Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Upcoming appearance on Bio Channel's 'Haunted Encounters'

Based on my recently taped stint as Boston's paranormal expert on the Biography Channel's "Haunted Encounters: Face to Face," spirits are serious business. The on-camera interview, which was shot in front of the Central Burying Ground and facing what I called Boston's “haunted corridor” near the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets, explored the residual energy, or psychic imprint, left over from the 1897 gas-line explosion.

Yes, the "Haunted Encounters" crew managed to explore the abandoned subway tunnels connected to the country's oldest trolley station, Boylston Street. Fast forward to 1:16 on the video above to get a sneak peek of my appearance on the new paranormal show. Click here to read the Common Haunts chapter in "Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub," which gives the historical back story to the alleged hauntings.

"Haunted Encounters: Face to Face" premieres on Friday, Nov. 30 with an investigation of one my favorite regional haunts, the Lizzie Borden house in Fall River.

"Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub" author Sam Baltrusis's segment, called "Boston's Haunted Underworld," is tentatively slotted to air Friday, December 7 at 10 p.m. on the Biography Channel.

Click here for the lowdown and here to order my book before the holiday rush.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Upcoming 'Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub' book signings

"Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub" author Sam Baltrusis
Based on my recently taped stint as Boston's paranormal expert on the Biography Channel's "Haunted Encounters: Face to Face," spirits are serious business. The on-camera interview, which was shot in front of the Central Burying Ground and facing what I called Boston's “haunted corridor” near the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets, explored the residual energy, or psychic imprint, left over from the 1897 gas-line explosion. The segment is tentatively slotted to air Friday, November 23 on the Bio Channel.

The book "Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub" was released on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Thanks to the initial buzz, there are a slew of book signings and events scheduled for September/October 2012. Here are a few highlights:

 * 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at the Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington Street in Downtown Boston. Launch event with special guests from the paranormal community. Tickets are $5 in advance here.

* 7-8 p.m. Thursday, September 27, 2012 at the Brookline Public Library, 361 Washington St. in Brookline Village.

* Noon-1:30 p.m. Saturday, October 6, 2012 at the The Book Shop, 694 Broadway in Somerville's Ball Square

* 7 p.m. Monday, October 8, 2012 at the Harvard COOP, 1400 Massachusetts Ave. in Harvard Square

* 7-8 p.m. Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the BPL's Brighton Branch library, 40 Academy Hill Rd. in Brighton. 

* 2-4 p.m. Saturday, October 13, 2012 at Johnny Cupcakes, 279 Newbury St. in Boston's Back Bay.

 * 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, October 18, 2012 at the Provincetown Library, 356 Commercial St. in Provincetown. 

* 7-8 p.m. Monday, October 22, 2012 at the Weymouth Public Library's Tufts Library, 46 Broad St. in Weymouth.

 * 2-4 p.m. Saturday, October 27, 2012 at the History Press booth Boston Book Festival in Boston's Back Bay.

* 6:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, October 29, 2012 at the BPL's Adams Street Branch library, 690 Adams St. in Dorchester. 

 * 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at Trident Booksellers & Cafe, 338 Newbury St. in Back Bay. 

* 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at Quincy's Park & Recreation Facility, One Merrymount Parkway in Quincy.

 * TBD November 2012 at Paranormal Books & Curiosities, 627 Cookman Ave. in Asbury Park, NJ. Special preview book signing. 

To book the author, email him directly or contact publicist Katie Parry at the History Press. Check back for updates.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Haunted Boston tour guide at Brookline Public Library signing

Jeffrey Doucette at Brookline Public Library
Based on the freaked-out expression on Haunted Boston tour guide Jeffrey Doucette's face, he looked as if he had just seen a ghost.

“You're not going to believe what just happened,” he said, rushing into the Omni Parker House's mezzanine watering hole, Parker's Bar, one Sunday evening after giving a ghost tour to a group of high school kids from Vermont. “As I was telling a story at the site of the hanging elm, I could tell something was up,” he recalled, packing up his lantern and sitting down in a cozy table near the bar's fireplace. “The chaperone is waving at me as if 'Jeff, you need to look at this' and she shows me her camera. I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. In the photo, it looks like seven nooses hanging from the trees in the area near what was the hanging tree.”

Doucette, featured in the book Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub, will be at the 7-8 p.m. Thursday, September 27 book-signing event at the Brookline Public Library, 361 Washington St. in Brookline Village. The ghostlore expert was also a guest panelist at the book's spirited launch event at the Old South Meeting House on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

A four-year Haunted Boston veteran and a popular tour guide among out-of-town visitors thanks to his distinct South Boston accent, Doucette said he was a skeptic for years until he had a few close encounters of the paranormal kind while trudging through the tour's haunted sites scattered throughout the Boston Common and Beacon Hill. Now, he's a full-fledged believer.

