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  • Writer's pictureolivia perreault

Holy Land — The Story Behind The Eerie Sight

Have you ever drove along I-84 and wondered about the three white crosses, overlooking the interstate late at night? You're not alone. For as long as I can remember, I'd pass by the sight and simply overlook it, not giving it much thought. Until I thought - why not look deeper?

Waterbury, Connecticut is known for its hills. To get to Holy Land, you have to drive up a few steep, narrow streets, winding up to the top of the city. Finally, you're led to a dead-end with tall, metal gates. Further up the slope are three archways reading "Holy Land," "Jerusalem," and "Bethlehem."

The site is incredibly eerie - filled with remains of a former "amusement park" from the '50s. When it was first opened to the public in 1955, Holy Land was created to represent different aspects of Jerusalem and Bethlehem of the Biblical era, including a chapel, catacombs, and Israelite villages.

While Waterbury attorney John Baptist Greco had spearheaded the creation of Holy Land with good spiritual intent, it now looks desolate. After its closing in 1984, the park was completely vandalized. The once-standing Israelite villages now look crushed and knocked-over, while the grounds are unkept - overflowing with weeds. Without knowing any sort of backstory, the site felt creepy for sure, but also provokes a sense of wonder.

A newly-erected illuminated stainless steel cross sits on the very top of the hill, reaching one of the highest points in Waterbury. The 65-foot cross overlooks the highway and sits adjacent to the three significant crosses on the other side of the grounds. Barbed wire encompasses the cross, warding-off any future vandalizations, but adds a further mysterious-feel to the grounds.

After wandering the premises, I descended down the hill and came across the "Holy Land USA" sign. While it was once illuminated, it now looks like its color has been stripped. Parts of the sign are peeling-off, showcasing the overall state of the former religious area.

While the site definitely held weird vibes, I didn't necessarily get a "haunted" feeling. Nonetheless, Holy Land was home to the murder of a young woman in 2010. It's definitely not an abandoned location I'd necessarily want to visit alone at night, but is certainly an interesting place to explore.

Scare factor: 👻 👻 (2/5 ghosts)

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