Vampires, witches, ghosts, mad scientists, and murder — New England has it all. Ahead of Halloween, SYFY WIRE tapped several New England paranormal researchers to help assemble the 19 best (and most haunted) locations to catch a good scare.
Boston-based Sam Baltrusis worked for many years as a journalist and was a skeptic before researching his first book on the ghosts of Boston. His picks include the terrifying Bridgewater Triangle and the U.S.S. Salem, both included in his yearly list of the 13 Most Haunted Places in New England. His latest book, Wicked Salem is due out in April of next year. Dominic Lavorante, a tour guide at Salem Ghost Tours, has over a decade of experience guiding curious travelers throughout Salem’s most haunted places and highlighted the macabre history of the Old Salem Jail and Lynn's Dungeon Rock. Finally, experienced tarot reader, physical medium, and empath, Tori McNally, guided us through a few of Newport's oldest and most haunted places, including the White Horse Tavern and Blood Alley.
"From the hangings of innocent men and women during the witch-trials hysteria of 1692, to the savage beginnings of the American Revolution to the murder and mayhem ensuing over a 300-year period, New England's history is stained with blood," Baltrusis told SYFY WIRE.
Providence Biltmore Hotel — Providence, RI
Built in the early 1920s, the Biltmore Hotel is said to have inspired authors like Stephen King and Robert Bloch, serving as a basis for the Overlook Hotel (The Shining) and the Bates Motel, respectively. The project was financed by Johan Leisse Weisskopf, who was known to be an open Satanist, in 1918.
According to Baltrusis, who toured the property a few years back with a demonologist, Weisskopf was staying in a room on the 14th floor when he received word that all his wealth had disappeared in the stock market crash of 1920. Overwhelmed by the news, he threw himself out the window to his death.
Before his untimely demise, Weisskopf oversaw the construction of the odd hotel, which was said to include a chicken coop on the roof to supply weekly animal sacrifices, a hot springs in the basement for purification rituals, and the Bacchante Girls — leggy hostesses with sheer skirts who served up food, drinks, and conversation to customers in the 1930s and 1940s.
“The Bacchante Dining Room, which may have actually been Bacchante Orgy Pit, was said to include famous guests like Douglas Fairbanks, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Louis Armstrong,” Baltrusis says. “But was it devil worship? We’re not sure.” Weisskopf is said to still haunt parts of the hotel, not only the room he dove out of, but some say each room that he passed by on the way to his death.
The USS Salem — Quincy, MA
The number one pick on Baltrusis’ list of most haunted places in New England this year, the USS Salem is a World War II ship that never saw combat. Docked in Quincy, Massachusetts, the heavy cruiser served as a triage vessel post-war in Greece.
There, Baltrusis says, it saw an influx of mass casualties after the 1953 Ionian earthquake struck. The USS Salem was the first American ship to reach the scene and provided supplies and assistance to the multitude of earthquake victims.
Launched on March 25, 1947, in Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, the ship was nicknamed the Sea Witch by her crew thanks to a three-month stint in Salem, Massachusetts.
“The ship saw a lot of trauma and tumultuousness, including several women giving birth on the ship,” Baltrusis says. “I was told there were hundreds of dead bodies on here during the earthquake in Greece in 1953 and many of them died from burns.”
In 2016, a Massachusetts haunted tour company decided to use the ship for a haunted tour, resulting in one of the most intense and traumatic experiences Baltrusis has ever been a part of.
“It was a nightmare,” he says of his experience last Halloween. “The spirits were very aggressive during the tour.” On previous tours, he says, visitors had seen typical haunting phenomena like ghost kids, poltergeists, and things moving on board.
This time, he says, people, mostly women, were being scratched by an unknown entity, shadow figures were seen coming at patrons, and small objects, including rocks, could be seen flying across the room. Baltrusis says the spirits on board may have been agitated by the general drunken craziness of patrons, who flooded the haunted ship looking for a good scare.
It didn’t help, he says, that one of the Ghost Ship Harbor organizers brought along an ouija board to boost the aesthetic.
Just this week, the haunted tour was shut down after a mysterious fire. Citing “imminent danger,” Quincy acting Fire Chief Joe Jackson has ordered all activities aboard the “haunted” USS Salem to cease immediately.
