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Real-World Haunted Houses: 5 Spooktacular Boston Spots

Posted by Alex Pearlman  October 30, 2011 09:27 AM

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hauntedlocationsbostongraveyard.jpgBy Angela Stefano

It’s easy to get caught up in Boston’s past. Old graveyards and buildings, cobblestone streets, and historic buildings are everywhere, as are plaques that explain just what makes that particular square of pavement you’re standing on so interesting. As one of America’s oldest settlements, Boston’s been home to many generations of interesting inhabitants -- some of whom, so the rumors go, never left.

Here’s the scoop on five of the city’s supposedly haunted spots.

emersoncutlermajestictheatrehaunted.jpgEmerson’s Cutler Majestic Theater (219 Tremont St., Boston Common). The theater was built in 1903 and opened and closed on many occasions before Emerson bought and restored it in the 1980s. “Every theatre major at Emerson must do tech work at the Majestic, and most have experienced something,” according to a write-up on Massachusetts Paranormal Crossroads. Some say the ghost of a former Boston mayor, who died during a performance, still sits in his seat, while others believe a couple and their daughter hang around the building’s upper balcony.

Omni Parker House (60 School St., Boston Common/Government Center). The ghost of Harvey Parker, who opened the Parker House in 1856 and died in 1884, allegedly roams the hotel’s 10th floor annex. During his life, Parker was “a perfectionist who kept his hands in every detail of his restaurant and hotel operations,” says the Omni’s website, so his apparitions “hardly come as a shock.” Other encounters include shadows, mysterious rocking chair noises -- especially strange because the hotel has no rocking chairs -- and orbs of light. Elevators also mysteriously come to the third floor, where Charles Dickens lived for two years, without being called.

Sacco’s Bowl Haven (45 Day St., Davis Square). This Somerville haunt (pun intended) attracted national attention a few years ago when SyFy’s Ghost Hunters crew investigated dark shadows, a child’s laughter, and reported sightings of the ghost of a former employee. Although the show debunked the encounters, the staff still believes: Former co-owners Damon and Joseph Sacco have seen dark shadows and “heard some funky stuff,” and an employee quit because he felt something breathing on his neck, writes Stuff.

sheltonhallbubostonuniversityhaunted.jpgBerklee’s Mass Ave Residence Hall (150 Massachusetts Ave., Back Bay) and BU’s Shelton Hall (91 Bay State Rd., Kenmore Square). College dorms are scary enough without rumors of paranormal activity -- communal bathrooms, anyone? -- but Berklee and BU students can get an extra dose of creepiness by living in these residences. Berklee students report seeing apparitions and ghosts, victims of a fire at the site’s former hotel. Over at BU, the ghost of playwright Eugene O’Neill is said to haunt the fourth floor of a former Sheraton hotel, where he died in one of the suites. Appropriately, that floor is now the building’s “Writers’ Corridor.”

Have you visited any of Boston’s haunted spots? Did you experience anything spooky? While you’re here, check out our other Halloween-themed content.

Photos by hugovk (one), lumierefl (two), and alexrheadrick (three) (Flickr)

About Angela -- It's "Ang," if you please -- or, alternately, Bill, Penny Lane, or (begrudgingly) Angus to some. I've been with TNGG since the site started and am now the TNGG Boston editor for I graduated from Boston University's College of Communication in 2009 and am a huge fan of live music, hockey, and Thai food. I'm also a bit of a klutz, but that's only because my mind and body are always going in approximately a zillion separate directions. Twitter: @amstefano988

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