The Westford Knight – Why he may be important in ghost hunting

In yesterday’s Hollow Hill article (about haunted Haverhill), I mentioned the Westford Knight. I’m not sure that Westford (Massachusetts) site is actually paranormal, though it might be worth checking out.
 
Westford Knight site, Westford, MA (templars)
The Westford Knight, in Westford © 2004 Matthew Trump

In my ley lines (for ghost hunting) research, I include the Westford Knight site because it has a weird (and credible) enough context.

 
Of course, between age, vandalism, and decades of acid rain, the artwork on the Westford Knight grave marker is barely visible now. (30 years ago, it was still fairly impressive. Today, it’s more likely to evoke a big yawn.)
 
So, here are references that may explain my enthusiasm when the Westford grave shows up on a ley line.
 
First, here’s a link to a lengthy history supporting the Westford Knight theories. (Illustrations aren’t so great.)
 
 
Instead, look at the photos with this not-as-informative article:
 
And here’s an article that shows a grave marker from a related era, in a similar style, with an equally fascinating history.
 
Whether or not you take the Westford Knight history seriously, it stands out as an anomaly. It’s something weird and incongruous in an otherwise typical, lovely New England town.
In the future, I’ll talk more about ley lines and how useful they are to ghost hunters. But, for now, the Westford Knight is a great example of a not-necessarily-ghostly point that increases the potential of any ley line that crosses it.
That includes the haunted Haverhill ley line.

Haunted Haverhill – Article

Haverhill is haunted. In fact, it may be one of New England’s most overlooked — and reliable — haunted communities.

Haunted Haverhill articleThat makes it a great location for ghost hunting.  But, many of the best locations are off-limits at night, or require a fee to explore.

Don’t let that deter you. Haverhill’s ghosts can be worth the extra effort.

In 2017, I was interviewed for an article that describes many of Haverhill’s best haunts: Haunted in Haverhill, by Alison Colby-Campbell, in the October 2017 issue of Haverhill Life.

Here are some of my notes from my research for that interview.

My early Haverhill ley line research produced two maps.

The first included points related to known haunts and suspected ghosts.

Haverhill Ley Lines - First draft
First draft of Haverhill ley lines. I was NOT convinced these were strong lines.

In that map (courtesy of Google Maps), you’ll see two triangles.

In the first triangle, dashed lines connect the Northpoint Bible College site (former location of Bradford College) and Buttonwoods/Pentucket Burial Ground area to Hilldale Cemetery.

In the second triangle, the solid lines connect the same initial points to St. James’ Cemetery instead of Hilldale.

Anything within the two, overlapping triangles might be worth extra research. Those areas have a greater likelihood of ghosts.

Maybe.

The problem was: when I was working with that map, it just didn’t feel right.

That’s difficult to articulate, and it’s one reason I’m rewriting my ley lines book.

At this point, it’s simplest to say that some of my ley lines work is intuitive. Further, if I keep working on the troublesome map that “guesswork” almost always rings true.

That was the case with the Haverhill map.

On a whim, I took a fresh look at the map. I studied everything in the area, and thought about weird news reports and nearby paranormal sites.

That’s when I remember the Westford Knight. (That site is in Westford, MA. I’m not sure it’s still worth visiting, but — many years ago, when I first saw it — it definitely looked like a primitive, medieval knight’s burial.)

Haverhill ley lines map, revised
The Westford Knight > Haverhill > Isles of Shoals ley line.

When I connected the dots between the Westford Knight site, Northpoint Bible College, and Buttonwoods, it went through Walnut Cemetery and over the Isles of Shoals.

That line made more sense to me. It hit more major weird/paranormal sites.

  • Westford Knight? Weird.
  • Northpoint/Bradford college? Weird and haunted.
  • Buttonwoods? Very haunted. I’d go back there just for another look at the haunted mirror in the parlor.
  • Walnut Cemetery? Strange. Something was odd (not just haunted) when I investigated it. It seemed as if the cemetery amplified unhealthy impulses among the living. (Yes, I know how bizarre that sounds. It’s more likely my imagination was working overtime.)
  • Isles of Shoals? Over two centuries of weird legends and, of course, ghosts.

