Everything’s Gone to Hell
Griswold, Voluntown & Sterling
This is one of Satan’s favorite haunts here in Connecticut. Surely because of the road’s unique name and rather dicey twists and turns, the ding-dongs who believe in such things pretend that spirits haunt this road. Anyone who knows me knows what I think of people who promote such childish foolishness, so I’ll leave that alone.
I put my life on the line here on my way to speak at the New England Museum Association in Warwick, RI – so I drove the road around 7 AM on a cloudy day. The turn off of Route 49 is tricky because, as you’d expect, kids keep stealing the sign so there is none to guide you. The first bit passes residential homes and is your normal pastoral road, with old stone walls all along the way.
Once past the homes, I’ll admit, the road turns to hell. And goes down into a hollow. More specifically, it becomes a potholed skinny little road twisting through the dense Pachaug State Forest. With the fog and the solitude, yeah, I guess an impressionable five-year-old could call it spooky. Here’s a typical description of the area:
It is reported that Hell Hollow Road obtained its name because in the 1600s, a little girl named Maude was killed by English soldiers. It is said that one could, and reportedly still can, hear the screams of Maude being murdered throughout the woods. Because of this act, people of the day believed the forest to be haunted and that it was host to witchcraft and satanic rituals, thus houses were never built in this area. The land was taken over by the state and is now a vast area for hiking, biking, nature walking and the paranormal.
Assuming Maude was real and was “murdered by British soldiers” (dubious, at best), why do people like this need to tag on, “and the paranormal” at the end. So silly. Both the Pachaug and Quinebaug Trails – get this – cross the road and go along it AND INTO THE HAUNTED WOODS!
Fortunately, there are other more reputable sites out there with the real story of the unique name and the legends attached to it. Bottom line, it’s named Hell Hollow because the land was/is horrible for farming, and back in the day, this is how they designated such places. The “murdered girl” was a little baby who died naturally and the family buried her elsewhere. All the other “Maude” stuff is pure nonsense.
So please, read this Excellent site with true stories about the road and ignore all the corny “ghost hunter” type sites.
UPDATE: I was so drawn to this place I returned to hike the two trails that traverse this road in December, the Quinebaug and Pachaug. I hiked around the pond, I walked through the actual Hell Hollow (twice!) and then walked down Hell Hollow Road for a mile. I also drove its entire length (no sign on the eastern end either) and can report that I didn’t get mysteriously murdered – or even haunted just a li’l bit.
All things Satan in Connecticut
Roads & Tunnels
Quinebaug Trail through Hell Hollow
Pachaug Trail through Hell Hollow
Barbara Wood saysOctober 30, 2009 at 4:44 pm
I have lived here on Hell Hollow Rd. for 17 years, but never seen or heard ghosts. However, this road is hell to drive in the winter, and it was a good thing when they started to close it for theworst of the winter months. You could slid off the icey road and onto the pond in not careful, or very unlucky.
Suzette saysJanuary 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm
Thats just what it is, a windy road to be careful of and nothing more. The whole ghost thing is an invitation to bring people in and nothing more
Deb saysNovember 30, 2010 at 9:50 am
This article is really interesting to me. Years ago, it must have been 1992 I was driving home from North Stonington from work to a new house. I knew that 49 was a route I could take. I got lost and thought I would find my way. I turned down a road with homes on it only to find that it turned into a dirt road, The engine died and the headlights went off. I was so scared, it was so dark. I turned the light switch off then on and my headlights went back on, I turned the key and the car started. I backed out as quickly as I could. I was shaken for days. I never had heard of Hells Hollow, I wasn’t from the area. Years later I was telling someone else what had happened and he mentioned Hells Hollow. I was never sure where I was only that it was on or a road off of 49. After reading this article it does sound like the same road that goes from residential to a dirt road. I don’t know what happened there, my car had never done that before or after. I can only say that something was there and it made my engine and headlights die. I knew whatever it was was not good. I can’t explain what happened, but it happened. Nothing like that has happened to me before and it shakes me even now thinking about it. I remember having the feeling that something did not want me there and I will never go back, but I know that some very strange force was there.
Harold clark saysJuly 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm
I remember being on tha road in the late 80s,with about eight other guys teen agers in the 80s that was the spot for partys at the water thier and seen this man walking down the middle of the road he walked right past all of us with a blank stare like he had no eyes he then walked stright out in to the water scared the crap out of all of us need not to say we never party yhier again .
Steve saysJuly 9, 2012 at 7:16 pm
If only you paid as much attention in English class as you apparently did to your comic books.
marie jon saysJuly 2, 2013 at 12:40 am
omg really the story of the little girl Maude well for one she was not killed by English solders, in the mid 1700s a wagon train came through,
the little girl Maude was sick her family stayed behind , she died and was buried there, then the story years later came to be that she was a witch, not true, I AM from there so I know the story well and even though she is not a witch , people who have gone to her grave and have either danced upon it or desecrated it has found them self’s regretting that they have, know to many who have done dum things there , get into car accidents leaving there , even the town firemen well say wired things have happen, more then once they have pulled some one from a wrecked car who had just got done leaving her grave , so go head spend a night there see what happens just don’t dance or desecrate her grave , but there is some thing to the tail of hunting’s in hell hollow ,
Steve saysJuly 2, 2013 at 9:40 am
More plausible: Dopey morons go to Hell Hollow with the juvenile notion that ghosts exist. They bring lots of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Cotton Candy flavored vodka. They sit around in the swampy woods there and get drunk and bitten by mosquitos. They scare themselves leave and convince the driver to drive faster on the very skinny roads down there. He crashes.
Because he was drunk.
Lauren saysNovember 28, 2020 at 8:37 am
steve with the sick burns.
Litza saysNovember 9, 2021 at 1:26 pm
Sadly to know that people made a since a bizarre story about a two old Little girl that passed away. Maybe they confused the story with the Native Americans, which died there. Either way, they should not vandalize anything so sacred.