Well, when it comes to spooks, Newburyport is it! And why not? Before the cruel bludgeoning’s of ignorant homeowners and cruel developers gut the history out of our houses; fortunately, most of the city is still historically intact. And ghosts like to linger where the memories of the past remain.
Unfortunately, most of these ‘spirits’ are locked up inside private homes inaccessible to the probing eyes of tourists. Even our famous Charles Street Schoolhouse has been cleverly hidden from public knowledge so the homeowner will have some privacy.
So, where do you go if you want to experience a haunting or at least get a feeling of old memories.
One place to visit for a haunted feeling is Maudsley State Park. For some odd reason lost to history, and probably spurned on by the Gates of Hell story; the park is often a favorite of those who are more in tune to the spirit world.
Right next door is a place with such history that it pervades the air: Curzon Mills. To go to this location, you need to drive past the Maudsley parking lot and continue down the hill. You can stop briefly at the Gates of Hell before proceeding down to the old Mill building. Just before the pedestrian bridge that crosses the small pond and on the right is the Marquand Estate. This is where John Marquand grew up and it is still a lovely private home. Returning in your car back up to the park, you can turn right on the first road and proceed until you get to a cemetery. This is where John Marquand, the great Newburyport writer is buried as well as many of his very famous ancestors one of which was a prosperous merchant and privateer.
Speaking of hauntings, our three larger cemeteries are so imbued with history that strange things have occurred. The strangest is the Old Hill Burying Ground. Many again who are more sensitive to the spirit world have reported experiences and sightings in and around this hill. Adding to this mystery, it is reported that one of the crypts is actually an entrance to the underground tunnels that are hidden away below this historic city. The Perkins Crypt which is now bricked up was the scene of ghastly events back in the seventies.
Now, I’m not afraid of ghosts but you will not catch me at night in the Oak Hill Cemetery. (Unless I ‘m with a tour group being led by daring Ghlee Woodworth) It doesn’t help that people have been putting eternal lights next to the more recent memorial stones. But the Oak Hill is actually intended to be a park environment and respectful visitors are encouraged to roam the place. (During the day) It also has some very notable individuals that are on History’s Who’s Who list.
But if you’re insistent on being somewhere at least in doors, I encourage you to visit David’s at the Garrison Inn. Ghostly visitors have been seen in the basement and rumors have indicated that one of Newburyport’s famous underground tunnel’s exits are located at this spot.
There are also hauntings at the Clark Currier Inn in the Marquand Room.
Don’t waste your time with City Hall’s ghosts. The floors squeak so badly it is impossible to hear any spectral footsteps over the living’s!
What I have found over the years, it is practically impossible to detect real ghosts. There are so many pale faced New Englanders around, a ghost could walk right past you and you wouldn’t even think anything was out of the ordinary! “Just another person who needs to get out and get some sun!”
PS. For you Objectivists out there, who poo poo Ghosts, try Quantum Physics for size!