Front of the Mother Bailey House

She married veteran soldier Elijah Bailey in 1783.  About 1800 they went to the inn-keeping business on Thames Street below the fort.  There Ms. Baileys' hearty manner and outspoken ways made the tavern popular from the start.  The house still stands at the southwest corner of Thames and Broad street.


When (President) Madison declared war on England in 1812, she thought it was second only to July 4, 1776.  Her vigorous denunciation of the British attracted many in her inn.  When Decatur's Fleet scuttled into New London Harbor in June 1813, everyone believed the British would attack again.  The people fled to the backcountry.  Mrs. Bailey sent away from her household goods and prepared to follow.


Major Simeon Smith hastily manned Fort Griswold with his militia.  In need of cartridges and flannel for wadding, he sent a messenger down the hill for flannel, but the village was deserted.


The discouraged messenger met Ms. Bailey and told her of his need.  In a moment, she loosened her long flannel petticoat, stepped out of it, and presented it with a loud wish that the wadding would do its work well.  Amused, bystanders saluted the daring gesture, for in 1813 ladies did not admit to wearing petticoats, and much less remove them publicly.  The messenger carried his prize to the fort, where it was received with cheers.


Photograph taken by Public Works Employee

Paranormal Claims:

As an investigative team, we look into all claims at the location. At the Bailey Home, we had only one to work with. There was an account by two city employees working in the basement of the home, the former tavern. The two workers stated they witnessed an apparition of a male wearing colonial area clothes, also wearing a tri-point hat, which was common in colonial times. They playfully named him George.

TSPI Medium Emma Martinez

Team Sensitive/Medium Observations:

The team’s Medium/ Investigator, Emma Martinez did a walk through of the location. In an attempt to pick up on any impressions or a presence of a spirit. Prior to Emma’s arrival, she is not given any of the histories, claims of activity or anything else that could influence her impressions. During her walk, she reported a presence of an old woman. The old woman made it clear to her that this was her home and she ran things in the home. According to Emma, the woman though free to roam the premises tended to stay in an upstairs bedroom. Emma also, felt that her arm was hot, meaning that the woman was indicating a fire had occurred in the home. Another impression she received was the presence of two small children. Emma stated they were running around the house, during the investigation. Mostly in the area of the first floor. Though her impression was relevant in regards to a fire and an old woman. The children could not be validated through any evidence we recovered. She also was unable to pick up on anything to do with the male soldier in the home.


TSPI  Director Shamus Denniston at Base

Born Anna Warner on October 11, 1758, in Groton, Connecticut was orphaned at an early age and went to live with her kind grandmother Mills, on a farm at Candlewood Hill. There, she helped her uncle, Edward Mills, with the crops and animals.  She was unusually tall and strong for a girl.  When the Revolution began, she longed to fight the despised Tories. 

On September 6, 1781, when the British attacked Fort Griswold, her Uncle Edward, a corporal in the militia, hurried to the fort, leaving behind his wife, a young son, and a new born baby.  All day the sound of cannons reached Candlewood Hill and smoke rose from the battle and burning town.  By night the guns were silent, but Edward did not return, and there was no news.  At dawn, Anna rose, milked the cows, and without breakfast, began the three-mile hike to find her uncle.  She hurried barefoot down the lane to the highway (now Route 184) already crowded with worried relatives.  She found Edward lying mortally wounded at the Avery House, weak from the loss of blood and sinking fast.  He longed to see his family and begged his niece to bring them to him.  Anna hurried back to the farm, saddled the old horse, helped up the young wife and older child, and carrying the baby herself, returned to place the infant in the arms of the dying man.  After this, Anna Warner hated the British more than ever.

Anna Warner "Mother Bailey"

Though the British did not attack, word of Mother Bailey's impulsive gift spread over the country.  Newspapers hailed her as the war's greatest female patriot.  Later, a stream of celebrities knocked at her Groton door: President Monroe in 1817, Lafayette in 1824 and in 1833, President Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.  As her fame increased, visitors flocked to the tavern to hear the lively tale told from her own lips.  She was as good as a floor show, dancing about the room, singing patriotic tunes and railing the British."

On January 19, 1851, as Mother Bailey snoozed in an armchair near an open hearth, her clothes caught fire and she died within an hour at age 93.  Her only survivors were cousins, for her title of the mother was purely honorary.  However, her name is remembered by the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter, NSDAR.  In their monument house museum, is her portrait, showing a stern elderly lady wearing a demure white cap and collar. 

