I didn’t do my research on Gloucester’s haunted places before we went on our Canada/New England cruise last year. I figured we’d take an excursion to Salem the day we docked there. Alas, we didn’t do the Salem route and instead spent part of the day walking around Gloucester.
Which was great. It was a beautiful day and Gloucester proved picturesque. However, I wish I’d done my research. As I was cruising around StrangeUSA.com looking for something else I decided to check Gloucester for the heck of it. That’s how I learned it has some interesting paranormal activity, which includes not only ghosts, but also monsters and UFOs.
THE CREATURE OF GLOUCESTER HARBOR
Serpent sightings date back to as early as the 1630s in Gloucester, but in August 1817 there was a mass of witnesses claiming to have seen a 60 to 70 foot long beast swimming in the waters. It was described as having a turtle-shaped head with a spear or horn protruding from it and a body as wide as a barrel.
In April 1859 a serpent matching a similar description was blamed for attacking the British vessel the Banner while at sea. During the remainder of the nineteenth century there were sightings of a similar beast up and down New England’s coast, but reports started dwindling in the twentieth century. There really haven’t been any in recent years. Although in 1997 there was one from Fortune Bay in Newfoundland.
THE HAUNTING OF HAMMOND CASTLE
The ship offered an excursion to Hammond Castle, which we were interested in doing. Sadly, we made the mistake of thinking we could head over there on our own once we got to shore, but we couldn’t. However, we spied Hammond Castle on the coastline from the ship.
John Hays Hammond, Jr. was an inventor who is often credited as being the “Father of Remote Control.” He was second only to Edison in number of patents. He built the medieval-style castle to be both his home and his showplace for his Roman, medieval, and Renaissance collection.
These days the home is a museum that welcomes visitors during warmer months (generally May through October). Mr. Hammond died in 1965. His wife, Irene, predeceased him in 1959. However many witnesses report still seeing them in the castle, sometimes even together. Have they been rejoined to haunt their beloved home?
UFOs OVER GLOUCESTER
It’s not exactly a UFO hot spot, but it’s had a few sightings. Recent ones include one in 2000 when a white light “bobbing around sporadically for several minutes” was reported. In 2004 there was a report that two “triangles split apart to many stars and hovered near Orion.”
Haunted or not, all in all Gloucester was a neat place. Small, quaint, and very New England. In a separate post I’ll share some of the pictures I took as we walked around town.