If I were scouting haunted locations for a TV series (something I’ve done in the past), I’d focus on that line. I’d follow it exactly, and ask questions at any shops, restaurants, or other public sites along the way.

Frankly, that line is so strong, I’d stake my reputation on it leading through some other very weird (and probably haunted) locations.

It’s just a matter of looking, and asking questions of enough people. That takes persistence, patience, and a little audacity at times. But, it’s usually worthwhile, if you’re looking for unreported haunted places. You might find some so dark and weird, people avoid talking about them.

So, yes, if you’re a ghost hunter, Haverhill can be a goldmine of investigation sites, with very vivid ghosts.

Salem Witch Hangings, Proctor’s Ledge, and Gallows Hill

The mystery may have been solved. According to recent research, Gallows Hill Park in Salem, Massachusetts, isn’t where the accused “witches” were hanged. It seems that the real location might have been nearby Proctor’s Ledge.

I’ve been waiting for this announcement since October 2008.  Despite my ley line map that seems to point to Gallows Hill Park, I’ve suspected that the real 17th century crimes took place a block or two away.

Of course, I’m chagrined that my ley line map is no longer as straightforward and tidy as it had been, before this discovery. However, I’d rather have the truth… and a genuine history to work with, for future Salem investigations.

Meanwhile, the media describe Proctor’s Ledge as “in back of a Walgreens.”

Technically, that’s true. However, the neighborhood is mostly residential, with a Walgreens store & pharmacy at the foot of the hill.

If you investigate around Proctor’s Ledge, remember that much of the surrounding area is private property.

In addition, I’m not sure you need to hike into the slightly wooded area to conduct ghost research. A quiet stroll around the neighborhood — not disturbing the residents — may provide the paranormal experience you’re looking for. (See my story, below.)

More news reports

My story

Since Halloween (Samhain) eve in 2008, I’ve been waiting for this announcement. That’s when psychic Gavin Cromwell — not related to me, as far as I know* — and I wandered around the neighborhood between Salem’s Essex Street, Boston Street, and Gallows Hill Park. [Map link]

Earlier that afternoon, we’d filmed a TV segment at Salem’s “Witch House.” Then, we’d left the film crew to pack up their gear and probably find their way to one of Salem’s many wonderful cafes, pubs, and restaurants.

Instead of relaxing over a hearty meal, Gavin and I wanted to be part of Salem’s annual Samhain celebration.The circle and ceremony at Gallows Hill Park is legendary. That evening, it was open to the public, and — as usual — attracted a very large crowd. (That year, it was hosted by the Temple of the Nine Wells.)

With nothing else to do before the gathering, Gavin and I went for a walk.

In other words — and for the benefit of skeptics — we had no audience. It was just the two of us. No audience. No cameras. Gavin had no reason to invent stories to impress anyone; I already knew he was psychic.

On that late afternoon in October 2008, Gavin and I hiked up and down the residential streets near Gallows Hill Park. Gavin felt drawn to that neighborhood, not the more famous landmark just a block (or so) away.

I’d love to claim that I was the one who first suggested that the Proctor’s Ledge area was the real gallows site.

I didn’t.

In fact, Gavin not only announced it first, he seemed absolutely confident it was where some of the accused “witches” had been hung.

After that, we walked back and forth around the area he focused on. As usual, we bounced our psychic impressions off one another, fine-tuning the history we sensed.

By the time we noticed others arriving at the nearby park, both of us were convinced that some (not necessarily all) of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials had been executed at that location.

And then we went to the Samhain celebration.

(Note: We agreed that something else — something not very nice — had happened at Gallows Hill Park, not just in the 17th century, but later, as well. So, that park is worth investigating if you’re in the area.)

Proctor’s Ledge video

The following video was filmed in 2012 and posted at YouTube by thedevilshopyard. It’s a good way to see what the ledge actually looks like, if you hike into the wooded area.

