Old Haunted Houses Reported in New Hampshire Newspapers

Old postcard, marked as Haunted House in Hollis, Wishing Well. From Cow Hampshire Blog

Old postcard, marked as Haunted House in Hollis, Wishing Well. From Cow Hampshire Blog

DANGER OF HAUNTED HOUSES (1792). —  A girl who was a servant in a house reputed to be haunted, was suspected, and at length fairly convicted, of pregnancy; she fell on her knees before her mistress, craving forgiveness, alleging indeed that she ought not to be blamed for it was entirely the Ghosteses fault. “The Ghosteses fault!” exclaimed the mistress, “how could that possibly happen?” “Why indeed madam!” replied the simple girl, “the Ghost one dark night made a huge noise, and almost terrified me out of my seven senses. I told John how it saved me, and he persuaded me how spirits never appeared, when two people slept together. So as I liked his company better than the Ghosteses, and was mortally afraid of Ghosteses, I went along with him, and so, indeed and indeed Madam I should never have lost my virtue, if it had not been for fear of the Ghosteses.” [from Thursday, May 31, 1792; New-Hampshire Gazette (Portsmouth NH) Vol XXXV, Issue 1846, page 1]

JUSTICE’S COURT. Simers vs. Woolbridge. (1813) — Sampson for Plaintiff, Anthony for Defendant. The cause was tried in the Court yesterday, before a jury. The plaintiff claimed a quarter’s rent of a house in Cherry-street, due the 1st inst., amounting to forty-two dollars, or thereabouts. The defence was that the house was haunted by ghosts, and therefore untenantable by man. The defendant proved that he hired and took possession of the house on the first of May, not knowing that it had the reputation of being inhabited by supernatural beings; that soon after, a lighted candle, placed on a mantlepiece, went out without any assignable cause! That on being again lighted it went out in a similar way!!! That a third attempt terminated in the same manner with this addition, that on the extinguishment of the candle, the witness, who was the person holding it, was violently seized by the arm (by an invisible hand) and turned completely around!!! That the family being alarmed by such unaccountable events and also by founding, in closets about the house and elle where, “dead men’s ones” and understanding that the house had the reputation of being haunted before the family went in, and while unoccupied, the defendant had deserted the house because his family not fond of having co-tenants of such a description, could not live in it with peace and without fear. It appears that the plaintiff before the hired the house to the defendant knew the reputation of his house, but did not communicate it to the tenant. Some witnesses deposed that while the house was unoccupied, they had several times observed a “blue flame” on the same mantlepiece which though it continued burning, communicated no light to the windows–that this attracted the attention of people passing, gathered numbers of spectators about the house and fixed upon it the reputation of a haunted house. The jury retired under the charge of the court, and returned with a verdict of ten dollars as a compensation to plaintiff for the time defendant had occupied his house before he was routed by the ghosts!!! [Conn Ad., published Friday, October 1, 1813; War Journal (Portsmouth NH), Vol I, Issue 30, Page 4; Friday, October 1, 1813]

THE HAUNTED HOUSE (1839).–The Lowell (MA) Courier says that the city crier was called up last Saturday evening, to “cry” four school girls who had been left that afternoon in the North Grammar School, to sweep out the house. After crying through the streets in vain, the crier and the friends of the girls obtained a key and entered the school house. Beginning at the cellar they hunted up, and in the upper room found the misses safely stowed away as comfortable as kittens. On being asked why they staid there so late, the girls answered–“We understood the house was haunted, and wanted to satisfy ourselves!” [from Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics (Portsmouth, NH) Vol L; Issue 2; Page 2; Saturday January 12, 1839].

IDENTIFIED (1863) Newburyport MA--The man who was killed on the Eastern Railroad on Saturday, the 18th, was John Tucker, of Newburyport, aged 27 years. He was the son of George Tucker, a carpenter, who lived in the “Haunted House,” the Cross house, near the foot of Federal street, at the time of that excitement. His father now lives in Sandown, N.H. [from Saturday, September 1, 1860; Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics (Portsmouth, NH);  Volume: LXXI, Issue: 35, page 3.

A HAUNTED HOUSE (1871) .–Nashua (NH) has a veritable haunted house. One of those strange and unnatural stories that occasionally come to the surface in every community, and is a nine days’ wonder to be speedily forgotten, is just now disturbing the minds of a family circle in this place, and causing a good deal of speculation in the

Postcard of Lafayette Road with the haunted Moulton House in the distance.

