Maple Dale Farm, comprised of a 1700s farm house and a large barn, is situated in the small community of Barkhamsted in the northwestern part of Connecticut.
Immediately upon moving into the home, the Santos Family began to experience paranormal activity including dishes breaking in the kitchen, the sound of footsteps running through walls, the smell of pipe smoke and flowery perfume, items moved around, and a soldier from the 1800s standing by the fireplace. The ghosts of a young blond boy and a small dark child were also glimpsed in the house. The spirit of a farmer in overalls was often seen in various locations on the property including near the barn, at the end of the driveway, and in the fields near the home.
Initially, it was the family cat that, upon entering the house for the first time, ran up into the attic and refused to come down. Each and every morning, the cat’s water dish was found to be moved up two steps… by no one in the household. Not long after, the cat passed away.
Vera, the family Rottweiler, definitely sensed something in the house and appeared to see something that no one else could see. She would track an invisible presence through the house. Once, she put her face through a wall when attacking something that no one else could see.
For her safety, the family gave Vera away and she has been fine since her relocation to another home.
The house seemed to quiet down after the animals were gone…until Donna started to keep horses in the barn.
The first activity the family noticed in the barn each morning was a doozie: Every morning, the family would find the horses in different stalls. They had been switched overnight. The stalls were chained and locked; and, they would be found chained and locked each morning, but the horses had been moved around!
The family expected a human perpetrator and tried many different methods of catching the culprit including putting tape and thread across the doorways and window openings. They were not touched.
This went on for several weeks. They finally called in the state police for help. Twice the state officers came out and stayed the entire night watching the barn, seeing no one and no activity. Yet, in the morning, the horses were found in different stalls. The police had no explanation.
Donna would sometimes hear footsteps running around upstairs in the hayloft, but would never see anyone when she would investigate... until one dark winter night.
The horses were very upset that night and “sweated up.” She heard something up in the loft. This time when she checked out the noise, she saw a hunched over shadow about five feet tall disengage itself from the darkness and start dragging, shuffling toward her. It stopped in the center and looked at her. Its eyes glowed red.
The trouble seemed to escalate after that. Donna realized that both the house and the barn were haunted. One night in the barn, they smelled smoke and it seemed hazy inside yet the y could find no source of a fire. They called the fire department and Fire Chief James Lagaisse came out to investigate. Nothing was found.
Donna started to investigate the history of the location and found that a fire had taken place in the barn in 1923. They were able to find the foundation and some charred wood from the previous barn building. Upon contacting former owners, Donna found they had experienced similar occurrences on the property.
In 2008, Donna called John Zontok of the Northwest Connecticut Paranormal Society to come out to investigate. During their investigation, the entities in the house remained quiet and elusive. However, in the barn, they did pick up some EVP recordings of “here I am,” “don’t be scared,” and “sorry.” Footsteps were heard in the hayloft as well.
Continuing to investigate the history, Donna found that a farmer had died on the site of their property. He had been forced off his land so the town could build a reservoir and relocated to the location of the Santos property. He became very ill from a type of skin cancer. His face was eaten away. He took care of the animals and farm by himself while he was dying.
She decided to hold her own EVP session with her family in an attempt to contact the farmer. That ended abruptly when a piece of slag was thrown during the session, and Bob and daughter ran for the stairs.
An animal intuitive was called in to help, Tracie Shannon. She noticed a physical heaviness and intense energy in the air right away. She also saw a man in one of the horse stalls. She sensed the spirits in the barn, and told Donna that the spirits wanted her to help them leave.
With Tracie’s help, Donna helped the spirits cross over. The heaviness seemed to leave the barn immediately. The horses were much calmer and the farm is much more peaceful today.