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The Ghosts, Sea Monsters, and UFOs of Gloucester, MA

Cute little hot dog cart with a flowerbox near the Fisherman Memorial

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 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.


Does a beast still lurk beneath Gloucester's quaint harbor waters?

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.

If we'd gone through this museum would we have learned of the Gloucester sea serpent?


Hammond Castle is in the middle

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?


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.

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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9 thoughts on “The Ghosts, Sea Monsters, and UFOs of Gloucester, MA

  1. Woah, I literally was just discussing Gloucester with a friend who’s planning to move there soon from the West coast, just before you posted about this on facebook. Salem – Gloucester area is my favorite here in my home state. I’m about an hour’s drive from Salem, but I go kick around that area as often as I can. Lots of history, lots to see and do, great restaurants, etc.

  2. Whoa, Kimberley, that’s kind of weird! Maybe you were sending me vibes to check into Gloucester because it was such a whim. Like I said, I was checking something else, and then for some reason I had a feeling to check this place out for what kind of activity was there and then I got the idea to write about it. So wild! And SO lucky you are to live so close to Salem. And Gloucester. I also heard Rockport’s nice. Lots of people headed over there on an excursion when our ship docked that day, but we just sort of kicked it in Gloucester. Which, like I said, was fine. Was a pretty day so…not complaining!

  3. I don’t normally go on these kinds of sights, but I don’t know who to ask…hence, I comment on the first “haunting, paranormal” sight I came across.
    My great grandmother lived in a side by side double house on Commonwealth Avenue in Gloucester, Mass. I don’t know the house number as I was about 6 or 7 when she died. But I saw, heard, felt things there I have never experienced since. I saw shadows, figures, monsters…I tried to warn my family that we were in danger, but no one would listen. I know now that unexplainable paranormal activity can be good or bad, but this-whatever it was-definitely meant us harm.
    My question is…how can I find out the history of Commonwealth Ave, and specifically the house my great grandmother and her sisters lived in. And what the frick did my anxious, mild mannered little grandma DO when we weren’t there???

  4. Hey Sam! Thanks for taking a chance on leaving a comment here. It might be hard to find out the history of your Grandma’s house without an exact street number. You could always cull through Gloucester’s papers to see if there was any macabre goings on on that street since at least you know that. And I’m sure there are ways to find out the street number if you know your Grandma’s name and her sisters’ names. Even genealogy sites can help with that to help you narrow down your search. Might take a little detective work but…I believe you probably did experience something in your Grandma’s house. Especially if you were a kid. Kids always seem to be more perceptive. If you do find anything out I’d love to know. Always intriguing to hear first hand accounts like this! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Gloucester does have a rich history. The old Dogtown section is where you have the best ghost stories, Misery Island off Manchester in Salem Harbor have the spookiest stories.

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