Haunted Places in Boston: Not for the Faint of Heart
They say that Boston is home to the ghost of Samuel Adams, demonic gates, and witches - as well as the ax-wielding Lizzie Borden! If you like a good scare, visit these haunted Boston locations.
The future is built on the ghost of the past; history kneaded into its decrepit bones. Age and antiquity, the ravages of time, are a two sided sword. One face cuts your enemies with the wisdom granted to you by the passage of time while striking back with the sharp stings of tragic memories. Cities, like people, hold fast to this perilous weapon. They are forged with determination and constructed by ideals; each generation garnishing them with stronger alloys to strengthen their foundations. Still, they suffer - accumulating misfortunes, ill-deeds, and memories stacked like bodies.
Massachusetts, one of the original thirteen colonies, is such a place. From shadowy glades and stygian pine forests to America’s witchy capital, Salem, this state has amassed an army of darkness to rival any that Satan might employ. The region is drowned in a violent chronology, one that has spawned demons, wraiths, spectres, ghouls and a host of other creatures that go bump in the night. Massachusetts has a history christened in the blood and guts of the revolution, peppered with the vile taste of brutal moments in America’s story (the Boston Massacre, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Siege of Boston). It's a land mired in the fetid corpse of the Civil War and on its commonwealth, no place holds a greater difference for the damned than the birthplace of liberty: Boston.
So, sit back, turn on the lights and hold fast to your imagination lest it gets carried away. Sink into a recollection of the worst of the worst and the strangest of the strange. Sit by the campfire and let me earworm my way into your brain. Come with me for a look back at the hauntings of “The Cradle of Modern America.” Take a trip cemented in the now; one that harkens far back into the past, even before the landing on Plymouth Rock. The destination? Your most dreadful, blood curdling nightmares. Enjoy!
Lizzie Borden’s House
A notorious murderer’s blood-drenched abode. What's creepier than that?
In 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally slain - their deaths were gruesome and grizzly. The weapon of choice? A sharp ax. The Borden case became a nationwide cause celebre, and the prime suspect was 32-year-old Lizzie Borden (daughter of Andrew and step-daughter of Abby).
Lizzie, due to lack of evidence - back in those pre-CSI days, they had to find you standing over the corpse drenched in vile and guts - was acquitted. Nonetheless, to this day, her release is considered a travesty of justice. Theories regarding her motives abound, but some propose she committed the murders while in a fugue state, similar to temporary insanity. Others point to strains due to Andrew’s wealth, intense family drama and even suspicions of abuse and incest.
The only certainty is that for a few bucks, you can stay the night at the scene of the crime - the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast. Scan the darkened halls for the supposed ghosts of the tragic pair (who according to various eyewitnesses, reenact their bone-chilling murder every full moon). And when you awaken after a harrowing night’s sleep, enjoy a breakfast based on the foods Lizzie fed her parents on the fateful day of their slaughter.
Address: 230 2nd St, Fall River, MA 02721
Phone: (508) 675-7333
Boston Common is the oldest established city park in the United States. Originally outlined in 1634, this 50-acres of public grazing grounds has known a wealth of sinister tragedy.
During the war for independence, the Common, normally housing cows, became a makeshift camp for British soldiers. After terrible defeats, the Red Coats would regroup and tend to their wounded and dying inside a poor man's field hospital. The dead, of which there were many, were often shoved into a burial mound or torched. After the war, at the end of the 19th century, the Common became a public execution site.
Since then, the Common has accommodated numerous riots, lynchings, protests, and acts of random violence - each one spawning a vengeful spirit. Rumors of the sounds of chains and eerie wails by the central burying grounds abound, and some say that the bloody footprints of a soldier appear in an area known as "The Emerald Necklace." Perhaps the most famous apparition is the spirit of Ann Hibbins, accused of being a witch and hanged years before the Salem witch trials.
Address: 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 635-4505
Omni Parker House
Located on the Freedom Trail, the Omni Parker House is deemed so haunted that it has a list of resident ghosts on the front desk. The Omni Parke is rumored to have inspired author Stephen King to write his short story, "1408."
One infamous apparition is none other than John Wilkes Booth; the assassin stayed there eight days before heading to Ford's Theater in Washinton, D.C. to end the life of President Lincoln.
The supernatural hotspot of the Omni Parker House is the third floor - particularly room 303. The campfire story centers on the mysterious death of a businessman. Since the man's demise, raucous laughter can be heard in the hallways and rooms, and the smell of cigarettes wafts through the air. Many hotel guests claim to hear the sounds of "pigeons scratching" on their windows at night. Quick fact about pigeons: they don't fly or come out at night.
Address: School St, Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 227-8600
Standing on George’s Island in the middle of Boston Harbor, this bastion was completed a year before the onset of the Civil War; its canons defending the Union until the end of the Second World War. It has held spies, cutthroat pirates, Confederate prisoners of wars, and was the site of the famous “Trent Affair” (two British Diplomats were seized and restrained for carrying Confederate sympathizing mail which was aimed to elicit help from England’s Crown) during Lincoln’s stay in office.
