Dudley Road: Highway to Hell or Urban Legend?
by Ron Kolek
Several nuns from a local nunnery were discovered practicing witchcraft. Without a trial they were hung on a nearby tree. The house where they practiced their craft began to slowly sink into the earth.
Late one night an inmate from an insane asylum escaped his captors and fled into the woods. A short time later he broke into a nearby nunnery and unleashed a night of horrifying carnage raping and killing several of the nuns.
One of the nuns from a local nunnery after becoming pregnant by a priest, committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree across from the nunnery.
In the darkness of the evening as a nun was waking down the road, she is hit by a car hurling her body into a tree and today if you take a picture of the tree, you can still see her face in it.
All these stories are all about one cursed place, Dudley Road in Billerica, Massachusetts.
Can so many stories about a single place be true?
I had to find out.
My first investigation of Dudley Road took place several years ago. Bob Corey (a former member of the NEGP) was the first to tell me about the legend of Dudley Road. One day Bob, his wife Gay, and I decided to “check it out”. We were able to find it with very little difficulty. The road itself, changes from a narrow two lane paved street to a very narrow country lane. Low branches from nearby trees sometimes hit your car as you drive through the narrow spots in the road, which I’m sure on a dark spooky night would tend to add an air of creepiness to your travel. The area is sparsely populated in places and includes newer homes, older homes, and a couple of farms. Once we arrived, we searched and searched for any remnants of the insane asylum, but we couldn’t find any.
We did, however, find the nunnery, well sort of. The building that was reported to be a nunnery was actually a retreat house and was not abandoned as legend told us. Across from “the nunnery” was an old eerie looking tree. This was the legendary “hanging tree”? We exited the vehicle. Gay took out her camera and took several pictures. I scanned the area with my EMF meter, but to no avail. After several minutes of quiet with the exception of the occasional car going by, we decided to call it quits. Our investigation of Dudley Road revealed little evidence of a haunting; however Gay did take an interesting photo. Is this the face of the dead nun in the hanging tree or just a trick of the mind?
Fast forward several years later. After reading about it in a newly published book, I decide to revisit Dudley Road with Maureen. She had never heard of Dudley Road or the haunting, so I was interested in seeing what she would “pick up”.
We chitchatted as I followed Norie, the sexy English voice on my new GPS unit. We were also recording as we drove for another Ghost Chronicles podcast. Once again I was able to find Dudley Road without much difficulty. As we drove down the wooded country road my EMF meter remained silent while Maureen began to perceive wisps of energy. It was strongest by the “nunnery” where we decided to stop and attempt to make contact. Using her pendulum to connect with the energy now swirling around our car, we began asking questions.
Maureen’s pendulum swung to and fro in response to our queries. She also began to sense spirits as they revealed bits and pieces to her. A nun, a hanging, witchcraft, it all unfolded like some spectral soap opera. A sh**-eaten grin erupted on my face. She knew something was up, but she didn’t know what? I told her she hit on all of the legends associated with the road. Was Maureen verifying the truth of them? Since they were based on little fact, I doubt it. Was she reading my mind? (That’s a scary thought and certainly a place she wouldn’t want to go). I really don’t think so. Then what was this all about?
We began to explore beneath the surface of her “visions”. Deep in the shadows were the lies. We both felt that the events were not true, but rather an attempt by who or whatever was there to deceive us. Telling us what we wanted to hear, spinning a web of prefabricated misinformation, but why? Was it to hide their true identity or to feed on the hysteria generated by the legend? I wanted to know more. As we began to peel away the layers of the deceit, the spirits resistance became stronger and stronger until we could proceed no more. The twisted reality that we had touched was no longer accessible to our probe. We ended our attempts and decided to call it a night.
So are the legends of Dudley Road true? With no historical data to back them up, I would say no. Is Dudley Road haunted? There is something there. Something old and dark, but without further investigation, Dudley Road will continue to draw ghost hunters and those of a curious nature.
For directions to Dudley Road and an interesting blog on it (including the photo of the house that is sinking into the earth go to: http://www.strangeusa.com/ViewLocation.aspx?locationid=4808