Posted 16 February 2005 - 06:21 PM
Hannah Cranna,the Wicked Witch of Monroe
ACCORDING TO LOCAL tradition, Hannah Cranna did not earn much of a reputation as a witch while her husband, Captain Joseph Hovey, was alive. Even as plain Mrs. Hovey, though, she may not have been on very good terms with her neighbors, because very soon after her husband's death, the rumors began circulating that she had some sort of hand in it. What happened was this: one fine evening, while in the prime of life, Capt. Hovey had gone out for a walk, from which he never returned. For some unexplainable reason, he had apparently become disoriented or lost his way in an area which he had known all his life, and ended up toppling over a cliff. As searchers brought in his body the next day, several of them mumbled that Hannah Cranna (just when Mrs. Hovey assumed this strangely witch-like name is uncertain) must have placed Hovey under some sort of spell. Otherwise, they said, he never would have taken the plunge.
Hannah did little to discourage this sort of talk and, if we can believe the many stories that still circulate among the people of Monroe and vicinity, perhaps even stimulated the belief in her supernatural powers. For example, having already built a heavy reputation for cursing neighbors who failed to keep her well-supplied with free food and firewood (and doing very well by the gimmick, thank you), she chanced one day to stroll past a farmhouse where some freshly-baked pies sat cooling on the kitchen window-ledges. Hannah marched up to the door and asked the farmer's wife for one of the pies. Having recognized her visitor and recalled her reputation for casting effective spells if crossed, the housewife chose a small pie and offered it to her. "No way," said Hannah. "I want that one," she shrilled, pointing to the largest pie on the shelf. At that, the brave baker put her foot down. "That's my husband's favorite kind," she stated, firmly, "and you shall not have it." Hannah Cranna turned on her heels and stomped out the door, fire in her eye and a curse on her lips. Let us hope the farmer enjoyed his pie, because his good wife, somehow, was never able to bake another one.
Then there was the case of Hannah's forbidden trout brook. Unlike all the other fishing waters in the area, the stream which ran through the widow Hovey's property on Cutler's Farm Road (or maybe it was Turkey Roost Road) in Monroe had been declared off-limits for fishing by the owner. Since the creek was known to contain bank-to-bank "brookies," however, one brave sportsman finally decided to risk Hannah's wrath for just one shot at landing some of these beauties. Unfortunately, she caught him in the act and laid upon him a curse which not even the fisherman's prayer could disarm. Later, they say, he had to find another hobby, for that angler never caught another fish.
Possessed of a touch like that, the temptation was to flaunt it. And that Hannah Cranna did, to the point where people began to seek her out for favors. But Hannah was a hard case. She absolutely refused to cast spells on request unless the supplicant professed complete faith in her and her powers. But, if someone were willing to express such homage, she could work unbelievable magic. Once, for example, a farmer came to the wicked witch to seek her assistance in saving his withered and dying crops. Desperate for an end to the killing drought, the farmer willingly laid his soul at her feet in exchange for Hannah's intercession with the rain gods. "You got it," she promised, "before daybreak." Promptly at midnight, the first rain in weeks began falling.
In her later years, Hannah Cranna was attended by a pet rooster named "Old Boreas." Neighbors claimed that Boreas always crowed precisely at midnight with such uncanny accuracy that they set their clocks by his call. They said, however, that the wonder rooster's death hastened the end for his owner. After Boreas crowed his last, Hannah held an impressive candlelight burial service and then went into deep mourning for her late companion. A few days after burying her feathered friend, Hannah informed a neighbor who had come by to comfort her that she, too, was about to die. She then began to give the startled man explicit instructions about her own burial. "The coffin must be carried by hand to the graveyard," she insisted, "and I must not be buried before sundown." She died the next day.
Although her neighbors were inclined to carry out her wishes, a heavy snow storm began the day she died, and by the time it ended, the snow was too deep to permit hand-carrying Hannah's body to the cemetery. Instead, the mourners strapped her onto a sturdy, horse-drawn sled. But as the sled pulled away from her house and started up the hill to the graveyard, the straps must have somehow come loose, for, lo and behold, the casket fell off the rear of the sled and slid all the way down the hill to her doorstep! Fearing a similar accident, the attendants next secured the plain, board coffin to the sled with heavy chains. To make doubly sure there would be no more slip ups (or downs), several men -- braced against the elements with considerable "anti-freeze" -- sat on top of the coffin. This time, the sled had scarcely started to move before Hannah's casket began to shudder and shake so violently that the men were thrown to the ground. If the horses had not halted, the chains probably would have snapped from the strain.
The mourners decided at this point to carry out her original instructions, though the way was almost impassable on foot. And, luckily, by the time the bearers made it to the cemetery, the sun had gone down. Congratulating themselves on finally getting the old witch under ground, the funeral procession moved slowly back through the snow after the burial services, too slowly, as it turned out, to save Hannah Cranna's home. As they reached the top of the hill overlooking the departed sorceress' house, the empty bungalow burst into flames. It burned out of control until nothing was left but a smoking cellar-hole, fit monument, no doubt, to the wonder-working woman whose simple stone in the Stepney Town Cemetery reads: HANNAH CRANNA, 1783-1859-60 WIFE OF CAPTAIN JOSEPH HOVEY
Posted 16 February 2005 - 06:55 PM
Posted 16 February 2005 - 07:11 PM
Here is a paranormal site on Connecticut.. I tried to cut out the information on Hannah but it would not allow it. If you go half way down the page it will talk about MONROE and hannah (there is also a bit of information on Gunntown the place I m always posting picture of. just under monroe look for Naugatuck)
(last site I promise.. It is from the town historical society.)
Posted 20 February 2005 - 01:02 PM
Posted 01 September 2005 - 11:53 PM
how many more posts till i hit the next level????????????
Can anyone tell me???
Posted 02 September 2005 - 06:34 AM
Posted 02 September 2005 - 09:13 AM
I'm gonna go to all the sites everyone posted to read more about her. The picture is great. Can't wait to see more!
Posted 02 September 2005 - 02:50 PM
Posted 06 September 2005 - 07:31 PM
Posted 15 September 2005 - 11:33 PM
As far as for the death date, I believe they did not creat accurate records during the winter months. Since she had no surviving relatives in the town, no one payed close attention to the actual deathdate. They only knew she died during the winter of 1859-1860. Due to the extreme weather the grave marker would not be made and placed until the Spring so they could place it in softer ground and they would have to spend less time in the harsher elements planting a gravestone. I believe this was a common practice back then.
Posted 24 September 2005 - 07:03 PM
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