Boston Common

Posted on October 2, 2019

The City of Boston is a place filled to the brim with history. In fact, it was one of the major cities that played a major role in the inception of the United States. Prior to the Revolutionary War, the city was the site of some of the most notable events like the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the famous ride of Paul Revere warning the citizens of the city that the British were coming. Even today, the city is the sight of many tourist spots. One of them is a large, lush green park known as the Boston Common. Despite being a place where many visits, it might be the place where spirits have said to loom around at night. This place where people relax, walk their dogs and enjoy all kinds of activities carries a sordid story or two that can only be told in the history books. We will talk about the history of the park and how it somehow became the subject of hauntings and spiritual discoveries over the years.

About The Park

Source: [https://www.theboxerboston.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Boston-000060701660_Small.jpg]

Boston Common (or best known as The Common) is known to be the oldest park in the United States as it was established in 1634. The park covers 50 acres of land that stretches across Tremont Street and throughout other streets like Boylston Street, Park Street, Charles Street, and Beacon Street. One of the most notable parts of the common is the park itself that is situated on Tremont Street with the Massachusetts State House facing towards the park itself. One of the pieces of land that was part of the Common is now known as the Old Granary Burial Ground, one of the oldest cemeteries in the city. By 1662, the cemetery was no longer considered a part of the Common.

Prior to the Common becoming a park, it served as a grazing pasture for the cattle that were raised by Puritan settlers. Unfortunately, overgrazing tended to be the main issue as many of the wealthier Puritans would purchase more livestock. Cows would continue to graze, only to be limited by an amount of 70 per day. Grazing at the Common was banned in 1830 by then Mayor Harrison Gray Otis.

While the Commons served as a grazing site, it was also considered to be a place where public executions would frequently take place. One such execution took place in 1660 when a Quaker named Mary Dyer was hanged at the gallows for repeatedly breaking a law that was considered a grave violation against Puritans. This was only one of the four executions involving Quakers as part of their ongoing tensions with the Puritan citizens of Boston. The Common was a sight where the Boston martyrs were forever immortalized. The British would also use the gallows to execute those who violated their laws while they occupied the city. The last known execution to have occurred was in 1817.

The Commons was also the sight of a riot that occurred while the city suffered a food shortage. As many ships and warehouses were damaged, the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts at the time was injured in the riot. Once the grazing ban was in place, the Common would finally achieve park status. By that time, fences around the perimeter were erected.

Meanwhile, the Charles Street side of the Common was not in the best shape. It was being used as a dumping ground for garbage and other waste, making it unbearable for anyone passing through. Many citizens had complained about the smell among other things.

While the park had evolved and underwent various changes for a couple of centuries, the park still stands today and has become more of a gathering place for formal and informal events alike. A lot of concerts, protests, demonstrations, and many other events have occurred on the lush green grounds. Where there is plenty of space, there is always room for activities. However, the Commons for what it had for a past story, it also is a place where so many instances of paranormal activity can occur.

Ghosts In The Park?

Due to the fact that the Common served as a site for numerous executions for nearly 200 years (which also included the hanging of a dog), it comes as no surprise that many would discuss some paranormal activities or hear strange noises coming from the park. The spirits that may be lurking around may be of those who have been executed for what may have been egregious crimes in the eyes of the Puritans or the British that occupied the city. Either way, it is said that hauntings may have occurred here on a regular basis (typically at night).

In fact, among the handful of those executed here were known to be pirates that tended to cause trouble while on the High Seas. While the ghost of Blackbeard may not be walking about the Common, those insanely talked about “pirate ghosts” might very well be here in the oldest park in America. The spirits that roam the grounds are said to be those looking for justice and closure. Since many of them have been executed without the ability to defend themselves in what seemed to be “Kangaroo court” trials.

Among some of the common sightings were the spirits of two women wearing clothing from the early 19th century sitting on one of the park benches. Some have also reported seeing them walk arm and arm down the path. Other reports of shadowy figures and spirits moving around have also flown around for many years.

The Old Granary Burial Ground

Source: [https://www.thefreedomtrail.org/sites/default/files/styles/image_width__540/public/content/site/hero-image/dsc_0559.jpg?itok=B6BLVOSB]

At one point, the Old Granary Burial Ground was part of the Boston Common before it became its own separate place. However, this cemetery is also said to have quite a spiritual presence. Many of America’s earliest residents and forefathers were said to be interred here on the grounds including Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. One of the earlier burials of note was of a woman who was known as Mary Balston. She was married to a wealthy business owner named Issac Goose. It is because of this known connection that she may have been the person who had written the famous “Mother Goose” nursery rhymes. While there is no known verification that Mary Balston was indeed the real Mother Goose, there had been stories and urban legends that the fairy tale writer known to many children throughout generations was a resident and buried in Boston during the 1600s.

What really makes this burial ground stand out is the slate headstones that line up row by row. Some of them include markings of the Puritans like the soul effigy, the willow and urn, and a man with the likeness that can be only described as “Father Time”. As of today, more than 6,000 are said to be buried in the cemetery. There is no doubt that many spirits including those responsible for the formation of the United States may be frequent fixtures here. So the eerie feelings and random cold spots might be one of the regular occurrences that happen in America’s third-oldest cemetery.

Conclusion

The Boston Common was once larger than it is now. And at one point, it had one of the oldest cemeteries in America as part of its design. If you want to visit a place where you might find a few specters hanging around at night, there might be no better place than the Boston Common. Don’t be surprised if you feel chilled or spooked out by any noises or any presences that might be milling around. It’s probably someone still trying to figure out why they met their untimely and probably unwanted demise before their actual time ran out.

 

Sources:

https://www.ghostsandgravestones.com/boston/urban-legends

https://www.wheretraveler.com/boston/play/spend-day-investigating-haunted-places-boston

https://www.thefreedomtrail.org/trail-sites/granary-burying-ground