You know that feeling you get when you’re driving alone down a dark country road? The feeling that makes you roll the windows up, lock the doors, and put your high-beams on? Imagine a whole road trip of
that feeling. Are you excited yet?
We’ve created this terrifying road trip just for you adrenaline junkies and ghost hunters. It’s packed with places that positively oozing with local lore, spooky ambiance, and more than a touch of fear. Don’t believe in spooks? No problem: you’ll find plenty of legitimate history and fascinating stories along the way.
This ghoulish journey clocks in at around 9 hours and 45 minutes, which is perfect for a jam-packed day of driving or a more leisurely weekend. Hint: there’s a B&B on the itinerary that would be a PERFECT place to break for the night. Your trip will start out at the U.S.S. Salem and loops back around to that site, so don’t worry about factoring in return time. Pick a section of the journey that looks interesting to you or do the whole terrifying loop. Customize the journey any way you like, but let us know if you bump into anything…sinister.
1. USS Salem, Quincy
First stop is a bit of a floating shop of horrors. The USS Salem is a decommissioned war ship and has been counted among the most haunted naval vessels in the world. It served honorably as a hospital after the 1953 Ionian Earthquake and entire rooms of the craft were used to house the stacked bodies of the dead. The ship has been investigated by several paranormal television shows and is a must-see for fans of the supernatural and nautical life alike. The ship is open for tours on weekdays, so plan accordingly!
2. Dogtown, Gloucester
Up next is the mysterious abandoned ghost town of Dogtown.
What began in 1693 as a respectable Massachusetts settlement eventually became a town with an extremely bad reputation. After much of the town was abandoned in the early 1800s, vagabonds and seedy sorts began to move into the abandoned buildings. The area was also known for its population of stray and feral dogs. As time progressed, there were rumors that residents of Dogtown had begun to practice witchcraft and that curses were being placed on traders venturing near the town by Thomazine "Tammy" Younger, also known as "Queen of the Witches." To top it off, there are odd words and phrases carved into boulders surrounding the town. Today, the remains of Dogtown are held in trust by neighboring towns and are open to hikers and wanderers. Take a stroll around the ruins of homesteads and old foundations.
3. Danvers State Mental Hospital
Still feeling brave? Then head over to the site of the Danvers State Mental Hospital.
This hospital was the setting for the movie Session 9 and the inspiration for H. P. Lovecraft's "Arkham Sanatorium." What was originally meant for be a hospital for 600 patients eventually came to house over 2,300 mentally ill individuals. Such incredible overcrowding meant that conditions were dirty and staff became overwhelmed. On numerous documented occasions, patients would die in their rooms and lie undiscovered for days. Danvers has been considered a candidate for the birthplace of the pre-frontal lobotomy. Many patients received the procedure unwillingly and for no other reason than sedation.
While the bulk of the hospital was demolished in 2006, the shell of the Kirkbride complex was preserved. The cemeteries, several blocked tunnels, and the brick shell of the administration and the D and G wings also remain from the original site.
4. Hoosac Tunnel, North Adams
Next up is the Hoosac tunnel in North Adams.
You know a place is cozy when its nickname is "The Bloody Pit." Approximately 190 workers were killed over the course of its 25 year construction. After the tunnel finally opened, 30 more people lost their lives in various freak accidents and mishaps. An explosion killed an additional 13 miners, bringing the death toll up to almost 250 people. There have been reports of ghostly figures and phantom lights seen within the tunnel and in the surrounding area. The tunnel is still an active freight railway. Note: trespassing is not permitted within the tunnel itself, though the surrounding forest is incredibly scenic and perfect for a woodland stroll.
5. Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded
If you still have the stomach for it, check out this abandoned school with a terrifying past. The Belchertown Town State School was built in 1922 to serve the mentally ill and became known for its inhumane conditions. Patients were sometimes left strapped to their beds for days at a time and staff sometimes removed patients' healthy teeth to make feeding them easier. The school was also infested with vermin and such simple amenities like soap, clean towels, and toothpaste were not provided. Today, the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Plans to demolish the buildings have been circulating for the past several years, but as of now the decrepit ruins still stand.
6. The Lizzie Borden House, Fall River
"Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one." This macabre rhyme will be familiar to anyone who has grown up in the Massachusetts area. In 1892, Lizzie Borden of Fall River was tried and acquitted for the gory murders of her father and mother. Many visitors have reported feeling ill upon staying in the home, citing an oppressive feeling and a sense that they are being watched. After a long day of driving, a night at the Lizzie Borden house might be the perfect nightcap. The very brave can rent a room for the night and test their courage.
7. Taunton State Hospital, Taunton
After a refreshing night at the Lizzie Borden House, head over to Taunton for your first chills of the day. Opened in 1854, the most terrifying resident in this Massachusetts asylum may have been Jane Toppan. She was a serial killer who admitted to killing over 31 people while working as a nurse. Many also reported a "shadow man" who would crawl on walls and observe the patients. Nothing like a creeping creature of darkness to promote inner peace. Though much of the historic portion of the campus was destroyed in a mysterious fire in 2006, Taunton State Hospital remains open and is looking to renovate some of the unused buildings as office space. Their greenhouse is set to have a grand reopening May 2016 and will offer a huge variety of plants, seasonal produce, and community outreach programs.
8. Freetown-Fall River State Forest
In the mood for more? How about a picnic in a haunted forest? Also called "The Cursed Forest of Massachusetts," this place is truly creepy. The list of things reported occur here is dizzying: blood sacrifices, UFOs, ghosts, black helicopters, mysterious orbs of light, strange disappearances, giant snakes, poltergeist activity, murders, and on and on. Ronald Reagan reported seeing strange lights in the sky here and there have been an inordinate amount of documented suicides in these woods. Also interesting are the reports of sightings of Pukwedgies, humanoid creatures from Wampanoag native tradition.
9. The Mordecai Lincoln Mill, Scituate
Next up is a stop along an unassuming country road. This empty and locked mill has a horrifying past and a spooky present. Though the mill building and the nearby homestead were originally constructed by the ancestors of Abraham Lincoln, their history takes a turn for the dreadful. After the drowning of a young girl in the adjacent pond, numerous passerby have reported seeing the figure of a child standing in the windows, sometimes scratching at the glass panes. There have also been documented reports of screaming and cries for help coming from the mill and nearby pond.
What do you think? Are you game to grab a friend and head out on the spookiest road trip of your life? Share with prospective co-adventurers and let us know what you think is the scariest spot in the state!