The Joshua A Ward house can be found just one block south of Town House Square, in the heart of historic Salem.

The Joshua A. Ward House is an impressive, three-story, brick Federal-style structure and is now the home to businesses.  The Massachusetts Historical Commission restored it beautifully.

Retired sea captain turned merchant Joshua Ward built this home in the mid-1780s. While visiting Salem in October 1789, George Washington stayed here as the honored guest of Joshua Ward.

In the late 1800s, this structure became an upscale hotel called The Washington Hotel.

The house faced a shaky future during the 20th century. As land near downtown is valuable, changes were coming for this property, with a building in need of TLC. In 1970, a developer approached the Salem Redevelopment Authority to demolish the house and build a commercial building.

The Authority turned his offer down. Instead, funds were raised to restore the mansion. Because of these efforts, the former home and hotel became a commercial enterprise, with businesses moving in to set up business offices.

In the early 1980s, a real estate company named Carlson Realty bought the Joshua Ward House, intending to turn it into their headquarters. After moving in, an employee named Dale Lewinski began taking photographs of the staff members to add to a welcome display.

Lewinski was using a Polaroid camera to snap head-and-shoulders, passport-style pictures. After photographing a colleague by the name of Lorraine St. Peter, a peculiar sight greeted Lewinski.

Instead of showing Lorraine St. Peter, the Polaroid developed but showed a strange, black-haired female figure. (The apparition completely overshadowed and even replaced St. Peter.)

Robert Ellis Cahill published a reproduction of this photo in his book Haunted Happenings. Ellis, himself an ex-sheriff) describes St. Peter as “both genuinely frightened and embarrassed by the picture.”

The possibility of the photograph being a hoax is ever-present, but the House endures frequent paranormal events. So,  it’s almost as if it’s more unlikely to NOT capturing something bizarre on camera.

Whether it is accurate or not, it is truly a bizarre photograph, one that certainly seems to contain a degree of menace and so starkly strange as to create fright in the onlooker, primarily upon first viewing.


Joshua Ward built his mansion on the land where the infamous Sheriff George Corwin had his house/jail during the 1680s.

Corwin was a bloodthirsty character whose zeal added to Salem’s notorious events in the late 1600s—nicknamed ‘the Strangler’ after his preferred method of torture (which included tying his prone victims’ necks to their ankles until the blood ran from their noses). Corwin executed Nineteen men and women under Corwin’s watch,  including that of Giles Corey.

Corey’s torture consisted of placing heavy stones upon his chest in an attempt to crush a confession from out of him (and seize his property). Despite his horrific treatment, Corey never confessed, and indeed he is said to have implored his torturers to pile on more rocks to hasten his departure. Legend states that just before he died, Corey cursed Corwin for his despicable acts.

Sheriff George Corwin died of a sudden heart attack in 1697. His family interred him in the house’s cellar—an odd place to put a body. However, the townspeople so dispised the sheriff that his family was afraid that an unruly crowd would dismember his body. His grave remained there for many years before being moved to Broad Street Cemetery.

Rumor is every sheriff after Corwin died in office or was “forced out from a heart or blood ailment. I cannot rule out these illnesses and deaths could be old age instead of a centuries-old curse.


One room, in particular, seems to be more haunted than the others. An employee would “lock her office door nightly only to return in the morning to find books and papers thrown across the floor, the wastebasket upside down and lampshades askew.”

At least two entities who reside here who were innocent victims of the witch trials, perhaps looking for Sheriff George. Neither of these apparitions are at peace or happy by the sounds of it.

One is the spirit of a woman with a black, rather wild hairstyle and may be an unjustly executed victim. People see her apparition roaming the hallways throughout the building. (This is the woman rumored to be in the Lewinski photograph.)

The second is said to be the spirit of Giles. Trash cans are found, turned over, books are pulled from shelves, rooms found in disarray.

Sheriff George is a third entity reported. He appears as an older male entity, sitting in a rocking chair by a fireplace.

In the mid-1980s, people reported being choked by an unseen entity. No one is sure which entity causes this manifestation. Some think it is Sheriff George, while others believe it could be one of his angry victims.

People report many spirits, including the above-referenced elderly-looking gentleman sitting by a fireplace and a ghostly woman who roams the upper floors.

