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Gardner Lake's Ghostly Piano

By Thomas D'Agostino

New England is full of strange stories and people. There is always an interesting legend or tale of someone or something of the more eccentric type around every turn. This next account is no exception. It is a true story that resonates to this day, not only in the telling of the tale, but in the supernatural reverberations of music as well.

Gardner Lake, situated on the border between Bozrah, Montville, and Salem in southeastern Connecticut, is home to Gardner Lake State Park which is located on the lake’s south shore in the Town of Salem. The lake is a beautiful scenic body of water with an average depth of fourteen feet, but run be as deep as forty-plus feet in certain areas.

In February of 1895, a local grocer by the name of Thomas LeCount bought a parcel of land on the opposite side of the lake directly across from where he presently resided. He decided that he would move his family to that piece of property, as it was much nicer than where he lived at the time. He also decided to move the house but rather than dismantling and rebuilding it, he waited until the ice was thick enough to support the edifice. Yes, his plan was to slide the home across the lake to the new portion of land he had just acquired.

The home was lifted and dropped on sleds with oxen yokes attached. The oxen began to pull the sled with the family home toward the south side of the lake. The venture went pretty smooth for a while, but the day waned quickly and before he could get to the other side, the home slid into a large snowdrift on the ice. He decided to leave the house for the night and tackle the problem in the light of morning. In the meantime, mill operators, unaware that the house was resting on the ice, drained some of the water from the pond for powering their enterprises. This caused the house to crack through the ice, pitching it at a steep angle.

The home could not be moved and everything that could be carried out of it was taken. There it sat until spring when the thaw caused it to sink in about fifteen feet of water. For years the second story and attic remained above water. People fished from it, investigated it and even skated through it in the winter. Over time, the house sank, becoming completely submerged under water.

Many of the large items, such as furniture, stoves, and an upright piano could not be removed and sank with the home. Now, years after the building has settled into its watery home, divers have attested that the house and its contents are still in a remarkable state of preservation, especially the upright piano that is still leaning in its original place against the parlor wall.

The instrument seems to be possessed by something no one, even divers cannot explain. Fishermen and others who have ventured out near the vicinity of the sunken house have heard the eerie echoes of soft piano music filling their ears. The muffled music breaks the tranquil silence but does not come from the shore, rather from below them. Deep below. No one has ever been able to explain how or why the piano plays. Many fishermen or recreational boaters have returned from the area of the house, scratching their head in astonishment, relating the sudden occurrence of faint piano music that sounded like it was emanating from below them where the house rests all but quietly at the bottom of the lake.

Take a visit to Gardner Lake and listen for yourself. If you are an experienced scuba diver, you may want to venture down into the house and perhaps catch a glimpse of the instrument or discover who may be tickling the ivory of the sunken ghostly piano.