Haunted Concord
July 2009

Concord, Mass.
by: Brandy Stark
Note:  Reason for stay in Concord was winning a National Endowment of the Humanities grant., so investigations were on my own time and not the primary reason for the visit.

Basic Info:
City founded in 1635
Ghost stories via word of mouth: Concord is on a lei line that aligns with England.
Historic, hosts the site of Emerson’s famous quote:  “The shot heard round the world” (the first site where Americans shot back at British troops).
Home of Transcendentalism, Louisa Alcott (Little Women), Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne (Scarlett Letter), H.D. Thoreau (Waldon)
Cemeteries:  Sleepy Hallow (see: Author’s Ridge)
West Cemetery
Old Hill Cemetery      
Featured on this page:
Old Hill Cemetery/Haunted Skull Tombstone                The Old Manse              Colonial Inn Orchard House

Beyond Twilight Ghost Tours                Sleepy Hallow Cemetery/Authors' Ridge       Emerson House

Old Hill Cemetery, Skull Tombstone

Web Information: http://www.hollowhill.com/ma/concord/skullx3.htm

History:  From Beyond Twilight Tours:  Cemetery is from the 1700s.  Initially, some burials were performed without caskets; Hawthorne writes of the disgusting sounds of hearing the dirt hit the body.  Equally disturbing is the sound of dirt hitting the casket.

Buried here: Ezra Ripley and Daniel Bliss, among others.

Information:  A couple of sights discuss an old tombstone that has a strange skull image on it.  It also has an odd inscription that includes “bowing to the king of terror”  People get a nasty feeling around the stone and, apparently, the eye sockets get actual eyes. 

It took me two attempts to find the skull tombstone because it turns out that there are A LOT of tombstones with skulls.  There are also nasty mosquitoes in the area.

EMF proved nothing.  Images only caught mosquitoes -- in 7 of 20 of the shots.  No glowing eyes, no bad feelings.  I did try an EVP and got no response.   Back to Top

Old Manse
7-20-09 and 7-24-09

Information from web: 

The original haunting was recorded by Nathaniel Hawthorn, 1869, and published in one of his books.  The excerpt:

The occupants, at various epochs, had left brief records and ejaculations inscribed upon the walls.  There, too, hung a tattered and shriveled roll of canvas, which upon inspection proved to be forcibly wrought picture of a clergyman, in wig, band and gown, holding a Bible in hand. As I turned his face toward the light he eyed me with an air of authority such as men of his profession seldom assume in our days.  The original had been pastor of the parish more than a century ago, a friend of Whitefield, and almost his equal in fervid eloquence.  I bowed before the effigy of the dignified dine, and felt as if I had now met face to face with the ghost by whom, as there was reason to apprehend, the Manse was haunted.

Houses of any antiquity in New England are so invariably possessed with spirits that the matter seemed hardly worth alluding to.  Our ghost used to heave deep sighs in a particular corner of the parlor, and sometimes rustled paper, as if he were turning over a sermon in the long upper entry -- where nevertheless he was invisible, in spite of the bright moonshine that fell through the eastern window.  Not improbably he wished me to edit and publish a selection from a chest full of manuscript discourses that stood in the garret.  Once, while Hillard and other friends sat talking with us in the twilight, there came a rustling noise as of a minister’s silk gown, sweeping through the very midst of the company, so closely as almost to brush against the chairs.  Still there was noting visible.  S yet stranger business was that of a ghostly servant maid, who used to be heard in the kitchen at deepest midnight, grinding coffee, cooking, ironing, -- performing, in short, all kinds of domestic labor, -- although no trades of any thing accomplished could be detected the next morning.  Some neglected duty of her servitude -- some ill-starched ministerial band -- disturbed the poor damsel in her grave and kept her at work without any wages. 

Derived from:
(pp. 21-22).
Hawthorne, Nathaniel.  Introduction to Mosses From An Old Manse:  The Old Manse Concord, Massachusetts. Property of the Trustees of Reservations. Originally published in 1869.

History:  (From tour at Old Manse): 
Blood family bought the property in the 1600s.  Grandfather of Emerson built the house as a minister’s residence.  This was during the time that the minister was a very important figure in town.  Rev. William Emerson and Phoebe Bliss (daughter of Daniel Bliss) lived in the home.  William and Phoebe had 5 children, including Emerson, as well as 4 slaves.  William was part of the rebellion against the British; he was a part of the Continental Army. William was also present during the first active American resistance against the British involving blood shed (Battle at North Bridge). Some of the other rebels may have met at the Old Manse during this time.  William went to Vermont to serve as a chaplain to the army, caught “camp fever” -- dysentery -- and died in Vermont. 

