coastline, delicious seafood, and rich history. However, it is also known for its haunted places that have attracted ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts from all over the world. From the infamous “Conjuring” house to the phantom dog of Fort Wetherill, Rhode Island has no shortage of spooky locations.

One of the most well-known haunted places in Rhode Island is the “Conjuring” house in Burrillville. The house gained notoriety after the release of the horror movie “The Conjuring” in 2013, which was based on the real-life experiences of the Perron family who lived in the house in the 1970s. Visitors can now take guided tours of the house, which is said to be haunted by the spirits of the Perron family and other entities.

Another haunted location in Rhode Island is Fort Wetherill, a former military fort in Jamestown. The fort is said to be haunted by a phantom dog that has been seen since the Revolutionary War era. Legend has it that when the British took control of the fort in 1776, they were terrorized by a black dog who prowled the entire fort. Today, visitors can explore the fort and try to catch a glimpse of the ghostly dog.

Haunted Houses in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is home to several haunted houses that have been the subject of many paranormal investigations. Here are three of the most famous haunted houses in Rhode Island.

The Conjuring House

The Conjuring House, located in Harrisville, Rhode Island, is more than just a setting for a popular horror film. This house, also known as the Old Arnold Estate, has stood for over 300 years, bearing witness to a rich history filled with mysterious occurrences and deaths.

The Perron family, who moved into the house in the 1970s, experienced a series of unsettling events. From objects moving on their own to ghostly apparitions, the family’s time in the house was marked by fear and intrigue. Their experiences were so intense that they sought the help of famed paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren.

The Warrens’ investigation revealed a dark past. They believed that the house was haunted by the spirit of Bathsheba Sherman, a previous resident rumored to have been involved in witchcraft. The malevolent spirit was said to curse the land, leading to the untimely deaths of many who lived there. Over the years, the tales of the Conjuring House have captivated many, making it a significant landmark in the world of paranormal history.

Belcourt Castle

The Conjuring House might be a household name due to its cinematic fame, but in Newport, Rhode Island, the Belcourt Castle holds its own eerie tales. This historic mansion, with its grandeur and architectural beauty, has been standing since the 1800s and has witnessed more than just the passage of time.

Belcourt Castle - credit Wally Gobetz
Belcourt Castle – credit Wally Gobetz

For over half a century, Harle Tinney resided in Belcourt Castle and experienced numerous paranormal events. She believed that the antique furnishings brought with them otherworldly energies. On one occasion, a visitor’s touch on an early Gothic chair resulted in a flash of light and an unsettling smell of burning rubber. Another time, a suit of 15th-century armor seemingly moved on its own, much to the shock of a group of Girl Scouts. Perhaps the most chilling of her experiences was waking up to see a hooded man standing by her bed, who then walked through the wall and vanished. Yet, despite these encounters, Tinney never felt threatened. She often said, “I’m not afraid of ghosts; I’m afraid of real people.” She believed there was no evil in the afterlife, stating, “There is no evil in the next world; there’s enough of it here.”

The castle’s history is intertwined with its owners and residents. It was initially built for Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, a wealthy banker, publisher, and politician. Over the years, it changed hands, with each owner adding to its rich tapestry of stories. Harle Tinney, who lived there for decades, penned her experiences in a book titled “The Ghosts of Belcourt Castle,” capturing over 20 spine-tingling tales. Today, the castle stands as a testament to Newport’s history, drawing both history enthusiasts and those curious about the paranormal.

The Farm on Round Top Road

The Farm on Round Top Road, located in Cranston, Rhode Island, is a former dairy farm that is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl who died on the property. The farm has a long history of paranormal activity, including sightings of apparitions and strange noises. The farm is now a popular destination for ghost hunters and paranormal investigators.

The Ladd School

The Ladd School in Exeter, Rhode Island, stands as a haunting reminder of a past filled with dark secrets and unsettling tales. Originally built on over four hundred acres of farmland, the institution opened its doors in 1907 as a mental rehabilitation hospital. Initially, it housed only eight patients, but by 1923, the numbers swelled to over three hundred, leading to overcrowding.

The conditions inside the school were far from ideal. By the 1950s, despite housing nearly a thousand patients, the facility lacked basic amenities like dental care, a morgue, recreational facilities, and even a functional hospital apparatus. The staff was ill-equipped to handle the growing population, with only one certified doctor, Dr. Joseph H. Ladd, overseeing the patients. Allegations of patient abuse and neglect began to surface, and an investigation in the late 1950s revealed horrifying truths. Patients were found sleeping side-by-side on cots placed just nine inches apart. Many had been subjected to routine beatings, and the facility was infested with vermin. Incorrect medication dosages, administered by unqualified personnel, led to numerous deaths.

