Graveyards and cemeteries are the classic creepy hotspot. Where else are you more likely to run into a spook or bump into a ghoul than in a field of tightly-packed dead bodies? Massachusetts has a history of hauntings that stretches back for centuries, and that means that there are plenty of cemeteries that are rumored to have more than the average level of creepiness to them. Check out these nine burial grounds that are among the most haunted in the state.
1. Old Hill Burial Ground, Newburyport
This old graveyard is showing its age, with mole holes and rampant weeds giving the site an air of abandonment. However, the history of this burial ground offers one of the most chilling true stories around.
The Pierce family crypt has been broken into three times. In 1925, a group of young boys entered the dusty tomb, removed the bandages wrapping the corpses inside, propped up the bodies to make them appear as if they were simply lounging, and then proceeded to run through town dressed in the moldering clothing of the dead bodies. The second break-in was perpetrated in 1985 by a group of teens who performed "unspeakable deeds" with the bodies. The third desecration was at the hands of a man doing community service. He removed one of the corpse's heads and used it to scare one of his friends before being apprehended by the police. Today, the entrance to the crypt is bricked over to prevent any further vandalism. However, many say the spirits of the Pierce family are vengeful and roam the cemetery looking for those who violated their tomb.
2. Granary Burying Ground, Boston
According to paranormal experts (and quite a few spooked locals), the Granary Burying Ground is one of the most haunted places in Massachusetts. Located on Tremont Street, it’s the final resting place of famous personages such as Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and John Hancock.
It’s also supposedly home to a number of ghosts, such as that of James Otis Jr., a local lawyer who asked God to strike him down with a lightning bolt after he became mentally incapacitated in a bar brawl. Amazingly, Otis was indeed killed by a lightning bolt not too long after his accident. Now, he is said to roam the cemetery and exude the smell of singed flesh.
3. Oak Grove Cemetery, Fall River
This cemetery is the final resting place of famed Fall River accused murderer Lizzie Borden. Known for (and officially acquitted of) hacking her parents to death with an ax, the ghost of the mysterious woman is thought to haunt the grounds of this cemetery. People have occasionally reported hearing screams or feeling as if they are being watched while strolling between the headstones here.
4. Canton Corner Cemetery, Canton
This graveyard is a lovely place to stroll during the day, but those who don't like a fright should pack up by dusk. The hauntings associated with this graveyard don't have as many specific stories behind them as other cemeteries, but they're just as creepy. Sightings of a sinister-looking man standing completely still in the distance are somewhat frequent, and the feeling of being watched is also reported amongst those who linger after dark. Haunting laughter is also said echo from the left side of the cemetery, near the back of the burial area.
5. Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline
This picturesque graveyard gets more than a little spooky after dark. Designed by Patrick Keely and home to quite a few members of the Kennedy clan, the ghostly forms of children have been seen darting amongst the headstones after sunset. A few visitors in the 1920s also reported hearing a strange, eerie song in a language that sounded like Gaelic coming from the north end of the cemetery. Opinion is split on whether this was just the mourning song of a local Irish mother whose son was buried in the cemetery, or if it had a more otherworldly origin.
6. Copp's Hill Burying Ground
The second-oldest cemetery in Boston, Copp's Hill was established in 1659 and is filled with famous figures such as Cotton and Increase Mather, as well as former slaves and revolutionary soldiers. Some say the hallowed ground is haunted by the spirit of Increase Mather, a fierce and imposing colonial preacher who condemned many of the so-called Salem witches to hell. Some visitors see glowing orbs of light appear amongst the tombstones, while others say they have felt unseen bodies brush against them in the dark.
7. Spider Gates Cemetery, Leicester
Spider Gates Cemetery, so-called due to its unusually designed iron gates, has been around since 1790. It is sometimes known as Quaker Cemetery and called "The Eighth Gate to Hell." Local legends say that the graveyard is a pathway to another dimension, and that satanic rituals have been performed on a stone area of the cemetery known as "The Alter." There are many reports of unusual noises and lights coming from the cemetery, as well as ghostly apparitions.
8. Hope Cemetery, Worcester
People report hearing the laughter of children in this otherwise peaceful cemetery, especially near a statue of Jesus holding an angle. In addition to the ghostly laughter, the spectral figure of a tall woman is sometimes spotted tending the flowers near more recent graves. She disappears when approached, and is spotted more often in the summer.