Salem’s Haunted ‘Judges’ Line’ – Map

The Judges’ Line of Salem, Massachusetts, by Fiona Broome

Seven Gables House- Salem, MAPatterns emerge when we study profoundly haunted areas. Consistent patterns may indicate energy paths. We can use those patterns to find and confirm haunted places.

In my 2007 book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas, I talked about two major patterns connecting almost all hauntings in downtown Austin.

In Salem, Massachusetts, I’ve found different kinds of patterns.

One pattern follows intriguing lines. I’m not sure how other researchers overlooked these eerie connections that leave ghostly tracks across Salem and Boston’s North Shore. However, paranormal patterns are among my specialties, and Salem’s landscape confirms these connections between scenes of violence (and ghostly energy).

I’m calling one of these lines “The Judges’ Line.” It seems to be a ley line.

[Ley lines are lines or paths that connect sites with unusual energy. They could be major churches or temples, sites of violence and tragedy, or have some other unusual connection. Some speculate that energy flows along those paths, and the energy was there even before the church was built or the violence occurred. That energy may magnify the emotions or affect the thinking of people when they are on or near a ley line.]

Oddly, when I map the significant homes and businesses related to the judicial side of the Salem Witch Trials, they follow a line. Even stranger, that line also indicates where modern-day Salem judges have purchased homes.

The line extends directly to Gallows Hill Park, the most likely site of the 1692 hangings during the Salem Witch Trials.

Here’s what the line looks like, related to the entire Salem, Massachusetts area:

Judges' Line, Salem, MA

 

In most cases, this line is ruler-straight, and it’s feet wide, not miles.

Here is a peek at my preliminary, hand drawn map of the main locations:

Salem - Judges' Line map - ghosts and haunted places

 

Here are my notes. Numbers represent sites related to accusers. Letters are related to victims of the trials.

1. Chestnut Street (represented by a heavy black line) – Many modern-day judges and elected officials choose this street for their homes.

2. Judge Corwin’s home, also known as “Witch House” since he condemned so many witches during the Salem Witch Trials. The house’s original location was closer to the line. Later residents moved it.

3. Judge Hathorne’s home, also associated with the Salem Witch Trials. (Nathaniel Hawthorne changed the spelling of his own name to avoid any association with this ancestor.)

4. Sheriff George Corwin’s home – George Corwin was the son of the judge (#2) and benefited by seizing the property of convicted and admitted witches.

5. The home of Samuel Shattuck, whose testimony helped convict Bridget Bishop, one of the first Witch Trial victims.

6. The home of Massachusetts Bay Colony’s Governor Simon Bradstreet (1603 – 1697).

7. John Higginson Jr. lived here. He was the local magistrate. The Hawthorne Hotel was later built on this property.

8. Jacob Manning, a blacksmith, forged the shackles worn by many Witch Trial victims.

9. Thomas Beadle’s tavern, where Witch Trial inquests were held.

A. The home of Bridget Bishop, a Witch Trial victim who may be among the ghosts at the Lyceum Restaurant, now on that site.

B. Ann Pudeator, a Witch Trial victim whose specter was seen walking along Salem Common, even before her execution.

C. The home of John and Mary English, one of the wealthiest families in Colonial Salem. They were accused but escaped to New York.

D. Alice Parker’s home, owned by John and Mary English. Ms. Parker was accused of witchcraft and put to death.

The slightly triangular area near 7 and B represents Salem Common.

Gallows Hill Park is indicated on the far left side of the map. The “Judges Line” — generally indicated in yellow — points directly to it.

The small green areas near points 6, 7 and 8 represent sites with paranormal activity or they are scenes of violence in the 19th and 20th century… or both.

As I continue my research, I’m finding even more sites that will be represented with red dots. Most of them are along the Judges Line.

It’s a little chilling. I wonder why these people felt so drawn to this particular energy path.

Witch Hill – aka Whipple Hill

Photo taken at Whipple Hill, Danvers, MAWitch Hill in Danvers is an important part of the Salem Witch Trials. It’s where “spectral evidence” was observed in 1692, and used as evidence against people accused of witchcraft in Salem.

The correct name for the site is Whipple Hill, and it’s a hauntingly wild and lovely location for hiking. Marked trails lead you to the crest of the hill and a beautiful view.

Park your car at Endicott Park. It’s across a busy street from Witch (Whipple) Hill, and the small parking fee is worthwhile for convenience.

Cross the street and you’ll see the entrance to the trails that cross Witch Hill. The photo, above, was taken near that entrance.

The main trail includes rocks and uneven ground beneath a covering of leaves. You’ll want good hiking shoes and perhaps a walking stick, as well. However, active families (even those with small children) will enjoy this site for a weekend outing. (As usual, watch for poison ivy.)

This is one of two “witch hills” in the Salem area. Gallows Hill in Salem is sometimes called Witch Hill, too.

However, the location of the Danvers site is noted on several historical maps, and I think it’s an overlooked site.

My recent investigations suggest intense activity at Witch Hill, even during the day.  If you have any stories related to that hill, or if you’ve investigated it, please leave a comment or contact me.

[MA] Methuen – Tenney Gatehouse

tenney-reportfrom-125Tenney Gatehouse and the Greycourt Castle ruins are among Methuen’s historical treasures… and among that city’s most haunted locations.

 

Other articles in this series:

Investigation Notes

Many investigation teams have visited Tenney Gatehouse and documented its ghosts.  The following are my notes from my second investigation at the house, and my results were similar to my previous visit.

Basement

The basement is an odd location.  I don’t sense a lot of history there, though other investigators have reported significant energy.

Mostly, the atmosphere seems to get heavier (or denser) the longer you stay there, as if something is crowding you out. If you’re prone to headaches, especially migraines, stay away from the basement.

Some very hostile energy lingers in one corner of the room where the furnace is.  That’s odd, since I’m fairly sure it’s a recently excavated area. [See the Methuen Historical Society’s page that describes the basement work.]

I also sensed a distraught young woman in a maroon dress.  She’s from the second half of the 19th century.  She has very high, elaborate braids and curls, characteristic of the 1860s and later.  (It reminds me of a Swedish woven loaf of bread, but upright.)

Her skirt is fairly narrow, also suggesting a time from the late 19th century.  She’s pacing and very unhappy, but also seems to enjoy the drama of it, as well as the attention she gets.

There’s also the energy of a little boy, but my “gut feeling” is: this is phantom energy.  I’m not sure that there was actually a tragedy at the staircase where he seems to linger, and I wonder if he’s the created energy of several imaginative researchers.

Whether he’s a real ghost or not, the energy remains there.

Between the amount of running electrical equipment, fuse boxes, and pipes, the basement is unreliable for EMF studies.

Ground floor

In the parlor, the doll and the sofa she was on have been replaced by a lovely organ from Greycourt Castle.  The wooden organ belonged to the Tenneys and not only survived its years when the mansion was a drug rehab center, but it’s also one of the few items to survive the fire as well.

We found a “cold spot” on top of the organ, and a couple of variable cold spots on either side of it.

Because of the organ’s surprising energy, it’s an item to research in more detail, especially in light of the Searles family’s connection with organ making.

Several items in the museum area seem to hold residual energy, in addition to fascinating history.  In light of the history I’ve learned since this investigation, many of the museum’s objects are worth closer study.

emfx2-orbIn the far room in the museum area, several people saw dramatic dowsing rod activity in one corner.  We also saw baffling EMF meter readings.

At one point, it was as if the EMF meters were dueling; one would beep and flash three times, and then the other would, and so on.

I took a picture while this was going on, and there’s a very faint orb over the EMF meter on the right. As you can see from the light, that EMF meter was signaling when I took the photo.

(I wish I’d taken more photos, showing how the orb bounced back and forth between the meters as they beeped.)

Immediately beneath that floor, a large electrical box emits high levels of EMF.  Though that would explain continuous, high EMF levels, it doesn’t explain the intermittent surges.  (In fact, at one point the EMF meter closest to the floor showed no unusual readings, while another meter — about four feet above it — was surging off the scale.)

Several people felt very strong energy in that area as well, and some thought they were being gently pushed or otherwise in physical contact with a ghost, perhaps a ghostly dog.

