Halloween season is rife with tales of ghosts and other creepy happenings. With centuries-old churches, houses, schools, and cemeteries, New England is filled with places for those who want to have a good fright.
Anawan Rock, situated off of Route 44, is one of the locations featured in the book “Haunted Massachusetts” by Thomas D’Agostino. According to D’Agostino: “the legend of the rock started when Chief Anawan chose that area for his encampment during the waning days of King Philip’s War in 1676.” Anawan and his group of warriors took refuge from the colonist’s advancements for days until August 28, 1676 when his men, tired and hungry, surrendered to General Benjamin Church without resistance. Although Church promised that the Wampanaog sachem could go free as a result of his surrender, his colleagues were less forgiving. Anawan’s men were subsequently slaughtered and Anawan was beheaded. “As a sign of victory for the colonies, his head was hung from a pole at Burial Hill which was at that time a fort,” D’Agostino writes. “It stayed there for about three years. It appears that the spirits of those captured now remain at the rock to wreak vengeance on the white man’s betrayal of justice. Indian ghosts have been seen darting through the woods by visitors to the site. Tourists to the rock see and smell smoke from a campfire even though there is no sign of any such flames to be seen.”
Another local haunt is the ruins of the Shad Pond Factory on Reed Street. The actual name of the factory is the Orleans Manufacturing Company. It originated in 1810 and was built on the site of an old gristmill. For years, fine cloth was made from cotton obtained from New Orleans. The mill burned down in 1831 and was rebuilt. The factory burned down again in 1884 for the last time. D’Agostino writes: “The walls are not alone, however, for trapped in time, within the confines of the ruins, roams the spirit of an old man. Many have reported seeing this odd specter dressed in 19th century garb hovering about the area of the once bustling establishment. He seems to appear out of nowhere only to disappear when confronted. Many think the ghost is that of a former factory worker or the person who is responsible for the tragic fire that destroyed the mill over one hundred years ago.”
On Hornbine Road, residents who live near the historic Hornbine School have reported hearing voices emanating from within the building’s walls. The school was built in 1845 and housed students up to grade nine. It was used until 1937 and was then sold off and abandoned. In 1968, the Hornbine School Association bought the property and opened it for public tours. Neighbors have claimed to hear voices and other sounds when the school is locked up and vacant. Others have seen the apparitions of a teacher and students dressed in 19th century clothing within the locked building. The spirits of children have also been witnessed playing in the patch of grass near the schoolhouse.
On Lake Street, aspiring ghost hunters will discover Palmer’s River Churchyard, which has also seen the presence of apparitions. Misty figures have traipsed past the Revolutionary War graves in the cemetery. The ghost of a young boy in 19th century clothing has also been sighted. Witnesses claim to have heard the crying of a child in the cemetery. One report is of a grayish-black figure that wanders among the tombstones and the other is of giant orbs seen floating above the decrepit monuments.
To learn about other scary attractions featured in “Haunted Massachusetts”, you can purchase a copy by Schiffer Books at: