Adkins Hardware – Home of the Elemental
When I got my first ghost story about Adkins Hardware in Berlin, I headed right to see this place for myself and start collecting facts. I took several photos but was underwhelmed. The empty lot across from the hardware story was allegedly home to an “elemental” or non-human spirit that had presented itself to an informant … and lots of teenagers who wanted to scare themselves.
I was scoping out sites for the Berlin Ghost Walk and I wasn’t sure this vacant lot was going to make the cut. It wasn’t much – not in the daylight anyway.
More Ghost Stories Surface
But then I got a second ghost story about Adkins – this one about the actual store. An attorney friend of mine who grew up in Berlin said that the owner of his childhood home committed suicide down at Adkins Hardware back in the 1930s. He and his brother used to think that Mr. Collins haunted their closet, but then were told by his parents that Mr. Collins didn’t die in the house.
So I headed back out to Adkins Hardware to see if there were any strange goings on that might be traced to the troubled spirit of Mr. Collins. That’s when I found a third ghost story.
When I told the guys at Adkins Hardware that I was writing a ghost tour and had heard there might be a ghost at the Hardware store, I fully expected them to give me the “you’re a freak” look.
They didn’t. In fact, they all went silent.
The Haunted Hardware Store
The guys at the Adkins Hardware asked me to elaborate. .. tell them more. What did I mean – about unexplained events or strange occurrences?
It turns out that there WERE strange goings on in the Hardware store, but the workers there figured it was the spirit of Mr. Hudson who once ran the store. One day Mr. Hudson went home for lunch and he dropped dead of a heart attack. A very sudden death like that sometimes leaves spirits feeling they have unfinished business, and there return to familiar locations.
The men at Adkins Hardware said they hear what sounds like a customer in the aisles of the store (which aren’t visible from the from the front counter). This happens when they know there aren’t any customers or workers in those aisles, and of course… when they investigate, there’s no one there.
One Adkins worker told me that he was sitting at the counter one day and he heard something fall in one of the aisles – a loud noise, like a box of nails falling and scattering. Upon investigation, there was nothing amiss. Just empty aisles. Everyone figures it’s Mr. Hudson, sorting things out – putting them in order as he always did.
It turns out that Mr. Collins couldn’t have committed suicide in the store because the store building isn’t that old. The old store was located on the tracks near where the elemental haunts. But there was a mill and other buildings just south of the Hardware Store, which is another possible location of the suicide.
The Elton Richardson Clock
Just as I was about to leave the hardware store, the owner told me another story. His grandfather (Roland Powell) who owned and ran the store in previous years, received a beautiful handmade clock from a friend named Elton Richardson. Mr. Powell kept the clock in his office. The day Elton died that clock stopped – it stopped at the approximate time of Elton’s death, and the front face cover popped open. Mr. Powell never recalled the face cover ever being opened.
So there. We had the unrestful spirit of Mr. Collins (maybe), an elemental (weak story), but a good story about Mr. Hudson, and the Elton Richardson clock, so Adkins Hardware was placed on the tour.
The first night that I led the Berlin Ghost Walk, I approached Adkins Hardware in the dark. I told the story of Mr. Collins, Mr. Hudson and the Elton Richardson clock, and then I moved them toward the vacant lot where the elemental has been seen, remembering how underwhelmed I was by this site in the daylight.
As soon as I looked into that dark vacant space, an overwhelming sense of foreboding hit me. I am rarely scared on my own tours, but this place was creepy. The lot at nighttime had a much different energy. A black energy.
The story of the elemental was relayed to me by a man who lives in Worcester County who was visiting his girlfriend in Berlin. They had heard that there was some spiritual or paranormal activity in that lot. So they went and sat in front of it in their car on night after dark. The man said that as he was pointing his camera at the lot, he saw a shadow coming toward him. At first he thought it was a person and then it grew bigger and bigger… coming toward the car. They left in a hurry, but he went back several times. His girlfriend won’t even walk past the lot.
Just as I finished the story a guest held up his iPhone and snapped a shot in the dark. Then he said to the group, “See. There it is.”
What he captured in his photo was a black shadow in the center of the image with the outside of the spot illuminated with the flash. Then there was a thin streak of light through the center which could have been a reflection of some kind. I found the photo image odd because when you shoot into the dark with a flash, the center of the image is usually illuminated – not the edges. There was something in the center.
Many guests on our tours have gotten strange images both at the store and at the vacant lot. Is it the elemental? Is it the spirit of Mr. Collins? We’ll never know for sure. What we do know is that the area around Adkins Hardware is rich with spiritual activity. The energy, especially at night, is electrifying.
The Adkins Hardware Store is a stop on Berlin Ghost Walk. Register for an upcoming walk to see it up close.