The Top 20 Most Haunted Places in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is known to be home to some of the most haunted places in the United States. From houses to churches to restaurants, nothing seems to be safe. Tales of terror lurk around every corner.
This is largely due to the horrible Salem Witch Trials that took place from 1692 to 1693. The innocent lives lost there will forever mar the beautiful state. Over the years, the sightings of ghosts only seem to have grown.
Today, it is a hotspot for those who are interested in the paranormal. Investigations are often carried out in Massachusetts thanks to the dark history surrounding it. Do you have the courage to read and learn all about it? If you think you know the complete history of Massachusetts, you may be surprised at what you find.
20. Gallows Hill
Gallows Hill is known as the area chosen to hang those who were tried and convicted in the infamous Salem Witch Trials. For the longest time, few knew of the exact location of Gallows Hill. In fact, only recently was it confirmed. The stand-in area was totally wrong.
The Long-Lost Diary
Local historians scoured through old records to learn of the true Gallows Hill. When an old diary was found within one of the original houses near the Salem Witch hangings, the truth finally came to light.
Within this diary was a handwritten account of the day the hangings took place. Peering from the window of the home, the diary owner made notes of the events. They watched in horror as 19 innocent people were executed.
It is at the tree where they were hung that is now established as Gallows Hill. And this seems to make much more sense now. For years, locals had seen and heard some truly odd happenings. Dark apparitions lurking about. Shrieks and wailing coming out of nowhere. If true, then it is indeed the lost spirits of those 19 victims.
19. Haunted Derby District
Made up of the waterfront area that encompasses downtown Salem, the Derby District is known for its troubled past.
Celebrating Too Soon
Years ago, boys were kidnapped and forced to do hard labor on the sea. If that wasn’t bad enough, after the Salem Witch Trials, many residents took up drinking and partying as way to celebrated the ‘cleansed’ land.
It is said that you can hear the moans and yelling of pirate ghosts who used to work around the port. Many tourists have laid claim to seeing pirate apparitions, as well. Perhaps these are the ghosts of the kidnapped boys who grew to be pirates in their later years.
18. Bunghole Liquors
Silly names aside, Bunghole Liquors is the home of what used to be a funeral home. This parlor even had secret tunnels that ran underneath it. These tunnels were used to transport alcohol back and forth during the Prohibition.
Workers at the liquor store claim to have heard disembodied voices wandering through the store. A female’s voice is heard the most often, along with a cat meowing. When employees go to investigate, there is no one in sight. Not a single person or animal.
Many claim that you can still hear old funeral home people wandering around in the tunnels. Still trying to get drunk on the moonshine they boosted while avoiding the law.
17. Cinema Salem
Locals and tourists may find it to be a great way to unwind, but the Cinema Salem is home to more than just movies.
Lights, Camera, Ghost?
Those who work at the cinema can attest to that. They say that ghosts regularly haunt the building. As far as the identity of the spirits, that’s still unknown. But the sightings were so rampant that paranormal investigators and psychics were brought it to have a look.
Employees have witnessed a man in black sitting in theater 3. He is seen wearing Victorian era clothing, with a top hat and coattails. Whoever he is, it would seem he is still in search of a good time.
Over the course of nearly two centuries in operation, many prisoners bit the proverbial dust due to the jail’s abysmal conditions alone. And it is said that the jailhouse was built over an old dungeon that once held witches and the like. Many rumors persist that apparitions have long been encountered within the jail’s walls, such as a wandering guard carrying a clipboard.
16. In a Pig’s Eye
After Salem’s Witch Trials ended of 1693, businesses popped up left and right. The townspeople wanted to forget about the horror that befell their quaint little city. Thinking they could drink their sorrows away, taverns and bars were all the rage.
One Drink Too Many
One such location was known as ‘In a Pig’s Eye’. This pub served sailors and captains who were docked at the port. This area soon turned to prostitution because of all the action they were seeing.
People soon came up missing and Salem was on the cusp of another mess of problems. To this day, tourists and locals claim they can hear pirates yelling. There have even been sightings of ghost ships coming into the port at night!
15. Proctor’s Ledge
For many years, poor record-keeping has caused many to argue the exact location of the Salem Witch Trial hangings. What records were available were deemed too difficult to properly interpret.
Thankfully, through the diligent research of Salem’s local historical society, it’s now safe to say that Proctor’s Ledge served as the execution site for many of the accused. The accursed grounds are located just between the streets of Pope and Proctor.
Sadly, hangings weren’t the only atrocities to take place here. Many of the corpses never got a proper burial; they were dumped around the surrounding area, as it was considered dangerous to touch the body of a witch.