Other paranormal activity includes: Aportation (Objects appearing to move of their own accord) occurs at the Joshua Ward House. Candles leap from their holders and subsequently melt, or candles are mysteriously bent into ‘S’ shapes. Alarms go off by themselves (one alarm was triggered over sixty times in two years).

People report cold spots in certain corners of certain rooms.

The reports of hauntings in this house are numerous. Maybe one day it will be open for public tours. Until then, we can enjoy its extraordinary history and legends.


Until next time,

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Mackay Mansion is one of Nevada’s most haunted houses. This manor house is a beautiful three-story Victorian with a hand-carved staircase, business office, parlor, living room, kitchen on the ground floor, and bedrooms and bathrooms. You’ll also see the first indoor bathroom in Virginia City at the Mackay Mansion, the silver set John had made for his wife, and many other fine furnishings. Located at 129 South D. Street in Virginia City, Nevada, today, this stunning house is a museum and the home of many of Virginia City’s ghosts. The current owners offer tours of the house.

Mackay Mansion, along with the rest of Virginia City’s Historic District, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1961.

Mining superintendent George Hearst built this gorgeous mansion in 1859.

Hearst not only lived here but also ran the Gould and Curry Office mining agency from the mansion. This practice was not uncommon in the mid-1800s.  Many buildings served as mining offices and were designated as mansions if they resembled houses in the slightest bit.

In the early 1870s, Irish immigrant John Mackay moved into the mansion.

Mackay controlled the Kentuck, Hale and Norcross, and Belcher Mines and the Gould and Curry Office. Incredibly, the mansion survived the great fire of 1875 that tore through Virginia City, causing millions in damages.

Mackay was known for his incredible woodworking talent. Mackay and Hearst carved and/or created much of the original furniture and ornate wood.

Mackay partnered with James Fair, and the two men discovered the most significant silver deposit in North America.

Mackay kept his fortune in a vault in the house. The treasure mainly consisted of gold bullion.

In addition to the exquisite furnishings and impressive mining history, Mackay Mansion is also rumored to be extremely haunted.

Many paranormal “experts” claim the mansion is a melting pot full of Virginia City’s lost souls. Here are some of the ghostly visitors you might encounter on a trip to the house:

  • A pair of bandits tried to rob Mackay of his fortune. A security guard shot and killed both of them. Their spirits are said to haunt this exact location.
  • A little girl dressed in white:  She reportedly fell down a staircase to her death and now haunts the upper-floor bedrooms. When Johnny Depp stayed here while filming the movie Dead Man, he claims the little girl visited him in his room and sat on the foot of the bed.
  • A second ghost of a little girl: Mansion staff named these two ghosts Lily and Emma. Many people who tour the house have reported feeling a tug on their clothing, likely the girls wanting to play. One of the small upstairs bedrooms is constantly messy, and staff believes it is due to one of the little girls climbing into bed each night.
  • An adult woman: She floats around the second floor and has been seen sitting in the living room. Many believe this may be Mrs. Mackay’s spirit.
  • A busy woman: This apparition is likely a former servant who frequently climbs up and down the stairs. This apparition seems to travel between floors often. Visitors see orbs of light moving up and down the stairs as well.
  • The apparition of an old Colonel: This spirit hangs out in the kitchen and is credited with (or blamed for) more sounds of footsteps going up and down the stairs and unexplained noises coming from the third floor. Psychics who have visited the mansion claim to see him or feel his presence.
  • A ‘shadow man:” Visitors report seeing a “shadow man,” widely believed to be John Mackay himself.
  • Psychics report seeing dozens of ghosts walking around the grounds of the home.

Nevada has plenty of supposedly haunted places, but the Mackay Mansion in Virginia City might be the most haunted house in the state.


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The Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri, is said to be one of the ten most haunted places in America. The mansion continues to play host to the tragic Lemp family after death. The once stately home to millionaires became office space, then decayed into a run-down boarding house. Finally restored, the Lemp Mansion is presently a fine dinner theatre, restaurant, and bed and breakfast.

History of the Lemp Mansion

The Lemp Family began with Johann Adam Lemp, who arrived in St Louis from Eschwege, Germany, in 1838. Johann built a small grocery store and sold everyday household items, groceries, and homemade beer. People welcomed the light golden lager as a significant change from the darker beers sold at the time. The recipe, handed down by his father, was so popular that just two years later, Johann gave up the grocery store. He built a small brewery in 1840 at a point close to where the Gateway Arch stands today.