The school’s dark history is riddled with tragic tales. A nine-year-old boy was found asphyxiated in a shower stall, trapped inside a laundry sack. An elderly man met his end after being pushed down a stairwell by another patient. Despite efforts to reform the institution in the 1980s, the Ladd School was eventually shut down in 1993. Today, the abandoned facility is a hotspot for paranormal enthusiasts. Many visitors report hearing phantom footsteps, moans, and cries echoing through the halls. Disembodied voices, shadowy figures, and unexplained phenomena are common occurrences. The souls of those who suffered within its walls are believed to still roam the premises, making the Ladd School a chilling testament to its troubled past.

Haunted Hotels and Inns

Rhode Island is known for its haunted hotels and inns. Visitors seeking a thrill can stay at some of the most notoriously haunted accommodations in the state. Here are two of the most popular haunted hotels in Rhode Island:

The Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island, stands as a beacon of history and mystery. This grand establishment, which opened its doors in 1922, has been a cornerstone of Providence’s architectural and cultural landscape. Designed by the esteemed architectural firm Warren & Wetmore, the same minds behind New York City’s Grand Central Station, the hotel exudes an old-world charm that has attracted countless visitors over the decades.

The Biltmore Hotel – Credit Roger Williams

But beyond its architectural splendor and rich history, the Biltmore is also known for its tales of the paranormal. Guests and staff have reported a myriad of unexplained phenomena, from mysterious footsteps echoing in empty hallways to ghostly apparitions appearing in the dead of night. One of the most talked-about legends is the presence of a ghostly figure believed to be a former guest who met an untimely end within the hotel’s walls. This spirit is said to wander the corridors, especially during the late hours, leaving behind a trail of cold air and whispered secrets.

Today, the Biltmore continues to be a beloved landmark in Providence. It’s a place where history, luxury, and the supernatural intertwine, offering guests an experience that is both opulent and eerie. Whether you’re drawn to its storied past, its architectural beauty, or the possibility of a ghostly encounter, The Biltmore Hotel promises an unforgettable stay.

The Jailhouse Inn

The Jailhouse Inn in Newport, Rhode Island, is a unique blend of history and mystery. This handsome federal-style building, constructed in 1772, replaced an older jail from 1658. Originally built as a temporary holding facility for those awaiting trial, it saw numerous renovations and expansions over the years. By the late 1800s, it had transformed into Newport’s police station headquarters, serving the community’s criminal justice needs until 1986.

While the building’s history as a jail and police station is intriguing, what truly captures the imagination are the whispers of the paranormal. Over the years, staff and guests have reported subtle yet unmistakable signs of otherworldly presences. Some believe that the spirits of past inmates, or perhaps even a jailer, still linger within its walls. These unseen entities seem to be trapped in time, perhaps still unaware of their freedom or seeking justice for wrongs done to them.

Today, the building has been beautifully renovated and operates as The Jailhouse Inn. While its rooms offer modern comforts, certain features of the old jail remain, serving as a reminder of its storied past. The main dining area still has the old sliding bars, and the original police check-in window now serves as the inn’s reception. While the inn doesn’t actively advertise its haunted reputation, many guests come hoping for a brush with the supernatural. Whether you’re drawn by its history or the allure of the unknown, The Jailhouse Inn promises an experience that is both comfortable and eerily captivating.

Haunted Cemeteries

Rhode Island has a rich history of haunted cemeteries that are believed to be home to restless spirits. Here are two of the most famous haunted cemeteries in the state.

Mercy Lena Brown Grave

The Mercy Brown Vampire Incident in Rhode Island is a chilling tale that intertwines folklore, fear, and the fight against a deadly disease. In the late 19th century, the Brown family of Exeter, Rhode Island, faced a series of tragic deaths due to tuberculosis, then known as “consumption.” As the disease claimed the lives of several family members, including Mercy Brown, who died in January 1892 at the age of 19, the community was gripped by panic and superstition.

