Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States of America. The first white man to settle in the area was a reverend named William Blackstone (also spelled Blaxton) in 1623. When the Puritans arrived in the area in 1630 Reverend Blackstone invited them to settle where he had in the area now known as Beacon Hill. The Puritans named the settlement Boston after their hometown in England and it is said that Boston was founded on September 7, 1630. Not only does the area have a Puritan history but Boston was also the birthplace of the American Revolution (1763-1783) which included the Revolutionary War that took place between 1775 and 1783. (historyofmassachusetts.org)
With such a long history of European settlement, it is not surprising to learn that there are many ghost stories and urban legends regarding Boston.
When you want to learn more about the history and storied past of Boston, taking a Boston Ghost Tour is an educational and entertaining thing to do. You will get to visit and learn about:
-the history of notorious Bostonians including Albert DeSalvo (a mass murderer) and Jane Toppan (a serial killer)
-Copp’s Hill Burying Ground where Cotton Mather, a man who is famous for his involvement with the Salem Witch Trials, is buried.
-The Old Granary where American patriots Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and the five victims of the Boston Massacre that occurred on March 5, 1770, are buried.
Your tour guide may be dressed as a 17th-century gravedigger that may just let you in on the “tricks of the trade.” You will learn the stories that go with the notorious ghosts that still wander their favourite spots in Boston. We believe that the Boston Ghosts and Gravestones Tour is well worth your time and your money.
In this post we are looking into the halls of another abandoned asylum in America. This one was known as the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum(a.k.a. TALA) located in Weston, West Virginia. This particular asylum was built in the mid- 1800’s to house the mentally ill.
History of TALA
The contruction of TALA began in 1858 and took until 1881 to complete. Originally designed to house 250 patients it opened to patients in 1864 and by 1880 it housed 717 patients. By 1950 TALA housed 2,400 patients and included those suffering from epilepsy, alcoholism, drug addiction, and non-educable mental defectives. With the limited knowledge, resources, and empathy of the time, some patients were kept locked in cages. (the-line-up.com)
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum has stone walls that are 2.5 feet thick. It is America’s largest hand-cut stone masonry building and is the second largest in the world, behind the Kremlin. (the13thfloor.tv)
According to americas-most-haunted.com there have been reports of apparitions of nurses, doctors, and patients seen walking the corridors, and screams have been heard.
Located in the east corner of Ward 4 the spirit of a young girl called Lily has been seen interacting with a variety of toys that are set out in a room dedicated to her. It is believed that Lily was either abandoned by her parents, or that she was born in TALA after her mother was committed there. Lily passed away at the age of only 9 from pneumonia. Lily is close to some of the current ghost tour guides and her spirit will follow visitors and her giggles have been heard. Lily will even interact with visitors occasionally by rolling a ball across the floor to them when asked .
TALA’s younger residents are said to occupy the upper floors of the hospital and seem to enjoy having visitors during the tours. TALA also houses the spirits of two vicious murderers. One is called Slewfoot and he haunts a lavatory, while an unnamed serial killer haunts the area of the seclusion cells.
TALA has a section of the building that was utilized during the American Civil War. This section is known for the sounds of footfalls, and tortured moans and misty forms and shadows have reportedly been seen. (americas-most-haunted.com)
Add TALA to our paranormal tour bucket list. Seems like we will be going all over Hell’s half acre.
Location: Danvers, Massachusetts (aka Salem Village until 1752)
According to the historyofmassachusetts.org, the Danvers State Lunatic Asylum was built between 1874 and 1878. The land on which it was built is called Hathorne Hill after Judge John Hathorne of the Salem Witch Trials who had lived there. The land was purchased from a farmer, Francis Dodge, in the 1870s. It cost $1.5 million to build the asylum at a time when America was still recovering from their Civil War. Over time approximately 40 buildings went up to house TB patients, staff, the medical building, machine shops, two nursing homes, a pump house, cemetery, and cottages, many were connected by underground tunnels.
From 1920 to 1945 the treatments done at the Danvers State Insane Asylum on patients included ECT and lobotomies. Patients often faced neglect and the use of restraints. These treatments are said to “have left a massive psychic imprint on the walls.” (hauntedrooms.com)
Dr. Walter J. Freeman II reportedly conducted numerous lobotomies in the Danvers State Insane Asylum. The care of the patients declined as overcrowding took over while staffing levels remained unchanged. Eventually, the asylum closed in 1992. Reports from visitors to the asylum included hearing voices asking for help and tortured screams.
