Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the second oldest burial ground in Boston and was founded in 1659. Named after shoemaker William Copp, this historic cemetery in the North End is the final resting place of many merchants, artisans and freed slaves. Well-known colonists, Cotton and Increase Mather, are buried here along with Robert Newman, who hung the lanterns for the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.
Throughout centuries of history, this cemetery has gained a reputation for more than its significance to the city; many who’ve visited have claimed to experience inexplicable events – encounters that could only be attributed to the existence of paranormal beings. The many spirits that roam in Copp’s Hill are said to be the souls of those who are not able to rest peacefully.
One major disturbance that may have caused irreparable harm was during the Revolutionary War when the British Troops occupied the graveyard and used many of the headstones for target practice. Many of them were defaced by bullet holes, including that of Daniel Malcolm, whose epitaph named him a “True Son of Liberty.” Another event that may have caused unrest amongst the spirits was when numerous bodies were exhumed and relocated within the cemetery during the construction of Snowhill Street.
One of the most feared and notable apparitions reported is that of the Reverend Increase Mather. A fire and brimstone preacher, Mather was known for his dramatic sermons and steadfast beliefs. He was also known for his involvement in the Salem Witch Trials. In death, Reverend Mather has been known to appear to visitors in the cemetery, taunting them as they walk amongst the graves.
Other souls that linger throughout these hallowed grounds present themselves in different ways; some see glowing balls of light, others just feel an eerie presence, and many discover strange flashes of light and even disembodied faces in their photographs.