Asked if he thought the events were related to the haunting, Baltrusis says, "Absolutely."
S.K. Pierce Mansion — Gardner, MA
The S.K. Pierce Mansion in Gardner, Massachusetts was high on Baltrusis "Most Haunted" list last year, but he says paranormal activity at the old home has died down recently due to parts of the mansion being refurbished and replaced.
"Usually construction makes things worse, but I think in this case they removed several haunted items from the home," he says.
Decades ago, Gardner was the chair capital of the world, producing thousands of chairs for New England and beyond. The beautiful S.K. Pierce mansion was erected in 1888 by furniture magnate Sylvester Pierce, who built the nearly 7000-square-foot mansion for his wife and young son. Almost immediately though, tragedy befell the family as his wife Susan mysteriously succumbed to a bacterial illness just weeks after moving into the home.
Passed down to later generations, the home became a house of ill repute, as the Sylvester fortune dwindled and the mansion transitioned into a boarding home. Drinking, gambling, and prostitution became the norm at the home, which also may have been the scene of a murder.
According to legend, a prostitute was strangled in the infamous red bedroom on the second floor while another boarder, a Finnish immigrant named Eino Saari, burned to death in the master bedroom in 1963.
"When I first got to the mansion, I was too scared to go in," Baltrusis says.
In 2015, Rob Conti, the ringleader behind the New Jersey-based Dark Carnival and a dentist during the day bought the property in hopes of revitalizing it as a haunted destination. Conti told Baltrusis he also had a paranormal experience after walking into the structure’s dining room, the same spot investigators believe is a portal.
“I started feeling dizzy and had to be escorted out of the building,” he explained. According to their website, "The entities in this mansion are extremely advanced and have demonstrated a unique ability to impose their will 'physically' on guests."
Freetown State Forest aka Bridgewater Triangle — Bridgewater, MA
Home to untold murders, satanic rituals, cryptid sightings, and even UFO appearances, the Bridgewater Triangle sits in the middle of the Freetown State Forest. As someone who has spent time in the forest, Baltrusis says there’s definitely an eerie electricity that permeates the 5,217-acre area.
According to Baltrusis, tales associated with the Triangle include Native American curses; a swamp called Hockomock, which the Wampanoag tribe believed was “the place where spirits dwell”; three-foot cryptids known as Pukwudgies; and the infamous Assonet Ledge in Freetown State Forest, where visitors have reported seeing ghosts standing, jumping, and inexplicably disappearing.
“In the late 1970s, the decomposed body of Mary Lou Arruda, a teen cheerleader from nearby Raynham, was discovered tied to a tree in the forest,” Baltrusis says. “The murdered girl was 15 years old.”
James M. Kater, a 32-year-old donut maker from Brockton, was indicted in connection with the murder, and while there are no ties to the crime and the alleged reports of satanic cult activity in Freetown State Forest, the case reinforced the idea that the area is cursed.
While investigating the site, Baltrusis says he got the distinct feeling we were being followed and watched.
Only one year after Arruda’s murder, Baltrusis says, Karen Marsden, a woman believed to be a prostitute in Fall River, was savagely murdered. Carl Drew, a self-proclaimed devil worshiper and pimp, supposedly led ritualistic gatherings in the forest at a place known as the Ice Shack. The so-called “Son of Satan” was also accused of three cult-like murders, organizing at least 10 satanic gatherings, and even holding séances using the skulls of the victims.
Dark rituals continued in the area into the 1980s, as the forest became a hotbed of black mass gatherings.
“One man, William LaFrance was found camping in the forest with rows of yellow candles and satanic symbols carved in the dirt,” Baltrusis says. “Officers found '666' tacked to the tree near LaFrance’s car. Park rangers claimed that the haunted Assonet Ledge was also plagued with freshly painted satanic symbols, skulls, and pentagrams in the late ‘80s.”
Orleans Waterfront Inn — Cape Cod, MA
Also known as the Inn of the Dead, the Orleans Waterfront Inn has been the subject of several paranormal investigations. Built in the late 1800s, the inn has been renovated several times, first serving as a hardware store and later becoming an Irish mob-run speakeasy and bordello.
According to Baltrusis, legend states a prostitute named Hannah was murdered on the premises, leaving her ghost to haunt the old inn.