14. The Hoosac Tunnel
Still active today, the Hoosac Tunnel is a nearly 5-mile railroad tunnel that is located in western Massachusetts. Beginning its construction in 1851, this railroad ended up costing nearly $21 million.
It saw its completion in 1875 and remained the world’s second-longest tunnel, right behind the French Alps Mont Cenis Tunnel. The building of the Hoosac Tunnel didn’t go as planned, however. It is home to tragedy and mourning.
A Bad Layout
Due to the nature of planning back then, communication isn’t what it is today. Things didn’t work as they were intended to, resulting in a grand total of over 220 lives lost at the hands of the Hoosac Tunnel.
During construction, 190 people died. After the tunnel was opened, 30 more lost their lives in strange and bizarre ways. Even miners died inside years later after an explosion went off.
With such a staggering number of deaths, it’s no wonder the place is heavily haunted. To this day, people say they hear agonizing screams, floating lanterns, and ghostly figures.
13. Fort Warren
As the story goes, way back in 1862, Mrs. Melanie Lanier traveled from South Carolina to Fort Warren. She was on a mission to save her husband who was being held captive there. Being a Confederate Soldier, the locals were quick to lock him up.
Not knowing what they would do to him, she promptly devised a cunning plan to sneak herself into the prison in which Mr. Lanier was being held. She got in, busted her husband out, even letting other prisoners free in the process.
An Unlucky Shot
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after that Melanie and the others were discovered. Melanie was smart to have brought a weapon with her. But things didn’t go as planned. The old gun backfired right in her hands. A large piece of shrapnel flew toward her husband and struck him in the head.
Melanie was executed not long after. To this day, folks say you can hear all kinds of ghostly sounds coming from the area. Many have spotted an apparition roaming around wearing a black hood. The very thing Melanie was hung in.
12. Salem’s First Church
Now known as Rockafellas Restaurant, this building was once the home to Salem’s First Church. It is built over ancient tunnels that were common in Salem’s darker days, with sordid stories of love and murder making up this landmark’s dark and evil history.
A Sea of Despair
It’s a rather strange story, but legend tells of a young lady named Sarah who was in line to marry a sailor. Unbeknownst to Sarah, an older sea captain loved her.
When he found out that she was going to get married, he was filled with jealousy and rage and killed poor Sarah. Allegedly, the sea captain struck her with a plank, killing her in the alleyway alongside the First Church.
Needing help to dispose of the body, the captain got the help of the church’s minister. He went along with the plan for whatever reason and got rid of the body for the captain. Maybe he owed him a favor.
Whatever the reason, he later killed himself over what he had done. Today, Sarah is said to regularly haunt the very grounds on which she was murdered.
11. The Lyceum Hall
Most people know that Lyceum Hall is where Alexander Graham Bell made the world’s first long-distance phone call. But it has a much darker history that makes it one of Massachusetts’ most haunted locations.
Now known as Turner’s Seafood, Lyceum Hall was built in 1830 and was used to house lectures and seminars. Not only did Bell speak there often, but John Quincy Adams and Ralph Waldo Emerson did, as well. So famous were they for their lectures, they would often pack out the building when they spoke.
Many people believe that Bridget Bishop haunts the grounds regularly. Although others argue that it is the spirit of another one of the hanged witches during the trials.
One Angry Spirit
Whoever it is, employees and visitors have seen her wandering the halls. Those who work there claim to have witnessed the sight of poltergeists throwing stock off of shelves, while others claimed to have been touched or even shoved, by invisible forces.
When a ghost is able to cause physical harm to a person, you’re dealing with much more than a spirit. This is a poltergeist. Only they are able to move objects and touch you. What poltergeist this could be, though, is up for debate.
Some think it could be one of the judges who were responsible for killing the innocent people who were tried and executed during the Salem Witch Trials. Others think it could be one of the sheriffs. Whoever it is, they are not the type you want to confront.
They have been known to inflict some serious pain on anyone who gets in their way. It would seem they are still not satisfied with the harm they did so long ago.
10. Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub
Murphy’s Pub is a popular joint in downtown Salem that attracted many patrons over the years. Murphy’s is located just down the road from the Old Burying Point Cemetery.
A Freak Accident
Murphy’s has quite the odd history behind it. It all stemmed from an awful automobile accident many years ago when the casket of a young child was said to have crashed through the building’s exterior.
This happened when a hearse was driving too fast and lost control. It’s said that when it crashed into the building, the coffin it was carrying flew out and into the pub. The child that was inside went tumbling out, as well. It was a horrific sight that those who witnessed would just as soon forget.
