HOLY LAND U.S.A.
DATE(S) VISITED: OCT 31, 2021
LOCATION: WATERBURY, CT
A place such as this is most certain to have some folklore and creepy stories surrounding it. People have been known to become trapped, and unable to find their way out. Voices can be heard after sun set, and there have even been a few deaths within the grounds.
The most disturbing death took place here in 2011, when a sixteen year old girl by the name of Chloe Ottman was raped and killed at the foot of the 50 foot tall cross at the hands of 20 year old Francisco Cruz. Cruz pleaded guilty of murder and was sentenced to 55 years in prison for the crime.
On our way back from ParaCon (whilst also dressed as Mulder and Skully from the X-Files) Team H decided to conduct a little investigation as we explored the grounds to see if any residual energy has been left here from it's chequered past, or current day religious aspects.
Holy Land USA is an 18-acre theme park which was begun in 1956 by Catholic activist John Greco. Greco lived on the site of Pine Hill and spent his free time, with the help of volunteers, to build more than 100 buildings recreating Jerusalem and Bethlehem to tell the stories of selected passages from the Bible. It consists of a chapel, stations of the cross, and replicas of catacombs and Israelite villages constructed from plywood, cinder blocks, chicken wire, bathtubs, and other discards.
The park once attracted over 40,000 visitors every year to the Waterbury area but it soon fell victim to neglect and abandonment in the 1980's due to Greco's health declining. In 1984 it closed for good and 2 years later Greco died. Upon his death in 1986, having found no one willing to maintain the park, Greco left the property to an order of nuns known as the Religious Teachers Filippini.
CONDITION(S) OF LOCATION:
Despite volunteers trying to revitalize the property, the theme park is in an extreme state of disrepair due to the elements and vandalism taking it's toll.
The main trails around the park were easily accessible, although the smaller ones leading through some of the displays were overgrown with vegetation.
What makes this site conspicuous, and a local landmark is the cross and Hollywood mimicked sign that overlooks Interstate 84. The original cross that once stood here no longer exists but was replaced with a much larger cross that internally lights up at night.
WEATHER CONDITIONS FOR BECKET, MA:
Sun Rise (Next Day)
Waning Crescent (22.4%)
2:04 A.M. (E)
9:08 A.M. (60°)
4:00 P.M. (W)
Mean Sea Level Pressure
Mean Dew Point
Total Precipitation (Rain and/or melted snow reported during the day)
Snow Depth (Last report for the day if reported more than once)
Mean Wind Speed
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed
Maximum Wind Gust
INVESTIGATORS & PEOPLE PRESENT AT INVESTIGATION:
Elizabeth (Team H)
Matt (Team H)
EQUIPMENT USED BY INVESTIGATORS:
Go-Pro Hero 7
Ovilus (Ghost Hunting Tools)
REPORT & FINDINGS:
The main source of our findings were coming through the Ovilus and a lot of words relating to our surroundings were certainly being thrown at us, mainly ones to do with the building materials and disrepair of the park. Also some disturbing words were coming through when we asked about Chloe Ottman, mainly when we were by the cross where the tragic incident took place.
<- Click to expand [Matt's Ovilus Word List: Holy Land U.S.A.]
We also used the Tascam recording device to try and see if we could get any EVP's, but due to the surrounding noise of the area it was hard to isolate anything concrete.
Holy Land U.S.A. certainly has a creepy factor due to the dilapidated grounds and the fact that a murder took place here, but as for being haunted it's hard to say.
The stories of people getting lost within the park are a little strange as being so high up it's easy to get your bearings from landmarks of the surrounding area. Also the stories of people hearing voices can also be debunked. The park is on top of a very large hill and what we found is that sound from the surrounding area travels so easily on the wind. We heard people playing music and voices from the houses, business's, and factories below. Also the noise from the traffic is pretty loud and constant from I84 which runs really close-by.
We shall put Holy Land on our return too list and come armed with more tools and devices to gather more evidence. All in all, it was well worth the visit to this theme park and see a little piece of eccentric history.
For more photo's of our visit to Holy Land U.S.A. head over to our Facebook page.