Who you gonna call? Just in time for Halloween our favorite local paranormal investigators, The New England Ghost Project, deliver a roundup of 13 haunted places.
By Ron Kolek & Maureen Wood
Hammond Castle, Gloucester, Mass.
Built in 1929, Hammond was the home of American Inventor John Hays Hammond Jr. The castle also served as his laboratory and housed his bizarre collection of Ro- man and medieval artifacts, which includ- ed ancient tombstones, the sarcophagus of a Roman child and a skull from one of Christopher Columbus’ crew members. John and his wife dabbled into the super- natural and with the help of a medium, held séances in an attempt to contact spirits. There were even some rumors that surfaced that spoke of experiments in necromancy — the raising of the dead. Hammond died in 1965 and now the castle is a museum with a life of its own. Disembodied voices and other eerie noises have been heard echoing through the castle’s walls. Unexplainable cold spots have sent chills up the spines of unsuspecting visitors, and some have reported seeing a ghost or two within the castle’s hall and corridors.
80 Hesperus Ave. | 978-283-2080 |hammondcastle.org
The Country Tavern, Nashua, N.H.
In 1741, the Country Tavern was the home of Elizabeth Ford, the wife of an English sea captain who was away at sea for months at a time. One day, after a ten-month journey, he returned home to find that his wife had a baby. Realizing that he couldn’t have been the father he flew into a fit of rage and mur- dered them both. He threw Elizabeth down the well and buried the baby beneath a tree. In the 1980s the house became a restaurant, but it seems Elizabeth has never left. Staff and guests have reported witnessing salt and pepper shakers, silverware and plates appear to move by unseen hands. Glasses and cups are tossed off the shelves, while doors open and close without human inter- vention. Elizabeth’s spirit has been viewed in an upstairs window. Those who have seen her describe a slender woman with white hair and wearing a long, white flowing dress.
452 Amherst St. | 603-889-5871 | countrytavern.org
Dungeon Rock, Lynn, Mass.
In 1658, a pirate ship arrived in Lynn Harbor with four passengers. They disembarked with a mysterious chest and headed up the Saugus River in a small boat. The local British troops intercepted them and captured three of the four men. The fourth man, named Thomas Veal, escaped with the treasure. The three captured men were hanged but the British were never able to find Veal. He went deep into Lynn Woods and found a cave in the rocks, where he survived by mending shoes for a living. Sometime later, an earthquake hit causing the entrance to the cave to collapse, killing Thomas. Two-hundred-years later, a spiritualist by the name of Hiram Marble reported that he had received a message from the ghost of Thomas Veal. Hiram purchased several acres of land around Dungeon Rock and moved his family there. With the aid of Veal’s ghost, he and his son began to search for the treasure. Both Hiram and his son Ed- win died, never finding the treasure. To this day, strange lights and bizarre noises have been witnessed by those visiting the rock.
Lynn Woods, 106 Pennybrook Road | flw.org
The Worthen House, Lowell, Mass.
The Worthen House was built in 1889 by John O’Donnell and is Lowell’s oldest tavern. The unique triangle shaped building has had many uses over the years, including a dry goods store and speakeasy. This local watering hole also has been frequented by some notable names, like Jack Kerouac and Edgar Allen Poe. Staff and regulars say some of the tavern’s former patrons and employees have returned to haunt it. This can be seen by the strange things that often occur there: like the heavy tequila bottle that is forever falling to the floor but never breaks, and the rocking chair in the attic that moves by itself. There is also a well-worn teddy bear that when placed on the rocking chair ends up sitting on the floor. When medium Maureen Wood investigated the tavern, she told the tale of a nine-year-old boy named Mathew who fell to his death from an open window, and who now calls the Worthen home. But who else has come to join him?
141 Worthen St. | 978-459-0300 | worthenhousecafe.com
The Windham Restaurant, Windham, N.H.
