Boston, Massachusetts is one of America’s oldest and interesting cities. Full of historical landmarks, it’s a perfect destination to get a glimpse of the past and feel immersed in history. One of the most famous of those landmarks is the city’s infamous harbor, connecting the city to the expansive Atlantic Ocean and to the world.
Boston Harbor is a picturesque scene with stunning ships and a scattering of islands. One of America’s most historic places, it has seen countless battles and tragedies. Playing a major part in the American Revolution, the harbor was a hotspot for death, making it the scene of a ton of spiritual activity to this day.
One of the most tragic stories is that of Mary Burton. It’s a tale of young love and hope for the future that ends in death and desperation. The sad twist of fate makes her story one of the most heartbreaking stories of war and its effect on casualties.
If you are looking to go on a haunted tour in Boston, check this out.
William and Mary Burton
The American Revolutionary War was a long, drawn-out conflict between The British and the American Colonies fighting for their freedom and independence. The colonists were determined to avoid the growing taxes imposed by the British and have a say in their rule of law. The many battles raged on for years resulting in a seemingly endless stream of death and destruction.
Over more than eight long years of fighting, over 4,000 Americans lost their lives. Approximately another 17,000 would die from disease resulting from the conditions on battlefields and army camps. Families were torn apart and many soldiers left the war with irreversible injuries. It was certainly one of the most deadly periods in the growing country’s history.
Finally, in the year 1776, the war was finally coming to a close. Boston Harbor was littered with ships ready to depart America and head across the Atlantic. On these ships were many British loyalists and soldiers that were ready to return home or start a new life in England.
William and Mary Burton were newly married and excited to start a life together. They were just two of the over 12,000 people aboard the fleet of ships. However, on March 17th, tragedy struck those so excited to flee America. The day, now known as Evacuation Day, and its events have become a part of Boston’s history.
Washington’s army wasn’t willing to let these ships escape freely. His colonial army released a tirade of weaponry onto the departing ships. Cannonballs flew as the British ships tried to escape.
A cannonball struck Mary in the head. Miraculously, she survived the immediate impact. However, the tremendous blow left her in a great amount of pain. She spent days suffering massive headaches aboard the ship.
Mary knew that the end was near for her. She spent her last hours trying to convince her husband not to allow her body to be buried at sea. The thought of spending eternity under the crushing weight of the ocean’s water tortured her.
Eventually, Mary succumbed to her injuries and faded away aboard the ship. William struggled with his dedication to his wife and fulfilling her last wishes. Luckily, the ships were still in the harbor and he pleaded with the British to help him negotiate a proper burial for his wife.
The Colonists took pity on him and William was allowed to come ashore to Boston Harbor’s Long Island to give his wife the burial she requested on land. Stuck aboard the ship, he had no proper burial clothes. So William did the next best thing, he crafted a gown for her out of love.
Mary had brought a warm red blanket onto the ship to keep the couple warm during their journey. William thought that Mary would appreciate the cheerful scarlet hue. He carefully crafted a makeshift gown for his wife as he sewed the blanket around her body.
William also used a piece of driftwood to create as close to a proper headstone as possible. He carefully carved “Mary Burton” into the stone and firmly placed it into the ground over her freshly dug grave. He swore that he would return with a proper marking one day. However, he never did come back to Long Island to fulfill his promise.
The British ships remained in the harbor for three long months, shooting at the military onshore. Finally, the ships departed in June, and William sailed away from his wife’s grave.
Eventually, Mary’s makeshift grave marker disappeared, likely blown out to see. Was Mary satisfied with the job her husband did with her burial in a tough situation? Or would she be unsettled by the makeshift nature of her final resting spot forever?
No one will ever know how Mary feels about her burial, but one thing is for sure, her spirit can’t seem to rest. She’s been spotted on Long Island in Boston Harbor by fisherman and island visitors over the years. A soldier even claimed to see her ghost at Fort Strong.
Each time, Mary is donning the makeshift burial clothes that her husband created for her. The scarlet shift hangs from her body in an ill-fitting manner. Her skin is dull and lifeless and the bloody damage from the cannonball remains on her head.
Mary is heard sighing, perhaps mourning the life she lost and the fresh start she was so looking forward to. She is aimlessly wandering about the sandy island before disappearing into thin air. Maybe she is looking for her driftwood grave marker that disappeared over the years. Now known as The Lady in Red, Mary Burton surely left her own mark on Long Island.
Boston Harbor rests on the coast of Massachusetts and is filled with history. The site of the Boston Tea Party, it’s one of the most famous harbors in the United States. It’s also a hot spot for spiritual activity, thanks to its rich past full of tragedy and deaths.
A walk around the harbor can give you the chance to spot The Lady in Red and other famous haunts. The supernatural activity and eerie feel near the water are best experienced at night.
The Lady in Black, another famous female spirit, has been spotted many times on the harbor’s George’s Island. The ghost of Melanie Lanier, she lost her life at the island’s Fort Warren. The fort was formerly a prison that held Confederate soldiers. Melanie attempted to free her captured husband and was accidentally shot and killed by her own weapon. Her tragic end causes her spirit to haunt the island to this day.
Just miles away, another famous female ghost has been spotted. The Lady in White has been seen roaming the kitchen at The Old Pilot House. Her glowing silhouette is just one of the supernatural occurrences at the old seaside building.
Boston is a centuries-old town that’s rich in mystery as much as it is in history. It features more haunted places and spooky locals than most cities in America. Since being settled in 1630, the brick-lined streets have amassed countless stories of death and tragedy. Tales of the path float amongst the stunning tree-lined streets.
From haunted hotels to spirit-filled theaters, there is something for everyone in Boston. A stay at The Omni Parker House can put you face to face with a guest from years ago. Catch a show at The Cutler Majestic Theatre and you may just look up to see an unexpected neighbor next to you. A walk through the Granary Burying Ground can give you the chance to see a spirit floating amongst the thousands of headstones.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled when exploring the historic and beautiful Boston streets. Eerie experiences can happen around every corner. Sights, sounds, and eerie feelings have been felt by many. The coastal town is a perfect place to explore and witness plenty of unexplained phenomena.