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Flaunting the Hub’s haunts

It's Halloween! Time to get spooked. 

In honor of Halloween, Metro caught up with Hillary Kidd, owner of Haunted Boston Ghost Tours, a lamp-lit walking tour of the city’s most ghoulish grounds, to get a rundown of some local haunts, because who doesn’t love to be spooked on the creepiest holiday of all?

Topping her list of the most notoriously haunted locations in Boston, believe it or not, is Boston Common, where visitors regularly report seeing apparitions.

“It is essentially one huge, unmarked cemetery,” Kidd said.

Most of the paranormal experiences happen near the site of a large elm tree that stood near the Parkman Grandstand and was used for hanging criminals and alleged witches throughout the 18th century.

Kidd believes she had her closest encounter with the paranormal there in 2008.

“I gave a tour one night, and was sitting around talking to customers. People were taking photos, and we looked at it, and there was a neon green orb streaking across the front of me. Where we were standing there was no light source, and no dirt kicked up.”

Not far away, on the southeast corner of the Common, rests one of the two oldest stations on the Green Line – Boylston Station – which was constructed on a mass grave filled with the casualties of the Revolutionary War.

Kidd said that people have reported seeing British Red Coat soldiers standing on the tracks.

“When they were digging for the T, they uncovered a mass grave where the station is now… We’ve heard reports of T drivers who make the sharp turn from Arlington into Boylston and seeing the soldiers,” she said.

The MBTA did not return a request for comment about the alleged Boylston Station haunting.

But two historic buildings that embrace theirs haunting are The Omni Parker House Hotel and the The Boston Athenæum.

The Omni Parker House Hotel is where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie. It’s where the Boston Cream Pie was invented. And it’s also where a business man reportedly drank himself to death, and has since haunted staff and guests, particularly in room 303 where he reportedly died.

That room was turned into a utility closet after people spontaneous combustion in waste paper baskets there, as well as hearing a man laughing. The hotel also reports on its website that elevators often sometimes by themselves, strange shadows, orbs, and interactions with the hotel’s founder, Harvey Parker, who died in 1884.

And the famous "skin book” at the Boston Athenaeum is a creepy attraction that intrigues tourists, but according to Kidd, it’s not the most paranormal part of the historic library.

Doctor Thaddeus Harris reportedly haunts the building. In 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne said he spotted the ghost of Harris reading his own obituary in that morning’s paper, and seeing him several more times in the following weeks.

As for Kidd, she’s halfway between a skeptic and a believer when it comes to the supernatural.

“I’m not 100 percent sure one way or the other. I’m waiting for a full body apparition to appear before me, then I’ll decide.”

 
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