The building’s facade remains as luxury apartments were constructed and opened in 2008. The area is now known as Halstead Danvers. I wonder if the screams are still heard?
In 1916 forty patients moved into the hospital prior to its opening in 1917. The hospital continued to grow in response to the needs of the surrounding area and by the 1930s the hospital had opened a ward for WWI veterans, another for civilian men, another for women and a separate ward as a Tuberculosis Sanitarium. The 1940s brought electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) into fashion for those suffering from mental illness. The 1950s saw the practice of lobotomies used on the mentally ill.
The hospital expanded its scope once again in the 1960s to include an adolescent unit and an alcohol treatment unit. In 1997 a high-security building was constructed and still operates to this day with about 200 court-ordered patients housed within its walls. (thefurther.net)
Tours are available where visitors can hope to hear unusual noises, doors slamming, disembodied whispers, and perhaps have the chance to capture orbs or apparitions with their cameras. It seems that the town of Alton has other haunted locations too which means that it is now on our ghost hunting bucket list. Is it on yours?
Shadow people have different classifications made by those that study the phenomenon. Science even has their own ideas about what shadow people really are. In this post, I will tell you about the different theories and hope to answer the question are Shadow People real?
Shadow people are thought to be paranormal entities by those that work in the paranormal field. Shadow people have been a long time staple in folklore and ghost tales told throughout time.
Shadow people are often reported as figures that flicker in and out of the viewer’s peripheral vision. In other words, the figure is noticed moving quickly out of the corner of a viewer’s eye.
As the author, Heidi Hollis has stated after much research and review of Shadow People she believes that they are negative, alien beings that are up to no good.
Some others that have written or spoken about Shadow People believe that the entities are evil, helpful, neutral, or extra-dimensional inhabitants of another universe. However you look at it, Shadow People are freaky.
Scientists have reported that Methamphetamine addicts have reported seeing Shadow People after prolonged sleep deprivation. The sightings of Shadow People by Meth addicts often involve a conspiratorial component that the people are following them or trying to harm the addict.
While researching this subject I came across an article called Shadow People: What areThey? on thoughtco.com where Stephen Wagner published his interview with Jason Offutt. Jason Offutt is the author of Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us. In the interview, Jason states that he believes that shadow people are real due to those individuals that he spoke to that had experienced them, many while they were wide awake and during daylight hours. Jason believes that science doesn’t yet have a way to prove the existence of Shadow People.
The Hat Man
There are different types of Shadow People that are described and discussed in the book written by Jason Offutt. One type that I find particularly interesting is the Hat Man. The Hat Man is often described to be wearing an old-style hat and those that see him are not scared of him. Now, the other Hat Man Shadow figure is anything but friendly. The Hat Man that is described as wearing a fedora terrifies those that see him and they describe a feeling that the Fedora Hat Man seems to feed off the stark terror. He is also described with red, glowing eyes. The Fedora Hat Man does not fade away as a ghost would but rather he physically walks away from the encounter. The Fedora Hat Man is a malevolent spirit figure.
Jason Offutt said that he came across a number of Shadow People stories communicated by people shortly before their death. Apparently, Shadow People sometimes gather around the hospital bed of a dying person to wait for the imminent passing. I know I have heard people say that their mother, or father, or whoever spoke of seeing people waiting for them. The dying person is the only one that can see the Shadow People and do not seem to be alarmed by their presence or afraid of them either. Usually, people believe that the Shadow People are angels or other departed family members that will help the deceased on their journey to Heaven. Just as long as my Grandfather leaves his favourite Fedora off his head I will gladly allow him to accompany me when I take my final journey.
In this post, we will take a walk through the Athens Lunatic Asylum. Abandoned asylums must be the spookiest type of buildings to visit. In the past, I have spent time visiting within the walls of an asylum that was still operating and that was unsettling enough.
The unsettling and spooky feeling likely comes from the combination of the asylum architecture and the mental illnesses that the patients experience.
I admire the professionals that work with and help the patients and I admire the strength of those that suffer from mental illness and have to deal with not only the symptoms but the societal stigma and judgement that comes with their illness.
