Haunted houses, buildings in New England for Halloween scares


New England is full of haunted stories and supposedly haunted places – from private residences to town halls to buildings people refuse to occupy due to grim energy.

Many of these places have hosted ghost hunters and paranormal investigators over the years who have documented mind-blowing noises, inexplicable orbs of light, and human contact with no humans to see.

We’re highlighting seven supposedly haunted places in New England as we move into October and into the Halloween season. In a house, a detailed injury waiver is required to enter. In another, it wouldn’t be unusual to see a samurai and a monk congregating in a French Gothic ballroom. And driving under a particular covered bridge could end in a real fright for the driver.

While some of these places are open to the public, others are private residences.

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SK Pierce Victorian Mansion – Gardner, MA

Psychics and paranormal researchers have called this Victorian mansion “certified haunted.” Built by wealthy South Gardner chair maker Sylvester K. Pierce in the late 1880s, the Sci-Fi Channel series “Ghost Hunters” filmed an episode there.

“This attraction is not for the faint of heart,” the mansion’s website states. “There is a good chance you will witness paranormal activity. The entities in this mansion are extremely advanced and have demonstrated a unique ability to impose their will ‘physically’ on guests.”

For this reason, a detailed personal injury waiver must be signed before guests enter the mansion, which has seen many different owners. The mansion is currently undergoing renovations before it reopens for visits and overnight stays.

Numerous ghostly residents have been reported, including SK Pierce himself, his family members, a nanny named Mattie Cornwell, a murdered prostitute, a young boy and several others, the website says.

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John Paul Jones House – Portsmouth, NH

This historic home from the pre-revolutionary era is a must-see on haunted walking tours of Portsmouth city center.

The house was built in 1758 as a wedding gift from Navy Captain Gregory Purcell to his wife, Sarah Wentworth Purcell. John Paul Jones, a naval commander on the USS Ranger, twice rented a room in the house from Sarah throughout her life, after her husband died, before he left Portsmouth forever in 1782.

John Paul Jones House in Portsmouth.

Several protests were said to have existed in the house, including a pale white female apparition looking out the windows of the house, believed to be Sarah Purcell. And although he died in Paris, John Paul Jones himself has been seen wandering the halls.

Many staff and visitors have reported haunted experiences over the years since the house opened as a museum, owned by the Portsmouth Historical Society and open for tours.

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Captain Lord Mansion – Kennebunkport, ME

This 1812 federal-style house, built by a wealthy shipbuilder, has been transformed into a romantic and elegant seaside inn with antique accents at every turn. But guests, staff, and owners have had personal experiences with resident female spirit, Phoebe Lord, according to HauntedHouses.com.

The Captain Lord Mansion located in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Phoebe was the hostess, married to Captain Nathaniel Lord, with whom she had eight children. The captain died shortly after moving into the house and Phoebe raised her family there after his death. The mansion has remained in the family for generations.

Phoebe is often seen floating around the mansion, sometimes transcending the spiral staircase or crossing the current Lincoln Bedroom Suite.

A former inhabitant of Belcourt Castle has written a book about all the paranormal experiences that have occurred in the grand 60-room mansion over the years.

Construction of the mansion began in 1891, for Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, a wealthy banker, publisher and politician. Other residents include 1950s Newport socialites Louis and Elaine Lorillard, who hosted the Newport Jazz Festival there in 1955 and 1956. Ruth and Harold Tinney purchased the mansion in 1956 as a private residence and home for their exotic furniture.

Harle Tinney, who married their son and lived in the house, believes the antique furniture brought paranormal energy with them, she said.

Belcourt Castle in Newport, Rhode Island.

HauntedHouses.com reports that 15 known spirits have been identified at Belcourt Castle, including a monk, a knight, a samurai warrior, dancers, and a French queen and king. The most haunted hall appears to be the French Gothic ballroom.

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Emily’s Bridge – Stowe, Vermont

Perhaps different from the others on this list, this haunted attraction in Vermont is an 1844 covered bridge. A heartbroken girl would have hanged herself there, and she is now haunting him, according to Atlas Obscura.

Legend has it that in the mid-1800s, a girl named Emily was supposed to meet the man of her affection at the bridge to escape, but he never showed up. She would have hanged herself from the rafters of the covered bridge and is now an angry specter who terrorizes drivers and pedestrians.

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Providence Town Hall – Providence, RI

“Ghost Hunters” visited Providence Town Hall in 2012 after an employee called them to check on the 1875 building. The episode was called “City Hell”.

Employees claimed he was haunted by a spirit that takes elevators, moves chairs, creates breezes, whispers, touches people, slams doors, opens drawers and smokes cigars, according to HauntedPlaces.org. Some have speculated that it was the ghost of former mayor Thomas Doyle, who served the city from 1864 and eventually died during his tenure.

Providence, Rhode Island City Hall.

This Duxbury restaurant, operated in a colonial house, is said to be haunted by three friendly spirits.

According to the current owner of the tavern, the ghosts are Lysander Walker, a recluse who committed suicide in the living room on October 3, 1928, and Mary and Elizabeth Williamson, two little girls who died of scarlet fever in the house in the 1700s. Walker’s death certificate is in the restaurant today.

Following:Spooky South Shore – Haunted Lighthouses

The Sun Tavern in Duxbury is said to be home to three friendly ghosts.

Restaurant staff say they’ve had quite a few spooky encounters – including lights going off unexpectedly, hearing little girl’s voices, and even a muffled dinner receiving a helping hand from an apparition. Diners should never worry, according to the staff, as spirits seem to be friendly.


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