Everyone in town has a ghost story—after all, a lot of us live in older houses! If you like a good ghost story and want to explore Newburyport a bit before or after one of our Halloween events, here’s a fun way to do it. We dare you to try this at dusk and not get a chill up your spine from all the psychic energy…
11 Brown Square
There are two ghosts, or maybe three: the original owner, his heir and a child. Built in 1806, the building was at first the residential home of Moses Brown and over the years was restructured into an Inn and Tavern. Moses appears most regularly near the archways of the tavern, while his heir Sarah White Bannister haunts room 408. (Yes, you can book it.) Employees not only report apparitions, but objects flying across the room, whispers in the walls, and items inexplicably falling from shelves.
Downtown Newburyport, just off State Street on the wall on the Liberty Street side of Market Square Jewelers.
In 1680 Elizabeth Morse was accused and convicted of witchcraft after strange occurrences in her house went unexplained; 17 neighbors and friends testified against her. She was sentenced to death but ultimately was confined for life to the area within 264 feet of her home, which stood where the plaque is now placed. If you pace up and down the area she once did, you might sense the presence of Newburyport’s own accused witch.
10 Center Street
This ghost has a name—Lucinda. And you can step up to the bar and order the drink named after her. Lucinda is reported to have been thrown down the stairs of the brothel, dying on the spot. In addition to sighting Lucinda and other ghosts, several employees working alone at night report doors opening and closing, footsteps, objects flying across the room and off shelves.
The Josiah Little House, 350 High Street
John Cuthbert Parker grew up in this haunted house, sometimes following the boy ghost who resided there. Though he grew up to be a successful architect, his sideline was the paranormal, and he investigated over thirty haunted houses and frequently lectured on the topic. Walk by this house on a foggy night and see if either John or the resident child ghost reach out to you…
25 Green leaf Street
This one’s gruesome. The tall, distinctive crypt of the Pierce family is said to have been haunted for over 100 years by the five family members whose bodies have been taken out, propped up, had their clothes removed—and worse—multiple times, until it was permanently sealed. It is said that the ghosts are whispering to passersby inciting them to commit these gross violations. Scratching sounds, ghostly figures darting by, and angry screams have all been reported near the crypt.
74 Curzon Mill Road
Hikers have reported seeing apparitions of heads on spikes at the Gates of Hell and ghost children playing in the woods at night (drive west past the main entrance gate and you will see the spiked gates to the right). If you aren’t rewarded with a sighting, you’ll be guaranteed that chill up the spine when you step into the massively tall root cellar. (Enter to the left of the Gates of Hell, walk the path to the house foundation, after you see the back of the old wooden stable, take a right on the next dirt path and you’ll shortly arrive at the root cellar.) This land was once aNative American place of worship before it became a private family compound and then eventually was donated to the state.
241 High Street
The custodians at one of the oldest public high schools in the US regularly report seeing the apparition of a former teacher on the third floor, smelling pipe tobacco, and hearing disembodied voices and footsteps.
32 Charles Street (now remodeled into a private home)
This is Newburyport’s most famous haunted location, inspiring newspaper articles, booklets and inquisitions in the early1870’s. The school was for poorer, unwanted boys, and one was so severely beaten for bad behavior that he died from his injuries after being locked in the school basement all day. Following that incident, extreme disturbances were reported by both students and teachers including loud rapping on the door with no explanation (that at times drowned out student voices), objects hovering in the air, a bell on the teacher’s desk that was lifted and rung repeatedly by an unseen hand, and a strange light that shot through the building even on the darkest days.