Terrifying Tales of the Lost Souls of Candlewood Lake
On July 15, 1926, CL&P's Board of Directors approved a plan to create a lake to generate electric power. They needed 5,420 acres of private land to make what was to become Candlewood Lake.
35 American families lived in the valley and were paid "fair pre-lake prices" for their land, equaling approximately $100 per acre. Still, some landowners refused to sell primarily in the small town of Jerusalem.
Over 100 buildings were either moved or demolished during the relocation of the Jerusalem residents. A small graveyard, including headstones and bodies, was also moved. The question remains; did everyone get out in time?
Water began pumping into the river valley on February 25, 1928, and on September 29, 1928, Candlewood Lake became a reality. The total cost to complete the project in 1928 was $6 million, which translates to $90 million in 2021 dollars.
I spent more than an hour scouring the internet to find proof of anybody who refused to give up their land and made the decision to stay behind as the water slowly enveloped their homes and barns.
I did find a blog post from Kristi Peterson Schoonover, who grew up on Candlewood Lake. It's titled "Seven Creepy Tales of Candlewood Lake," making for some scary creepy Halloween stories. For example, one of the seven stories is called: "THOSE WHO REFUSED TO LEAVE."
The story goes that the valley residents who refused to leave their property chained themselves to their front porches. While the lake was steadily filling up, their screams could be heard for miles. As their souls eventually passed over, their ghosts, freezing in the ice-cold water, occasionally reach up for the light grabbing surprised swimmers and pulling them into their watery grave, never to be seen again.
Some of the descendants of the landowners who would not turn over their land in Sherman still pay taxes on the submerged property. That is a true story. To read Kristi's other six stories, click on nehw.blogspot.com. Maybe Candlewood Lake isn't but these 10 bodies of water just might be.