Massachusetts is known for its many spooky haunted places. As one of the oldest establishments in the New World, the state has infamous stories of horrifying events, such as the Salem Witch Trials and the ghastly murders that Lizzie Borden supposedly committed. Massachusetts is a hotbed of paranormal activity that any paranormal enthusiasts will love!
Old Burying Point Cemetery, Salem
The Witch City (Salem) certainly has many haunted places, but the Old Burying Point Cemetery is perhaps one of the most haunted. The people of Salem who conducted the notorious 1692 Salem Witch Trials against their friends, family, and neighbors are interred in the cemetery. So, are the people they executed.
Some of the ghostly activities include various apparitions, cold spots, sudden mists, disembodied voices, orbs of light, and sensations of being touched. The ghost of the Judge John Hathorne (great-great-grandfather of Nathaniel Hawthorne) is seen and his apparition often shows up in photos. He was a harsh judge and interrogator. Unlike his fellow villagers, who, years after the trials, apologized and regretted their actions, Judge Hathorne had no remorse for the innocent lives he helped to extinguish during the mass hysteria.
The cemetery is said to be teeming with paranormal activity, and it's no wonder since the bodies of the executed witches were literally dumped in the cemetery without any type of burial. The fear of witches was so great that people believed their evil would contaminate anyone who touched a witch's corpse with bad luck and damnation.
You'll find a small, somber area in the corner of the cemetery that is signified as the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. This designated area features 20 benches made of granite and contains the name of one of the 20 victims executed, including the elderly Giles Corey. Unlike the hanged execution of his fellow accused witches, Giles was pressed to death with large, heavy rocks.
The cemetery is open Monday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm to the public and located at 51 Charter St, Salem, MA 01970.
The Historic Lizzie Borden House, Fall River
Maybe Lizzie Borden comes in a close second to Salem witch trial ghosts haunting the cemetery. Truly her tale is one of such evil it's difficult to understand how she was able to live out her life in lavish style. She was found not guilty because the jury believed a woman could not have committed the heinous murders.
Lizzie was undaunted by the macabre rhyme about her crime, "Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one." A woman who looked like Lizzie tried to buy Prussic acid the day before the murders but was denied since she didn't have a prescription for the poison. However, the jury was never allowed to hear this evidence.
The murder house is now a B&B, The Historic Lizzie Borden House. Visitors and staff say it is extremely haunted. Some of the ghostly sightings include a misty apparition shaped like a man that's seen either on or above the couch where Lizzie's father was killed. The apparition of Abby Borden, Lizzie's stepmother, appears the upstairs guest bedroom where her body was discovered. Lizzie's ghost shows up in the basement and various bedrooms, even though she moved to a wealthy neighborhood soon after the trial.
You can book a stay at the house and/or take a ghost tour and participate in a ghost hunt in the house. The Historic Lizzie Borden House is located at 230 2nd St, Fall River, MA 02721.
Freetown-Fall River State Forest, Assonet
The Freetown-Fall River State Forest is known as The Curse Forest of Massachusetts. A nearly endless list of varying paranormal activities occur there. These are the ancient lands of the Wampanoag (People of the First Light) tribe. Some of the forest is part of the Wampanoag Reservation.
The strange phenomena visitors and forest rangers experience occur during the day and night, and these include ghosts, apparitions wandering about the woods, and mysterious lights in the night sky. Other phenomena includes poltergeist activity, phantom footsteps rustling across the forest floor, and sudden feeling of nausea and/or dizziness. Then there are the mysterious suicides, murders, and disappearances that happen there. People also claim to see ghosts of Native Americans and soldiers in the forest. Others encounter humanoid-like creatures that the Wampanoag call Pukwudies, which are about 2'-3' tall. There are also many reports of UFO sighting and mutilated livestock in nearby farms.
The 5,000 acres forest has over 25 miles of hiking trails. Horseback riding and dirt bikes are allowed. The entrance into the Freetown-Fall River State Forest is located at 110 Slab Bridge Road, Assonet, MA 02702.
USS Salem, Quincy
The USS Salem warship was built after World War II. However, she was never used in a battle during her 10 years as the flagship for the US Sixth Fleet. The USS Salem was the most powerful ship during that time, and her threat in the Mediterranean and Atlantic ensured that peace reigned. In 1994, the ship became a permanent part and centerpiece of the United States Naval and Shipbuilding Museum.