Upon William’s death, his wife rented out space in the house.  Eventually, Ezra Ripley came to town and lived in the home as a renter.  This was very scandalous and eventually he married Phoebe, who was, at this time 10 years younger.  They had three more children.    Ezra was a preacher for approximately 63 years and under his ministry the Unitarian and Trinitarian church split -- between liberal and evangelical Calvinist philosophies -- occurred. 

From 1842 to 1845 the house was rented to Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia.  Una, their daughter, was born in the house.  Hawthorne did writing in the home and Sophia painted.  They were not good tenants as they did not pay rent for the entire 3 years, and did minor vandalism to the home.  Several windows contain “diamond ring writing” in which Sophia etched in little phrases directly into panes of glass.  Nathaniel did, as well, and it was not his cleverest writing.  However, the couple documented everything in the house, including the ghost story (see above).  Hawthorne also drafted The Scarlett Letter here.

Waldo Emerson wrote “Nature” in the home. (My notes do not include when Waldo lived there).

The Ripleys moved back in until the 1900s.  They used it at a summer house for a time, and eventually turned it into a museum. 

Temp:  75 degrees
Conditions: Rainy, windy
Tour with NEH/CHAA

Personal Interviews: 
Tour guide reports seeing the ghost and having books dropped on her head. Hears footsteps on second floor when on 1st floor.  Believes that Ezra Ripley, one of the ministers with an active career of 60+ years, might be the one haunting the area because he was happy here. She has not heard the maid.

Site manager commented that the feeling in the building was very calm, very much like walking into another world.

EVP session/staff interview:  Sometimes hear other people say that there is someone else there, but got more reports of ghostly activity 3 or 4 years ago.  Did ask me to ask if Ezra burned Phoebe’s letters.

Manifestations: Bookstore is where book dropped on her head; “Mind on Fire” Emerson.  Mentions good feelings coming past the gateposts.  Hawthorn also mentioned that people who come here feel good. 

Note:  I was carrying the computer and no other equipment.  Had to balance the Paranormal Puck with the computer.  I was typing one handed.  Sound was off due to tour environment.

Paranormal Puck session:
everything represent helpful grateful Sandra comfort hidden drift decided problem opening coast write hurt kansas dr.
among Larry express temperature safe tragic yourself celebration fire book carefully indicate bush van million glass coin zero repeated video soak it snap provider find take bottle celebration numeral gone ceiling send lost thin africa element must symbols tall .
movement hurt video empath rapture world coast kansas soak comfort seat opening drift movement behind sand relax cattle express decided hidden built face among zero Sandra along ask comfort

User: is ripley here?

User: do you throw books?
kansas mine problem dr.

User: are you a doctor of divinity?
drift jerk Larry

User: hello!

opening hidden would .
zero repeated seat tied find express empath faith soak coast hurt sand problem repeated Larry jerk

User: do you have a message to pass on
zero Sandra

User: ?
fall video world sound behind problem

User: are you upset that the books are gone!
opening seat empath kansas

User: are you holy ripley?
decided cents soak express tied find faith rapture thank opening
movement face Larry pounds kansas dr.
Robert empath cents find faith fire hurt face subtract week world cattle tied Larry months along tilt drank faith decided kansas cents sound fall am dr.

User: dining room
Sandra seat empath express decided coast world rapture Larry

User: noted one spike in study -- before coming in. emf 2.09 - up from .89
fall video .
faith problem opening seat zero dr.
cattle soak Robert

User: sophias studio and dining room
subtract else hole pounds video coast find faith position decided mine built Larry .
write quickly Sandra miss he's note hunting erase .
gateway began east settled Larry seat mine sand Robert Sandra express behind deep hurt coast justice movement

User: upstairs
remote anything find tied hole rapture among cents told coast soak blow seat subtract video dr.
movement sound else face remote

User: study upstairs
empath behind blow tied

User: phoebe emerson stood here to watch American Rev. unfold
hole seat told

User: are you still proud of the American Rev. started here
cattle coast rapture position Larry express drift video sand repeated dr.
soak tied world empath find else thank faith among pounds seat Robert soak dr.
cattle coast empath face jerk .
decided ask repeated take hidden kept Sandra comfort built bottle walter problem fall sound 6 along divide kansas empath zero face relax east cattle among hidden pounds drift write details decided .
gone .
comfort already repeated rapture kansas