There is also the rumor that the building was constructed on top of an old burying site. With dark history like this, it’s no wonder so many who visited the pub claimed that it was haunted. Many nights, apparitions would make their presence known.
One such was that of a large black figure that would often torment women. Why it seems to be drawn to women is still up for debate. But it was said to be so powerful that it could knock serving trays right out of the hands of waitresses!
There were also reports of a young lady who wore a blue dress. She was said to be much kinder and would often laugh when customers were carrying on conversation. Her true identity is unknown, but many think she is one of the executed witches who died during the Salem Witch Trials.
9. Bridgewater Triangle
Similar to how the Bermuda Triangle allegedly works, the Bridgewater Triangle is said to contain its own eerie tales. Located in southeastern Massachusetts, this 200-square mile area is said to be the home of a large, black, dog-like beast. Several UFOs have reportedly been seen here, as well.
Something is Afoot
To make matters even more bizarre than they already are, townsfolk even claim to have spotted Bigfoot within the Bridgewater Triangle. But it doesn’t stop there! There have been many sightings of a ghostly hitchhiker that wanders around, too.
So strange are the events that have taken place within the Triangle that the television channel FX will soon be releasing a series based around them. If the history of this area is enough to warrant a TV show, you know it has to be pretty creepy.
8. The Houghton Mansion
North Adams is home to many haunted locales. But perhaps the most well-known is that of the Houghton Mansion. It was built in 1890 by North Adams’ former mayor, Albert Houghton. Houghton lived in the home for many years before tragically meeting his demise.
In 1914, Albert invested in the family’s first car, a Pierce-Arrow touring car that was capable of hauling around up to seven people. This luxurious car didn’t last long, however. On the first day of August, Albert, his daughter Mary, and the family chauffeur took a drive to test its metal.
A Tragic Turn
Several friends accompanied Houghton on what was supposed to be a leisurely ride. Along the way, the chauffeur attempted to make his way along some unfinished road. Blistering by at 12 miles an hour, the car tipped over and tumbled down an embankment.
Poor little Mary dies in the hospital, while Albert was taken home. He was thought to survive his injuries, but died in his bed 10 days later. To make the haunted history of the mansion worse, the chauffeur later shot himself, sick from the guilt.
It is for this reason that those who visit the Houghton Mansion claim to hear footsteps and voices. Lights are known to flicker inexplicably, loud banging will strike the walls, and dark shadows lurk around corners. It’s truly a frightening experience. But if you’re one who enjoys such things, tours are offered every year.
7. The Hawthorne Hotel
The Hawthorne Hotel is one of the most famous hotels in the country. It’s named after the famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne. This is because he spent so much time in the hotel writing his works and studying.
Salem’s Chamber of Commerce and its Rotary Club are the ones responsible for the building of the hotel. Built in 1925, the hotel also features a statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne to honor all the famous works he had published and for being the inspiration to the hotel.
Many famous people have graced the hotel’s doors. Celebrities and politicians like Johnny Cash, Liza Minnelli, Bette Davis, and former president George Bush.
Even the cast from the 1970s sitcom “Bewitched” stayed at the Hawthorne. They lodged there when they were filming at the hotel, as it was featured in one of its episodes.
The hotel was built on top of an old apple orchard that once belonged to Bridget Bishop. She was one of the ‘witches’ who was tried and executed during the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
It is due to this that many guests today claim to smell apples wafting through the hotel’s hallways. Others say they feel strange sensations, like hands touching their shoulders or whispers in their ears.
6. Hockomock Swamp
The Native Americans said spirits dwell within Hockomock Swamp. Even the Puritans referred to it as the ‘Devil’s Swamp’. What was once an ancient burial site, Hockomock Swamp is known by locals to be extremely haunted.
Hockomock Swamp is said to be the home of giant turtles the size of small cars. Even unworldly snakes have been spotted here. But perhaps strangest of all is the tale of a mysterious man living here who is said to possess magical abilities.
Paranormal investigators have visited the swamp and claim to feel as if they are being watched. Could it be the giant turtles or the magician? Either way, it’s not anywhere you want to be alone, that’s for sure.
5. King’s Chapel Burial Ground
Founded by Sir Isaac Johnson in 1630, King’s Chapel is one of the oldest burial sites in all of Boston. So ancient is the cemetery that some of Boston’s earliest residents are laid to rest here. In fact, those who fought in the Revolutionary War are buried at King’s Chapel, as well.
A Fatal Error
Why is it haunted, you ask? Well, history tells of a man actually being buried alive in King’s Chapel. If that wasn’t bad enough, another story recounts gravediggers digging a grave incorrectly for a woman. They hadn’t dug long enough, and so instead of fixing their error, they decided it would be easier to simply cut off her head.