Witnesses commonly see apparitions aboard the ship, especially on the decks. Visitors report hearing the vibrating sound of deck hatches slamming closed. In the machinery room, witnesses have seen shadow people moving about, and the spirits of women appear in the ship's birthing room. Some hear disembodied screams, and one witness captured an EVP of a woman shouting, "Get it out!"
Other reported paranormal activities include chairs pulled out from under tables and thrown across the room by unseen hands along with other instances of moving furniture. People also report hearing phantom sounds of equipment running, such as a dentist's drill.
Shadow figures appear in the passageways or descending the stairs. Other visitors report encountering cold spots, sensing a presence behind them, and hearing phantom footsteps.
There is so much paranormal activity that the Greater Boston Paranormal Associates host a five-hour paranormal investigation onboard three nights a year. During these investigations, the group provides state-of-the-art ghost hunting equipment for capturing paranormal activity on the ship. There are other investigative opportunities offered as well to groups by contacting the museum.
Some of the various ghosts onboard are believed to be victims of the 7.2 earthquake that struck Greece in 1953. The ship served as a vital medical facility for more than 1,000 people, and many died from their injuries while on board. In addition to Greek citizens, there are many sailors who took up permanent ghostly residence.
The USS Salem is moored at 549 South Street, Pier 3, Quincy, MA 02169.
Witch House, Salem
You cannot visit Salem without visiting what is known as the Witch House. Some of the ghostly encounters include sensing cold spots, feeling an unseen presence, hearing disembodied voices, and being touched by unseen hands.
The Witch House is the former home of Judge Jonathan Corwin (one of the judges of the Salem Witch Trials) and the only existing structure in Salem that is directly connected to the trials and open to the public. After the first execution of Bridget Bishop, Judge (Colonel) Nathaniel Saltonstall resigned from the specially-formed Court of Oyer and Terminer. Corwin took his place and condemned 19 people who were executed by hanging.
According to local lore, the Corwins suffered greatly from a curse as a result of the judge's participation in the trials. Many believe the Corwin Curse was responsible for the death of Jonathan and Elizabeth Corwin's children, who all died at a young age.
Today, remnants of the Corwins' fear of witches remain. The house museum displays several witch bottles and a black shoe that were found inside one of the walls. The items were used in religious rituals to fend off witches. Another token of this belief is a poppet. This doll was often used to cast a spell, and the one on display is said to have been recovered from Bridget Bishop's home.
The Witch House is located at 310 1/2 Essex Street Salem, Massachusetts 01970.
S.K. Pierce Mansion, Gardner
The S.K. Pierce Mansion is so haunted that it was on the market for a long time before Dark Carnival, a haunted attraction company, purchased it. Built in 1875, the house has 10 bedrooms and is a haunted attraction to anyone brave enough to spend the night, week, or month. The website states that the paranormal activity heightens at midnight and warns guests not to antagonize the spirits. All guests are required to sign a detailed injury and safety waiver.
Sylvester Pierce, owner of S.K. Pierce and Sons Furniture Company, built the 7,000 square foot home in the late 1880s. Unfortunately, soon after moving into the home, his wife Susan died from illness. The home eventually became a boarding house with unsavory clientele. In 1963, one guest burned to death in his room, possibly due to a case of spontaneous human combustion. Likewise, a boy drowned in the basement, which also added to the house's ghostly reputation.
Other ghosts rumored to haunt the house include S.K. Pierce, Susan, his first wife, and son Edward. The children's nanny, Mattie Cornwall, is also a resident ghost. The red room strangler, David, and his prostitute victim he murdered in the red room never left. A young girl believed to be S.K.'s granddaughter and several shadow people haunt the mansion.
Some of the paranormal activity reported includes things like disembodied voices, unseen forces moving furniture, sudden cold spots, shadow people, full-body apparitions, strange chanting, phantom footsteps in hallways or stairs, slamming doors, and putrid smells.
People report that invisible hands touch and push them. One visitor claimed they were pushed down the stairs, and another said they were pushed out a window on the third floor. The strangest of these activities is the unexplained sudden sound of a lion's roar that vibrates so loudly through the mansion that windowpanes shake.