Insane Asylum Horror-Athens Lunatic Asylum also is known as The Ridges- Athens, Ohio
The Athens Lunatic Asylum was originally built in 1874 to treat those afflicted with tuberculosis. The hospital was built to accommodate 550 patients and was overcrowded almost immediately. By the 1950s the institute housed almost 2,000 patients. These conditions caused abuse to occur between the staff and the patients and among the patients themselves.
The Athens Lunatic Asylum is one of the hospitals where Dr Walter Jackson Freeman II, known as the Father of the Lobotomy, performed over 200 Transorbital Lobotomies on patients suffering from mental illness. In 1936, Dr Walter Freeman and neurologist James Watts developed the prefrontal lobotomy. Watts eventually parted company with Freeman when the latter began to only perform the transorbital lobotomy. Dr Walter Freeman became known as a showboat and performer who once killed a patient in Iowa when he was distracted by the press that he had invited to witness his work. Dr Freeman once conducted 228 transorbital lobotomies during a two-week period in West Virginia in 1952. He charged $25 per lobotomy at the time.
A strange occurrence happened in the Athens Lunatic Asylum when patient Margaret Schilling went missing. Ms Schilling’s disappearance was not noticed immediately, likely due to the overcrowding of the facility. Margaret was reported missing on December 2, 1978, and was not found until January 12, 1979. Ms Schilling’s dead body was found on the floor of a locked room in the abandoned TB ward on the top floor of the hospital. She was naked at the time of death as she had removed her clothing and folded them in a neat pile. Ms Schilling’s decomposing body has left a permanent stain on the concrete floor. It has been reported that the ghost of Margaret Schilling has been seen in the window of the room she died in. (historicmysteries.com)
Many believe that Margaret Schilling died of a heart attack after accidentally locking herself in the unheated room of the attic/top floor of the asylum. She was not discovered for more than a month but likely had been dead for a few weeks. It is believed that she left the stain because of decomposition that may have been accelerated by the direct sunlight that would have hit her body. People have tried to remove the stain but it has proven to be permanent.
Would you be brave enough to wander through an abandoned asylum? Have you done it before?
The Winchester Mystery House is just that; a mystery. Why would Sarah Winchester have the house built, adjusted, and rebuilt constantly between 1884 and 1922? Was she a genius? Or was Sarah Winchester under the influence of the spirits it is said she was terrified of? Let’s explore Sarah and her mystery house and decide from there.
Sarah Winchester was born Sarah Pardee in September 1839, in New Haven, Connecticut. Sarah grew into a charming, multi-lingual, musically talented that was a petite beauty of only 4’10” tall. Sarah was bred, born, and raised in New Haven.
William Wirt Winchester
William Winchester was also from New Haven, Connecticut. William’s father was a shirt manufacturer who took over the assets of a firm that made Volcanic Repeater firearms in 1857. In 1860 the company created the Henry Rifle that averaged one shot every three seconds. The Henry Rifle was a favourite among the Northern troops during the American Civil War.
Two Become One
Sarah Pardee and William Wirt Winchester were united in marriage on September 30, 1862, in New Haven. They were living a life of financial stability due to the success and popularity of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company at the height of the Civil War.
The Winchester’s had a daughter named Annie Pardee Winchester on July 15, 1866. Unfortunately, Annie was not a healthy baby and she passed away on July 24, 1866. The death threw Sarah Winchester into a deep depressive despair that robbed her of the next ten years of her life. Sarah just wasn’t her usual self and she and William did not have any more children. As Sarah emerged from her dark depression, William contracted Tuberculosis. William would pass away five years later of TB on March 7, 1881. William’s death left Sarah distraught again and she would wear Victorian mourning dresses and veils for the rest of her life.
When William died in 1881, Sarah inherited over $20 million plus 48.9% of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and an income of $1,000 per day. But as they say, money cannot buy happiness.
The Mysterious Story of Sarah Winchester
The tour guides at the Winchester Mystery House tell guests that after the death of William Wirt Winchester, Sarah sought the guidance of a Spiritualist Medium. It is reported that the Medium told Sarah that the Winchester family was cursed and the spirits killed by Winchester guns were seeking revenge against her. The Medium reportedly told Sarah to “move towards the setting sun, and to build a house continually for if she stopped construction she would die.”
