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.