At last, the leaves have begun to transform from the luscious green of summer to the burnt oranges and reds that ring in autumn. The air has noticeably crisped – black puffer jackets can be spotted throughout campus more and more each week we progress into the semester. Fall has officially arrived, and what better way to spend it than visiting the spookiest places in the most haunted areas of Boston? In a historic city with a background as rich as Boston’s, it is almost impossible to stroll down a full city block without stumbling upon a ghost. From haunted houses to haunted cemeteries, Boston has it all.
Old North Church Crypt
Unbeknownst to countless unsuspecting passersby, buried beneath the Old North Church lay the souls of 1,100 people. Between the years 1732 and 1860, the church utilized its basement space directly below the floorboards where its congregation gathered in order to meet the burial demands of the parish while earning a substantial profit. The Crypt contains thirty-seven brick tombs, each of which hold twenty to forty individual coffins.
Eventually, population growth in the area during the nineteenth century forced the church to periodically clean out full tombs by placing old remains in a large brick-lined pit located behind the church, known as the “charnel pit.” Church caretakers allege this move prevented the souls from settling, leaving them to haunt the church. If you want to visit the historic crypt, hop on the D line and stop over Tuesday through Sunday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Granary Burying Grounds
Established in 1660, Granary Burying Grounds is the third oldest cemetery in the city. Once part of the Boston Common, the burial ground is bordered by public structures and houses. Granary accepted new burials over a period of two hundred years, with its last said to have occurred in 1880. It is estimated that about five thousand remains are buried there today, yet barely half of the gravestones remain. Many notable figures lay at rest within this cemetery, among them three signers of the Declaration as well as many notorious Revolutionary War heroes, including Paul Revere.
In 2009, a woman touring the graveyard fell through the ground into a stairway which is said to have led to a tomb containing the remains of a former Boston mayor who died in 1751. With a discovery so recent, who can help but wonder what else hides within the soil at Granary? Visit between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and snap some photos–there could be a mysterious orb or aura lurking in the background.
The Boston Athenaeum
Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenaeum is one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States. Directly inspired by The Athenaeum in Liverpool, England, the founders desired to combine the accessibility of a public library with a specialization in local history and New England literature. The building overlooks the Granary Burying Grounds; librarians say this proximity allows visitors to face their own mortality while embracing the spirits that roam these haunted streets.
Though multiple apparitions can be spotted throughout the library, the most jarring biography belongs to James Allen, a career criminal from Lancaster, Massachusetts who spent most of his life in and out of jail. Allen suffered from tuberculosis, and knowing he would soon die, convinced a prison warden to write the story of his life. However, this was not Allen’s only request. His second demand included that this memoir be bound in his own skin. Shortly after his death, this request was completed with two copies of his skin-bound memoir being created, one of which was given to his daughter who subsequently donated the book to The Boston Athenaeum.
The memoir is now on display on the first floor of the library. Paranormal enthusiasts believe the soul of James Allen will be bound to the library as long as his skin-bound book remains there. Go visit him and the other ghosts that roam the reading rooms after your walk through Granary Burying Grounds.
Omni Parker House Hotel
Founded by Harvey Parker in 1855, the remarkable Omni Parker House Hotel is the longest continuously operated hotel in the nation. Parker dreamed of creating an opulent space that would be revered as a first class hotel. After purchasing the Mico Mansion in 1854, he transformed the space into the hotel of his dreams. With a hotel so rich in history, it is no surprise that spotting an apparition has become so common within its walls. One of the most frequent sightings matches the description of Parker himself. It seems to many that Parker refuses to leave the hotel he was so proud to create. Many guests have spotted him roaming the halls, checking on guests, even waking up guests inside of their rooms. However, Parker is not the only common apparition within the walls of this historic building. Mysterious floating lights and orbs follow guests throughout the halls as the lights flicker on and off. Visit this beautiful bronze hotel to spot these orbs, and maybe even grab a slice of Boston Cream Pie at Parker’s renowned restaurant that claims to have invented it.