As the story goes, Sarah sold her home in New Haven and moved to California. When Sarah reached the Santa Clara Valley in 1884 she found a 6 room house that was being built for a Dr Caldwell. Sarah convinced the doctor to sell the house and the surrounding 162 acres to her and after the sale took place she threw out all of the building plans.
The Winchester Mystery House
For 36 years Sarah Winchester kept 22 carpenters at work building her home 24 hours a day. Sarah paid the carpenters well and was continually ordering building materials from all over the United States and in some cases, the world, so much so that she had her own set of railway tracks running to the building site. The carpenters would build, demolish, alter, and rebuild one section of the house after another all day, every day. (2017, prairieghosts.com)
Sarah Winchester would meet with the construction foreman every morning and give him the building plans she drew up overnight. It is reported that Sarah would spend a lot of time in the “seance room” at the centre of the house every evening. It was in the “seance room” that she came up with her building plans, most of which were nonsensical. It is reported by the current day tour guides at the Winchester Mystery House that Sarah received the building plans from the spirits within the house.
Over time the Winchester Mystery House grew to be seven stories tall, it contained three elevators, 47 fireplaces, staircases that lead nowhere, a blind chimney, closet doors that open to walls, trap doors, double-back hallways, skylights stacked upon each other, doors that open to steep drops out to the lawn, bathrooms with glass doors, and banisters that are upside down.
Sarah Winchester liked the number 13. So much so that most of the windows in the house have 13 panes of glass, walls contain 13 panels, the greenhouse has 13 cupolas, some staircases have 13 steps, some rooms have 13 windows, and many floors have 13 sections. One exception is the 42 steps of a staircase that only goes up nine feet, two inches at a time.
It is said that “Sarah felt the maze confused the ghosts of the Old West gunslingers and outlaws killed by Winchester guns.”
The Winchester Mystery House is no longer seven stories tall. The house was damaged during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the top three stories collapsed.
Rooms of The Winchester Mystery House
$25,000 Room– In this room, there is a display of the many fine artisan windows that Sarah Winchester bought. The windows were valued at $25,000 at the time of Sarah’s death in 1922. The windows are now said to be worth millions.
Seance Room– as mentioned earlier in this post, the seance room is located near the centre of the house. The room has one entrance but three exits.
Daisy Bedroom– Sarah spent the duration of the 1906 earthquake trapped in the Daisy Bedroom. It is named after its lovely stained glass windows.
Sarah’s Bedroom– the bedroom is ornate and large and it is the room that Sarah Winchester died in in 1922.
Grand Ballroom– the grand ballroom cost over $9,000 at the time of construction and was built almost entirely without the use of nails. The parquet floors contain six different hardwoods: mahogany, teak, maple, rosewood, oak, and white ash.
The Corridors of the Third Floor– These corridors are avoided by the staff after dark. Why, you ask? Well, they have heard footsteps and even whispers of their names from disembodied voices. This area has never been open to the public.
Witch’s Cap– Believed to have been built as an attic storage sGuided Tours
The Winchester Mystery House offers guided tours of the sprawling maze of a house. Around Halloween time they also offer Hall’ween Candlelight Tours. Click here to learn more.
Winchester The House That Ghosts Built
Yay, a movie about Sarah Winchester and here mystery house! So excited to see this one.
A Different Theory
The tour guides at the Winchester Mystery House will tell their guests about Sarah Winchester and the ghostly reasons for the strange house she had built. That reason has been explained above. Richard Allan Wagner has written about his theory of what drove the continuous construction of the Winchester Mansion.
On thetruthaboutthewinchesterhouse.com Mr Wagner claims that all the folklore about Sarah Winchester has been fabricated to make money. Mr Wagner argues that Sarah was a Rosicrucian and a Freemason and that her beliefs drove the strange construction that was dominated by the number 13. Click here to learn more about Rosicrucian.
It is easy to argue that stories of folklore make money in this situation. I am not convinced that Sarah Winchester was not led by either spirits or spiritualism when having her amazing, huge, and confusing mansion built. Something motivated Sarah to continue with construction for those 36 years. Anyone who has lived through even a small renovation should agree that Sarah was a very motivated and determined lady.
We hope that you have enjoyed this post and that we have shared information that is new to you. Let us know what you would like to learn about next. Have you been to the Winchester Mystery House? If so, please share your experience and impressions with us.
When it comes to seeing old houses in the United States 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?