Monday, February 10, 2014

Rhode Island’s Haunted Carousel

Crescent Park located in East Providence, in the Riverside section, was once known as the “Coney Island of New England.” 

People from all over would come to enjoy the games and rides at this amusement park which first opened in 1886.

The Crescent's goal was to provide family fun but despite this many felt this park actually had a very dark and sinister atmosphere.

One modern-day visitor to the park described how he felt by comparing it to the atmosphere that Ray Bradbury achieved in one of his popular stories. In his book Something Wicked This Way Comes, Bradbury has two young boys late one night in an amusement park being pursued by an unseen evil presence. This visitor stated this is how Crescent Park made him feel.

The Carousel

For years Crescent Park’s main attraction was the Looff Carousel. Charles Looff * built this ride in 1895. This carousel has 4 chariots and 62 wooden horses. It also features a classic large mechanized organ. But many find its calliope music very creepy.

The demise of Crescent Park started when its ballroom burnt down in the late 1960s. 

To the chagrin of some when the majority of the park closed down for good in 1979, a group of concerned citizens saved this merry-go-round and its creepy music from destruction.

The National Park Service designated this carousel a National Historic Landmark, and it has been fully restored. Visitors can still ride it for less than a dollar.

But it appears some of the dark atmosphere still lingers. 

Since the amusement park's closing, the carousel is run on a set schedule, but many witnesses have reported seeing the carousel's lights turn on, and hearing its machinery start when the park is locked up and the building the carousel is housed in is closed for the night.

They report that the calliope music they heard was the most disturbing part of their experience.

These witnesses also report seeing an apparition of a young woman during the time this carousel came alive of its own volition. They all state this woman looked sad as she stared into the lake at the park. No one seems to know the origin of this particular ghost.

* Charles l. D. Looff was the creator of the carousel ride--he was known for his carved horses--today they sell from $6,000 to $20,000 apiece. The carousel at Coney Island is one of his creations as well.

Here is a video of the Crescent Park carousel with its calliope music playing.

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