However, when researching in areas of high EMF, normal disorientation is possible.  So, we looked in other, low-EMF areas for additional and supporting information about the house’s ghosts.

In another room, a 19th-century dresser holds the residual energy of a grandmother who often laced her corset too tightly, and collected small figurines.  I also detected the energy of two priests around that dresser, but not the priests (or monks) who lived at Tenney Gatehouse.

Upper floor

The upper floor continues to be my favorite.  In one room, both mirrors — but one in particular — seems to have anomalous energy.  It’s worth far more study than I’ve had time for.

That’s the same room where we previously used a K-II meter to communicate with a spirit that wanted the lights turned out.

I did not investigate the room next to it, where refreshments were served to event attendees.

The largest room on that floor had seating for about 30 people, and it was used for “Shack Hack” sessions presented by Chris G., another invited psychic and paranormal researcher.  The Shack Hack indicated several spirits in the room, including two or three men and perhaps one young woman and a little boy.

Turret

The turret room may be the most famous haunted area in Tenney Gatehouse, and it’s also the part of the house that will be restored with the help of the funds raised at this event.

According to legend, but no historical evidence that I know of, a monk hung himself in that room.  The stories say that he continues to haunt that room.

Whether that’s a true tale or not, the energy in the turret area is powerful and almost disorienting.  I look forward to researching it further when it’s more fully restored and I can rule out normal EMF (from electrical wiring) as a factor.

Summary

Tenney Gatehouse (or Gate House) is a light, easy haunting for first-time investigators.

However, due to the large amount of traffic through the house, nothing truly scary is likely to happen during a casual investigation or event.

This site is ideal for in-depth investigations by small teams who’ll focus on specific areas and objects that may reveal far more than they do during a brief walk-through.

Next, see my notes and photos: Investigation – Ghosts at Greycourt Castle ruins

To return to Tenney Gate House for your own investigation — formal or informal — or to participate in another ghost-related event at the site, see the website of the Methuen Historical Society.

[MA] Ghosts at Greycourt Castle Ruins

tenney-reportfrom-125Greycourt Castle (or Grey Court Castle) was the estate home of Charles H. Tenney, his wife Fanny, and their son Daniel G. Tenney.

The castle-style mansion was built in the 1880s and used as a summer home by the Tenney family.

In the 1950s, it was sold and used as a drug rehabilitation facility in the mid-20th century, and largely destroyed by fires from 1974 through 1978.  The 1978 fire was the result of arson.

As I explain in my book, Ghost Hunting in Haunted Cemeteries, we’re always looking for any of four characteristics of most hauntings:

  • Money
  • Power
  • Drama
  • Tragedy (sudden or extended)

If I see more than one of these elements, it’s a red flag that suggests the site is worth investigating.

In my earlier article, History of Tenney Gatehouse, I described Greycourt Castle’s intriguing and tragic past.

From the land’s connections to a Colonial blockhouse, to the fire that destroyed Greycourt in the 1970s, the site’s history contains all four elements — money, power, drama and tragedy — that make it a prime location for paranormal investigations.

My “gut feeling” is that we’ve barely scratched the surface on the energy and ghosts around the Greycourt Castle ruins.

I’m also certain that the park-like areas of the Tenney grounds hold additional reasons for ghostly activity.

The nearby Searles site is certainly worth investigating, as well.

My October 2009 investigation

I did not spend time at the area where the monks’ graves were rumored to have been. (The graves were moved when the site stopped being used by the order.)

Earlier in the evening, I’d heard that some people had formed a circle to summon the energy or spirits from any remaining graves.

Unless you really know what you’re doing, that can open doors best left closed. Even with the best of intentions, this can create unhealthy dynamics with the spirits.

So, I rushed past that area.

tenneyorb1
Unexplained orb at Tenney.

Walking up the path from the gatehouse to Greycourt, I immediately took a photo where I feel intense energy from… well, I think it’s the Gorrill brothers.

(For their story, see my article, Tenney ghosts – Gorrill brothers.)

Though my photo shows only a vivid orb (sorry, no landmarks with it), that confirms it as a location for additional on-site research.

