Sunday, September 25, 2011

Phantom Loggers of Sumner Falls - Hartland, VT

In the late 1800s to early 1900s, loggers along the northern head waters of the Connecticut River would cut timber in the winter time and drag them to the tributaries to await the spring thaw.  Once the river was clear of ice, the river log drivers would "drive" the logs down the Connecticut River all the way to the saw mills in Massachusetts which was the longest log drive in New England.
Connecticut River loggers in 1914

Hundreds of men would wrangle the logs down the river and every drive dozens would die.  Many hazards along the way put the loggers in peril as they made their way down river.  Rapids would present a problem for loggers and many would drown as the fell between the logs.  At times when the floating mass of logs would reach a bridge, there would be log jams. Many men died attempting to free these logs in these jams as the 40 ft shifting logs in the current shift and the men would either be crushed or drown in the current as the river claimed them.  Sometimes the men would have to use dynamite to blast the logs free which was an extremely risky task for them.

Connecticut River log drivers working on freeing a log jam at a bridge

Near Hartland, Vermont there lies a series of rapids known as Sumner Falls.  There in these rough waters many loggers lost their lives.  For the past century folks living along these waters, rafting enthusiasts, and hikers have claimed to have seen phantom loggers floating down the river, only to disappear shortly after the passing the rapids.  These men wore turn of the century logger's clothing and also, floating logs down river is not a practice that is carried out anymore.  So the chance that these could be some modern day loggers are slim to none!

In addition to the apparitions on the river, many hikers have claimed to encountered shadow men on the trails along the river rapids.  These are also believed to be phantom loggers of the past.  So if you choose to go hiking or rafting at the Hartland Rapids, there is a good chance you may encounter the phantom loggers of Sumner Falls.

A kayaker braves the waters of Sumner Falls near Hartland, Vermont - photo published by

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