Several other apparitions have been reported as well, including two of the workers who committed suicide, both by hanging. Additionally, patrons and staff have reported seeing a naked woman dancing in the lobby.
The Inn’s owner Ed Maas reportedly told Boston.com that he often sleeps on the couch in case a guest needs something at night, and once he awoke when a naked woman came down the stairs. Maas and the woman exchanged hellos, and he fell back asleep. Maas said he didn’t think of the encounter again until he received a phone call from a passing motorist, who said he could see a naked woman dancing around in the room and she didn’t seem aware she was visible from the street.
Baltrusis, who investigated the haunting a few years ago says he was skeptical at first but, after a closer look, found the haunting to be credible.
“We found profound evidence of hauntings including EVP connecting some of the spirits there,” he says. Using an echo box, Baltrusis says investigators were able to record what sounded like German words.
“It makes sense since one of the former owners was German and the property’s history dates back to World War II,” he says.
Hammond Castle — Gloucester, MA
John Hays Hammond Jr. was a prolific inventor, mining engineer, and a bit of mad scientist. According to Baltrusis, the father of radio control was a young student of Thomas Edison and became incredibly wealthy thanks to his pioneering work in the field.
Inspired by European architecture, Hammond built his own castle between 1926 and 1929 on a hill overlooking the Atlantic ocean in Gloucester for his wife Irene Fenton. The house features a renaissance dining room, round library, a War room, secret passageways, and even an indoor pool with a “weather control” system that Hammond could set whenever he felt like swimming in the rain.
Obsessed with the rise of spiritualism, Hammond and his wife routinely tried to contact spirits of the dead, even constructing a Faraday Cage to block electric currents and asking psychic mediums to contact the dead from inside the cage. The floor of the castle’s Great Hall has a permanently bleached spot from the repeated use of the electromagnetic charge.
Hammond’s macabre side wasn't limited to experiments. He also collected bizarre antiques, like suits of armor and the skull of a seaman from Christopher Columbus' crew, and it says that some of the artifacts are enchanted, according to Baltrusis.
Per legend, items in the castle inexplicably disappear and reappear, a full-bodied apparition has been seen in the organ loft, and a red-haired female specter has popped up among guests at weddings held at the castle.
“Henry Davis Sleeper, the legendary designer who built Eastern Point's Beauport, was a regular at Hammond Castle,” Baltrusis says. “In fact, Sleeper designed the inventor's favorite spot, known as the “whisper room,” where people have heard disembodied voices from beyond.”
Hammond’s ghost is said to still linger inside the walls of the castle and, in fact, he's buried in a crypt tucked away on the property.
Hammond was obsessed with cats and also had an odd desire to be reincarnated as a feline. Many believe the black feline who roamed the grounds and set up shop in his favorite chair in the library after his death in 1956 was Hammond himself.
When Baltrusis visited the property in 2012, he heard a disembodied voice say "look" in the library. Other paranormal event that have been reported at the castle include books from Hammond’s collection of the occult flying off shelves without explanation, the presence of orbs with distinct heads, and at least one close encounter with a spirit.
“Jay Craveiro, also a staffer at the Hammond Castle, said a girl with a tour group had a face-to-face encounter with a spirit on the second floor near the medieval bedroom. She said she saw a hand reach toward her face while the staff was downstairs,” Baltrusis explained. “She just started running all the way through the castle and right out of the front door. She refused to come back into the building.”
Spider Gates Cemetery — Leicester, MA
An early resting place for Quakers in Massachusetts in the 1740s, the Friends Cemetery is more commonly known as the Spider Gates Cemetery and is located in the sleepy town of Leicester.
Notoriously hard to find, the Quakers who created it allegedly believed the land possessed special powers, using the land to worship and perform various incantations. The cemetery gets its name from the iron gates in the front, designed to mimic rays of sun, but actually look like giant spiders. The gates were added in the 1950s to commemorate a young boy who took his life by hanging himself on a tree within the cemetery in 1943. The infamous tree still stands and can be seen directly to the the left as you enter the cemetery.
“Usually cemeteries are no more haunted than any other location, but this place was different,” Baltrusis says.