The sign over the door of the Windham Restaurant reads “Food & Spirits” and there appears to be more to that statement than meets the eye. The restaurant is located in an old house built around 1812 by the Dins- more family, but it is the more recent history that interests customers. Chairs and place settings seem to rearrange themselves. The sound of children’s footsteps echo through the second floor hall and the infamous ghost of a man wearing a blue suit has been seen from time to time. Blonde waitresses have reported having their jewelry removed by invisible hands and items often disappear with no rational explanation. Who are these ghosts? Several investigations point to a young boy named William and a very angry gentleman named Jacob who is rumored to have papers buried in the basement. The owners have learned to live with their phantom visitors, while customers often visit to get a taste of the “Food & Spirits.”
59 Range Road | 603-870-9270 | windhamrestaurant.com
America’s Stonehenge, Salem N.H.
America’s Stonehenge, located in Salem, N.H., has always been an unusual place. Originally known as Mystery Hill, the storied location has been a puzzle for centuries. Little is known as to who built it or what happened there. This maze of stonewalls and chambers is one of the oldest megalith sites in North America (4,000 years old). The site includes an altar, a working observatory, and an oracle chamber. But who built this site and why did they abandon it? Over the years, people have said red eyes can be seen lurking in the woods surrounding the structures. There have also been many reports by people walking in the woods who believed to have overheard the sound of drums and chanting in the night air, only to find no one else around.
105 Haverhill Road | 603-893-8300 | stonehengeusa.com
The Sprague Mansion, Cranston, R.I.
The stately Sprague Mansion is the home of the Cranston Historical Society. Since it has been opened to the public, it has been plagued by many unexplained phenomenon. Visitors to the mansion report the sound of footsteps on the vacant floor above them and some have reported seeing the translucent image of a man in period dress on the main staircase. Often, one will wander into a cold spot, so cold that they can see their own breath. The ghost is reported to be that of convicted murderer, John Gordon, who was found guilty of killing Amasa Sprague, the owner of the mansion in December 1843. Gordon was the last man executed in Rhode Island. But was he really guilty? Some believe it is Gordon’s restless spirit who wanders through the mansion, unable to rest until the truth can be found.
1351 Cranston St. | 401-944-9226 | cranstonhistoricalsociety.org
Lizzy Borden House, Fall River, Mass.
The Lizzy Borden home is infamous for the murders of Lizzy Borden’s father, Andrew, and her stepmother, Abby, who were both bludgeoned to death by an axe on August 4, 1982. Andrew, his face nearly unrecogniz- able, was found on a sofa in a sitting room. While Abby lay face down on the floor of her bedroom, her head nearly severed from 19 axe wounds. Lizzy reported finding her father’s body to the police and soon thereafter became the prime suspect in the crime. Yet one year later, in 1893, Lizzy was acquitted of all charges. To this day there has been no one charged with the crime. This macabre setting is now home to a bed and breakfast museum frequented by curious tourists. Those who visit report paranormal activ- ity. Guests have reported being awakened by hands dragging along their feet. Lights flicker. Unexplained voices have been heard. And sadly, it seems that both Abby’s father and her stepmother have yet to find the rest they so rightfully deserve, as guests often report seeing their ghostly apparition glide from room to room.
230 2nd St. | 508-675-7333 | lizzie-borden.com
The Joshua Ward House, Salem, Mass.
Built in 1784 for retired sea captain turned local merchant, Joshua Ward, the Ward house was built on land that was once owned by George Corwin, the High Sheriff of Essex County, Massachusetts. Corwin was the man responsible for signing warrants that led to the arrests and deaths of those accused in the Salem witch trials. Under Corwin’s watch, 19 men and women were executed. His last victim, Giles Corey, refused to admit to any wrongdoing. Determined to hear a confession, the sheriff ordered that Corey be crushed under the weight of heavy stones. Corey, with his dying breath, cursed Cor- win and all those who would later become sheriff. Coincidence or curse, at the age of 30, Corwin died of heart failure. His widow, fearing that Corwin’s remains would be vandalized, buried him within the basement of their home until he could have a proper burial. During the years since, there have been many reports of paranormal activity. One witness caught sight of a woman sitting in a chair with a gray dress and dark hair. When the witness looked again, the woman vanished. The spirit of a wrongly accused witch perhaps?
