We're at peak spooky season right now and Massachusetts is full of weird places and local haunts to visit and learn about. Jeff Belanger, author of "Weird Massachusetts" and co-host of the podcast "New England Legends" is an expert of the strange and scary and has three recommendations of places to visit to into the season.
The Parker House Hotel, Boston
To see "The ghost who saved Christmas"
"Charles Dickens, who came to the Parker House Hotel, rehearsed over and over in front of a mirror reading that story (A Christmas Carol) back in 1867, when he brought that story to Boston and then really to America. And that mirror now hangs on the mezzanine level of the hotel right next to the elevator. And there's a little plaque that says 'This is the mirror where Charles Dickens did this reading.' And they say once in a while you can catch a glimpse of Charles Dickens in that mirror."
Lovis Cove in Marblehead
To see "The screeching lady of Marblehead"
"So this was a time of pirates. And the story goes that there was a pirate ship that had captured another ship and taken an older woman prisoner, and she had a big green emerald on her ring finger and they couldn't get the ring off.
"But the captain insisted that the woman be treated well and she sailed with them all the way to Marblehead. And when the pirates all went on shore to pillage and plunder, the people in the village saw them coming and hid. And the woman saw this as an opportunity to escape.
"So she jumped off the pirate ship, swam for shore. And by the time she reaches shore, the pirates, frustrated that they found nothing they could plunder, find this woman, and they cut her finger off to get that ring. And then they murder her brutally, as the locals listen from their hiding places and hear the screams and screeches of this woman. And the story continues to this day that you can still sort of hear that ghost. And I think what haunts the town is the idea that someone was in dire trouble and they did nothing way back."
Farm Street in Dover
To see "The Dover demon"
"So, April 21, 1977, a high schooler named Bill Bartlett was out cruising, looking for something fun to do on their spring break on Farm Street about 10 at night. He sees this creature that looks it's got a sort of a big bulbous head. Its eyes glow when the headlights hit it like an animal's eyes would. And it's got long spindly fingers and spindly toes. And Bill Bartlett was completely freaked out.
"Also, it's important to note he's a fine arts painter today, a really good one. And he went home and he drew what he saw. Two hours later that night, another kid about a mile away has a sighting when he was leaving his girlfriend's house. And the following night, two teenagers parking in a car saw this thing flash by. So you only had four witnesses in the span of about 25 hours ... and Dover has come to sort of identify with this strange creature that was never seen again."
This article was originally published on October 28, 2022.
This segment aired on October 28, 2022.