By Thomas D’Agostino
The Natchaug River boasts beautiful scenery and natural wonders as it flows along its 17.9-mile stretch through Windham and Tolland Counties in eastern Connecticut. There are many areas to hike, swim, or picnic along the river but one particular area is steeped in legend and haunts. This area is known as Diana’s Pool in the town of Chaplin.
The pool is 15 feet deep in places and resembles a small pond. Rock ledges making it a popular swimming hole for the locals surrounding it, although swimming is prohibited. The water enters the pool via a series of waterfalls and several trails allow hikers to view the area from above.
There are at least three versions as to how the pool gained its moniker. Long ago a woman named Diana lived in the area along the river. She fell in love with a man to whom she promised her hand in marriage. Time went on and he began to feel less attracted to her.
Her queries as to his lackluster attitude toward her were met with several excuses, none of them very convincing. It was soon discovered that the man had also promised his heart to another and was preparing to elope with the other woman. Poor Diana became distraught over her being spurned by the man she truly loved. By the light of a full moon, she came to the edge of the pool. Looking over the ledge into the freezing water, she leapt to her death. Another version states that she sat along the edge of the river crying over her lost love. When she rose to leave, she slipped on her tears that had frozen over on the rocky edge, thus falling in the river and drowning.
Either way, when the moon is full, you can hear Diana’s soft weeping pervading over the pool in lament of the man who broke her heart long ago. To this day the rocks remain slippery so proper caution should be taken when visiting the area.
If you decide to take a venture out to the pool during the daylight hours, you may see some other interesting pieces of history. Just north of the pool is a series of ruins left from the early mills of the area.
Also along the banks of the Natchaug are large boulders called “Thunder Rocks.” According to legend, the large boulder sitting on top of a ledge was used as a signal to other Indians. The Indians would use a long log to lift and drop the boulder. This created a loud “boom” sound like thunder that would alert other Indians in the area of impending danger.
There is another version of the story that states the pool was named after the Diana family who owned the pool and ran a concession stand there in the 1800s, but we all would rather believe the first two versions to be the reason why it is named Diana’s Pool. After all, they do make for a better legend.
Tom D’Agostino is the author of Haunted Massachusetts, Haunted Vermont, and many other books about paranormal acitivity in New England. He lives in Connecticut.