In addition to several urban legends surrounding the cemetery involving Satan worship, visitors to the site have said they’ve heard voices and “unnatural rustlings” in the woods nearby.
Although it wasn’t directly on site, a murder did happen less than a mile from Spider Gates Cemetery in the 1980s. A 6-year-old boy from the Nazareth Home for Boys was beaten to death on Sylvester Street by a teenager, his body dumped in the nearby Lynde Brook.
When Baltrusis paid a visit to the site with an investigative crew, a member of his team experienced a strange happening with a man he calls the Gatekeeper.
“This spot is literally in the middle of nowhere and while we were there my friend Liz dropped her keys along the path,” he says. “At that moment, a man and a woman popped out of the woods, calling for her to pick up her keys. Then they were gone.”
Baltrusis says the Gatekeeper has been seen multiple times by multiple people and seems like he’s from a different era.
“I’m not sure if he’s playing an elaborate joke or if he just lives in the woods there,” he says. “But the same thing has happened to three different people I’ve talked to.”
Parson Barnard House — North Andover, MA
A misunderstood cog in the Salem Witch Trials, Parson Thomas Barnard was the assistant minister to the Rev. Francis Dane in Andover during the witch trials of 1692. For years, Baltrusis says, Barnard was unfairly judged because they assumed he was a driving factor during the trials, particularly in the episode that happened here where over 50 people were accused.
According to Gregg Pascoe, the caretaker of the Parson Barnard House in present-day North Andover, that’s not true.
Barnard delivered the opening prayer at the infamous church service in September 1692 when all hell broke loose, Baltrusis says.
“The afflicted girls started touching people and they ended up arresting 17 people for witchcraft on the spot,” he says. Because of that, people assumed that Barnard sanctioned the whole process and was in on bringing in the girls.
“With the 'touch test,' the afflicted would put their hands on the innocent people of Andover and if they stopped having a fit then that townsperson was a witch,” Baltrusis says. “Oddly, several members of the Reverend Dane’s family were accused using this so-called test including his two daughters and five of his grandchildren.”
Initially, Baltrusis says, when Pascoe gave tours at the Parson Barnard House, he portrayed the reverend as a bad guy.
“Every time I did that, the fire alarms in the house would mysteriously go off,” Pascoe told Baltrusis. Since researching the Parson and incorporating the new information, that Barnard actually fought to end the trials, and came to the defense of many of the accused, the seeming paranormal activity has stopped.
Built in 1715, the Parson Barnard House in North Andover was a later-in-life homestead for the reverend.
According to the caretaker of the property, he heard a disembodied voice utter his name in the attic when he first moved into the house in 2012. Since then, he’s noted ghostly activity has intensified when he invited paranormal investigators and mediums to check out the property.
One event, in particular, has stayed with Pasoe through the years.
“He watched in awe when he saw a penny being slung by a disembodied spirit in the Parson Barnard House,” Baltrusis says. “Pascoe says he was shocked when the resident ghosts figured out how to manipulate the coins. Pennies were flying through the air, he told me.”
Riverside Cemetery — Barre, MA
Tucked away at the edge of a forest in Barre, Massachusetts, the Riverside Cemetery is the last remnant of Coldbrook Springs. A once thriving small village in the late 1800s, the town included two hotels, a blacksmith shop, store, post office, about 35 homes, and even a billiard hall. Removed to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir Aqueduct supplying water to eastern Massachusetts, only foundations and remnants of the village still remain, with most of the former settlement currently underwater.
Baltrusis visited the ghost town a few years back, noting as he walked the grounds of the cemetery, the feeling something bad once happened there.
“At the back of the cemetery we found a monument to the Naramore children, who were killed by their own mother in 1901,” he says. According to the monument, which was erected in 1990, local woman Elizabeth Naramore was poverty-stricken and living with an abusive husband. After she pleaded with town officials for help, they determined that the children would need to be put into foster homes.
“Before they could do that, Elizabeth killed them, from oldest to youngest, and then attempted unsuccessfully to commit suicide,” Baltrusis says. “It’s hard to stand there and not feel a rush of emotion. Over time, the stone has gained a collection of toys and small cars, left by saddened visitors.”
Baltrusis says the “energy hung in the air like a bank of fog, surging around us as if trying to get our attention.”
