The ghosts of American Revolutionary War soldiers were highly active in The Colonial Inn of Concord, Massachusetts. Built in 1716, the inn has served as a private home, a Revolutionary War hospital, a boarding house and today as a full service inn complete with in-house restaurant.
Reports of past haunting activity included male and female apparitions, shadow figures, footsteps, power surges, lights flickering, doors moving of their own accord and souvenirs independently flying off shelves behind the front desk.
Colonial Inn employee Arthur Martin conducted the walk-through with Jason and Grant. Arthur told TAPS that the inn had become a makeshift Revolutionary War hospital to tend to the dying and wounded following the April 19, 1775 Battle of North Bridge. Both Colonials and Royalists were brought to the inn to be patched up or expire depending on the severity of their wounds.
In the Liberty Room the reflected silhouette of an elegant gent in a top hat was described as seated at a table but only visible in a nearby mirror.
A bartender saw a woman seated at a banquet table in the Market Row restaurant. As her story was being told an image of a formal place setting at the spot she was seen showed a blue cloth napkin sitting in the middle of layered plates. I found myself thinking that the blue napkin was there to mark the location of her appearance because the dress she wore when she appeared was blue. A moment later, employee Diana Gould described the apparition as wearing a Navy blue dress with ruffles. Confirmation usually doesn’t come quite so fast, but it is fun when it does.
The ghost of the woman in blue gave me her first name as starting with the letter S. The closest I could get was either Sonia or Saundra. She informed me she had been married to an important man thus significantly boosting her status in the social pecking order of Colonial America. I saw her with upswept blond hair, a trim figure and an inflated opinion of herself.
Arthur took Grant and Jason to notorious room 24 where a number of guests had reported waking up to the images of two bloody Revolutionary War soldiers standing at the foot of the bed staring down at them. One modern-day woman was so unnerved by this experience that she ran to the front desk in her nightgown and shakily told the staff she had to change rooms. She had already settled in and when she returned to the room to pack up her stuff she found someone or something had already done it for her.
I saw the bloody and powder burnt soldiers ghosts in room 24. They were blood kin, likely cousins. One was wearing a tricorn hat; the other had bloody bandages around his head. Both died of their wounds. I didn’t get a sense of menace from them. I think modern guests puzzled them. They couldn’t quite figure out who these people were. At the time of their deaths, room 24 was part of a larger room where the dying were set aside to let nature take its course. So it would be more appropriate to say these two died in the vicinity of room 24.
These two ghosts were not interested in moving on either. Tricorn hat wouldn’t leave bandaged head. Bandaged head felt guilty about dying and leaving his fiancée behind, especially since they had anticipated their wedding vows and she was not 100% pure at the time of his death. Then bandaged head didn’t want to go to heaven and see his fiancé with the family she had with another guy following his death. A compromise was reached when she came to him as she had been prior to his death while they were engaged. She took him by the hand and tricorn hat followed them through a sun bright apple orchard. At the end of the orchard there was a wall of light that all three walked into laughing and teasing. Tricorn hat turned and waved back at me before disappearing into the light. (I find formerly stuck souls find endlessly creative ways to enter into the presence of the divine. It is never dull.)
An unclear, fuzzy apparition of a woman had been reported in a hallway. This figure habitually descended the staircase from the second floor.
TAPS set up cameras at the front desk in the lobby, the top and bottom of the first floor staircase, the Merchant’s Row restaurant and room 24.
Jason and Grant began investigating in the restaurant where the lady in blue had been seen by an entire room full of people. Group delusion was discounted as an unlikely cause. The guys heard sounds from the adjoining kitchen and briefly saw a shadow against the back wall of the dining room. Jason was able to recreate the shadow by standing inside the kitchen door and peering through the window into the dining area.
Jason and Grant followed the noises into the kitchen but found it empty. Grant had a moment when he felt as if some unseen figure had walked by. Once they returned to the dinning room they asked whatever ghost responsible for the noise in the kitchen to repeat it. Immediately the noise was repeated as Jason commented, “Right on cue.” A second request by Grant got the same result. They left a camera in the area and moved on.
