Brunswick Springs: A World of Mystery

There are few places on our planet that can be seen as otherworldly, but of course, there are some. People that believe in such things think that places like this can only be found in far off lands, or under the ocean, or deep underground. Nobody would suspect a place like this could be found right here in New England, more specifically, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. This world of mystery is known as Brunswick Springs.


Brunswick Springs

Brunswick Springs is truly a spot of mystery and death, an eerie location that is severely haunted, and is teeming with legends and curses. Located on Silver Lake, along the Connecticut River, there are many ruins that can be found throughout the dense forest. Upon your first visit, one may wonder why all of these ruins are here? Let's just say, it's a long story...

The legends of the springs began well before any settlers knew of the place. It is said that the Native Americans, mostly Abenaki, used the location for years as sacred lands. The namesake of the location is six different springs that flow from the forest directly into the Connecticut River, and it is said that these springs have magical healing powers. Each spring is composed of a different chemical, such as Arsenic, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Bromide, and Sulfur.


An old postcard which labeled the then developed springs.

Supposedly, the Native Americans knew the perfect combinations of these six chemicals, and they were successful in curing some horrible wounds, even ones that were life threatening. The first reported use of the springs was in 1748, when the Native Americans brought an injured British soldier to the waters after his arm needed amputation. It is said that they were able to bring back feeling to the man's arm, and he could use the appendage once again.

Later, after the French and Indian War, the same soldier came back to bottle and sell the magical waters. The Abenaki were not happy with his attempt to profit off of the great spirit. The area underwent many disputes between the Abenaki and greedy businessman wanting to profit from the springs, eventually leading to the death of two Native Americans. The mother of one of the dead, a local sorceress, was grief-stricken, and set the now famous curse over the lands: "Any use of the waters of the great spirit for profit will never prosper."

People began to flock to the springs from far off places, all in the hopes of curing their injuries or diseases. In 1860, Charles Bailey built the first hotel on the site, known as the Brunswick Springs House. Mysteriously, the building burnt down in 1894. Later, D.C. Rowell, a dentist, built the Pine Crest Lodge atop the banks of the Connecticut River. But again, it didn't succeed, as it collapsed into the Connecticut River.

John Hutchins, a rich man from North Strafford, decided he wasn't rich enough, and figured he could use the springs as a sight for a grand resort. His first hotel burned down in 1929, immediately before it's grand opening. He had a hotel built in 1930 with the help of Mr.Savage, and just before it was set to open, on May 15th, the hotel burned down. Hutchins was determined to build a grand resort, and had another one built and complete the next year. With 100 rooms, the hotel was better than all of it's predecessors. No matter how impressive of a hotel he built, it wasn't saved from the curse, and his third hotel burnt down with no discernible cause.


The Brunswick Springs Hotel, 1931

The land was eventually given back to the Abenaki, but that doesn't mean the curse is gone. Silver Lake is said to be bottomless, and it has been the sight of many mysterious deaths in recent years. From many people hanging themselves along the coast of the pond, to a women driving her car into the water, and even a baby being found strangled by the shore, it's clear that these lands are still cursed.

For further reading on the history of the springs, I would recommend ObscureVermont. Upon our visit, there was certainly an eerie feeling lingering over the place. Throughout the forest can be found many ruins from the five former hotels. The ruins include old foundations, rusted metal, and many staircases leading to nothing...


One of the many staircases leading to nothing.
On the landing.
Looking down toward the springs.
From the shores of Silver Lake.

It may be cursed, but Silver Lake is quite beautiful. Even though it's less than a mile from the road, the forest is quiet. Much like East Mountain, the silence is deafening. Beside the shores of the lake, we found a Sweat Lodge, otherwise known as a Native American sauna. While many people have corrupted the land over the years, the Abenaki still see the lands as sacred, and if you happen to see other people there, please be respectful.


The Sweat Lodge
Silver Lake
One of the foundations in the forest.

Down the embankment can be found a long, treacherous staircase, which leads to the now crumbling springs. One of the hotels built a deck above the springs, which apparently separated the six chemicals. The waters flow right from the ground, with no obvious source. Over the years, the Iron and Calcium pipes have broken, but they still flow. Be warned, because the area is surrounded by a strong stench of sulfur.


The namesake of the area, Brunswick Springs.
The springs flowing down the banks.
The Connecticut River.

The springs flow directly into the Connecticut River. The ground around the springs is tinted orange, likely due to the chemicals, and strands of calcium can be found throughout the water. In the trees can be found many offerings and pleads for healing. These waters are clearly still used for healing, and according to the notes, many people still make long treks to the land in the hopes of better lives or healed families.


Some of the offerings above the springs.

Atop one of the banks can be had a great view of the Connecticut River and some peaks, such as Hutchins Mountain and Savage Mountain. Those names sound familiar, don't they? This area is very eroded, likely being the sight of the former resort that collapsed into the river. It makes you wonder if the whole area will eventually meet the same fate.


The view over the river. Savage Mountain can be seen to the far left.
Looking down the banks. Mt.Hutchins can be seen in the far distance.
The path through the dense forest.

While the area may seem lame or boring to the average person, it's rich with history and legends. If you believe in ghosts, this is the area for you. There is a haunting aura that hovers over the place, one that may draw you in, or scare you away, that's for you to find out. If one does make the bold decision to visit, please, over everything else, be respectful to those who still wander there, and those who have passed on...


This is the fourth entry in a series of blogs:

6 comments:

  1. Amazing. Now I want to go.

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    1. Thank you for reading! While the springs may be far up north, it's very much worth the visit, as long as you are respectful, as you don't want to take the curse with you...

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  2. Evan, adventures to unusual places are among my favorite things. And so, I thank you for posting details about your trek to the curious spot known as Brunswick Springs.
    As always, you did a superb job with your write-up and your photos.

    Happy trails,
    John

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    1. Thank you so much for reading John. I'm glad o know you enjoyed it!

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  3. Very interesting! I really enjoyed reading about the history, legends and mystery of the springs. Great pics!

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