Benefit Street Hauntings
Many people know Providence’s East Side for its historical charm, but long-time residents know about the eerie happenings that often occur on Benefit Street.
At the time of the Revolutionary War, it was not uncommon to find backyard burial grounds as people had no place to bury the deceased. When the bodies were exhumed as the area underwent renovations and relocated to the North Burial Ground, there was doubt as to whether all of the bodies were relocated which could account for the spirit sightings in the area.
One of the most famous spirits is that of Edgar Allan Poe who supposedly courted Sarah Whitman. His spirit still haunts the area today and has been seen wandering the street and stopping outside the house that was once Ms. Whitman’s only to vanish. Poe is also known to haunt the Athenaeum where he lectured and spent countless hours engrossed in its books.
The Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has also seen and heard its fair share of spirit activity. The Barstow House is rumored to house demonic spirit. The mirrors in the Barstow House supposedly reflect ghosts at night. The Dexter House, once a morgue, has benign spirits that roam the halls. The Dunnell House reportedly has a spirit that likes to knock over and move objects in the basement and a woman who peers through RISD students from the second floor window. Farnum Hall, The Pardon Miller House and the Nightingale-Brown House are also said to have spirits but perhaps, the most bewildering and amazing occurrence is the phantom horse drawn carriage that has been seen on Benefit Street.
Whether or not there is any truth to these “ghostly” experiences, Providence’s Benefit Street is worth the visit due to it’s rich history, fascinating homes and diverse culture.
Read more about the hauntings on Benefit Street here