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Just about everyone has, at some point, been convinced their house is absolutely, definitely haunted. Whether it’s hearing footsteps, water faucets turning on by themselves, the feeling of being watched — it’s enough to have the Ghost Hunters on speed dial.
We hate to break it to you, but your house probably isn’t haunted and many of the things that go bump in the night have perfectly mundane explanations. Those footsteps? Uneven floors. Water turning on? Bad plumbing. The feeling of being watched? Bad electrical. So maybe replace Ghost Hunters (based in Warwick!) in your phone with a good contractor.
Unless, that is, you live in one of the following houses, where paranormal and supernatural happenings have gained notoriety and there’s usually a bloody history to back them up. So whether your house is home to a family of humans or a family of demons (or both, we don’t discriminate) enjoy these 4 seriously haunted houses in New England.
Burrillville Conjuring House in Burrillville, Rhode Island
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. This unassuming 18th century farmhouse in the equally unassuming Rhode Island village of Burrillville was a downright nightmare for the Perron family, who purchased the home in 1971, only to discover it was already occupied — by a whole bunch of terrifying ghosts. And no, insurance doesn’t cover that.
While each of the seven members of the Perron family were tormented, the apparitions focused on the family’s matriarch, Carolyn Perron, in particular.
“Mrs. Perron said she awoke before dawn one morning to find an apparition by her bed: the head of an old woman hanging off to one side over an old gray dress,” reads an August 1977 story in The Providence Journal. “There was a voice reverberating, ‘Get out. Get out. I’ll drive you out with death and gloom.’ ”
It got so bad that a local paranormal group brought in famed demonologists Ed and Lorriane Warren — two names you’ll recognize if you’ve been following the Haunted New England newsletter — who determined that the house was being haunted by a woman named Bathsheba Sherman, who lived there in the early 19th century and was a practicing Satanist, sacrificing her two daughters to Lucifer and hanging herself in a ritual, according to news reports in The Journal from the time. The story later inspired the Hollywood movie “The Conjuring” along with its roughly 18 sequels and spinoffs (that’s an exaggeration, there’s only 7 movies right now, not counting The Conjuring 3 coming in 2020.)
While the Perrons are regulars on the paranormal circuit and have been open about sharing their story, the current owners of the home had preferred to keep things quiet. That is, until it was bought earlier this year by Maine couple Cory and Jennifer Heinzen, who seem to be embracing the attention that comes with owning a house that inspired an entire movie franchise. And if you ever wanted to visit the house, good news, they plan to open it to the public!
S.K. Pierce Mansion in Gardner, Massachusetts
The word “mansion” doesn’t generally come to mind when one thinks of Gardner, Massachusetts, but there was a time when the Chair City was a bustling hub for furniture manufacturers, some of whom reaped the rewards and got very, very rich.
One of those men was Sylvester Knowlton Pierce, who built his chair manufacturing empire in the mid-1800′s. It was also where, in 1875, he built his three-storey mansion in the Second Empire Victorian-style. While today the mansion feels out of place among the triple-deckers and smaller single-family homes on Union Street and Broadway, the mansion was where S.K. Pierce held court for a decade, its 21 rooms providing ample space to entertain the likes of P.T. Barnum, President Calvin Coolidge and Norman Rockwell.
But all the rooms, fancy windows and immaculate craftsmanship couldn’t save the Pierce family from tragedy, which struck almost immediately after the family moved in. Within two months, Pierce’s first wife died of an illness, and Pierce himself died in 1888, with his second wife dying in 1902. The mansion was then converted into an inn, then a boarding house and collecting several more deaths, including an older man who is said to have burned to death and now haunts the basement area.
Eventually the home entered into private ownership and was opened to paranormal investigators, who have scoured the property on television shows like “Ghost Adventures” and “Ghost Hunters” and probably some other ghost-themed shows. In addition to just generally looking very creepy, the mansion apparently plays host to at least 3 ghosts, including a young woman and little girl. Psychic mediums have also said the building sits on top of a ley line — invisible lines that cross the globe and supposedly carry supernatural energy — which runs through the mansion’s grand staircase. The mansion was purchased several years ago by The Dark Carnival, who have been renovating it with the intention of turning it into a haunted attraction. And yes, you’ll be able to stay the night.
Snedeker Demon House, Southington, Connecticut
As the name might suggest, this rather inconspicuous duplex in Southington, Connecticut was allegedly so haunted it inspired both the novel “In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting” and the film “The Haunting in Connecticut,” both created at the direction of our old friends, Ed and Lorraine Warren.
The Snedeker family moved into their new rental in Southington in 1986, where they occupied the first floor. Turns out, the house used to be a home – a funeral home, that is – and the previous owners didn’t do a great job of cleaning up, leaving behind gurneys, toe tags and, well, demons. Almost immediately the family claimed they were under attack from vicious and terrifying supernatural forces. Hot off the publicity around their testifying that Connecticut murder suspect Arne Johnson stabbed his landlord while possessed by a demon, the Warrens and their media train showed up at the Snedeker house. Many of the initial hauntings focused around the Snedeker’s younger son, who was being treated for cancer, but the incidents, including apparitions and water faucets running with blood, were experienced by the whole family.
Of course, it came out later that much of the story around the Snedekers had been exaggerated or outright fabricated and that the evil around the house had a very real cause, namely alcoholism, drug abuse and mental illness. That didn’t stop the Warrens and Hollywood from turning the event into its own movie series. And at the end of the day, it’s a house that used to be a funeral home and I certainly wouldn’t want to live there.
The home is a private residence, so don’t try and go pay it a visit, but if you find yourself in Connecticut, the Warrens have a whole Occult Museum with various artifacts taken from investigations, including the notorious Annabelle doll (which has its own movie trilogy, of course). The museum is closed currently due to zoning issues, but it’s attached to the former couple’s house, which is pretty creepy in its own right.
Joshua Ward House Salem, Massachusetts
When it comes to quintessential New England, it doesn’t get more New England-y than a good supernatural-based panic. While the Haunted New England newsletter has covered the vampire panic, this house owes its haunting to the OG original New England panic — the Salem Witch Trials.
See the Joshua Ward House – notable in its own right as being one of the first brick homes in Salem and the site where George Washington stayed when he visited the city in 1789 – was built on the site of a different home, belonging to George Corwin who, in 1692 at the ripe age of 25, was the High Sheriff during the Salem Witchcraft Trials. That sounds like exactly the kind of event you want a 25-year-old in charge of.
Corwin was a central figure in the cases that would end in the execution of 19 innocent men and women. One death, the execution of 81-year-old Giles Corey, was equal parts creative and vile, as Corwin oversaw Corey’s “peine forte et dure” meaning “hard and forceful punishment” by pressing — literally what it sounds like as Corey was laid on his back and heavier and heavier weights were placed on him until he died. You’ve probably seen the demonstration of it if you’ve gone to King Richard’s Faire and let’s just say, it was disgusting.
But in addition to Corwin being a guy who seemed to carry around some pretty dark energy, Salem legend says he was known locally as “The Strangler,” for taking the accused into his personal home and down into the basement. No, he wasn’t taking them to see his man cave, he was taking them to a torture chamber where he would, you guessed it, strangle them until they confessed to whatever he wanted. Paranormal investigators have reported feeling a tight pressure on their necks in the basement of the Joshua Ward House, which is also the only original part of Corwin’s home left. The actual Salem Witch Museum, though, says this all probably never happened, but it certainly makes for a scary story.
Article Source – ProvidenceJournal.com