In addition to the Naramore children, a local family named the Sibleys also endured severe hardship, evidenced by more tombstones. In the 1800s, Captain Charles Sibley and his wife Catherine lost their four children — James, Catherine, Mary, and Charles — in a span of four years, the two youngest passing within days of each other. The Captain passed two years later in 1849, leaving only Catherine, who died almost 30 years later.
During his visit, Baltrusis and a friend managed to record a short EVP after asking Captain Sibley if he was still there.
“The response was heart-wrenching. ‘Yes. Heaven won’t take me,’” he says.
According to Baltrusis, the Sibleys had a long history in Massachusetts. They arrived in Salem in 1629, quickly becoming a very prominent family.
“An early relative of Charles Sibley’s was Mary Woodrow Sibley, who allegedly showed Tituba and Indian John how to make the urine cakes used to test for witches during the Salem Witch Trials,” he says.
Boston Common — Boston, MA
It has been estimated that there are more than a thousand dead bodies, mostly from the American Revolution, buried in shallow graves along Boston's “haunted corridor” near the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets.
“Beneath what was a dead man dumping ground for British soldiers killed during the Revolutionary War is a series of vacated 'ghost tunnels' that cuts through what was, in essence, a mass grave site,” Baltrusis says.
As work began on the nation’s first underground trolley station (Boston’s Green Line) in 1895, crews uncovered the remains of hundreds of bodies near the Boylston Street stop as curious residents lined the streets.
The remains were eventually re-buried at the Central Burying Ground, which sits on the corner of Tremont and Boylston Street, and marked with a stone that reads: “Here were re-interred the remains of persons found under the Boylston Street mall during the digging of the subway 1895.”
In addition to the site's revolutionary history, the Boston Common was also once home to the Great Elm, which doubled as the city’s premier hanging tree.
According to several accounts, many early trials and executions in Boston happened at the Great Elm. That included an untold number of Native Americans, including the medicine man, Tantamous, and Goody Glover, who was the last person in Boston to be hung as a witch in 1688.
While researching a Halloween-themed story for a local magazine, Baltrusis started spending hours in the Boston Common.
“One night while walking by the old cemetery, I noticed a young female figure wearing what looked like a hospital gown and standing by a tree,” he says. “I looked back and she was gone.”
In the 1970s, a local dentist named Matt Rutger reported seeing a similar spirit, although his encounter was a bit more sinister.
According to legend, Dr. Rutger was walking through the cemetery when he spotted a woman in a white dress. Wherever he looked, the woman would appear, almost stalking him. When he made a break for the gate, she appeared in front of him, startling him again. As he finally reached his car, grabbing for his keys, he felt a cold hand take them and throw them to the ground.
Gardner Pingree House — Salem, MA
The murder of Captain Joseph White, a wealthy and notorious slave trader in Salem in 1830 is said to have inspired the likes of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables.
As the story goes, White was without much of family when he bought the mansion in the early 1800s. Aside from White, only a manservant and his niece, Mary Beckford, who served as housekeeper, lived in the home.
Enter Joseph Knapp and his brother John Francis Knapp, who learned that Captain White had just completed his will, leaving $15,000 to Beckford.
“When Joseph Knapp proposes to Beckford, a less than reputable type person, White disowns her, and plans to write her out of the will,” Lavorante says. “But, before he can do that the Knapp brothers conspire to have him murdered, with hopes they can inherit his entire fortune.”
The Knapps hire a local criminal, Richard Crowninshield, to murder Captain White on the night of April 6, 1830. Now a relative of White, Joseph Knapp uses his connection to enter White’s house and steal his will. As the two brothers waited outside the of the home, Crowninshield entered the house through the window and fractured White’s skull with a club and stabbed him 13 times with a long dagger.
The case broke when a friend of Crowninshield let it slip that the man had confessed to the murder while in jail. Although he was arrested, Crowninshield wouldn’t talk. Further muddying the investigation, another friend of Crowninshield wrote to the Knapps, demanding $350 or else he would tell the truth about the brothers’ involvement. When authorities caught up with the man in Belfast, Maine, he confessed and told prosecutors everything he’d heard about the Knapp’s involvement.
