The Ghost is Inn

Norwich Inn is home to 'Lady in White Dress'

Gretchen Dwyer has yet to encounter the female spirit that is said to haunt the Norwich Inn on Main Street in Norwich.

And Dwyer, the historic inn's front desk host for the past five years, is pefectly fine with that.

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Though seeing would be believing. Over the years Dwyer says she's heard only stories about the former Prohibition-era innkeeper known as "Ma Walker," who reportedly haunts room 20 on the second floor.

The stairwell is said to be one of the main haunts of Ma Walker, the Norwich Inn's former innkeeper.

Most people know the ghostly apparition as the "lady in the white dress."

"I haven't seen her, but I know people who have. And I don't want to see her," Dwyer says jokingly, but with a little tension in her voice. "I don't know, and I don't want to find out."

Built in 1797, the 16-room inn is an architectural jewel in Norwich -- a town boasting a long colonial history and an idyllic, Norman Rockwell-esque center.

The Norwich Inn is a nice place to come and sit a spell -- and enjoy a few spirits.

The inn burned in 1889 but was eventually restored and later purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Walker, who continued to operate the inn through Prohibition until the late 1930s.

After Ma Walker passed away employees and guests of the inn began to report strange sightings of a woman in a white dress standing on the elegant stairwell.

The stately lobby is yet another purported haunt of former inkeeper Ma Walker.

Other guests have reported bizarre happenings in room 20, like running faucets, a chair rocking, window shades moving up and down and doors opening and closing on their own, or disembodied footsteps in the hallway.

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The ghostly activity in room 20 is believed to be Ma Walker keeping an eye on things.

Dwyer says it's not only room 20 that's managed to raise the hair and eyebrows of a few inn guests. Several adjacent rooms are also said to be haunted.

Dwyer recalled one guest who "ran up to my desk" claiming she had been awakened by a lady in a white dress "standing next to her bed, staring at her."

"That freaked her out," Dwyer said.

The stories do "add a little flavor" to the inn's reputation, Dwyer adds. However, "I've never had to [reassign] anybody from room 20 because of that story. When I say yes [to the inn being haunted], we feel it was much more active years ago."

Does this mean Ma Walker has finally passed on?

Not a chance.

Dwyer said there is still the occasional sighting. The inn also receives phone inquiries from paranormal investigators. 


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