Mayor Galbraith,  TSPI Investigators Eamonn Denniston & Grant Kokernak

The Investigation:

The team set up their equipment throughout the location. We ran five static cameras in the location. The cameras were set up in order to give us the best chance of capturing something unusual. We pay close attention to the main hallways and rooms. If an apparition of abnormality was to manifest, it is common to find them in places that previous residents frequently used to move throughout the home. Special attention was given to the tavern area. Due to the claims of an apparition of a man was seen.

The teams were set up in pairs, in an attempt to spread out in the building. One team was on the second floor. While another in the basement area. The remaining members monitoring the cameras the base location, located on the first floor in the rear of the home. The vigils lasted anywhere from 25-45 minutes. After the first vigil, sound contamination was occurring. The other teams could hear each other. During the second vigil, this was remedied. One team was sent out of the building and silence was observed during audio recording. During the investigation, other equipment tools were utilized. One of which was EMF meters, measuring electrical fields at the location. They were used to establish a baseline reading for the building. The normal reading for the building was .0 milli- gauss. Anything that changed the reading above what was considered normal was investigated.

Ghost Box- Were You a Soldier? - TSPI
00:00 / 00:00
Ghost Box- How is George? - TSPI
00:00 / 00:00
Ghost Box- Are you here Anna? - TSPI
00:00 / 00:00
At Base
Eamonn Denniston Taking Pictures
Mayor Galbraith, Eamonn & Grant
Upstairs Hallway
Emma Martinez
Emma Martinez
Upstairs View of the Thames
Emma Martinez
Shamus Denniston at Base
Entrance to the Basement
Gazebo Chandelier
Eamonn Denniston
Eamonn Denniston
Back of the House
Photograph taken by Public Works
Emma Martinez
Shamus and Eamonn Denniston
Front of the House
Grant Kokernak
Emma Martinez

Investigators Observations:

There were very few incidents to report of. One personal experience occurred about 11 pm in the basement area. While in the presence of our chaperon, Tim and Investigator, Todd Radley and Director Shamus Denniston witnessed shadowy figure appear in the far south corner of the basement. It lasted a few moments and quickly disappeared back from which it came. Investigator's Stephanie Sutera and Eamonn Denniston also had similar experiences of shadowy activity while down in the basement during a separate vigil.


Although TSPI views the ghost box as an experimental piece of equipment and usually does not present the audio acquired from the device to our clients, but we were quite pleased with the results from a session while in the basement.  Director Shamus Denniston, Senior Investigator Todd Radley, and Tim a public works official that accompanied us for the night were present during this vigil. These clips all seem to respond intelligently and consistently possess similar voices. There were many questions asked during that time. One of the selections includes Shamus inquiring about the petticoat story, but mistakenly uses the term cannon fodder instead of wadding which is answered with an amusing reply.


While recording an EVP session on the second floor of the building Shamus caught what sounds like a female voice's moan several seconds after asking " Are you willing to communicate with us?"



Ghost Box- How many? - TSPI
00:00 / 00:00
Ghost Box- I Have Something in my Hand - TSPI
00:00 / 00:00
Ghost Box- The Same Voice - TSPI
00:00 / 00:00
Ghost Box- I've Come to Hear Your Story - TSPI
00:00 / 00:00
EVP- Moan at :13 - TSPI
00:00 / 00:00
Ghost Box- Peticoat and the Cannon Fodder?? - TSPI
00:00 / 00:00


It is the opinion of TSPI that the property is “Spiritually Active”. The spirits at the location appear to demonstrate intelligence. This conclusion was reached after receiving direct answers to our questions. In this case, like many locations we have investigated on the Groton Bank, history has played a part in this haunting. We believe that the location was once used as tavern and inn made it important location during the revolution and post-war. It is well documented in our paranormal research that places such as inns and taverns tend to keep an imprint on them. Another factor weighing in is the fact that Mother Bailey passed away in the home an hour after she caught herself on fire. Incidents like having been burned must have been a traumatic event and can leave an imprint or trap energy of that event long after it’s concluded. All things considered, the location appears to be paranormally active.

View of the Thames River from The Mother Bailey House