“I was like, 'what the f***?' Let's get out of here,” he said, referring to the noose photo taken earlier in the evening and creepy pictures of demonic, red-colored orbs shot in the Central Burying Ground. “It literally freaked me out. This year, I've seen a lot of orbs, but nothing like what I just saw. I'm not sure if [the spirits] heard me talking about the interview I'm having with you, but they really showed their colors tonight. The ghosts in the Boston Common were out in full force and they were screaming.”

Click here to order the book Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub for the complete story.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spirited launch party at the Old South Meeting House

Book launch at Old South Meeting House
Do you believe in Ghosts?

The "Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub" spirit squad was out in full force at the Tuesday, Sept. 18 book launch event at the Old South Meeting House. Adam Berry, who was on assignment with Syfy's Ghost Hunters in Upstate New York, drove in and joined the festivities at what is considered the epicenter of the country's Freedom of Speech movement. Ben Franklin was baptized in this building. It's also the birthplace of the American Revolution.

Dan Blakeslee as Dr. Gasp
The book's back-cover illustrator Dan Blakeslee, performing as the ghastly Dr. Gasp, kicked off the evening with his Halloween-inspired acoustic set. Comedian Jim Lauletta introduced author Sam Baltrusis.

Scott Trainito and Mike Baker, the lead investigators of Para-Boston, kicked off the panel discussion and gave a scientific spin on alleged paranormal activity in the historic building and chatted about their approach to investigating. Their findings? The Para-Boston team did record an EVP (electromagnetic voice phenomenon) of a male voice saying, "Who's there?" There were also first-hand accounts of chains rattling in the lower area of the OSMH and a bizarre recording anomaly coming from the building's steeple.

Adam Berry from Syfy's Ghost Hunters
Any evidence of the so-called Revolutionary War-era horse spirit lingering in the building? Naaaay .. or is it "neigghhhh." Of course, the EVP could have been an undead Mr. Ed. However, several visitors to the building have reported smelling hay and one woman who recently tied the knot in the Old South Meeting House said she had a close encounter with the horse spirit.

Ashley Michelle as Vanna Black
For the record, the Redcoats ransacked the former church during the Revolutionary War and used it as a horse stable and riding school for British soldiers. George Washington walked by the building during the late 1700s and was extremely unhappy with how the Brits desecrated this important landmark.

Jeffrey Doucette, a tour guide with Haunted Boston, discussed his experiences with the supernatural in the Boston Common and Adam Berry, who was escorted to the stage by Cambridge Haunts tour guide and performer Ashley Michelle, chatted about a close encounter with a school spirit at his Boston Conservatory dorm.

Over the weekend, "Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub" ranked #42 on Amazon's Folklore & Mythology best seller list. Click here to check out the buzzworthy book.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Adam Berry from 'Ghost Hunters' confronts school spirits

Adam Berry from Syfy's Ghost Hunters is returning to Boston
Long before Adam Berry snagged top prize as a paranormal investigator-in-training on Syfy's Ghost Hunters Academy, he confronted a school spirit haunting his college dormitory. “I thought that I had a ghost in my dorm room at the Boston Conservatory during my junior year,” Berry said, adding that he felt a presence physically hold him down, a phenomenon known as sleep paralysis.

Berry, featured in the book Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub, will be on assignment with the TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) team in Upstate New York. However, he plans to make the trek to Boston (fingers crossed) in support of the book's launch event 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18. Click here for tickets.

“I was freaked out and thought there was something in my room. My mother told me to take some dirt from the front of my dorm and throw it in the cemetery. We did and dumped the dirt in the old cemetery near Emerson [Central Burying Ground] to get rid of the spirit,” he remarked. “After that, I never felt intimidated being in that dorm.”

As far as the ghostlore surrounding campus hauntings, Berry believes it's a rite of passage. “Going to college is like going to summer camp, but with classes,” he mused. “You have stories that are told from generation to generation on a college campus. And universities like Harvard have dorms that are hundreds of years old so it makes sense that these spooky ghost stories continue to be told. Also, seniors love to scare freshmen.”

Berry, who founded the Provincetown Paranormal Research Society (PPRS) in 2006 after graduating from college, said his ghostly encounter in Boston coupled with a supernatural experience in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania helped fuel his interest in the spirit realm. “Boston is one of my favorite cities in the world and obviously has something going on,” the twenty-nine-year-old said. “Because of the history, there are so many interesting places that could be investigated. It was one of the biggest seaports in the country and had tons of activity during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. There must be spirits left behind, mulling about and checking out the status of the community they built way back when.”

During his four-year stint at the Conservatory, the paranormal investigator who was originally from Muscle Shoals, Alabama said he fell in love with the Hub. “Because of Boston's rich history and the singular fact that it was the cornerstone of the American Revolution makes it a city that is truly one of a kind,” he said. “Why would anyone want to leave … even after they're dead?”

Click here to order the book Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub for the complete story.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Common Haunts: So, there's something about Mary ...

While researching a Halloween-themed story called Haunted Hot Spots for STUFF magazine, I started spending hours in the Boston Common. I've always felt a strong magnetic pull to the site of the Great Elm, also known as the hanging tree. There was also an inexplicable interest in the Central Burying Ground and, 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. I looked back and she was gone.