User: bedroom hawthorn bedroom
coast face empath told decided Larry zero dr.
express find world seat
User: chills in bedroom
rapture hurt face fall empath thank Larry hidden jerk movement wash built along relax east faith jump repeated drift coin subtract face world tilt video soak opening short sand faith cattle empath express cents rapture face
User: Rose Hawthorn married, man drunk, sep, she became a nun -- of the Hawthorns
history world problem dr.
tied sand east hidden told drift coast fall cattle sound comfort thank legs .
six position ambition .
find decided .
sand sound soak kansas Larry movement night cement along

User: attic
jerk faith behind

User: slaves, servants, visitors here
empath express cents sand east zero drank among fall rapture Sandra
User: saints chamber isthe oldest room
Larry empath jerk mine world video relax east .
fall sound faith cattle drift decided jerk built world video .
relax hidden

User: south chamber in attic.

User: kept here because the cannot climb out of windows
movement behind problem Sandra week kansas sound seat thank opening express zero world fall find Larry else empath Robert face cents among faith

User: is Ezra here?
cattle nation dr. (This is of significance as we were told a story of Ezra’s habit.  He would get a young boy to come in and say “Where do you want me to put the cattle?” in front of his guests.  To impress them, he would say “In the battle field, my boy, in the battle field.”  His back yard hosts the North Bridge where the “shot heard round the world occurred” -- the active American resistance to the British.  The guide had just told us the story a few minutes before this entry).

Review of EVP:  Spikes from the EMF Trifield meter are clearly heard, though I did turn off my phone (no signal) and verified that there were no other phones on at the time.  No results with EVP.

Post session:  A test of the Puck showed that there were none of the words picked up here repeated at the hotel.  Either different EMF or different message. Back to Top

Beyond Twilight Tours
Cost: $15
Date: 7-23-09
Internet: www.beyondtwilightwalks.com  
Phone: (978) 269-4237     or    (978) 269-4237

Note:  weather was abnormally cold (66 degrees and dropping at 8 p.m.) and a moderate rain was occurring. The tour took approximately 90 minutes to complete.

I brought with me a digital camera and EMF meter.  Met up with Samantha, a local to the area, who saw me and asked if I was ghost hunting.  She said that she was psychic so I will include areas where she adds reports.

The tour took 3 years to create as the founder, who taught in higher education and is currently the Director of Education for the Thoreau Society.  With many stories, the tour looks for multiple repetitions (I believe 3 minimum) and they must meet the requirements of academic investigations from parapsychologists.  I do recall being told that this was ‘different from what you do’ as a ghost hunter.  To some degree, I understand as this makes it a clearer case of NOT mere hear-say.  However, I would not dismiss the “ghost hunter“ as experience and academic background can exist.  Yet, in this world of “pop culture” -- which includes bandwagon investigators who have little experience and base info on TV -- I can understand the need for the parapsy/academic ideal. (I classify myself as an academic investigator for research presented in ghosts/religion and my 13 years/400 investigation experience).  He uses PEAR, University of Arizona, and parapsychologists from Boston/Mass as validating agencies.

The tour was enjoyable despite the weather -- and I am impressed that the tour guide toughed it out with us.  Who could imagine 66 degree weather (at the end of JULY?!).  Two other National Endowment attendees loved the tour and found it valuable.  We accompanied a group of docents from the Orchard House.

Areas of activity: 
The Art Society of Concord:  I had heard about this when I phoned the Concord Inn to inquire about ghosts.  This is the first time I got the story on the ghosts.  Feeling of sadness and chills entering the buildings.  Later renovations of the entranceway discovered two skeletons under the doorway.  Unknown history on these. 

An artist who helped to found the organization committed suicide in the building.  Reports including persons who get a feeling of cold air and sadness in the building.

Activity:  Two spikes on EMF meter.  Samantha approached me at this point to ask what I was doing and then to tell me but there is a lot of energy there.  I attempted to return to the area to check on the building itself the next day, but it is closed to renovations. 

Parking lot:  Story of a missing father/daughter who left to go home in the 1800s, despite horrific weather and dissuasion by friends.  They never got home and, despite a search from October to April, they were never found.
Samantha reports a lot of energy.  3 spikes from EMF meter.

51 Waldon Street (houses the current acting group).  Samantha picked up energy there.  I was not able to get any closer and due to time constraints do not see myself going inside. 