S.K. Mansion is located at 4 W. Broadway, Gardner, MA 01440.
The Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston
The Cutler Majestic Theater is part of Emerson College in Boston. The theater once served as a venue for vaudeville shows and in the 1950s, it was converted into a movie theater. In the 1980s, Emerson College purchased and restored it. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a Boston Landmark.
Many people call the theater one of Boston's most haunted places. Resident ghosts include the apparition of a man that sits in the audience. Witnesses also see a ghostly child playing in the balcony area. Many people report hearing disembodied, childish crying that echoes through the building.
According to rumors, one spectral couple that hangs out in the theater were audience members who died in a car wreck on their way home from a show. The full-bodied apparitions have appeared to other patrons and engaged in congenial greetings before slowly vanishing during the show.
Attend a show at the theater, and maybe you can catch a glimpse of one of these resident ghosts. The Cutler Majestic Theater is located at 219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116.
Dudley Road, Billerica
Dudley Road is a haunted stretch of road near the current day St. Thecla Retreat House, a retreat for the Daughters of St. Paul (a sisterhood of nuns). Local rumors suggest the public road that passes the retreat is the scene of several ghostly encounters. Passersby report seeing the apparitions of fleeing nuns.
In the 1800s, locals planned to execute nuns from the Retreat House, accusing them of Satanic worship. Tipped off about the angry mobs, the nuns fled the nunnery, sprinting across the road toward an open field. Unfortunately, locals trapped the nuns and hanged them.
Local lore tells that the wrongfully accused nuns haunt that section of the road. Some of the sightings on the road include strange lights, orbs, disembodied voices and sounds.
The stretch of haunted road is near the address of 77 Dudley Rd., Billerica, Massachusetts.
Historic Quarry and Forest, Becket
The Historic Quarry and Forest (formerly Becket Land Trust/Historic Quarry) was a stone quarry that operated from the 1850s until it shut down in the 1960s. At the time of the shutdown, it appeared that the workers simply put down their tools and walked away.
In 2005, concerned citizens for The Historic Quarry and Forest organization and saved the over 300-acre parcel. You can take a self-guided tour of the property. The Quarry remains as it was the day the workers stopped on the last day of operations. All the equipment is where workers left it.
There is a reason to be cautious around the abandoned machines and piles of stone. Visitors report experiencing cold spots. They also hear the sounds of working machinery and disembodied voices. Over 200 workers died in the quarry during its construction, and the following years of operation saw several deaths. Visitors report seeing the apparitions of workers and of being touched by invisible entities. Electronic devices mysteriously stop working. New batteries quickly drain of all their charges.
The Historic Quarry and Forest is open daily from dusk to dawn. It is located at12 Brooker Hill Road (off Route 8), Becket, MA 01223.
Hockomock Swamp, West Bridgewater
The Hockamock Swamp cover 16,950 acres. The state offers public access to the swamp with several hiking and walking trails. The area also boasts multiple recreational areas. With the discovery of 9,000-year-old human artifacts and an ancient Native American burial ground, it's unsurprising that the swamp has a long history of unexplained phenomena.
The Algonquin oral history tells of the the swamp's anomalous activity. The name Hockomock means place where spirits dwell. The Native Americans believed the swamp was a magical place, but Puritans viewed it as The Devil's Swamp or The Devil's Bowl.
Some of the reported paranormal strangeness include giant supernatural creatures and poltergeist spirits that emerge from the swamp. Witnesses have claimed to see gigantic turtles and huge monster snakes. Visitors often report sensing they are being watched, but no one is there.
Many Wampanoag stories center around the little people known as Pukwudgies. The name means, little wildman in woods who vanishes. Many say Pukwudgies push victims off rock outcroppings and spear or kidnap victims. Several people who knew the area well have suddenly disappeared, never to be heard from again.
People also report seeing all types of cryptids in the swamp. These include Bigfoot-type creatures, water monsters, hellhounds, large birds that resemble pterodactyls, and even Mothman. Native American ghost stories tell of apparitions seen paddling phantom canoes. Witnesses also report seeing strange glowing in the treetops.
Most Haunted Places in Massachusetts
The most haunted places in Massachusetts offer you a wide variety of different types of hauntings. Your chances of running into something not of this world are practically guaranteed when you visit any of these places said to be highly charged with paranormal activity.