In a city nearly four hundred years old – troubled with war, murderers, strife and the occasional bout of stray molasses, it is hardly any wonder that Boston remains one of the most haunted cities in America and stories of the glory days of Colonial Boston only scratch the surface of Boston’s darker side. Boston has found itself plagued with some of history’s most nefarious figures – The Boston Strangler, Jolly Jane, Dr. John Webster, Cotton Mather, amongst a slew of other assorted characters. If you want to hear all about Boston’s dark history, the Ghost & Gravestones Tour is the place to hear about all of it.
I took this fun trolley tour in Boston a few years ago with my husband, but I recently had a chance to take it again with him, my sister and brother in law. Our tour guide was Ashton Burns and we really enjoyed the stories that he told us. Ashton was not only just great a storyteller, but he was also well-informed and ready to answer any questions asked of him. There were a few tours out that night and all of the guides are dressed up AND in character! As I mentioned, Ashton was our guide and sadly, all of the pictures I took of him came out blurry, but he was great and really authentic. The other guide out that night was Betty and our group met up with their group in one of the cemeteries we visited.
Hear all about Boston’s darker side on the Ghosts & Gravestones tour!
On the Ghosts & Gravestones tour, you will learn about Boston’s most haunted hotel: The Omni Parker House. As you pass by, you’ll hear stories of the hotels most bizarre and permanent tenants. You will also hear the gruesome story of the Boston Strangler, and see where his final victim breathed her last breath. The city proper is not the only source of stories here. Boston Harbor played a pivotal role in the formation and daily life – and death – of Boston citizens. With drowning being an occupational hazard of a sailor’s life, the Harbor is home to many a dark tale of death in freezing waters.
Also on the tour, you will get to walk amongst the dead in burying grounds that is nearly four hundred years old! This tour includes exclusive nighttime access into two of Boston’s oldest burying grounds. You will hear stories of those whose mortal remains lie beneath your feet, and listen to tales of many of the sordid practices that went along with them. Then venture to the site of the biggest grave-robbing scandal in New England’s history. Plus you’ll also visit Boston’s largest unmarked burying ground and hear tales of the tortures, punishments and executions that took place there.
Copps Hill Burying Ground
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the second oldest burial ground in Boston and was founded in 1659. Named after shoemaker William Copp, this historic cemetery in the North End is the final resting place of many merchants, artisans and freed slaves. Well-known colonists, Cotton and Increase Mather, are buried here along with Robert Newman, who hung the lanterns for the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.
Granary Burying Ground
Located on Tremont Street, the Granary Burying Ground is the final resting place of some of America’s most important historical figures. Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere are among the famed patriots who are buried here, along with the family of Benjamin Franklin, several Massachusetts Governors and the victims of the Boston Massacre. But many who visit this ancient burial ground don’t do so just to view the headstones of famous Americans. It’s also to discover if the stories are true – do the spirits of the dead haunt these hallowed grounds?
King’s Chapel Burying Ground
The oldest burying ground within the confines of downtown Boston; this is the final resting place of many of Boston’s first inhabitants. Here you may peer inside a decrepit charnel house which contains the jumbled bones of hundreds of forgotten souls and learn of Ephraim Littlefield and his shocking black-market body trading scandal of the Victorian era. Or perhaps you will hear the tale of King’s Chapel’s Strangers Tomb and the ghost who haunts it.
* Please note: each tour will visit 2 of the following 3 burying grounds: Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, The Granary Burying Ground and King’s Chapel Burying Ground.
This tour is Seasonal and runs March 30 through mid-November. March 30 – May 17: Thursday – Sunday, but there are limited tour times so be sure to call for times. May 18 – mid-November: the tour runs 7 nights a week and tours depart at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 pm. Other tour times may be available due to demand and time of the season, so check with them about that.
RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED! Just give them a call at (866) 754-9136 to reserve your spot.
The Ghosts & Gravestones tour lasts for approximately 90 minutes and it may not be suitable for children under 13 years of age. Due to the loud noises on the tour, children under the age of 6 are not allowed on-board.
Ghost tours run rain or shine and the tour runs on dark and stormy nights! Comfortable shoes are recommended so that you don’t become dead on your feet during the two twenty-minute walking portions.
If you want to explore Boston’s most chilling murder sites, haunted places and spend time with the dead, book a spot on the Ghosts & Gravestones tour.