By Mike Wood
You’re already familiar with your local legends, so why not venture to other parts of the state for some haunting good times? Get properly spooked in Danvers, bewitched in Salem, scared silly in Boston and face your fears head on in Fall River, where you’ll have an opportunity to stay in the same house where the infamous Miss Lizzie Borden swung that axe. Heading out on a creepy caravan across the state probably puts you well outside your comfort zone already, so we suggest you grab a few friends and firm up your backbone before you set out to seek the scary.
Site of former Danvers State Hospital, Kirkbride Drive, Danvers
When you’re ready for you hair-raising adventure, set the GPS east and plan on an hour-or-so trek some 60 miles to the first stop on your trip of terror: Danvers. You’ll start your creepy adventure at the site of the former Danvers State Hospital, keeping in mind that it was once called the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers or, ultimately, The Danvers Lunatic Asylum. Sounds fun, right? Yeah, that’s enough to send chills up your spine ~ without even taking into account the stories about former patients still roaming the grounds as ghosts, even though the site is now an upscale apartment complex. Keep in mind that the superiorly creepy Session 9 was shot here ~ one of the scariest, gets-under-your-skin, sticks-in-your-skull, fright-fest films in recent memory.
Salem Witch Museum, Washington Square, Salem
Next, of course, spend your day in neighboring Salem, where those wicked witches were put on trial way back when (1692). There’s the mix of historical sites like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, as well as the House of Seven Gables ~ on which his book is based. Plus, there are the Salem Witch Museum and the Burying Point Cemetery to keep you on your toes. We suggest visiting salemweb.com or scare-specific sites like hauntedsalem.com or hauntedhappenings.org to solidify your stay and plans in town.
Omni Parker House, 60 School St., Boston
After you’ve had your fill of the witches, head into our state capital, where it’s rumored that thousands of bodies are buried under the Boston Common and along (and perhaps under) Boylston Street. And guess what? Yup, their ghosts supposedly roam the grassy expanse of land smack-dab in the center of the city. What’s known as the Central Burying Ground has an especially rich history of apparitions, and it’s located at the southern portion of the Common (at Tremont and Boylston). Ready to turn in for the night? Why not try the Omni Parker House, which is just steps from Boston Common? It is one of Boston’s oldest hotels and is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of its original owner, Harvey Parker.
Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum, 92 Second St., Fall River
Last, but definitely not least, you’ll want to drive south through the Bridgewater triangle (a roughly 200 mile area purportedly rich with paranormal activity) until you hit Fall River, where you’re going to want to spend a night at Lizzie Borden’s House. Now, it’s cozily called Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum, and it’s the actual house where Lizzie was accused of murdering her family. You know the lore and the rhyme, right?
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks,
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
Well, as is the case with lore and legend, sometimes things are exaggerated. The autopsies reveal the hatchet “whacks” were more like 20 blows for her stepmom and closer to 10 blows for her father. And although Lizzie was acquitted of the murders, the place remains a hotbed of debate about all things ghostly because of the home’s recurring bumps in the night. So spend the night … if you dare.