Haunted Hotels in Boston

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There are a number of historic hotels in Boston but a handful of them also claim to be haunted.

These hotels were all built in the 19th and early 20th centuries and some were even once old jails and municipal buildings.

The hotels are believed to be haunted by their former guests or inhabitants and the sightings include everything from ghostly apparitions to flickering lights to disembodied voices.

The following is a list of haunted hotels in Boston:

Omni Parker House Hotel:

The Omni Parker House Hotel is said to be the most haunted hotel in Boston. The hotel is reportedly haunted by multiple ghost in many different areas of the building.

The Parker House, Boston, Mass, circa 1900

The Parker House, Boston, Mass, circa 1900

One of the most haunted areas is the third floor of the main building, where elevator number one repeatedly stops at even when no one is there. No one really knows why the elevator does this but people believe it is because the floor is said to be haunted by stage actress Charlotte Cushman who, in February of 1876, died of pneumonia in her room on that floor, after a long battle with breast cancer.

Room 303 on this floor is also believed to be haunted by a businessman who committed suicide in the room in 1949. Guests have reported the smell of whisky and the sound of laughter in the room. Complaints were so frequent that the hotel eventually turned the room into a storage closet.

Another haunted area is the 10th floor of the annex. It is believed to be haunted by the founder of the hotel, Harvey D. Parker, who is said to wander the halls on this floor and sometimes appears in people’s rooms.

Yet another haunted area of the hotel is the mezzanine-level where Charles Dickens’ haunted mirror hangs in a hallway. The mirror is from the room Charles Dickens stayed in during his tour and he used to practice his reading of A Christmas Carol in front of it.

Legend has it that strange occurrences take place when guests repeat the words “Charles Dickens” in front of the mirror three times. A staff member once had a creepy encounter with the mirror when he tried to clean condensation off it and found that it kept coming back, as if someone was breathing on it. The staff member was so disturbed that he hasn’t touched the mirror since.

Another staff member reported hearing a disembodied voice in a storage closet on the mezzanine-level and believed it was the ghost of a former employee who used to hide out in the closet after a night of drinking.

The Lenox:

Built in 1900 by wealthy hotelier Lucias Boomer, the Lenox cost just over $1 million to construct and, at the time it was built, it was the tallest building in Boston at 11 stories high.

Hotel Lenox, Boston, Mass, circa 1900

Hotel Lenox, Boston, Mass, circa 1900

The hotel is not only historic but also haunted by a former guest named Red, according to the Boston Globe:

“If you check into Room 300 and catch a faint whiff of cigar, there is a ghost of a chance it’s Red. ‘He had legendary poker games when he lived here,’ said Grigelevich [Scott Grigelevich, director of sales and marketing].”

The hotel’s creepy reputation also isn’t helped by the fact that a young woman named Karen Edwards was mysteriously murdered in her hotel room here in 1989. The killer was never found and Edward’s family later sued the hotel, claiming its lack of security was responsible.

Fairmont Copley Plaza:

Built in 1912, the Fairmont Copley Plaza was built on the original site of the Museum of Fine Arts (after the museum moved to its current location in 1909 and its gothic revival building on the site was razed in 1911) and derives its name from the Revolutionary War-era painter John Singleton Copley.

The Copley Plaza hotel, Boston, Mass, circa 1920

The Copley Plaza hotel, Boston, Mass, circa 1920

The sixth floor of the hotel is said to be the most haunted of all the floors with guests often complaining of hearing all kinds of strange noises in the night, according to a CBS Boston article.

 

The Liberty Hotel:

The Liberty Hotel was once the Charles Street Jail where infamous prisoners such as the Boston Strangler were locked up.

Charles Street Jail, photographed by the Historic American Buildings Survey

The hotel is allegedly haunted by its former inmates, according to an article about the old jail on a criminal justice website called KeepBailing.com:

“The decor boasts brick walled cells and some may catch the glimpse of a ghost of an old inmate. People to this day still report seeing strange phenomena.”

Buckminster Hotel:

Built in 1897, the Buckminster Hotel is best known as the place where the Black Sox scandal took place in 1919 when a bookie, named Joseph “Sport” Sullivan met with the Chicago White Sox first baseman, Arnold “Chick” Gandil, to hatch a plan to fix the 1919 World Series.