The orb may be something entirely normal… but it might not.  It’s a little too solid looking for a typical “ghost orb.” The shape is too perfect for it to be an insect, and there’s no solid-looking dot inside the orb to indicate dust, bugs, or pollen.

Whether that’s a legitimate “ghost orb” or not, I’m interested in this part of the Tenney property.

As I continued to Greycourt Castle, I felt the familiar sense of entering an area with very different energy, as if it’s a portal to another time.

The castle feels like something incomplete… in our world.  However, I often feel that the stairs leading down from it actually show more than just a great view of Methuen (albeit blocked by trees).  I feel that it may offer something else, if you have patience, suspend disbelief, and use all of your senses to perceive what’s really there.

horiz-lights1a
Pretty, but not paranormal.

This is the second time I’ve smelled the vanilla-like aroma of tobacco around the stairway, too.  (I describe it as a little like Swisher Sweet cigars.  Others have made reference to pipe tobacco.)

During this October 2009 investigation, several other people have commented on that aroma as well, not knowing that I was already aware of it.

My photos from nearby showed some great lights, blurred as the camera moved, but nothing paranormal.

tenney-treemist
I have no idea what this is.

However, one of my next pictures caught an odd, colorful mist.  Someone else commented on her mist photo, around the same time.

We both tried to replicate the mist by breathing near the cameras lenses as we took additional photos, but couldn’t duplicate the effect.

Though this still may be mist (it’s not cigarette smoke), it’s more likely an anomaly.

In the photo at right, that’s a tree on the right, surrounded by the mist.  At the lower left, you can see the promontory where the stairs lead, and where I feel that the energy is different from “normal.”

Though city lights interfere with night photos, and there’s nothing obvious there to see… I still feel that’s a location for in-depth investigation.  But, because that could be something frightening, I’d only recommend it for very experienced ghost hunters.

(By “frightening,” I don’t mean that it’s necessarily dangerous. I think that it might be something very different from what we usually encounter at haunted sites like this.  Perhaps “startling” might be a better word, but when something radically different happens at haunted places, beginners can interpret it as scary, frightening or dangerous.)

Next, I walked along the corridor.  None of my photos showed anything unusual.  castle-shadowareaHowever, I kept noticing moving shadows on the columns as I stood and took pictures.  The shadows were very crisp and well defined.  It was as if someone was immediately behind me.

Every time I turned to look — at least four or five times — no one was there.  Since there were only about four of us at that part of the ruins at the time, I don’t have any explanation for it.

I wasn’t afraid of the shadows, and I don’t think they indicate anything malicious… just odd.

castle-ftn-orbNearby, the area around the fountain seems very active, but with happier energy.  Generally, I connect this with the “flower child” energy that may have resonated with earlier, Spiritualist activities at the site.

Or, it may relate to the ritual energy in a nearby wooded area.

Though the woods feel somber and even creepy to me, the energy around the fountain seems joyous.  I wasn’t at all surprised to see an orb in the photo at right.  In fact, I was amazed that I didn’t have more anomalies in the pictures I took there.

searles-orbOn the walk back from the ruins, I was — as usual — intrigued by the Searles’ property and stone buildings.  That location also contains very powerful, paranormal energy.  That’s the only way I can describe it; it doesn’t feel like anything that’s from this world.

However, my “gut feeling” is that it’s not just the ghost of Mr. Searles.  I’d fully expect cryptozoology reports there, because — in addition to something vaguely ghostly — there’s… well, something else.

Nearby, a second photo included some lines that I’m still studying.

oddlines
Insects? Falling leaves? I’m not sure.

Everything else — full depth of field — is in focus.  If the camera moved enough to create those lines, other objects should be blurry.

 

Of course, it helps that the area by that stone wall feels unsettling.  It’s the kind of site where we often see apparitions.

Yes, this is probably a perfectly normal photo, and it may be an insect (and lens flares) or falling leaves.

The earlier orb picture may be an insect as well.  I’m displaying them because they’re interesting, not necessarily paranormal.

When we look at odd things in photos from haunted places, we’re not just asking if an orb or blurry shape is an actual ghost. (We’re not sure what anomalies actually are.)

Instead, we’re asking, “Why does this photograph show insects, dust, or lights in this photo… but they’re not in other photos taken at the same time or place?”