As you can see, the site is close to at least one busy street. So, especially if you’re hoping to investigate after dark, make sure you have permission. Neighbors and passing cars will notice flashlights, and call the police.

(And, if the site is open to the public and you explore that area, be prepared for poison ivy and very uneven ground.)


Ghosts of Salem, Massachusetts

Window at the Rebecca Nurse homestead, Danvers, MA (she was among the accused)Salem is haunted. Not just by the ghosts of the Salem Witch Trials, but by other troubled spirits as well.

I grew up not far from Salem.

So, I’m familiar with its ghosts… the ones people talk about, as well as they ones they don’t.

From 2008 through 2010, I researched on-site, discovering a wealth of hidden ghost stories related to Salem and the city’s famous Witch Trials.

(Of course, it helps that I’m descended from two 17th-century Salem families. I like to think I have additional resonance with the spirits of Salem.)

Three very narrow and straight ley lines connect 90% of the hauntings around Salem. They predict where strange things will happen, usually within a few yards.

In the future, I hope to write a book about this fascinating topic.

In the meantime, I’m happy to share some of my research with you.

More information:

Salem’s “Judges’ Line” locations – Energy lines (ley lines) that connect many of Salem’s most haunted sites.

Gallows Hill – So far, no one knows where the real “gallows hill” was, where the witches were hung and their bodies discarded. However, the namesake location is worth visiting (if only to say you’ve been there) and may offer some research opportunities.

Witch Hill (aka Whipple Hill) – One of the most infamous locations connected with apparent “witch” activity in Salem Village. It’s also one of the loveliest and eeriest sites for ghost hunting.

GhoStock 7 Report: Salem Inn – A brief summary of my 2009 investigation at one of Salem’s most charmingly haunted inns.

Book ETA: Unknown. Discussions have stalled with my publisher, and my contract prohibits me from writing this book for any other publishing house.

Gallows Hill – Salem, MA

Gallows Hill is among Salem’s most famous site related to the witch trials of 1692. However, no one is certain of its historic location.

Between colonial Salem (MA) homes.Today, a site called Gallows Hill rises above a children’s playground and sports field. It’s surrounded by single-family homes in a quiet residential neighborhood.

But, is it that the hill where “witches” were actually hung? Evidence is scant and unreliable.

Most researchers use Sydney Perley’s 1933 map of Salem, showing Gallows Hill near Pope and Proctor Streets, near an inlet from North River.

Upham’s 1866 map of Salem Village offers similar information, and was probably among Perley’s resources.

We can learn a lot from the land formations of 1692, and compare them with areas that have — and haven’t — been filled since then.

In addition, Welsh researcher Gavin Cromwell* and I conducted paranormal research at Halloween 2008. Our discoveries suggest at least one additional spiritually-charged location near the current Gallows Hill site.

The land beneath the hill seemed generally normal. Perhaps the regular Witch gatherings — especially the huge one at Samhain (Halloween) — have cleared the negative energy.

However, I’ve sensed something troubling in the shrubs and wooded areas between the hilltop and the land below. That may be from more recent incidents.

Graves at Salem's Old Burying Ground (MA)Researchers may never document the exact location of the hangings, or where most of the so-called witches’ bodies were buried. That includes the body of Giles Corey,** remembered for one of the Salem curses.

However, additional research may reveal locations where unmarked graves and landmarks connect us with Salem in 1692.

Since my own ancestors were in Salem during the Witch Trials, I’m especially interested in finding more about that era and the spirits that linger.

 …

*I’m confident that our experiences at Gallows Hill were genuine.

**Giles Corey’s first wife, Mary (1621 – 1684), is buried beneath a small stone at the Burying Point Cemetery, near the Witch Memorial. Her name appears as “Mary Corry” with a note that she was the wife of “Giles Corry.”

(Remember, spellings weren’t standardized until the 19th century. Many family names appear with various spellings on historic records and monuments.)