When it comes to seeing old houses in the United States of America, Salem, Massachusetts has an abundance of them. In this post, we are going to learn about the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion also known as the House of the Seven Gables. The home is immense in size and has been refurbished and preserved to its original state. It has a link to the American literary figure, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and through him a link to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Its history is long and storied and even holds some paranormal activity. Yay! Ghosts! My favourite.
The building of the House Seven Gables began in 1667 and was completed in 1668. The construction was overseen by John Turner, the owner of the property who was a sea captain and merchant. As the years went by the Turner family lived in the home as it passed down in the wills of three generations. John Turner II lived there after his father passed away and willed the home to his son John Turner III. The home was sold to Captain Samuel Ingersoll in 1782. When Captain Ingersoll passed away the home was inherited by his daughter Susannah. Susannah Ingersoll was a spinster and she and her mother, who was also named Susannah, lived in the home for many years.
Susannah Ingersoll adopted a child named Horace Connolly. Susannah Ingersoll’s ownership of the home led to its fame. Her cousin, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a novel that was published in 1851 entitled The House of the Seven Gables. Nathaniel had spent a lot of time visiting with Susannah and he knew the house well. Although Nathaniel Hawthorne’s best known literary work is The Scarlet Letter, many of his admirers have visited the home for many years. It is said that Henry Upton who bought the home from Horace Connolly used to offer tours of the home for 25 cents. Henry Upton’s daughter loved to paint pictures on fine china and she would sell her creations to people who toured the home. (gothichorrorstories.com)
In 1908 the house of the seven gables or the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion was bought by Caroline Emmerton. Emmerton worked alongside architect Joseph Everett Chandler to restore its 17th-century appearance as described in the Nathaniel Hawthorne novel. The home was large when John Turner had it built and his son and grandson each added to as the home became theirs. Emmerton was able to bring it all together in a cohesive style. She also began work on moving other historic Salem buildings to the area of the house.
The site includes the Retire Beckett House which was built around 1655 and moved in 1924 to prevent its destruction. The Hooper-Hathaway House that was built in 1682 was moved in 1911 to save it from demolition as well. The Counting House that was built in 1830 was moved to the site at an unknown time. Although Miss Emmerton passed away in 1942, the charity that she set up and ran made sure to acquire the Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace that was built in 1750 and to move it to the site in 1958.
The Seaside Garden that is next to The House of the Seven Gables was laid out in 1909 by the architect J.E. Chandler. It is set out in a Jacobean style and it still maintained through hand pruning and cultivation to this day. (7gables.org) Caroline Emmerton was a lifelong resident of Salem and a philanthropist. Her family was well-known for their charitable giving and she carried on that tradition. The House of the Seven Gables Settlement has operated for over 100 years and continues to help immigrants and children in Salem. Miss Emmerton was a believer in preserving the past and she did so in a wonderfully successful way while she was alive.
It is challenging to find stories about the paranormal activity that occurs at The House of Seven Gables site. The reason for that is said to be that the Settlement wants to concentrate on the education and preservation of the history of the site and not turn it into a tourist attraction for those seeking the paranormal. That does not mean that the ghosts aren’t there though. It has been reported that the electrical and plumbing systems seem to have a mind of their own, that lights and taps turn off and on by themselves on a regular basis. There are reports of shadows and full apparitions appearing before workers and guests before quickly disappearing. It is said that the ghost of a woman commonly believed to be Susannah Ingersol has been seen peering out windows. While reports have been made of a small boy playing in the attic, and the garden.
Wrap it Up
It is fine with me that the ghosts and other paranormal happenings are not public knowledge. I am a huge history nerd and would love nothing better than exploring a historic site and encountering some paranormal activity. Is there anything better?
We are adding The House of the Seven Gables Settlement to our bucket list of places to see before we die. Are you?
The Other Half