As Weston is a town with a long history, many have attributed strange or unexplainable events to spirits, or ghosts, that are still with us. After the film The Haunting in Connecticut came out in 2009, it was hard to say if the town had been touched by the supernatural, or if the film was just Hollywood hogwash. But if you listen well, it isn’t hard to find real stories of the unexplainable and paranormal in Weston.
One of the town’s oldest houses, the former Banks Tavern, has been the source of many supernatural occurrences over the years. Currently inhabited by famous musician and songwriter José Feliciano and his family — who have lived there since 1990 — the house has great historical significance. Before it became a family home in the 1860s it was a local tavern for more than 80 years, and during the stages leading up to the American Revolution, the building’s attic provided a home to many Revolutionary soldiers.
Upon seeing the house, the Felicianos were immediately charmed by its colonial history and aesthetic, and decided to move to Weston. The Felicianos have always had a great appreciation of history, which was reflected in 2006 when they were instrumental in getting a town ordinance passed that allows historic homes to display signs describing their past.
Susan Feliciano also finds humor in the fact that when they first moved to Weston, their house was a stop on the Weston Historical Society’s tour of the town.
Once the family was situated, they began to experience strange phenomena happening throughout the house. In the morning, they would notice the phantom scent of baking bread when there was nothing in the oven. Doors would open by themselves and unaccounted footsteps could be heard in the rooms upstairs.
Ms. Feliciano was slightly skeptical of these occurrences until she saw something that she could not dispel with logic or reason. “A woman passed in the upstairs hallway and looked down at me with quiet, penetrating eyes,” she said. “She looked solid, very pale and was wearing a brown dress. When I ran upstairs, I found that she had gone right through the wall.”
José Feliciano has also had ghostly encounters of his own while living in the house. “Once I was having dinner with my recording engineer, and it felt like someone was putting their hands on my shoulder,” Mr. Feliciano said. “My son also reports that he once saw my rocking chair scoot across the room all by itself.”
Although the Felicianos live in what some would consider to be a haunted house, they don’t see it that way.
“The spirits have never scared me,” Ms. Feliciano said. “They are benevolent and this is their home too.”
Things that go bump
Carey Marvin, a recent graduate of Weston High School, has also had experience with spirits. At a young age, Ms. Marvin noticed things going bump in the night in her own home.
“One night I woke up and the light in my closet turned on and the door opened. A box of old photos came falling down, and I could feel an eerie presence in the room for the rest of the night,” she said.
Recently she had a mysterious encounter at Rose End Farm, her camp in Chesterfield, N.H. In the middle of the night she saw the camp’s legendary ghost who is affectionately referred to as “Bruce.”
“He was standing in the common room of our house barefoot and in overalls. The underground railroad used to run through the camp, and perhaps this explains why there is still a spirit lurking around,” she said. “I’ve learned that energy is always recycled. Our energy has to go somewhere after we’re gone, and it would make sense if it remained around the places and people that were significant to us.”
Karin Giannitti, collection manager at the Weston Historical Society, who knows the ins and outs of Weston’s history, has often been asked about the town’s supernatural past.
In 1990 she received a call from a man who claimed to have had a ghost sighting on Valley Forge Road. Apparently he and a group of bikers were traveling along the road when they saw clusters of “ghostly auras” on the Valley Forge bridge. The man called Ms. Giannitti wondering if there had been some sort of event or accident on the bridge, or any reason for lingering spirits.
While she had no knowledge of anything ever happening on the bridge, there is one “supernatural” story from Weston’s past that can be explained. During the time of the Jarvis Academy, a group of cadets was out one night on an excursion and on the way back all believed to have seen a large pale white ghost. After telling the town their story, they soon realized that what they believed to be a ghost was really someone’s pale white cow out to graze.
There is a rumor that the Weston Historical Society’s Coley House is often visited by spirits.
Many have felt upon visiting that they were not alone in the house, and even Ms. Giannitti admits to a time when there may have been a spiritual presence in one of its rooms.
“I attempted to close the drawer of a cabinet containing old maps of Weston, and it would just fly back open. This happened four times in a row until I shouted at what I jokingly thought to be a ghost, and it stopped,” said Ms. Giannitti.
“Anybody who lives in an old house will tell you that their house is haunted, and I think that’s very possible,” she said.