No matter what you think of these photos, Tenney Gatehouse and Greycourt Castle ruins are worth investigating.

Summary

For a first-time or casual ghost hunter, Tenney Gatehouse is the ideal place for an investigation.

For an experienced investigator, I think the rest of the Tenney property offers more intriguing energy and anomalies that haven’t been reported yet.

Tenney Gatehouse is maintained by the Methuen Historical Society, 37 Pleasant Street, Methuen, MA.  The gatehouse and grounds are open to the public.  Please check with the Methuen Historical Society for hours and additional information.

Related report: Tenney Gatehouse ghosts (October 2009)

[MA] History of Tenney Gatehouse’s Ghosts

tenney-reportfrom-125Tenney Gatehouse (37 Pleasant Street, Methuen, Massachusetts) and the nearby Greycourt Castle ruins are great, gently-haunted sites.  They’re ideal for first-time ghost hunters.

I compiled the following history from a variety of sources.  I’ve done my best to be accurate, but I only briefly surveyed the history.  There may be errors in this report.

The Methuen Historical Society is a far better resource for your research, and their information will be more accurate than mine.

In this summary, I’ve included story elements and additional notes that could relate to the hauntings at Tenney Gatehouse and Greycourt Castle.

(Note to ghost hunters: This is the kind of research that adds depth to any investigation. It reveals the most likely “hot spots” for on-site research, and can support existing ghost stories.)

History of Tenney Gatehouse and Greycourt Castle

The bedrock beneath Methuen includes Merrimac quartzite.   That could be important.  Sites built on quartz tend to report far more hauntings than those that aren’t.

The land around Tenney Gatehouse was originally part of the Pawtucket Plantation. Its boundaries were established in 1640, and the land transferred by Indian deed in 1642.

The Pawtuckets were also called Penacooks and Pentuckets.  50 – 85% of the Methuen Pawtuckets died during the 1617 – 1619 epidemics, and the Indian wars that followed.

Though no known Indian battles were fought in Methuen, events related to the  “Battle of Bloody Brook” in September 1615 (not the 1675 event) may have involved local members of the Agawam nation, fighting off the Tarrantine raiders.

Methuen was first settled in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The town was named for Paul Methuen, 1st Baron Methuen (21 June 1779 – 14 September 1849) of Corsham Court, Wiltshire, England.   Methuen was a Privy Court friend of Massachusetts’ Royal Governor William Dummer.

The first buildings

A blockhouse was the first reported use of the property later owned by the Tenney family. A blockhouse was a heavy, plank-style house where settlers could gather for protection from fierce weather, roving bands of wild animals, or reported Indian attacks.  The building wasn’t quite as formal as a stockade, but served a similar purpose.

Around 1726, Methuen’s community meetinghouse and parsonage were established near where the Tenney Gatehouse and Greycourt Castle ruins are today.  The site was called Meetinghouse (or Meeting House) Hill.*  The meetinghouse was about 40 feet by 30 feet, with 20-foot posts.

Soon, a burial ground (1728 – 1786) — where all the gravestones point west — and a schoolhouse completed the development.  Much of that land — later part of the Tenney property — was the original center of the village.

There’s reference to a devastating meetinghouse fire in 1796, and a second meetinghouse being dedicated for public service.  That story is worth researching, to see if it parallels the later fires at Greycourt Castle.

The hill was also nicknamed Daddy Frye’s Hill. That name referred to  Frye Tavern owned by Jeremiah and Elizabeth Hall Frye and their six children.  (The Frye family had been in the Methuen area since the mid-1600s, after emigrating from Basingstoke, Hampshire, England.)

Interestingly, a 1916 book, A Handbook of New England, mentions Frye’s Tavern and the Searles estate, with no reference to Tenney Gatehouse or Greycourt Castle.

Frye’s Tavern was probably at the northwest corner of East and Brook Streets.

Also, another Frye Tavern, “provender for man and beast,” was located in Lowell and owned by Ira Frye.

The origins of Tenney Gatehouse

Between August and November 1830, a stone house — later renovated and expanded as the Tenney Gatehouse — was built as a farmhouse by the Richard Whittier family, and it soon became a popular stagecoach stop.