I saw two male ghosts in the kitchen. The ghost who cast the shadow against the back wall of the dining room was in fact standing in front of the backlit kitchen window keeping an eye on the dining room. He was dressed formally as a maitre d. The second male ghost I saw was some sort of kitchen worker, with an apron wrapped around his string bean frame. The kitchen worker was younger than the maitre d and was the ghost responsible for the sounds in the kitchen that Jason and Grant described as boxes being moved around.
The ghost of the lady in blue was in the restaurant when Jason and Grant first entered the room. Grant tried to reassure her that he and Jason only wanted to help. That mild comment set her off! Grant and Jason didn’t appear to have heard a word of her response which was probably a good thing. “Blue Belle” launched into the guys informing them, “You don’t belong here!” She then demanded to know “Where are the wait-staff?” The tirade continued, “I don’t need your help! I need my dinner!” With that pronouncement she swept past them in search of the maitre d.
Her editorial comments to me were equally indignant. “Blue Belle” mistook Jason and Grant’s casual 21st century ghost hunting attire as more appropriate for “vagabonds”, homeless and generally “unsuitable persons” for her to associate with.
Amy and Kris poked around in the Liberty Room. They figured out where the ghostly figure in the top hat would have to be seated to be reflected in the mirror. They didn’t come up with any explanations for the apparition. As Kris was seated at a table asking typical questions I saw the man in the top hat stand behind her and reach out to touch her shoulder. Kris seemed unaware of his presence or touch. The ghost in the top hat told me that he had once been a past owner of The Colonial Inn.
Kris and Amy did hear a squeaking noise from the hallway outside the Liberty Room. They were able to duplicate it as the noise the kitchen doors made when opened. I think it was caused by the ghostly man in the top hat leaving the Liberty Room. It seemed reasonable to me that a former owner would step into the kitchen to make sure it was running smoothly.
KJ and Britt tackled the infamous room 24, the location the battered and bloody apparitions of two Revolutionary War soldiers allegedly appeared to various guests. KJ and Britt first heard a scratching sound from inside the bathroom door. Britt told any ghosts in the area that if they made that noise again he and KJ would leave the room. A second noise was heard, this one more of a squeak, apparently in response to Britt’s promise. KJ tried to reassure the ghosts that he and Britt were not afraid.
At this moment the door to room 24 closed by itself. As it passed Britt who was standing with his back to the moving door, he startled badly and leapt away from the door. TAPS had their BTC unit running and Britt scrambling to get out-of-the-way was equally abrupt in thermal, ultraviolet and infrared footage.
Not long after that the same door did it’s best to shut on Britt while he was standing in the doorway.
I saw quite a bit more going on around Britt when the door was closing behind and on him. The first time the door to room 24 closed I saw an infuriated young Revolutionary War soldier poke at Britt with the bayonet affixed to his rifle.
While I was glad to see Britt unperforated, what came next saddened me. I asked the young soldier why he had tried to attack Britt with his bayonet. The boy suddenly bent nearly double clutching at a nasty abdominal wound. The boy solider cried out, “They said they would leave! Why can’t they leave me alone to die in peace?” Sweat, tears and agony were pouring off him.
A subsequent look at the muster list of the Acton Minute Men who fought at North Bridge on April 19, 1775 gave me the name of this boy soldier. (Sometimes names will jump out at me.) I believe the boy soldier was Simon Hunt Junior. His father Jonas and brother Moses also fought that day. This was important to understanding Simon’s dilemma.
When I suggested Simon might prefer crossing over to reliving a painful and protracted death he told me he was damned. I asked him what a fifteen year old boy could have done to damn himself. Simon sobbed out, “I was a coward, a traitor to liberty. I ran!” His biggest concern was what his father Jonas and elder brother Moses would think badly of him for having run in fear from the battlefield.
I asked Simon how he managed to die from an abdominal bayonet wound if he had run from the battle. He told me he had gotten a hold of himself and turned back. As he reached the fringe of the skirmish a British soldier who had been hiding in a bush speared Simon with his bayonet. Simon collapsed believing himself a coward and a failure that had shamed his family. When fellow unit member Benjamin Hayward found Simon bleeding after the battle he accidentally made matters worse by clapping Simon on the shoulder and telling him to “Cheer up, you are a hero!” I think Benjamin was only trying to comfort Simon who was in bad shape.