Joseph and John Knapp were taken into custody and within three days, Joseph made a full confession to his role in planning the murder. After learning of Knapp’s confession, Richard Crowninshield realized he was without hope and hanged himself in jail with a handkerchief tied to the bars of his cell.
In addition to inspiring great works of fiction, the murder also inspired the Salem resident, George Parker, who ran with the story and combined it with the popular board game at the time, Cluedo, to create Clue.
In addition to ghostly footsteps on the stairs and ceiling, some visitors to the Gardner Pingree House have sworn they’ve caught a glimpse of Captain White looming next to the window of his second-floor bedroom.
Old Salem Jail — Salem, MA
The Old Salem Jail has a long and sordid history starting with the death of accused perp Giles Corey, who was crushed to death in 1692 on site by the sheriff George Corwin. Now converted into $10 million apartments, the jail was opened in 1813 and is said to have hosted at least 50 hangings.
After being arrested, Corey refused to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty and instead he was executed by pressing and died after three days of this torture. According to historians, Corey died in the field adjacent to the prison. His wife Martha, who was also charged with being a witch, was hung three days later.
The witch trials weren’t Corey’s first entanglement with the law, just 16 years prior he was arrested and tried for beating one of his indentured servants to death. According to court records, Corey beat Jacob Goodale with a stick after he was caught stealing apples. At the time, corporal punishment was permitted against indentured servants, so Corey was found guilty and fined.
According to Robert Calef, a witness of Corey’s death, “Giles Corey's tongue was pressed out of his mouth; the Sheriff, with his cane, forced it in again."
While there are several accounts of Corey's last words, most center around his defiance and curse he laid on the sheriff and town of Salem.
“Every sheriff that worked in the old jail, especially the last few had heart attacks or strokes and either died or had to retire early,” Lavorante says. “Since the jail moved to Middleton in the '90s, there haven’t been any other instances.”
Corwin himself died of a heart attack in 1696.
In 1885, the jail was expanded and remained in use until 1991, when a federal judge ordered its closure due to inadequate living conditions inside. Albert DeSalvo, more commonly known as the Boston Strangler, was also confined there.
According to legend, Corey can still be seen in the nearby graveyard each time a disaster is set to hit Salem, having been seen ahead of the Great Salem Fire of 1914.
Dungeon Rock — Lynn, MA
In 1852, deep in the woods of Lynn, Massachusetts, Hiram Marble built a house and dedicated himself to a lifetime search for pirate treasure. But this story starts more than 200 years prior when pirates landed on the coast of Massachusetts.
According to the Friends of Lynn, in 1658 pirates took a boat up the Saugus River, finally landing and making camp in a place now known as Pirate's Glen. With British soldiers stationed nearby, three of the pirates were captured and hung, but the forth, Thomas Veale, escaped into the woods.
The last survivor, Veale is rumored to have taken shelter in a large cave in the nearby Lynn Woods, even becoming a part of the Lynn community. When an earthquake hit the area sometime later, Veale was sealed inside along with his treasure. According to local history, two attempts were made to recover Veale’s treasure in 1830 by placing powder kegs near the entrance.
About 200 years later, Marble heard the story and moved his wife and son to the area, and started excavating the large cave for the hidden treasure.
Caught up in the spiritualist movement of the time, Marble held seances, hoping to tap the ghost of Thomas Veale for directions. Using dynamite and digging tools, Marble and his son spent countless hours searching for the treasure, burrowing more than 100 feet inside the earth.
Marble passed away in 1868 without ever finding his treasure and his son Edwin dug on until his death in 1880.
According to the Friends of Lynn, Edwin's last wish was to be buried at Dungeon Rock. At the top of a set of stairs beginning next to the old cellar hole, you can still find a large pink piece of rock marking the grave of Edwin Marble and the end of the quest for treasure.
Dungeon Rock is still standing and open to the public to this day, although you’ll need a flashlight to explore it.
Lizzie Borden B&B —Fall River, MA
In 1892, Andrew Borden and his wife Abby were found murdered in their home, their skulls crushed by repeated blows of a hatchet. Borden was a widower and after his first wife, Sarah, died, he was left with two small daughters, Lizzie and Emma, when he married 36-year-old Abby. Ruling his house with an iron fist, Borden allegedly tried to control every aspect of his daughters' lives.
