Ghost Investigation at Tenney Gatehouse, MA

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

Many investigation teams have visited Tenney Gatehouse and documented its ghosts.

The following are my notes from one of my investigations at the house.


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.  (Her hairstyle 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In the parlor, the doll and the sofa she was on have been replaced by a lovely organ from Greycourt Castle.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.


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.


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, contact the Methuen Museum of History. (That’s the current name of the Tenney Gate House.)

3 thoughts on “Ghost Investigation at Tenney Gatehouse, MA”

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  2. I lived in the Tenney Gate House with my family in 1968-1971. We rented from the Frs at St Basil’s Seminary who owned it at the time. My family was connected to the house from the early 1950s through their association with the Seminary. I loved the house and always was comfortable there, although I did frequently experience some unusual occurrences. I sometimes felt extremely chilled which only lasted for a minute or two, sometimes sensing a shadow, which wasn’t actually a shadow, and movement near me although I knew I was alone in the house. it only happened at quiet times. My mother dispelled my stories of these things. I somehow knew it was a male. I did not feel scared at all. Another time my Mother sent my sister to the cellar to get a platter that was on the shelf in the basement which has stone foundation walls, and was at the bottom of the stairs. I know there was nothing much downstairs. My sister went to fetch it and came running back up stairs, saying she saw a lady there, in a red or maroon dress, I think she mentioned a collar on the dress. My mom quickly admonished her but she wouldn’t go back there. I was sent and she watched me from the top of the stairs. I saw nothing. I thought my mother believed we were making it up. Another oddity was our family dog would not stay alone on the first floor, he would come up to the bedrooms when we were all upstairs. Years later I heard my mother tell my aunt she occasionally felt the house had energy of sorts, and she had experienced odd things as well. I think she didn’t want us scared. None of us were afraid or threatened but most of us had experiences we can’t explain. I would like to know more about this house I loved so much, and I wonder if that’s why I was never afraid. I did hear other stories from people. and I actually heard one about a lady with what sounds like the same dress being seen. I would love to understand more, as most of the stories were from very trustworthy people.

    1. That’s fascinating, Neale! Thank you for sharing so much information about the Tenney Gate House. It’s a wonderful place to visit. You were so very blessed to be able to live there and experience so much of what makes it unique. Thanks again.

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