In the 1840 census, Richard Whittier’s household was large, including 2 males ages 10 – 15, one between 20 and 30 years old, and one between 40 and 50.  Females included one between ages 5 and 10, two between 20 and 30, and one between 40 and 50.  (Richard has been noted as the brother of Ebenezer Whittier, part of an extensive family that is famous throughout the area.)

The Whittiers’ neighbors included Major Nathaniel Gorrell (or Gorrill) and his wife, Jane Armour Gorrell.  Two of their descendants, Mark S. Gorrill and Nathaniel W. Gorrill, became part of a later, ghost-related story. (See Tenney ghosts – Gorrill brothers.)

The Tenney Gatehouse purchase and development

In April 1882, Charles H. Tenney bought the Whittier’s house as a gatehouse and then added the adjoining acreage, then called Jones Hill.

Charles H. Tenney was the youngest son of Methuen grocer John Ferguson Tenney and his wife, Hannah Woodbury, who’d previously lived in Salem, New Hampshire.

Charles H. Tenney had started a manufacturing business in Methuen in 1869, and expanded it to a much larger hatmaking factory in 1872.  At its peak, the business employed about 150 people.

Starting in 1882, Charles H. Tenneys had the gatehouse remodeled and used it as a residence.

In 1883, Charles H. Tenney sold his interest in the Methuen hatmaking business to his brother and business partner, J. Milton Tenney.

(The hat business faltered, and — after selling the factory building to neighbor and friendly rival Edward F. Searles — the Tenney Hat Factory was torn down in 1906.  The site was used for the Selden Worsted Mill. Today, 225 Broadway has been restored as the Espaillat Mills building.  It’s probably worth investigating for ghosts.)

Also in 1883, Charles H. Tenney moved to New York and became a wholesale commission agent, representing most of the U.S. hatmaking business.  His new Methuen estate became the family’s summer home.

In 1884, a stock stable was added to the property, and an 1885 newspaper article describes a “tally-ho” drive to the front entrance.  That stable was remodeled in 1966 at 30 East Street.

In 1887, Tenney renamed his Methuen property Fair View Park, and in 1890, began building Greycourt (or Grey Court) Castle.  The project took three years, and no expense was spared in creating the spectacular estate home.

Later years

By around 1950, the Tenney family had stopped using Greycourt Castle as their home.  In 1951, the estate of Daniel G. Tenney donated 26 acres to Methuen for Tenney High School.  That school, at 75 Pleasant Street, is now Tenney Middle School.

The Tenney estate sold the remaining land, castle ruins and Tenney Gatehouse to the Basilican Salvatorian Order of the Melkite Rite.

For several years, monks lived in the gatehouse, and the Tenney’s former mansion was used as a drug rehabilitation center.  But, by the 1970s, the mansion needed repairs and it was further damaged by a series of fires starting around 1974.  A 1978 fire, set by an arsonist, left the castle in ruins.

In 1985, most of the Greycourt Castle ruins were removed as a safety hazard.  However, the foundation and some of the walls are still part of the site, which are open to the public.

The land owned by Charles H. Tenney, and several locations near it, offer a considerable (and sometimes confusing) history to suggest a wealth of reasons for hauntings.

Today, Tenney Gatehouse is the home of the Methuen Historical Society… and several ghosts.

References

Ancestry.com

Early Methuen Histories (was at http://methuen.essexcountyma.net/Early_Methuen_Histories.html )

A Handbook of New England, by Porter Sargent

Historic Sites 225 Broadway – Brown

History of Lowell, by Charles Cowley (2nd revised edition, 1868)

Methuen 2007 Town Report

Methuen History Historical Photos (images not working)

Naming of Methuen (was at http://methuen.essexcountyma.net/Naming_of_Methuen.html )

Tenney Family Association

Treasure of Tenney’s Grey Court Castle

Wikipedia: Paul Methuen, 1st Baron Methuen

*A second Meeting House Hill caused some confusion during my research.  It was located on Forest Street and had some similar buildings to the main Meeting House Hill.  Most notably, the Forest Street site had a cemetery that was vandalized and has since vanished.