148 Washington St. | salemweb.com
Star Island on the Isle of Shoals, Rye, N.H.
First sighted and given its name by English explorer Capt. John Smith, the Isle of Shoals had originally been used for seasonal fishing camps by indigenous Americans. Settled in the 17th century by the Europeans, it soon became a sought after fishing location for the young British and French colonies. One of the islands making up the Isle of Shoals is none other than Star Island, home to Betty Moody’s cave. Legend has it that Betty Moody, a mother of two young girls, sought refuge during an Indian raid. In an attempt to silence the frantic screams of her girls, Betty clamped her hands tightly over her children’s mouths. So tightly in fact, that she suffocated them both. It’s said by many that just before a terrible storm descends upon the island, the mournful wails of Betty Moody can be heard echoing within its walls.
Concord Colonial Inn, Concord, Mass.
Rumor has it that the Inn is built on a Native American burial ground. The structure is comprised of three buildings and is located across from Monument Square in historic downtown Concord. The oldest of the three structures, built by Captain James Minot prior to 1716, stands to the left of the building. To the right, built in 1799, is the building Henry David Thoreau and his aunts once called home. The center building was used during the Revolutionary War to store weapons. In 1855, it became a boarding house, and in 1900 it became the Colonial Inn. An Inn that has increasingly become known throughout New England and the country as one of the most haunted hotels in Massachusetts, specifically room No. 24. While there are many curious guests lining up to sleep in this room, there are many, including some staff, who refuse to enter due to reports of shadowy apparitions, books flying off shelves, power surges and people being touched by unseen hands.
48 Monument Sq. | 978-369-9200 | concordscolonialinn.com
Tortilla Flats Restaurant, Merrimack, N.H.
This building, once comprised of two separate houses, was joined to create enough room to house what is now known as Tortilla Flats restaurant. During the Civil War, one of the structures provided a safe haven for fugitive slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. This building is so steeped in history it’s no surprise to the staff to have patrons nervously ask about the image of the woman they see reflected in the window. The New England Ghost Project, along with a German television show, investigated and recorded the strange goings on at Tortilla Flats. One waitress spoke of a thick black and oozy, tar-like substance that seemingly out of nowhere was streaked across the nape of her neck. She spoke of the unexplained voices of children that would often catch diners off guard. While others chimed in, “don’t forget to mention the objects that move of their own free will.” One woman, who hesitated at first, added that late at night, when the restaurant is empty and the staff is closing up, she just can’t escape “the feeling of being watched.”
595 Daniel Webster Hwy. | 603-262-1693 | tortillaflatnh.com
Houghton Mansion, North Adams, Mass.
Deep in the heart of the Berkshires, the mansion was once home to the former mayor of North Adams, Albert C. Houghton. One warm summer day in 1911, chauffer John Widders was driving the Houghton family to an outing. They were traveling down a narrow mountain road when they were suddenly forced to divert around a work crew. The Pierce-Arrow struck a soft shoulder, send- ing the automobile tumbling down the embankment. Sybil Hutton died at the scene. Mary Houghton, Albert’s daughter, succumbed to her injuries, never making the trip to the hospital. Both Albert Houghton and Widders escaped with minimal injuries. However, a few days later, John Widders took his own life. His body was found in the barn behind the mansion, a single bullet wound to the head. As for Albert, unable to bear the loss of his family, he is reported to have died of a broken heart a short time later. It’s be- lieved that the Masons who inherited the mansion got more than just a three-story Victorian in the deal. Footsteps, slamming doors, knocking in the walls, disembodied voices and being touched by invisible hands have all been reported by staff and guests.
172 Church St. | 413-329-0327 | houghtonmansionghosttours.org