Last semester I took a very basic science class where we covered basically everything from basic physics to electricity. One of the topics was geology. My quirky professor was teaching us about stalagmites and stalactites and mentioned the word “spelunking”. No one knew what she was saying. She then told us that spelunking was the very fun word for “cave exploring”. This sparked an interest in me. I put “go spelunking” on my list almost right away.
A lot of my friends are very adventurous and I knew would be happy to join me on this little mission. I decided to ask my friend Nate along (who was in my last post and several others, mostly the ones about food).
Basically the past couple of weeks Nate and I have been looking into caves around us (Western Mass). Unfoutnately there aren’t too many a) caves in Western Mass. area or b) reliable information online about the caves that do exist around here. Nate and I did some research on the following caves:
- – Bear’s Den, New Salem MA (apparently more of a waterfall than caves)
- – Devil’s Den, Sterling CT (some sources say it’s no longer there, others say it’s really hard to find)
- – Monk’s Caves, Shutesbury MA (apparently very hard to find)
Nate asked me to check for cool caves in my Weird New England book where I found a little blurb about the Devil’s Den (but unfortunately with no real information on where to find it or if their explore-able) but I did find something else.
Now I’ve been going to college long enough to tell you that it isn’t write to rewrite/paraphrase someone else’s work without properly citing it. Well, it’s summer and I don’t feel like doing that so here is the page from the book from Google books: It’s totally worth a read!
If you don’t want to click on that and read (although you should), here’s the jist: There’s a mysterious tunnel in Goshen, MA called the Goshen Mystery. Discovered in the late 1800’s, no one really knows what it was used for, except there are assumptions. It’s an underground stone tunnel, 3.5 feet wide and 15 feet deep. It’s like a well with no water. At the bottom it branches off eastward 75 feet.
Nate and I decided to go explore this Goshen Mystery since it’s only a few towns over from us. We headed out to the small town of Goshen (with a population of about 920) and first looked for a place to eat. Now, Goshen is pretty small. The center of town consists of a library, a historical society, and a post office. We drove a little bit down the main road and found the perfect spot to eat: Spruce Corner.
Spruce Corner resturant is definitely a home-turned-resturant. It’s small, cozy, and Nate and I could tell the place had its fair share of regulars. The waitress was a lively older woman who wasn’t afraid to joke around with us and she really made us feel at home (even though we already did with the setting). This place also had the cheapest menu ever.
We ate a lot of food and then realized we didn’t really know where we would go next. We had no idea where the Goshen Mystery Tunnel was. We thought we could ask the people at the historical society or the post office or the library.
First, we decided to ask our waitress. I showed her my Weird New England book and she read the blurb about the Goshen Mystery and she said after living there for 30 years, she had never heard of it. She advised us to check our phones and when we did, Nate found that its location was described as being “near the cemetery”.
A couple came in to the restaurant and our waitress asked them if they had heard of this mystery. The man did. He told us that back in the day, they called the hole “potato holes”. He said the tunnel was used in the slave trade, part of the Underground Railroad. Then he told us something that made us very happy: It’s located by the cemetery. This clarified the iffy online information we found. He gave us good directions to the graveyard but didn’t really know where it was after that point. We took it. The waitress told us to come back and tell her if it was a good place to bring kids to.
So using the customer’s directions, we drove up 112 (or Cape Street) toward Ashbury and took a left at the graveyard. There’s a road, Mollison Hill Road, in front of the graveyard we took, assuming the tunnel was around the cemetery, not in it.
Mollison Hill Road was a dead end and we decided to ask some Goshen folk for help. There were a few men standing outside of a house and we pulled over and asked if they knew about the Goshen Mystery. All the men then turned to one man who came up to my car.
He told us that the Goshen Mystery is located back towards the cemetery, on the side of it in the woods and that it was on his property. Nate asked if we could go in and he kindly told us that we could and he “doesn’t care”. Nate asked if he gets asked a lot about the Mystery and he replied that he does indeed, due to the fact that it was on an episode of some paranormal television show. He told us that there’s not much to see there because the land owner before him placed a large boulder over the entry of the tunnel. He said that with the proper tools, he’d gladly open it back up. He gave us PERFECT directions to the tunnel: Go back towards the cemetery, drive up the hill, look for the Moynahan graves, walk behind them, go over the rock wall into the woods and we’ll see it.
Nate and I eagely followed these directions. Driving around the cemetrey was really cool; it’s definitely really old and Nate and I love old cemeteries. We parked the car and looked around some of the graves.
Then we found the Moynahan graves (easy to find; one is in the shape of a baseball) and walked towards the short rock wall. I saw the boulder almost right away and almost slipped on the mossy wall in excitement. What we saw was truly incredible.
It was indeed, a tunnel with a boulder on top. There were tiny holes around it so you could kind of peep in a little.
The woods were really pretty too, with a big opening in one part. Nate and I assumed this was probably where the tunnel spreads out.
Although Nate and I couldn’t get in, we were still intrigued by it. We threw some rocks down to see how deep it was. Here’s a video I took of that:
Although we couldn’t get it, I still am going to check this off my list. I totally went out of my comfort zone here; I’m typically afraid of things that are “haunted” or what not. It counts!
After we looked at the big ol rock, Nate and I explored the old cemetery. There were graves of people from the Revolutionary War and the oldest one we saw the person died in 1808. Some of the graves were slanting over.
When we got to my car I thought I saw the top of one of the graves move. I dismissed it pretty quickly.
Nate and I headed back to Easthampton for Art in the Orchard and root beer floats.
I was reading about the Goshen Cemetery just now, . Some people think the tunnel was used for an illegal counterfeiting business. Apparently, they blew the underground business up, causing some of the graves to slant over. A lot of people think it’s haunted, which might explain why I saw a grave move…
This was by far one of the more interesting things I did on my list although I kind of cheated. No, I didn’t go in a cave or where a headlamp or anything like that. But I did explore an urban legend that really interested me.
It’s definitely worth a check out if you’re in the area; it’s weird and kind of scary. I’m almost glad we couldn’t get in because 1) it adds to the mystery, 2) a 15 ft drop is a long way to go 3) I’m scared.
If you’re into graveyards this is definitely the place to be. The graves were really old and interesting. But careful, like I said: It is said to be haunted.
When I go back to the Spruce Corner, I’ll tell the waitress that yeah, it is a place for kids because it totally lets the imagination run wild. Why is the tunnel really there? When was it made? Who made it? What’s underneath? Why did the former owner want to cover it up with a boulder? According to Weird New England, locals don’t know the answers to any of these questions but they simple say, “It’s always been there”.
- The Hole (thequicknotthedead.wordpress.com)