Hotel Buckminster, Boston, Mass, circa 1911

Hotel Buckminster, Boston, Mass, circa 1911

In fact, the former general manager of the Hotel Buckminster, John Pollard believes that Sullivan may be haunting the hotel, according to a 2005 Hartford Courant article about the hotel:

“He also said the hotel might be haunted by the ghost of a man in a black jacket and a fedora. Even guests have complained about security breaches, saying the guy with the fedora is roaming the halls. The hotel has been in a perpetual state of renovation for years, so parts of the building have been closed. Yet maintenance workers, housekeepers and hotel employees have seen the figure in areas off limits to the public.’Going back to when I was manager, there always seemed to be someone floating around,’ Pollard says. ‘And it was always the same description from people. When you hear it from the guests, you start to wonder.’ Is it the ghost of Sport Sullivan? Pollard isn’t sure.”

Not only does Pollard think the hotel is haunted, he also thinks it is cursed. The Hartford Courant article describes the Buckminster as “ground zero for baseball curses” based on Pollard’s research on the hotel’s history:

“’Think about it,’ Pollard says. ‘One of the White Sox [in the 1919 scandal] was Buck Weaver. Buck Weaver. Then there’s Bucky Dent’s home run. And Bill Buckner. It’s all related to the Buck.’ How about this connection? Ray Boone was a rookie with the Cleveland Indians in 1948 and it is believed the Indians stayed at the Buckminster when they beat the Red Sox in a one-game playoff to win the American League title. Ray Boone’s grandson is Aaron Boone, who happened to hit a game-winning home run against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series. Then there’s the cross-pollination of curses. The Red Sox title drought is blamed on the sale of Ruth to the Yankees in 1920 and Ruth was known to frequent a speakeasy in the basement of the Hotel Buckminster. Pollard also learned Ruth often stayed in a sixth-floor suite at the Buckminster, even after he became a Yankee.”

The Eliot Hotel:

Built by Harvard University in 1925, the Eliot Hotel was built to provide retirement lodging for Harvard professors and is named after Harvard’s 21st president, Charles William Eliot.

Guests at the hotel often report flickering lights and strange noises in the night, according to a CBS Boston article.

The Pilot House:

Built in 1839, the Pilot House was once an inn for sailors and captains but now functions only as a restaurant and is believed to be haunted by its former guests, according to the Ghosts & Gravestones website:

“The Pilot House is now home to several spirits including the Lady in White. This apparition is said to linger in the kitchen on the first floor and those who have seen her say she appears like a glowing figure, almost translucent. Others who have visited the Pilot House have also heard the disembodied voices of men talking, clinking glasses and laughing and have observed doors slamming when no one was around.”

Sources:
Doyle, Paul. “When History Checked In.” Hartford Courant, 23 Oct. 2005, articles.courant.com/2005-10-23/sports/0510230176_1_kenmore-square-baseball-curses-title-drought
“Care for a Haunted Hotel Stay? How About Haunted Jail Cell for Halloween.” Keep Bailing, 24 Oct. 2009, www.keepbailing.com/2009/10/care-for-a-haunted-hotel-stay-how-about-haunted-jail-cell-for-halloween/
Collins, Margaret. “The Best Haunted Locations in Boston to Go Ghost Hunting.” Thrillist, 13 Oct. 2016, www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/boston/most-haunted-places-in-boston-to-visit
“Boston’s Best Haunted Bars.” CBS Boston, 11 Oct. 2012, boston.cbslocal.com/top-lists/bostons-best-haunted-bars/
Pierce, Kathleen. “Make Room for 5 Historic Boston Hotels.” Boston Globe, 8 April. 2012,
www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2012/04/07/historic-boston-hotels-where-you-can-get-close-and-personal-with-city-past/EPI7oJ8BQnMrE4YZIEpt2H/story.html
“11 Most Haunted Places in Boston, Ma.” Haunted Rooms, n.d., www.hauntedrooms.com/11-haunted-places-boston-ma
“7 Most Haunted Hotels in Massachusetts.” Haunted Rooms, n.d., www.hauntedrooms.com/7-haunted-hotels-in-massachusetts
“Most Haunted Places in Boston.” CBS Boston, 7 Oct. 2013, boston.cbslocal.com/top-lists/most-haunted-places-in-boston/

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the owner and operator of this website and all the articles are written and researched by her. Rebecca is a freelance writer and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site’s About page to find out more about Rebecca.

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