On the morning of his murder, Borden, his wife, their maid Maggie, and Lizzie were in the home. Between the hours of 9 and 10 a.m., the killer struck, first dispatching of Abby with 20 hatchet blows. Borden was next and struck a dozen times in the head with the small ax as he lay sleeping on the couch.
Lizzie, became the main suspect in the murder case, but she was later acquitted of her alleged crimes and moved out of Fall River.
The Borden House on 92 Second Street has become a museum with the crime scene having been recreated for curious travelers. There’s even the option to stay at the Inn in the very room that Abby Borden was murdered in.
Many guests report that the spirits of Mr. and Mrs. Borden have visited them during their stay at the Bed & Breakfast, with tales of fire alarms going off in the middle of the night, itesm moving on their own, and even some guests reporting receiving strange scratches.
According to Lee-ann Wilber, a proprietor of the B&B, it’s not unusual for guests to run out of the inn in fright.
Wilber said in 2013 that she would occasionally hear a floor creak above her when there’s no one upstairs, or notice doors opening and closing. There’s only been one time that she’s been too scared to stay in the home, which happened in 2004, just after she had bought the house.
Nodding off on the couch in the parlor room, she awoke at 3 a.m. to see shadows cast by an old chandelier that was always lit. While this wasn’t anything special, Wilber noticed one of the shadows moving.
“And as I’m looking at it, it walked up the staircase,” she said. As Wilber rose, the power surged, burning out each of the chandelier bulbs.
Grave of the Last New England Vampire — Exeter, RI
Almost 200 years after the hysteria of the Salem Witch Trials, New England was hit by another panic. In reaction to an outbreak of tuberculosis in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Vermont in the 1800s, residents of New England slipped back into their superstitions and began to suspect vampires were consuming the life force of their dearly departed.
According to multiple reports at the time, bodies of the afflicted were exhumed and internal organs ritually burned to stop the "vampire.”
Maybe the most noted case of this happened in the late 1800s, when a Rhode Island farmer named George Brown lost his wife, Mary, and two daughters, Mary and Mercy, to tuberculosis, which was at the time called consumption. By 1891, Brown’s son Edwin and Mary had contracted the disease and were falling. After daughter Mercy’s passing in 1891 and Mary’s passing in 1892, Brown was convinced by the surrounding community to exhume his wife and recently deceased daughter, hoping to find the vampire in the group responsible for the family’s misfortune.
As hysteria ramped up, townsfolk reported seeing Mercy walking about both in the cemetery and through fields near the Brown’s property.
When it was time for daughter Mercy to be dug up, she was found to still have blood in her heart, leading the community to believe that the young woman was undead. Villagers reported Mercy’s face was flush, her veins and organs full of blood, her body had moved, and that her hair and nails had grown.
According to historians, they desecrated the body and cut out Mercy’s heart, burned it, and then had Edwin drink the ashes. He died two months later.
Mercy was eventually buried in Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Exeter, in a small graveyard behind the Baptist Church.
Black Dahlia House — Medford, MA
Elizabeth Short, better known as the Black Dahlia, was born in Hyde Park, Massachusetts in 1924 but spent her childhood in nearby Medford. Searching for stardom, she left for in California at the age of 18. In 1947, her murder gripped the country as the aspiring starlet was found in several pieces in a Los Angeles neighborhood by a mother taking her child for a walk.
According to the FBI, “Despite the extensive mutilation and cuts on the body, there wasn’t a drop of blood at the scene, indicating that the young woman had been killed elsewhere.”
Short’s body had also been “posed” by the killer, with her hands over her head, her elbows bent at right angles, and her legs spread apart. Short's face had been slashed from the corners of her mouth to her ears, creating an effect known as the "Glasgow smile.”
Despite a high profile investigation, the killer was never caught.
Back in Massachusetts, the Medford Historical Society hoped to memorialize Short by erecting a marker where her former house stood in 1993.
Blood Alley — Newport, RI
Bringing their riches into Newport, Rhode Island in the 1600s and early 1700s, pirates had become commonplace in the now-affluent New England seaport.
In the 1850s, a local fisherman working on his vessel was doing repairs when he spotted a perfectly chiseled cave nearby. Hoping to find a stash of treasure, he went to investigate but found the entrance was too small.