Amidst the backdrop of the wider New England vampire panic, the townsfolk believed that one of the deceased Brown family members was returning from the grave to prey on the living, causing the illness. To put an end to this undead menace, the bodies of the Brown family were exhumed. While the bodies of other family members showed expected signs of decomposition, Mercy’s body was eerily well-preserved with blood still in her heart. This discovery fueled the vampire rumors. In a desperate act to save the remaining sick family members, Mercy’s heart and liver were burned, and the ashes were mixed into a tonic for her ailing brother, Edwin, to drink. Tragically, Edwin passed away two months later.

Today, the story of Mercy Brown stands as one of the most well-documented cases of corpse exhumation for vampire rituals in American history. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the lengths to which fear and superstition can drive a community. Mercy’s desecrated remains now rest in the cemetery of the Baptist Church in Exeter, but her legend lives on, drawing both historians and paranormal enthusiasts to her grave.

Chestnut Hill Cemetery

The Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Exeter, Rhode Island, is one of the oldest cemeteries in the state. It was established in 1838 and has approximately 1,000 interments. The cemetery is known for its beautiful and intricate headstones, but it is also believed to be haunted.

Chestnut Hill Cemetery - credit Matt
Chestnut Hill Cemetery – credit Matt

Visitors to the Chestnut Hill Cemetery have reported strange occurrences, including the feeling of being watched, unexplained noises, and the sensation of being touched by an unseen presence. Some believe that the cemetery is home to restless spirits, including Mercy Lena Brown, who was buried there after her death.

If you’re interested in visiting haunted cemeteries in Rhode Island, the Chestnut Hill Cemetery is a must-see. Just be prepared for a spooky and unsettling experience.

Haunted Parks and Tunnels

Rhode Island is home to several parks and tunnels that have a reputation for being haunted. Here are two of the most famous haunted parks and tunnels in the state.

Slater Park

Slater Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is a serene location, offering a peaceful retreat for families and visitors. With its lush greenery, picturesque ponds, and historical landmarks, it’s a favorite spot for many. However, beneath its tranquil facade lies a series of chilling tales that have intrigued paranormal enthusiasts for years.

Slater Park
Slater Park

The park, which has been a part of Pawtucket’s landscape for over a century, has witnessed its fair share of history. And with history often comes legends and ghostly tales. One of the most talked-about paranormal hotspots within the park is the Slater Park Haunted Tunnel. This 200-foot concrete tunnel is said to be home to various spirits, each residing in one of the nine individually themed rooms based on different fears. Visitors have reported eerie sensations, unexplained cold spots, and even shadowy figures lurking in the depths of the tunnel. The tunnel’s reputation has grown so much that it has become a popular attraction during the Halloween season.

But the tunnel isn’t the only source of supernatural tales in Slater Park. Over the years, visitors have reported sightings of ghostly apparitions near the Daggett House, the park’s historic landmark. Whispers of mysterious voices, fleeting shadows, and even objects moving on their own have added to the park’s haunted reputation.

Today, while many visit Slater Park for its beauty and recreational offerings, others are drawn by its paranormal allure. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, the tales of Slater Park serve as a reminder that sometimes, history has a way of making its presence felt in the most unexpected ways.

Fort Wetherill

Fort Wetherill is a historic park located in Jamestown, Rhode Island. The park is known for its stunning views of the ocean, but it is also known for its haunted tunnels. The tunnels were once used by the military, and many people believe that the spirits of soldiers who died in battle still haunt the area. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions and hearing strange noises while exploring the tunnels.

Fort Wetherill
Fort Wetherill

Both of these parks offer a unique and spooky experience for those who are interested in the paranormal. Visitors should keep in mind that these areas are considered to be haunted, and they should proceed with caution.

Haunted Libraries and Monasteries

Rhode Island has a rich history of haunted places, and some of the most intriguing ones are the haunted libraries and monasteries. These places have a long history and are often the site of ghost stories and paranormal activity. In this section, we will explore two of the most haunted libraries and monasteries in Rhode Island.

Cumberland Public Library

The Cumberland Public Library is located in Cumberland, Rhode Island, and is known for its beautiful architecture and extensive collection of books. However, it is also known for its paranormal activity. Many people have reported seeing apparitions, hearing strange noises, and feeling cold spots in different areas of the library.

One of the most famous ghost stories associated with the Cumberland Public Library is the story of a young girl who haunts the children’s section of the library. According to legend, the girl died in a fire in the library many years ago, and her spirit has remained in the building ever since. Visitors to the library have reported seeing her ghostly figure wandering the aisles of the children’s section, and some have even claimed to have heard her voice.