Those who visit the cemetery at night say it feels like someone is watching you. It is believed that lost spirits are constantly wandering about the grounds. Many grave markers were actually moved back in the early 1800s, so it makes sense that the dead feel lost.
4. The Joshua Ward House
The Joshua Ward House has quite the evil history surrounding it. Many of those who were accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials lived here. With everyone in the town looking to get rid of them, the residents of this home were often tormented.
One such person to do so was that of Sheriff George Corwin. He had a reputation for being downright cruel to those he thought were practicing the dark arts. He would often enter the Joshua Ward house and torture the accused until they confessed.
After confessing, they would be hauled off to be executed. Most of the time, his methods were so harsh that he left his victims no other choice but to confess. It’s hard to say just how many were actually guilty.
But when you look at history, the 19 who were tried and convicted were later ruled to be innocent. If that’s anything to go by, it’s safe to assume the poor people he tortured were likely innocent, as well.
It’s interesting to note that Corwin later died in the very building in which he hurt so many people. Today, folks say he haunts the home. Turnabout is fair play, it would seem. Yes, it looks like George got what was coming to him.
Now, he is cursed to haunt the home, forever trapped inside its walls. One of Corwin’s earliest victims, Giles Corey, is also believed to haunt the Joshua Ward house. If so, maybe he is there just to torment George for all eternity.
3. Lizzie Borden’s House
Located in Fall River, Massachusetts, this eerie residence is where Lizzie Borden was alleged to have violently murdered her father and mother-in-law back in 1892. Although the evidence suggesting she was guilty was insurmountable, Borden was acquitted of all charges.
If she was innocent, the events that have taken place within the home since then would say otherwise. Those who have spent the night in the now-bed-and-breakfast say it is a truly harrowing experience.
The current owners of the residence surely don’t do anything to help matters, either. Gruesome pictures from the murder scene are placed around the abode, making for an awfully frightening night. You’ve got to have some wits about you to spend the night here. Strangely enough, Lizzie’s old bedroom is the most-requested room of them all!
2. SK Pierce Mansion
In Gardner, Massachusetts sits one of the state’s most notably-haunted houses. So much so that any time the house is up for sale, realtors have a hard time closing a deal. Maybe it has something to do with the Masonic rituals that once took place within.
Breaking the Bank
The Pierce family was once powerful and rich. But when the Great Depression hit, they were affected like everyone else. They lost their family fortune and fell on hard times. Murders and deaths have occurred in the mansion over the years, resulting in countless sightings of floating orbs, spirits, and disembodied voices.
Guests have witnessed first-hand accounts of objects moving on their own and doors slamming shut. Why anyone would want to own the house begs suspicion. It’s interesting to note that the total square-footage of the mansion is 6,661. If ever there were a case for demonic activity, the SK Pierce Mansion is it.
If you’re feeling brave, haunted tours are offered that take you through the abode. So often do strange happenings occur within that the tour company has a disclaimer warning of your safety. Many who have experienced the tour have vowed to never return.
1. Ropes Mansion
Ropes Mansion is thought to be the most haunted place in all of Salem. The history behind this location is anything cheerful.
In the early days of Salem, tuberculosis was wreaking havoc far and wide. One such family to be hit with the disease was the Ropes. When the parents of young Abigail and Elizabeth died, the two young girls were left to take care of themselves.
Abigail would later marry, but Elizabeth did not. As fate would have it, Elizabeth got tuberculosis, too. This left Abigail as the only person left in the family to care for her poor afflicted sister.
A Cursed Family
Not long after, Elizabeth would succumb to the disease. This absolutely crushed Abigail. The sudden death of the last of her family drove her to insanity. She would spend the rest of her life locked away inside the family mansion.
Sadly, Abigail would meet a tragic end. One night, as she was tending to the fireplace, her clothes caught on fire. With her husband being so used to hearing her scream in despair, he paid no mind to hearing her yell in the agony of being on fire.
She died as a result of this, and it is for these reasons that the Ropes Mansion is now haunted. Those who have visited the home say they can still hear yelling and screaming. Doors will open and slam shut, and loud thuds can be heard along the walls.
It is unknown which Ropes member is haunting the mansion. Perhaps all of them. None have been seen clearly. Only dark apparitions wander the halls and peek through windows at onlookers. Whoever it is, there is no doubt as to why they are forever tormented to live in the old home.
The mansion is now open to the public. It remains a draw to those who hope to catch a glimpse of one of the Ropes family members.