The real story behind Franklin’s cursed apple tree

New London

FRANKLIN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a centuries-old, small-town legend. It’s the story of apple farmer Micah Rood.

Legend has it, a peddler passing through the town of Franklin stopped at his orchard and was never seen again.

The tale dates back to the 1700s, when Franklin, one of Connecticut’s smallest towns, was still part of Norwich and known as West Farms.

“After that peddler disappeared, people started noticing the apples had blood red spots on the center,” said Matt Novosad, collections manager at Ashbel Woodward Museum and a lifelong resident of Franklin. “People thought he must have murdered the man and buried him in the orchard and that’s why we have those blood spots on these apples.”

The story — and those apples — remained, generation after generation

“These trees were growing in town well through the 1800s,” said Novosad.

The legend of Rood’s apples was even mentioned in a Hartford Courant article from 1894.

There are so many versions of this legend but what we do know is that Rood and his family really lived on Meetinghouse Hill and the apples from their orchard had that blood red spot.

One of the grimmest versions of the story was depicted in a short film made right here in Connecticut — an ending where Rood takes his own life after the guilt of his crimes.

“In reality Micah Rood did not hang himself,” said Novosad, “he lived out the rest of his days in town and passed away in 1628.”

The truth is, there may be no truth to the tales that have spread through Franklin for generations — except the name Micah Rood and those blood red apples.

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