Happy Halloween and BOO.
It's time to celebrate fright for all its many reasons, and one of the best ways to do that is with a house inhabited by spirits.
With residences on Cape Cod dating back to the 17th century, we have many homes with dark secrets. Here are some of the infamous ones.
1. Barnstable House, Barnstable
It's difficult to keep track of the many ghosts of Barnstable House, but the most famous of all is "the waiter". How do you know he's a waiter? From the towel draped over his arm. We don't know his name, nor do we know what he is trying to tell us by roaming around the house, but he's old. His clothing dates to Colonial times.
There are two other ghosts of note in Barnstable House; a woman in a nightgown who occupies the third-floor, and former owner Captain John Grey who slams doors. Fires start by themselves in the fireplaces, but none of the known spirits accept responsiblity for those.
2. Burgess House, Brewster
In 1855 Captain William Burgess died from sickness on the Challenger clipper ship. In spite of 50 subsequent marriage proposals, his wife Hanna stayed true to her deceased husband for 63 years until her death. Is it she who walks so heavily that her footsteps are heard throughout the house? Or is it the Captain? One of them rearranges wall art throughout the house.
3. Dillingham House, Sandwich
This is our "celebrity" haunted house, having been featured in many books and publications, and for good reason. It has a sad history. The history of the house actually dates to 1650 in Sagamore. At a time when homes moved about almost as commonly as people, the house was moved to Sandwich in 1800 by the grandson of the original owner. Unfortunately, that grandson Branch Dillingham killed himself, leaving his wife and nine children destitute. Today visitors report the sound of children's voices and footsteps running around the house, rocking chairs rocking themselves and door latches opening and closing.
4. Fairbanks Inn, Provincetown
Another oldie. The Fairbanks Inn was the forerunner of the Seamen's Savings Bank -- Provincetown's first financial institution. Wealthy homeowner David Fairbanks converted the parlor rooms on the first floor to his bank in the early part of the 19th century. Today guests of the inn claim a Revolutionary War soldier floats among the 15 rooms at the inn. His connection to all the money in the house is unknown.
5. Highfield Hall, Falmouth
This popular tourist attraction and charity venue belies the festivities that take place at the mansion all year long. My daughter and I attended the holiday open house last December and had no sense of a malevolent force some visitors claim to see. Specifically, an angry female apparition in high heels has been known to chase people down the elegant grand staircase beginning in the 1950s. If there is such a spirit, volunteers do a marvelous job of decorating the evil away with lovely Christmas trees throughout the home every December. Other special events take place at various intervals during the year.
6. Orleans Inn, Orleans
The Snow family is ubiquitous in Orleans but many shoppers at Snow's Home Center don't realize that Aaron Snow's manse built in 1875 has a life all it's own. With it's history as a business, a boarding house, an inn and vacation home, there was also a prolonged period prior to the turn of the century when the place was unoccupied, allowing spirits to enter and settle in. Guests hear voices and report feeling chilled in cool spots in the home, even on the hottest of days. Flickering lights and doors that open by themselves add to the eerie atmosphere.