I felt badly for Simon, after all soldiers considerably more seasoned and trained have been running from battles for centuries. No matter what I said I couldn’t convince him that it was 2010 and his family had long passed on. I called on Archangel Michael who in turn brought Simon’s father Jonas and brother Moses in from the other side. Finally his kinsmen were able to convince him he was not shamed nor judged, after all he had turned back to rejoin the battle. This was the first time I had seen a family group cross over while hoisting quarts of ale to celebrate their reunion.
Meanwhile Britt tried to determine if the door to room 24 could have moved due to an uneven floor by jumping up and down around it. No dice, the floor appeared solid and the door didn’t move with the resulting localized vibration of the boards under the carpet.
Jason and Grant found a huge amount of EMF activity from the ground to head level along one of the walls in the Merchant’s Row restaurant. Reported rattling noises were duplicated by Grant vibrating a fully set table in the restaurant.
Up in room 27 Grant and Jason investigated reports of footsteps. Both guys heard footsteps on the floor above them. Grant noted the gait was uneven. Jason thought the odd footsteps sounded like someone outfitted with a peg leg. Grant speculated the sound could have been caused by someone using a crutch to walk. I saw glimpses of the ghosts of long dead soldiers using both. (Major damage to limbs was usually treated by amputating the mangled part of the body. So peg legs would have been lamentably common among recuperating soldiers.)
Back down on the ground floor while checking out the stairs Jason and Grant heard odd moaning noises from upstairs. I saw a young soldier dying alone on a small metal framed bed near the end of the hall. The room was so tiny I thought it might have been a box room pressed into service once the wounded started to pour in. It was a wretched death as the soldier was loosing his battle with a raging infection. Fever driven sweat drenched the poor man.
However when Jason and Grant went upstairs to investigate the moaning noises, they stopped.
Room 24 was duly checked out by Jason and Grant but despite provoking nothing was recorded. Grant asked “Is this your room?” I heard an annoyed male ghost yell “YES” into Grant’s face. Grant didn’t respond.
When Kris and Amy were in room 24 one of them mentioned the room had once been a morgue, temporarily housing the battle dead of April 19, 1775. Kris said,” You are not in trouble, nobody wants you to leave.” I seemed to be the only one who heard the ghost of a dead solider respond,” I want you to leave!” The gals heard a loud knock in response to their questions, but were not able to convince the ghosts to repeat it.
Once again Britt and KJ had great success using a flashlight. This time Britt placed his flashlight between quaint souvenir crocks labeled baked beans on the problematic shelving behind the front desk of the inn. Britt had some solid communication going on with a ghost who repeatedly turned his flashlight on and off upon request.
The ghost of another young man in his late teens was the presence behind the front desk turning Britt’s flashlight on and off. I didn’t get a name from him. He was dressed in dark pants and a wife-beater undershirt. He told me his family had worked the inn sometime in the 1950’s. They had lived on site. He did odd jobs around the place.
One of KJ’s questions at the front desk was “Were you one of the wait staff that worked here over the years?” I saw the ghost of the young man shrug and he replied, “Sometimes.”
Despite being from an era closer to our own this young man’s story had its own tragic end. He told me he had died at age 17 when he was involved in a two car accident not far from The Colonial Inn. (Make that two cars and a tree.) He gave me a glimpse of a badly crunched turquoise and chrome car with big fins on it. The front end was demolished. He didn’t survive the impact.
Britt and KJ also had some personal experiences in the restaurant. At first they heard a crinkly sound as if someone were sitting at a table reading a newspaper or a menu. The chiming of a nearby clock was closely followed by a dragging sound in the kitchen. They were able to duplicate the sound as being made by the swinging double doors leading into the kitchen.
During the reveal Jason and Grant talked about assorted personal experiences the team had such as hearing a woman who wasn’t there humming up in room 27 and the shadows and banging around of the kitchen doors. They shared a faint EVP that Arthur said could have been the sound of a door closing.
More interesting was the footage of Britt’s flashlight turning on and off at the front desk and the door of room 24 closing itself behind and then on Britt.
I think Britt is becoming a ghost magnet.
Lynne Olson can be contacted for private readings via email at: email@example.com
(C) 2010 Lynne Olson. All rights reserved.