At this point, I didn't know about the Matthew Rutger legend dating back to the 1970s. Like me, he saw a ghost at the old cemetery and I remember shivering in the beauty and the madness of the moment. Somehow, I felt her pain.

I call her Mary.

Read the full story in the upcoming book, "Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub," hitting shelves on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Click here to pre-order on
--Photo courtesy Jeffrey Doucette

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cover design for 'Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub'

“Why would anyone want to leave Boston … even after they're dead?"

--Adam Berry, Ghost Hunters

It should come as no surprise that one of the nation’s oldest cities brims with spirits of those who lived and died in its hundreds of years of tumultuous history. Boston, Massachusetts boasts countless stories of the supernatural. Many students at Boston College have encountered an unearthly hound that haunts O’Connell House to this day. Be on the watch for an actor who sits in on rehearsals at Huntington Theatre and restless spirits rumored to haunt Boston Common at night. From the Victorian brownstones of the Back Bay to the shores of the Boston Harbor Islands, author Sam Baltrusis makes it clear that there is hardly a corner of the Hub where the paranormal cannot be experienced as he breathes new life into the tales of the long departed.

About the cover:

Beacon Hill's Acorn Street, known as one of the most-photographed spots in America thanks to its picturesque brownstones and narrow cobblestone lane dating back to the 1820s, is also rumored to be Boston's most haunted. There have been numerous sightings of ghostly, full-bodied apparitions wearing turn-of-the-century and Civil War-era garb passing by the street's ornate, gas-lit lamps.  
--Cover photo by Ryan Miner

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Campus Haunt: The Charlesgate Hotel

Here's a shot of the Charlesgate Hotel, Boston's version of NYC's The Dakota (location for the film "Rosemary's Baby" and the spot where John Lennon was murdered).

This creepy building is a hotbed of alleged paranormal activity since it was original built in 1891. Formerly a Boston University and Emerson dorm, the site is the source of a slew of reports from students (from the '70s to the mid-'90s) claiming the building is haunted.

I'm currently working on a book project called "Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub" where I'm exploring paranormal activity at a handful of college dorms/schools scattered throughout New England. In the book, I also examine alleged paranormal activity at a handful of site-specific locations, including the Emerson Cutler Majestic and the Omni Parker House.

The writing project will cover everything from my old dorm room on the 4th Floor of Boston University's Shelton Hall (rumor is Eugene O'Neill and his wife Carlotta continue to haunt the Writers' Corridor) to the refurbished Charlesgate Hotel in the Back Bay.

The Charlesgate Hotel (coupled with The Barnes Mansion) is now an upscale condo building. Click here for details.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Common Haunts: Boston's ghosts, graves & gallows

If you believe the Freedom Trail is the end all of Boston history, think again. There are a slew of hidden haunts from Boston’s not-so-Puritanical past in one the oldest city parks in the United States. Yep, the Boston Common is chock full of ghosts, graves and gallows.

While Salem is known for its witch trials, the Boston Common held public hangings until 1769 on an old elm tree in the western side of the Common. The tree was later replaced with gallows, or a wooden contraption used for public executions until 1817.

Compared to Salem, there were only three witchcraft-related hangings which included Margaret Jones, Anne Hibbins and Goody Glover. Boston's so-called witch hysteria lasted over a 40-year period. All three alleged witches were later exonerated and Glover, who is considered a Catholic martyr, has a bar/restaurant named after her on Salem Street in the North End.

Mary Dyer, who was targeted by the Boston Puritans for being a Quaker and is immortalized as a bronze statue in front of the Massachusetts State House, was one of several women persecuted in the Boston Common because of their religious beliefs.

There’s a plaque honoring the spot of the Great Elm and alleged site of the public hangings, which was destroyed in 1876 and honored with a hard-to-find historic marker near the Frog Pond on the western side of the Common.

On the Boylston Street side of the park is the Central Burying Ground, the final resting place of artist Gilbert Stuart and composer William Billings. In the 1830s, a pedestrian mall was constructed, which eliminated about 15 feet of the southern part of the cemetery.

During 1895, human remains of 900 to 1,100 bodies were uncovered and there’s a mass grave for these unmarked graves in the northeast side of the burial ground. There’s also the spooky story of a 13-year-old girl, rumored to haunt the cemetery.

The Boston Common's more infamous ghost story involves two women, rumored to be sisters, who are dressed in 1830s-style garb and have been spotted walking arm-in-arm or sitting on a bench. When visitors try to approach the ghostly duo, the apparitions mysteriously disappear. 

Boston Haunts Tip: Many of the buildings surrounding the Boston Common are home to alleged  paranormal activity, including the third floor of the recently refurbished Omni Park House Hotel, at 60 School St., the Boston Athenaeum at 10 ½ School St. and Emerson’s Cutler Majestic Theater located at 219 Tremont.