Dotting western New England and eastern New York’s forests are thousands of enigmatic buildings referred to as the Stone Chambers. Paid little attention to by mainstream academia, these omnipresent structures appear to have been a part of the landscape for at least as long as humans have lived in the region. Despite hand wavings by local historians that they are all colonial root cellars, there has never been a shred of evidence to pinpoint who built them, when, or for what.
No Native American tribes have ever claimed ownership and no data exists to support any of the wild speculation alternative historical researchers often make about their origins. No artifacts, no markings, no signs of habitation, nothing but uniform construction and precision gives away their artificial nature.
A small body of folklore and anecdotes has sprung up around the structures to fill the vacuum of verifiable information:
- In May of 1988, Frank Muelin and his son spent a weekend fishing and camping in Fahnestock State Park, Dutchess County NY. On the second evening of their trip, the two decided to set up their tent next to a chamber.
When Mr. Meulin awoke the next morning, his son, Terrance, was missing. He spent hours searching himself before he finally contacted local authorities. No sign of the boy was found in the surrounding area and teams combing the entire length of the park found nothing.
The only piece of evidence ever discovered baffled police. Inside the chamber were a set of prints belonging Mr. Meulin’s son. It appeared as though the boy had taken four or five steps into the chamber sometime during the night, then stopped.
What unsettled investigators was not just that no prints heading out of the chamber were found, but that a set of large, unidentifiable tracks were discovered starting from the back wall and meeting Terrance’s. One completely overlaid the boy’s last step. The strange “footprints” were never positively identified and no proper explanation was ever given for them. Terrance Meulin is still missing.
- Many counties and municipalities have made it illegal to destroy or modify the Chambers. These laws appear to have never passed for any historical preservation reasons. Most have been on the books for hundreds of years and often explain themselves as ensuring the safety of the local populace from “outside harm”.
- Many have reported severe vertigo and disorientation when spending extended periods inside a chamber. Some claim to feel “Eyes upon their back” when facing away from an entrance.
- A legend originating near the Lake Champlain region, usually set in the 1920’s, tells of a woman who used a “stone cellar” on her property to store canned goods. One summer morning she went out to get a jar of jam and found she could not exit the chamber once she had entered. Some invisible force blocked her way. She panicked and soon fainted. When she awoke, she found she could leave. Outside, snow covered the ground and her house was missing. The trees are said to have looked “very wrong”.
When she wandered down a wooded trail where her street should have been, she saw dozens of stone chambers lining the path. From inside them came horrible gnashing sounds. Scared out of her wits, she ran back to the chamber she had awoken in and huddled inside until she passed out from exhaustion. She was found by her husband some interminable time later. She asked him how long she’d been gone. He explained with both relief and confusion that no one had seen her in 2 years and he had planned to tear down the “cellar” because it reminded him of her disappearance.
- No copies of the only serious text ever written about the chambers, “An Analysis of The Stone Cellars of New England” exist today. Only a few mentions in some historical quarterlies and a single quotation in a Massachusetts newspaper are all that’s left. Written by an anonymous author in 1919, the book was apparently a dense, academic piece describing a number of physical and mathematical properties expressed in the chamber’s architecture which related to “Æther Physics”.
The final section of the tome postulated that the chambers acted as “conduits” for “æther energy” and could be tuned to view “the outside”. These would appear to be the reasons the book garnered negative attention from the academic world at the time, as Einsteinian Physics was coming into vogue.
- The word "returning" is often associated with the chambers, though the origin of this connection has never been discovered.
Despite the strange, ominous stories surrounding the Stone Chambers, those who have lived around them for generations seem to, for the most part, ignore them. When reminded of the chamber’s lore, locals of the region will often dismiss the stories as superstitious nonsense.
You will be hard pressed, though, to find someone willing to spend a night alone in one.