It’s stories like this that keep residents coming back to the Lantern Light Graveyard Walk in Norwich each year.
The eighth annual walk took place Sunday night. About 200 people attended the guided tour, which started at the First Congregational Church and included the Norwichtown Green and the old burial grounds nearby.
“I think this helps people appreciate the depth of the history of this area,” said Norwich historian Dale Plummer, who has been guiding this tour since it began in 2001.
Other tour guides were Dr. Faye Ringel of Norwich, a teacher at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy for 25 years; David Oat, a local historian and genealogist; and Donna Kent, ghost hunter and founder of cosmicsociety.com.
The crowd heard a number of historical stories. One near and dear to Norwich was about Samuel Huntington, the first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation — the country’s first president, according to some. Huntington signed the Declaration of Independence, was once governor of Connecticut, and is buried in the grounds the tour traveled over.
Benedict Arnold, born on Washington Street in Norwich, was the subject of many stories. According to lore, he is still around in spirit. His mother, Hannah Waterman Arnold, still has a gravestone in the burial grounds. His father and younger brother also are buried there, but their gravestones have been destroyed by vandals through the years.
Listening intently, tour attendees snapped photos left and right, in hopes of capturing images of spirits at the burial grounds. Many believe they did.
“I talked to about 15 people tonight who showed me photos with orbs,” Donna Kent said.
Kent, who has been ghost hunting professionally for 15 years and is the author of “Ghost Stories and Legends of Eastern Connecticut,” also said she saw glowing streams of light in photos taken on the tour.
One of the shutterbugs was Jacquie Barbarossa, who works at the Norwich tourism office. She was pleased to see the number of people interested in the event.
“You get to hear the folklore of Norwich,” she said.
Sue Hass, 61, of Colchester attended the tour for the first time this year.
“I thought it was fascinating,” she said. “My daughter has attended this a few times.”
Plummer, although a skeptic to the spirits of the afterworld, was happy to see so many local residents gathering for the event.
“Whatever brings people together is great,” he said.