Cumberland Monastery

The Cumberland Monastery, also known as the Monastery of the Poor Clares, is a former convent located in Cumberland, Rhode Island. The building dates back to the 1920s and has a long and fascinating history. It has been used as a convent, a nursing home, and a retreat center over the years.

The Cumberland Monastery is known for its paranormal activity, and many people have reported seeing apparitions, hearing strange noises, and feeling cold spots in different areas of the building. One of the most famous ghost stories associated with the Cumberland Monastery is the story of a nun who haunts the building. According to legend, the nun died in the building many years ago, and her spirit has remained in the building ever since. Visitors to the monastery have reported seeing her ghostly figure wandering the halls, and some have even claimed to have heard her voice.

In conclusion, the Cumberland Public Library and the Cumberland Monastery are two of the most haunted libraries and monasteries in Rhode Island. Both buildings have a rich history and are known for their paranormal activity. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, a visit to these places is sure to be an interesting and unforgettable experience.

Haunted Places in Literature

Rhode Island has inspired many writers to incorporate its haunted history into their works of literature. Here are a few examples of famous authors who have written about haunted places in Rhode Island.

Lovecraft’s Rhode Island

H.P. Lovecraft, one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Many of his stories are set in the fictional towns of Arkham and Dunwich, which are based on real locations in Rhode Island.

One of Lovecraft’s most famous stories, “The Call of Cthulhu,” is set in Providence and describes the discovery of an ancient cult that worships a monstrous entity. Lovecraft also wrote about the mysterious “Shunned House” in Providence, which is said to be haunted by the spirits of the former occupants.

Poe’s Providence

Edgar Allan Poe, another famous horror writer, also spent time in Providence. He attended the University of Virginia with Lovecraft’s grandfather and later married his cousin, Virginia Clemm, who was from Providence.

Poe wrote several stories that are set in Providence, including “The Oblong Box,” which describes a mysterious coffin that is transported from Providence to New York City. Poe also wrote about the “Haunted Palace” in Providence, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former resident.

Rhode Island’s haunted history has inspired many writers over the years. Lovecraft and Poe are just a few examples of authors who have written about the state’s haunted places. From British folklore to real-life hauntings, Rhode Island has a rich history that continues to inspire writers today.


Rhode Island is a small state, but it has a rich history and plenty of spooky stories to tell. From the infamous Conjuring House to the abandoned Fort Wetherill, there are plenty of haunted places to explore. Visitors can also check out the Belcourt Castle or take a tour of the Swan Point Cemetery to learn about the ghostly legends of Rhode Island.

While some of these haunted places may be more popular than others, each location has its own unique history and ghostly tales. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, there’s no denying the eerie atmosphere of these haunted spots.

It’s important to remember to be respectful when visiting these locations, as they may be private property or have restrictions on visiting hours. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to bring a friend or group when exploring haunted places for safety reasons.

Overall, Rhode Island is a great destination for those interested in the paranormal. With a variety of haunted places to explore, visitors can experience the spooky side of Rhode Island’s history and legends.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most haunted places in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island is home to several haunted places, including the Conjuring House, Belcourt Castle, and Fort Wetherill. The Breakers, Newport and Swan Point Cemetery are also known to be haunted.

Can you share any ghost stories associated with Rhode Island?

There are several ghost stories associated with Rhode Island’s haunted places. For example, the Conjuring House is said to be haunted by the spirits of Bathsheba Sherman and other members of her family. The Belcourt Castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former owner, Harriet, who has been seen wandering through the castle’s halls.

Are there any famous haunted houses or buildings in Rhode Island?

Yes, there are several famous haunted houses and buildings in Rhode Island, including the Conjuring House, Belcourt Castle, and Fort Wetherill. The Breakers, Newport is also known to be haunted.

What is the history behind the haunted places in Rhode Island?

The history behind Rhode Island’s haunted places varies. For example, the Conjuring House was once owned by the Perron family, who experienced several paranormal activities. The Belcourt Castle was built by Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, who was said to be interested in the occult.

How can I visit some of the haunted places in Rhode Island?

To visit some of Rhode Island’s haunted places, you can research the locations and plan a visit on your own. However, some of the places may be private property or closed to the public.

Are there any guided tours available for exploring haunted places in Rhode Island?

Yes, there are several guided tours available for exploring haunted places in Rhode Island. Some of the popular tours include the Ghost Tours of Newport and the Providence Ghost Tour. These tours provide a unique and informative experience for those interested in Rhode Island’s haunted history.

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