Its most famous phantom is that of the "Woman in Black,” a supposed female spy, who dove to her death from the ramparts after unsuccessfully trying to free her turncoat husband from prison.
Address: Georges Island, Boston, MA 01208
Granary Burying Ground
Consider the Granary Burying Ground to be the Walk of Fame for Patriots. The third oldest cemetery in the city, and quite possibly the country, Granary is a "who’s who" of our fight for liberty. Housing the remains of such historical giants as Samuel Adams, John Phillips, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Crispus Attucks, Robert Treat Paine and the five victims of the Boston Massacre, this cemetery is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the United States.
Ghosts abound at Granary Burying Ground like swag at a Tupperware convention. The typical hearsay of the locals states: “if he's buried in there, then he's probably out and about when night comes.”
Address: Tremont St, Boston, MA 02108
Boylston Street Station
On a winter’s night in 1897, an incident of ghastly importance took place at Boylston Street Station - a gas explosion drove this heavily trafficked outpost into pandemonium. Over 30 people were injured, while 10 lost their lives to the searing pain of the flames. Their charred, mangled and suffering ghosts are said to roam the solitary hallways at night; dragging their ashen legs inside subway tunnels, pleading for some merciful angel to rescue them from this eternal hell.
Address: Corner of Boylston Street and Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108
Shelton Hall at Boston University
Constructed in 1923, the building was originally a Sheraton Hotel. For those of you who have a passing love for horror films, this fact alone should get your ghost radars beeping. Tales of murder, mayhem, suicide, fires, and mob hits were a dime a dozen while bellhops skipped down hallways.
In 1954, Boston University purchased the structure and instantly made it into a residence hall. Since that period, students have ran willy nilly in fright from this building. The classical fare of paranormal occurrences is oozing like ectoplasm from every brick in the place - elevators stopping without rhyme or reason on the fourth floor, temperatures fluctuating wildly, scratching sounds from inside the walls, and whispers emanating from empty rooms.
The most famous ghost at the Boston Sheraton Hotel is said to be the spirit of playwright Eugene O’Neill who died in room 401 and now haunts the fourth floor.
Address: 91 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02108
Cutler Majestic Theatre
Built in 1903, the Majestic Theater has housed all sort of actors as well as staged productions of musicals, dramas, classical operas and even a handful of penny dreadfuls.
The Majestic opened and closed its doors on numerous occasions; dozens of morbid scenes of human drama forcing its owner’s hand. Suicides, duels, murders, the occasional fire, general mayhem - nothing was off limits within these walls. The hotel was purchased and restored by Emerson College, and since then, guests have spotted unearthly lights dancing in the upper balconies, felt the presence of someone brushing past them, heard the shrills of women’s laughter and been privy to the melodies of an invisible orchestra.
The oddest happening? A row of theater seats never collect dust; the imprint of somebody forever plastered on its velvet skin. Perhaps it's a group of mischievous poltergeists, spirit-realm fans of the theater.
Address: 219 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 824-8000
Located in Leicester, only a stone's throw away from Boston proper, this quaint cemetery has all the hallmarks of a horror film. Known by locals as the Spider Cemetery on account of its eight gates, this old-time tombstone garden acts as a magnet for wandering spirits. Ghosts wander aimlessly through rows of the dead. Ghastly ghouls perch on top of their tombs. Whispers are spoken from the lips of the dammed. The occasional cold wind passes by from nowhere - all the hallmarks of a haunting.
The climax to all the spooky fandango? Remember those eight gates that inspired the cemetery’s nickname? Well, legend has it that a witch cursed the gates, placing demons to guard them - each evil presence more terrible than the next.
Address: Leicester, MA 01524
Taunton State Hospital
So far, we've covered battlefields, the house of a killer, a creepy hotel, a couple of cemeteries, and a train station - so what could we possibly be missing to round out this Clive Barker inspired article? A hospital…not just any hospital, but one that has the honor of being a lunatic asylum. In the ghost business, that's the equivalent of a jackpot.
Besides housing the mentally ill, this strange Hellmouth sported a gaggle of doctors who were rumored to lead a Satanic cult. Yahtzee!
Abandoned in 1975, it has been said that during the 1800s, the hospital staff performed twisted experiments and eldritch rituals in the basement. The patients in their care were the fodder for whatever they were summoning - sacrificial lambs for their perverted gods.
Unexplained manifestations of dark energy abound in this place. Witnesses claim that, and I quote, “a physical force would bar my way. I couldn't walk down the stairs at certain hours of the day. As if something repulsive and cold blocked me by the shoulders. I wanted to harm myself and others in those intervals.”
The icing on the cake: mysterious markings in the basement. Markings, mind you, that no amount of bleach has been able to wipe away. "They just keep coming back..."
Address: 60 Hodges Avenue, Taunton, MA 02780
Phone: (508) 977-3000
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