Monday, September 12, 2011

House of the Seven Gables - Salem, Massachusetts

In the year 1668 in Salem, Massachusetts, sea captain John Turner built a home at 54 Turner Street that would be later immortalized in a book called The House of the Seven Gables.  The colonial mansion was later sold to another sea captain, Samuel Ingersoll after being in the family for more than 100 years.  

The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts circa 1915

On one of his ventures out at sea, Captain Ingersoll died at sea, never to return to his beloved mansion.  Samuel willed the home to his daughter Susanna.  She was frequently visited at the mansion by her cousin Nathaniel Hawthorne who would refer to it as the House of the Seven Gables and wrote a gothic novel of the same name in 1851. Although the novel was not directly about the house he derived some of his ideas from it.  Almost a century later in 1940, a movie would be made of the same name based on the novel which starred Vincent Price.

Nathaniel Hawthorne author of The House of the Seven Gables

The structure did not originally have seven gables as they were added over time and several of them were actually removed at one point to make it appear like a standard house.  However, it has been restored to its state with seven gables.  The house still stands today as the oldest surviving wooden mansion in New England which was built in the 17th century and is said to be one of the most haunted places in Salem, Massachusetts hosting several ghosts. 

Susanna Ingersol seems to be the spirit that frequents the mansion the most.  She has been seen peering out of the upper floor windows, only to disappear.  Some witnessess have seen her aparition roaming the various rooms and hallways and again, disappear as quickly as she appeared.  Susanna's spirit frequents the outside of the home as well as she has been spotted in the gardens which she loved dearly.

Suzanna Ingersoll, former owner of The House of the Seven Gables

Another spirit haunting the home is said to be that of Nathaniel Hawthorne's son, Julian.  He has been heard on the uppers floors making noise in what sounds like the activity of him playing with toys on the floors.  He has also been spotted peeking over the garden fences on occasion.

A young Julian Hawthorne

The Ingersoll mansion is said to be a stopping ground on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.   There are various hidden rooms and a staircase in the structure.  And some witnesses have claimed to see what appeared to be a Civil War era slave ascending and descending the hidden stairway.  

The House of the Seven Gables today

Today The House of the Seven Gables is a museum and is open for tours.  Perhaps if you visit you may see one it's phantom residents.


  1. I visited it and felt a presence which I believe may have been Susanna's. I felt the presence in the garden and when I went into the building when the tour guide told the group about Susanna and showed us her painting I sensed that it might have been her presence. I have very slight psychic abilities that mainly manifest when I visit historic sights. I have never seen a presence but I have felt strong presences some that identify themselves by pulling me to a painting or room that is of or belonged to them. I felt that Susanna was in the house with me, though she seemed to be at peace. The presence seemed to be happy her house was being taken care of. You can believe me or not, just wanted to share my story.

  2. I felt something as well. I even had some dreams days after being there. I believe you

  3. I felt a heavy feeling in my chest in the secret room before attic!My husband felt it too!