West Cemetery:  Oldest grave (14 y.o. boy).  “A lot of energy” felt.  Got three misty images; never got these before.  Tested camera by taking pictures in an opposite area, nothing showed up.  Replicating original shot, no mist.  Upon review of the camera, I suspect that these images are naturally produced.   If it were not for the rain, I would be more inclined to take the images seriously.  However, the lack of mist moving and blurriness of 3 shots, plus the rain, indicates too many things that may be naturally produced. Back to Top

Orchard House
Home of the Alcott family, including Louisa Alcott , author of Little Women

No pictures and no recordings allowed.  Walked through with EMF meter.  It had been discussed on the ghost tour that an aroma of mysterious flowers could be smelled through the house.  The second story came from the Twilight Tours:  A docent was waiting for her husband to pick her up.  She was alone in the Orchard house when she suddenly felt this blast of cold air that came from no where.  The house was closed up and there was nothing that she knew of that could cause that column of air to be there.  She did, I believe, check the area of the house and found nothing amiss, and with that was so terrified that she left her coat and book behind to wait for her husband outside.  This was a January night in Concord, so I imagine that she must have been most frightened.  She is considered by the tour to be a reliable witness. 

The next day, my group toured the house.  I was allowed to take my EMF meter in.  The meter spiked in the living room (2 times), the study (3 times) and May Alcott’s room (1 time).  I did learn that the area of the flower aroma was in May’s room and that the place where the woman had her encounter was in the study.  I am not certain as to why there would be spikes in the living room, but they were doing some refurbishing of the area.  I do wonder if that would have had an affect either with EMF or with spectral activity. Back to Top

Colonial Inn

Information from web:

History:  (Hotel history):  The oldest part of the inn (also the haunted room) was built in 1716 by Captain Joseph Minot.  He was both a soldier in the Civil War and a physician who later treated Civil War soldiers.  In the late 1800s, the Minot house was combined with two other pre-existing homes to form the Conford Inn.

(Lectures):  Thoreau’s unmarried aunts, who were strong in the anti-slavery movement, lived in the inn and rented out rooms.

(Beyond Twilight Tours):  The later renovations occurring in the 1960’s/1970’s.

Haunted Activity:
Information from book, The Ghostly Register (1986)..  Basic story of the 1966 letter.  Noted that in the 1980s, a woman who had stayed in the room refused to stay in there any longer.  No investigations at the time of publishing (1986).

Interviews with desk clerk:  There are two ghosts in the room.  One is the commonly reported Dr. Minot.  The second is a female entity.  He could not tell me more than that and suggested trying to speak to a long term employee who knew all of the ghosts.

The hotel also offers a print out of “A Room with a View-ing”.  The paper recites the famous story from 1966 of the newlyweds who were staying in the hotel.  The wife awoke in the middle of the night and saw a grey mist in the form of a man standing next to her.  She was terrified but couldn’t move.  Her husband slept through the event.  The entity walked away from her (on her left hand side) and to the fire place where it eventually faded away. 

Two other stories are cited on the page.  One is about a couple who stayed at the hotel for their 21st wedding anniversary.  The man saw a flash of white light.  He tried to wake his wife, who saw nothing and went back to sleep.  The man also went to sleep but had a very strange dream -- he saw a girl who was in her 20’s or 30’s sitting in a chair in the room.  She had shoulder length hair that was curly.  She had a nose with a slight bump.  She told him that she was the mistress of a man who used the room.  She then appeared lying on the bed in her night gown.  Someone entered the room, took a pillow and suffocated the girl.  She then said that her body was removed and hidden (1996).

The last entry describes a guest who was lying in the room who started to feel ill.  While lying on the bed, the person felt a vibration and could not move for 3 - 5 seconds, along with a tingling sensation.  The illness then went away.  There were four episodes all told, and the person felt completely recovered at the end (1994).

Word of mouth: 
--anyone who attempts to record (film) in inn never gets anything
--a mirror where a man in a top hat has been reflected
--Minot haunts the area

There supposed to be a haunted dining room; staff suggested that it was the older of the two.  Also, there was some mention of a mirror that whenever people looked into it they saw a man in a top hat who looked back.  I could not find out more information on either the second dining room or the man in the mirror.

Information from “Twilight Tours” -- Owner of tour does a lot of research; counts only academic research and what he considers reliable sources (other reports but he discounts).  With this in mind, he counts the last two reliable reports as 1998 and 2003. 