Postcard of Lafayette Road with the haunted Moulton House in the distance.

community at large. The facts in the case are simply these: Some three years ago a well-known gentleman purchased a house on the Concord road. He had not long resided in his peaceful villa when, of a moonlight night, he was aroused by what seemed to be a flock of sheep walking on the roof above his head. Of course he was puzzled to understand the phenomenon; more so when he sought to learn the cause, and discovered–nothing. Since that time persons have been heard in conversation in the cellar, and the sound of some one digging in the earth under the windows with crowbars. Occasionally there has been an offensive effluvia ascend from the hearth in one of the rooms, and the family have been subjected to a variety of other annoyances. On Friday night, the 7th inst., the gentleman heard what he supposed to be someone splitting wood in the shed, and descending quietly to an adjoining door with a lighted lamp, listened to the sound for a full hour; in the meantime hearing noises in the kitchen at his left, which led him to suppose that some other member of the family was about, he opened the door, and as usual there was nothing in either place. These noises have become so frequent and have been so often repeated that the wife’s and sons’ health have suffered, and the gentleman has been obliged to make arrangements for their accommodation elsewhere. He now proposes to invite a few friends to join him in a full investigation of this mysterious affair. The result will be made public at an early day. [from New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene NH) Volume LXXIII Issue 30, Page 1; Thursday, July 27, 1871]

A HAUNTED HOUSE IN CONTOOCOOK  (1875). — Strange Noises and Groans Heard. Doors Fly Open and Chairs are Seen Dancing About the Room. We understand that considerable excitement prevails in Contoocookville (NH) over the supposition that the Emerson house, situated about half a mile from the village, on the road to Hopkinton, is haunted, the story running as follows: The Emerson plac has been vacant all winter, Mr. James Emerson, the owner, only carrying on the place during the summer. About one week ago, Mr. Hanson Emerson, son of James Emerson, moved into the house, together with his wife and two children. Everything passed off all right for the first three nights, when, on the fourth night he heard strange sounds, but supposing they proceeded from rats or some other natural cause, did not pay much attention to them. On Wednesday night last, after the family had all retired, they heard a noise as if some one groaning, the groans being loud and distinct and heard several times; also the doors would fly open and then close again with violence. Not content with the above two demonstrations, the chairs commenced dancing about the room. Mr. Emerson, his wife and children hastily arose, much disturbed by the violent and strange demonstrations, groans and noises, and taking their clothing, left the house, going to that of Mr. Ambrose Chase, who lives twenty or thirty rods from the Emerson place. Mr. Chase took them in and Mrs. Emerson, who was very much prostrated by fright at the noises and groans, was kindly cared for. Mr. Emerson, who is not easily frightened, thought he would go back and make a thorough examination of the house, to ascertain if there were any persons concealed in, or about the premises, and with Mr. Chase, the two went over the house, but no one could they find, and no noises did they hear. The Emerson family cannot be induced to return to the house, and really what the whole upshot of the mystery will amount to, remains to be seen. There are various stories and opinion afloat about town but the sum and substance of the whole story is as above related. The Emerson family have no inducement to misstate the matter, and it is plainly evident that the demonstrations they report actually occurred, proceeding from some cause that they are entirely unable to explain. [from Wednesday, April 21, 1875; New-Hampshire Patriot (Concord NH) Issue 3999, Page 1; Wednesday, April 21, 1875]
That Haunted House — Mr. Emerson, the owner of the house at Contoocook called upon us, and denies in full that any such actions or capers have ever been cut up in his house as was reported in the PATRIOT of Friday. All is, if such is the case, we have been misinformed and cheerfully make the correction. As Mr. Emerson is a staunch old Democrat, a good citizen, so far as we know, and a man whose word is to be relied upon, we gladly take this method of making it right. [from New-Hampshire Patriot (Concord NH) Issue 4000; Page 1;Wednesday, April 28, 1875]

STATE NEWS (1891). — Company C, Second Regiment, has a haunted armory at Nashua (NH) and the boys will not stay in it after 10 o’clock at night. [from Wednesday, August 5, 1891, New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene NH); Vol XCIII, Issue 31, Page 6, Wednesday August 5, 1891].
New Building (Daniel Webster Highway) is the city’s second armory and replaces the Canal st. armory which was destroyed by a Sunday Fire Feb 3, 1957. Nashua Justice said, “We all know that some of the men who drilled in the old armory distinguished themselves in the fields of battle in World Wars I and II and in Korea, including some of you..” [from Nashua Telegraph, January 18, 1960].

Not all reports of haunted houses are ancient.  Every city and town seems to have at least one poor structure, usually old and lonely, with no occupation to care for it.

You can blame John Greenleaf Whittier for the haunting of the Jonathan Moulton House in Hampton, New Hampshire. In his poem, “The New Wife & The Old,” probably modeled after this family, Jonathan’s wife Abigail haunts the manse.  The house has been privately owned since the turn of the 20th century.

2012The Bridges Mansion, located at 21 Mountain Road in East Concord, NH was built in 1836 by Charles Graham. The building was given to the State of New Hampshire in 1969 by former Governor and United States Senator Styles Bridges and his family. It is now considered the official residence of New Hampshire’s governor.  According to an article at NewHampshire.com, “Republican Gov. Meldrim Thomson of Orford and Democratic Gov. Hugh Gallen of Littleton were the only two governors to have officially taken up residence at Bridges.”  In the same article, former first Lady, Susan Lynch describes odd ‘haunted’ happenings in the Bridges House.



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