As one of the oldest cities in America, Boston holds many centuries of rich history. From its earliest days as a homesteading community where cattle grazed in Boston Common to the American Revolution and beyond, the city has evolved into what it is today – a bustling hub of cultural, social, artistic, educational and industrial activity.
But it is the other side of Boston that draws attention from those who study the paranormal – the side that includes murder, disease, and tragedy. And like many other cities, Boston is known for stories of infamous ghosts and accompanying supernatural experiences.
The year was 1862 when Mrs. Andrew Lanier made an arduous journey from Georgia to Boston. She was on a mission to free her husband who was being imprisoned at Fort Warren, a granite fort located on George’s Island. The Fort was used as a prison during the Civil War. Her story is a sad one because poor Mrs. Lanier spent much time and effort to make her way onto the grounds of Fort Warren, including cutting her hair so she’d resemble a man. As she made her way to the cells in the dungeon, the young woman signaled her husband that she’d arrived. As a petite woman, she was able to squeeze through the window of his cell. Then, using the pick ax, she and her husband tunneled out of the cell with the intent of overtaking the guards and escaping.
But what happened next was quite the twist. A guard discovered them, slapped the pistol out of Mrs. Lanier’s hand; and when he did, the bullet went off, hit her husband and killed him. Mrs. Lanier was then captured and sentenced to death by hanging. Her final request was to be given a dress to wear; but all they could find at the Fort were black robes.
“The broken-hearted Lanier was hung in the black robes and today many have seen her, still in the same robes, wandering about the island.”
Considered by many to be the most haunted hotel in Boston, the Omni Parker House is home to several ghosts. But the most famous one is without a doubt the renowned author Charles Dickens. The Saturday Club, which was an exclusive fellowship of literary dignitaries, was held at the Omni Parker Hotel and included Dickens, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
“Sr. Dickens lived at the historic hotel for two years and first recited and performed “A Christmas Carol” during one of the Saturday Clubs.”
But since his death, many believe Dickens still resides at the Omni, for the elevator is often drawn to stop, open its doors and wait at the third floor without explanation – the floor where Dickens resided in his apartment.
Another well-known Boston Ghost is that of Harvey Parker, the Omni Parker Hotel’s founder. Guests have been spooked and surprised by sighting Parker who passed away in 1884. He had a reputation of being a perfectionist who was involved in every aspect of his hotel – and it seems he’s continued with that practice even in death.
Parker’s ghost has been seen roaming the halls and many guests who’ve stayed on the 10th floor have seen him in their rooms, especially those staying in room 1078.
There’s a reason the Omni Parker Hotel draws in so many paranormal enthusiasts and that’s because there are so many sightings and strange inexplicable events occurring. Charlotte Cushman is one more famed spirit that checked into the Omni but never checked out. She was a 19th century stage actress who starred in various productions playing both female and male roles. Sadly, Charlotte died in 1876 in her room on the 3rd floor of the Omni – another reason many staff members feel that the elevator consistently travels to that floor on its own when no buttons are pushed.
A most somber place, Central Burying Ground is where some of the city’s poorest residents were buried and many who died of terrible circumstances. Located in the top corner of Boston Common, the cemetery is well known for its ghost sightings. Because many were laid to rest in mass graves, displaced during the construction of new streets or simply paved over, paranormal experts believe the spirits are dismayed over the disrespect given to them in death.
“Visitors to Central Burying Ground often report feeling as if someone is standing next to them, witnessing flashes of light, floating orbs and more frightful occurrences.”
Don’t forget to take a ride on the Ghosts & Gravestones Tour for a thrilling experience in one of the oldest and most haunted cities in America.