Investigation:  Brandy and Mary (via phone)
Paranormal Puck, Trifield Meter, Sound Recorder, Digital Camera
Attempted long distance remote viewing with Mary.  Her notes:

Mary picked up an oval shape that reflects sunlight in the early morning.  Whatever it is, like a pendant, but larger.

Year 1918 came to mind.  Flu epidemic (?)

Picking up a female and the name “Stella”. 
Not picking up anything recent -- turn of the century. 

Was the Inn used as a hospital or used for taking care of the sick? 
[Dr.’s home at one point].

Would like to see pictures of the room.  Images sent.  Window by the door is what Mary was asking about.  In the corner by window and the door is an area of activity.

[Is the entity sitting in the chair?]
No, the chair is not what I’m seeing.  The room almost seems turned around.  It is as if the furniture is different and the orientation of the room is different; it’s not really even the same. 

I almost feel like, to me, that there is a heavy desk in the room.  A lot of  books, this guy was an avid reader (suggestion that it is a doctor who lived here?)

The corner by the door is the most significant one for me.  That is the area where I would put the lady that I see.  She has the long dress on, but also a white duster (maybe).  Not an employee, I have the impression that she has something to do with helping people who were ill.  I think that is why the epidemic comes up.  Nursing or healing, in the hotel itself.  I get the impression that she may not have worked for this doctor, but she is not part of his family.

I get the feeling that she knows why she is there.  I think that it deals with tending to people who are sick.  There is a purpose for her being there.  She is not lost.  She belongs there, she is not a drop in.  I don’t know that she would interact.  She is there between window and door.

[Note:  this is the area that the 1966 letter reports where the entity manifested].

Ask what is the orientation of the room. 

The shape of the mirror is correct to what Mary saw but the size is much larger than what she had envisioned.

Paranormal Puck session:
Temp:  81
The EMF does fluctuate quite a bit in here between 2 and 3.5. 

User: Is Dr. Minot here?
green judgment trail straight .
User: Is the woman here?
visit battery mitten
User: Do you help the sick?
oar instruments fit
User: Were you involved in an epidemic?
heard body periodical wed better
User: Were you a nurse?
waste been sentence sober
User: Were you involved in the 1966 manifestation that the couple saw?
should .
User: Do you come out during the day?
shot inside ravine Ronda prop
User: Do you have a message to pass on>
Peter action heard
User: What is the last thing that you remember?

business hang press psychic then
User: Were you a spiritualist
yellow gravity feet sober .
User: Were you a person who did not believe in consuming alcohol?
my poverty large
User: Are you a servant of the household?
even hang bridle sentence
User: Are you trained medically?
waste sacrilege
User: Are you a Christian Science follower?
cast pm purified
User: Do you follow Mary baker Eddy?
land .
User: Do you believe in faith healings?
thousand provider rope visit
User: Did you visit the prison?
linger Derrick thermal block
User: Can you tell me your name?
sentence cancer free because oar
User: Is oar actually aura?
came radio penny censures
User: Do you have a message to pass on>
snap design my
User: Can you please elaborate?
being hang heavy bridge
User: Were you the woman who died by drowning?
map .
User: Did someone you know and love hang?
poverty wonder
User: Is there something else that I should try to ask you?
plane dead because
User: Why did you die?
Edna many
User: I am not sure that I understand.
radio feet visit then stay
User: Visit and stay where?
haste village center heavy
User: Is this in Concord?
were subject map bring thousand
User: OK.  Thank you for working with me on this. 
horrible wed prop okay bend
User: Were you not married?
peace shot supply Mike

Photographs taken after phone session:  nothing visible seen.

EVP session attempted from 1:15 - 1:20.  Cars and outside noises very present. Back to Top

Author's Ridge/Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
I attempted to walk through with EVPs, EMF, and digital camera.  No activity manifested via the EVP or digital camera.  The EMF meter did spike throughout the tour.  EVPs at the graves of Hawthorne, Alcott, Emerson, and Thoreau produced no responses or results.

Two other areas where I had a lot of EMF near other graves had no EVP or digital results. Back to Top

West Cemetery:
Photographs only.  No results.

Emerson House:
Despite multiple deaths of the Emerson family on this property, including Ralph Waldo Emerson's son, the staff report no ghostly hauntings.  Back to Top

More musings on the National Endowment Experience:  http://starkreflections.blogspot.com/

More photos:  http://s964.photobucket.com/albums/ae123/BStark1/