JOHNSONVILLE, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Haunted houses are popular this time of year, but what about going to an actual ghost town?
Just two hours from New York City, there’s a village waiting for visitors and as CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported, if you like what you see, it could be all yours for the right price.
When night falls, Johnsonville, Connecticut, isn’t for the faint of heart; the ghost town has a population of zero.
Traces of a once vibrant village are still around. But its private waterfall, 52 acres of land and 15-acre pond, along with more than a dozen buildings, sit abandoned.
“I think it could handle 200 people,” said Walter Golec, who celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary there.
The 86-year-old has lived next door to the village his whole life.
A 1965 newspaper clipping shows Golec’s father working at the Neptune Twine and Cord Mill, once the heart of the community. However, a fire shut it down in 1972 and instead of reopening it, the eccentric owner changed direction.
“He cultivated it into his own village,” broker Jim Kelly said.
The owner bought buildings all over New England and moved them to the village, including a vintage barn from Maine, tiny chapel from Waterford, meeting house and an 1858 general store — opening it all up to the public.
He closed it all in 1994 after a fight with the neighboring town.
Two decades later, they’re going through an auction process.
Kelly is trying to sell it. The Opening bid is $800,000.
“You would hope the buyer would restore the Victorian village to its natural state,” Kelly said.
But some people like Johnsonville just the way it is, even though no one lives or works there.
It’s a popular destination precisely because it’s a ghost town.
Rose Porto, among many paranormal investigators to visit, are attracted by the town’s rich history.
“There’s lots of energy still around,” Porto said, “you could feel, like, eyes upon us.”
Golec doesn’t believe in ghosts, but he is haunted by memories of a different time.
“It’s been standing idle long enough,” he said. “I would like to see it come back to life.”
A hotel developer bought the property in 200 but never did anything with it.
The two-day auction begins Wednesday, just in time for Halloween.
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