Enlisting the aid of an orphan with the enticement of treasure, he sent the boy into the cave with just a drum, a candle, and instructions to beat the drum.
“The little boy went in and steadily beat the drum with the man following above on the street,” McNally says. “He was told to beat the drum loud and fast if he found treasure, but the drumming soon stopped as he made his way further in.”
Killed by a fall, the rising tide, or something else, the boy never made it back to the surface.
According to McNally, sometimes during the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. reports of a faint, deep drumbeat can still be heard coming from very far underground.
“I’ve seen a lot of anomalies in the area, including floating blue orbs, mist, and sudden battery drains,” she says. Personally, McNally says, she’s seen the boy, who she calls “Henry” play with visitors and residents, especially teenage girls.
“People have reported having their hands held or their dress pulled on,” she says.
White Horse Tavern — Newport, RI
One of the oldest and most haunted bars in America, the White Horse Tavern opened in 1673 and played host to American colonists, British soldiers, and pirates alike. The structure was actually built almost 20 years prior and served as a boarding house and meeting house.
According to legend, there are several ghosts that still walk the tavern’s floors. In 2015, former tavern curator Anita Rafael explained that every member of the staff had reported some kind of encounter with the paranormal.
"We've had reports of being tapped on the shoulder, being told to lock up even though it's not lock-up time, people hearing footsteps in the other room," she says.
The spirits there include an elderly male in Colonial clothing, a guest who died on the premises and shows up in the dining room near a fireplace, and a female who has reportedly been seen floating above one of the dining tables.
At least one of the ghost sightings possibly stems from a night in the 1720s, when Robert and Mary Nichols owned the tavern.
According to Raphael, the guests arrived by boat, and they were given food and lodging at the tavern.
“Well, the following morning, neither of the men came downstairs to breakfast,” she says. “So Mary Nichols and her Indian girl, who had waited on the two men the night before, went upstairs to investigate. One of the men was gone. No one had seen him or heard him leave in the night. He had just vanished. And the other man was dead where he lay, over by the fireplace, in the other room.”
The death was so suspicious, the owners feared it might be some sort of epidemic and quickly had the body removed and buried in a pauper’s grave.
“They had no idea who he was, there were no papers on him, nobody knew him,” she says.
Dudleytown — Cornwall, CT
One of the most mysterious ghost towns in America, "Dudleytown" was settled by the Dudley family in the 1700s near Cornwall, Connecticut.
Originally founded by Thomas Griffis in 1745, the town was named after three Dudley brothers who came to live on the land a few years later.
According to legend, the curse of the Dudleys goes back to the 1500s when Edmund Dudley (an unproven descendent of the family) was beheaded by King Henry VIII for plotting against him. When the Dudleys arrived in Cornwall, they settled in a rocky part of the area. By the early 1800s, Dudleytown had prospered into a community of several hundred people, two schools, a general store, and church.
That's when things started to go wrong.
While it provided enough materials for building structures, the rocky land went barren and yielded very little for the struggling colonists.
First, one of the original Dudley brothers went insane, which led to many of the town's residents being diagnosed with dementia, causing early death, as well as a host of other problems.
Around this time, the town also experienced several attacks from Native Americans in the area. According to legend, things just got worse with reports of fires, suicides, missing children, and even one resident being struck by lightning.
By 1900, the townspeople had lost hope and abandoned the plot of land.
In 1920, a local doctor named William Clark visited the land and fell in love with the surrounding forest. He bought the land with hopes of moving his family there. But tragedy struck the family soon after as he came home one day to find that his wife had gone completely insane.
Clark's wife said something in the forest had attacked her and pleaded with her husband to leave the land. Eventually, Clark helped found the Dark Entry Society, who bought the parcel and started planting trees to reclaim the land.
Famous demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren famously recorded a Halloween special from Dudleytown in the early 1970s, declaring it officially "demonically possessed." Since then, it has been home to all sorts of alleged paranormal experiences, with visitors witnessing all manner of spirits and phantoms. The special also drew the attention of those enthralled with dark forces and demonic rituals.
Today, the remains of Dudleytown are on private property owned by the Dark Entry Forest Association, which vigorously discourages all visitors. It is heavily patrolled by local and state police.