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The Haunts of Boston Common in Boston

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The Boston Common is a beautiful park that spreads through much of the city. The park itself has existed since the 1600s when it was used to graze cows. Since then it has shrunk but continues to be one of the most historic pieces of land in America.

The park has been the sight of so much history it is hard to write it all down. It has seen war, riots, hangings, and plenty of picnics. The Boston Common is one of the rare places in America that has kept some of its histories and holds pieces of the past. This might be why so many people believe that the park is haunted.

Places that have seen a lot of history seem to be the same areas that spirits remain. The fact that the grounds are home to a few graveyards and host several memorials does not help these rumours of ghosts. Here are a few of the most notable ghost stories you will find surrounding the Boston Common. 

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Granary Burying Ground

When the subject of ghosts is brought up in Boston, one place that must be mentioned is Granary. It is one of the oldest graveyards in America and is the third oldest graveyard in Boston. Third might not seem so notable until you hear the names of some of the ghosts that are seen wandering the graveyard.

Samuel Addams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine all signed the Declaration of Independence and they all were buried in Granary. Paul Revere joined them and is said to be seen riding around on the same horse he rode the night he went down in history. If you want to see a ghost with a story you know then this is the best possible place to go ghost hunting.

If you feel there is not quite enough tragedy in the graveyard to bring out spirits, fear not. The people who died in the Boston Massacre are apparently buried in a mass grave in Granary. These grounds are old enough to hold spirits and have a few people buried in them that might have reason to linger.

While new roads and construction were happening in Boston, a few graves got moved around which likely caused a bit of unrest with the spirits. Add in the fact that there is apparently a mass grave of children on the grounds and you have got the recipe for some very upset and tragic ghosts. All of that history and movement of a burial place is enough to make anywhere haunted.

Even if you are not lucky, or unlucky, enough to see a spirit on your trip to Granary you will still be quite happy you went. The grounds of Granary have narrow paths and large trees all surrounded by an old iron fence. The ambiance is quite enough to make you feel like spirits are about and great for a photoshoot.

Central Burying Ground

If you are looking for a place a bit more somber with more restless spirits in the Boston Common then there is no better place to visit than the Central Burying Ground. It sits at the top corner of the Common and is known for being a place where everyone who goes there leaves feeling unsettled. This could be because of the presence of ghosts or maybe because of the very sad history that surrounds this graveyard.

The main reason so many people believe this is haunted land is because of the disrespect given to the bodies who are buried there. Many of the people buried in the Central Burying Ground were poor and died of sickness or hunger. Still, even that might not have been enough to pull ghosts forward if it had not been for the construction that followed.

When new streets were being built in Boston they decided it was necessary to rearrange the borders of the Central Burying Ground. This, sadly, meant that quite a few bodies were dug up during construction. Those bodies were piled into mass graves inside the borders of the cemetery.

This means there are more bodies than we know about that are left stacked on top of one another with no grave marking or people to remember them. The mass graves that lie beneath the surface of the Central Burying Ground were put there out of the need to re-build more than out of necessity and there are many who believe that is enough to drug up some very upset spirits. Even if you do not see a spirit, you can mourn the loss of the names and history of all the people buried together.

The Common

Despite the fact that the Common host more than one graveyard, the grounds themselves are likely more haunted than even the graves. The Common might not hold mass graves or the decaying bodies of our forefathers, but they have their own tragedies. Because after the Common was a cow pasture and before it was a lovely park full of sunbathers and coffee carts, it was the sight of Boston’s public executions.

For one hundred and seventy-five years the Boston Common were used as gallows. The puritans who ran Boston hung whoever they found sinful or lacking in some way. This means there is quite a sordid and sad history that falls on the beautiful land that makes up the Common.

Because it was the puritans hanging those they found lacking, a large group of people that were hung was, of course, witches. Before Salem went down in history, Boston had begun hanging the women they decided were consorting with the devil. The majority of the women who were accused and proclaimed guilty of witchcraft in Boston were hanged on the grasses of the Boston Common.

Reverend Cotton Mather, a man who was later made famous by the trials in Salem, even had a hand in the witch trials of Boston. In fact, the book Mather wrote about witches was based on one of the trials he was a part of that took place in Boston and ended in the Common. The innocent women who were hung by powerful men are sure to still haunt the grounds they were murdered on.

Among the people who hung in the Boston Common sits quite a few people who might have been a bit less than innocent. The Great Elm, which has now fallen, was used as the hanging site for all those that were sentenced to hanging in Boston. Those people included innocent “witches” as well as criminals.

The Great Elm was used to hang pirates and murderers as well as innocent women. Any man who was to hang found himself tied to one of the huge branches that hung from the elm. It is hard to know exactly how many criminals and murderers hung in the Common, but we do know more criminals were hung than witches. 

Finally, the Common is where over fifty Native Americans were shot and hung for their participation in King Philips War. They, like the witches, were hung in the same place criminals were put to death. This is a tragedy that few remember but that haunts the land of the Common.

If you are looking for a tragedy even more heinous that witchcraft then look no further than the Common. From the same tree that hung murderers and witches, several Quakers met their death for doing nothing more than practicing their religion. The Common held the town’s whipping post, gallows, and stocks making it a place that has held much human suffering over the years.


The City of Boston is beautiful and filled with history. Sadly, not all of history, or even most, can be good. This leaves room for plenty of unhappy, restless spirits to wander the city of Boston. The Boston Common are a great place to go if you want beautiful views, history reenactments, and to spot a ghost or two. 

The Boston Common were a place of punishment for over a hundred years. It is where criminals or those found guilty of anything were whipped, punished, and sometimes hung. The graveyards that can be found on the Common are filled with their own history and tragedy to match the land where they are placed.

If you want to see some of the most beautiful sights Boston has to offer and maybe see a ghost, the Boston Common are the best place to go. Those are a few of the best places to see ghosts in Boston.

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