In contrast with the other statues displayed in the niches around the building, this statue is not carved in the high Victorian realism that statues of other greats such as Gideon Welles or John Haynes are. The Grasso statue looks like a childish work in comparison, lacking realism or detail in its cartoonishness, appearing almost to be sculpted of white Play-Doh.
And yet, a legendary curse attends this sculpture, and induces hand-wringing and anxiety among those in the know. Since the completion of the Legislative Office Building in 1988, the statue has stood over the entrance most used by staff and legislators traversing between the LOB and the capitol. After 9/11, this entrance is one of only two that remain open. Grasso is holding a book awkwardly in one hand, and gesturing with what appears to be a karate chop with the other, her skirts billowing out.
It is said that if you dare to look up Ella Grasso's skirt as you walk into the Capitol, a sinister fate will befall you!
Legend tells that former State Treasurer Paul Sylvester scoffed at the legend. We know what happened to him. It is also rumored that former Governor John Rowland respected the curse, yet having just won a third term, he could no longer contain his curiousity. He looked! And his administration was doomed.
Supposedly, former State Senator Ernest Newton ALWAYS took every opportunity to look up Grasso's skirt. In fact, supposedly there was a day he walked arm in arm with Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim into the capitol, and made a point out of showing Ganim Grasso's uninspiring underpinnings. Both are now in Fort Dix!
State Representative Jefferson Davis, convicted of sexually assaulting his foster son never did look. But it is said that he was extremely interested in the Reverend Thomas Hooker statue.
Others have looked, and suffered lesser fates than prison. Some legislators have lost elections, and some have suffered great public humiliation. I have it on good authority that, as he made his way to the Capitol on the final day of session, House Speaker Jim Amann could not help himself. He took a peek...
Fate may consider itself tempted.