At first, Lemp sold his beer in a pub attached to the brewery. Before long, Lemp found that the brewery was too small to handle both production and storage and found a limestone cave south of the city limits. The cavern, located at the present-day corner of Cherokee and De Menil Place, could be kept cool by chopping ice from the nearby Mississippi River and depositing it inside, providing perfect conditions for the lagering process to run its course. Lemp’s Western Brewing Co. continued to prosper and by the 1850s was one of the largest in the city. In 1858, the beer captured first place at the annual St. Louis fair.

A millionaire by the time of his death, Johann Adam Lemp died on August 25, 1862. After his death, Johann’s son, William, began a significant expansion of the brewery by purchasing a five-block area around the storage house on Cherokee, above the beer caves. Continually expanding to meet the product demand, the brewery eventually covered five city blocks.

By the 1870s, the Lemp Brewery controlled the St. Louis beer market and maintained this position until prohibition. As a result, the Lemp family symbolized both power and wealth.

In 1868, Jacob Feickert, William Lemp’s father-in-law, built a house a short distance from the Lemp Brewery. In 1876 William Lemp purchased it for his family, utilizing it as both a residence and an auxiliary office. While the home was already impressive, Lemp immediately began renovating and expanded the thirty-three-room house into a Victorian showplace.

A tunnel was built from the basement of the mansion through the caves to the brewery. When mechanical refrigeration became available, parts of the cave were converted for other purposes, including a natural auditorium and a theatre. This underground oasis would later spawn a large concrete swimming pool, with hot water piped in from the brewery boiling house and a bowling alley. At one time, the theatre was accessible by way of a spiral staircase from Cherokee Street.

Amid this success, the Lemp family experienced the first of many tragedies when Frederick Lemp, William Sr’s favorite son and heir apparent, died in 1901 of heart failure at 28. The devastated William Lemp was never the same, beginning a slow withdrawal from public life. When his closest friend, Frederick Pabst, died, William became apathetic to the details of running the brewery. His physical and mental health declined, and on February 13, 1904, he shot himself in the head with a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson.

In November 1904, William Lemp Jr. took over as the new president of the William J. Lemp Brewing Company. Inheriting the family business and a vast fortune, he and his wife, Lillian, began to spend the inheritance. They filled the house with servants. Then the pair spent vast amounts on carriages, clothing, and art.

Lillian was a beautiful woman who came from a wealthy family herself. She and William Lemp, Jr had married in 1899, and William J. Lemp, III was born on September 26, 1900.

William tired of his beautiful wife and kept himself busy running the brewery during the day and pursuing all manner of decadent activities during the night. Holding lavish parties in the caves below the mansion, he would bring in numerous prostitutes for the “entertainment” of his friends. Enjoying the swimming pool, the bowling alley, and the free-flowing beer, his friends who attended these lavish events were known to enjoy a high time in the earth below.

Rumor has it William’s shenanigans caught up with him when he sired a son with a woman other than his wife. The family hid the boy in the mansion’s attic for his entire life because he had Down’s Syndrome—a total embarrassment for the family. According to St Louis historian Joe Gibbons, when he interviewed a former nanny and a chauffeur who worked at the mansion long ago, both verified that the boy existed and lived in the attic quarters. Known today as the “Monkey Face Boy,” this unfortunate soul continues to show his presence at the Lemp Mansion.

William, Jr. filed for divorce in 1908. With the divorce, Will’s troubles had only just begun. By 1906, nine of the large breweries in the St. Louis area combined to form the Independent Breweries Company, creating fierce competition that the Lemp Brewery had never faced. In the same year, Will’s mother died of cancer on April 16. Even as the brewery’s fortunes declined, William, Jr. entirely remodeled the mansion in 1911 and partially converted it into offices for the brewery. By World War I, the brewery was barely limping along.

Despite the decline, William built a country home on the Meramec River, to which he increasingly retreated. In 1915 he married for a second time to Ellie Limberg, the widowed daughter of the late St. Louis brewer Casper Koehler.

On March 20, 1920, Elsa Lemp Wright, William’s sister, the wealthiest heiress in St Louis, shot herself just like her father had years before. Elsa was said to have been despondent over her rocky marriage.

After the end of the Lemp’s brewing dynasty, William, Jr. slipped into a depression. Acting much like his father, he became increasingly nervous and erratic, shunning public life and often complaining of ill health. On December 29, 1922, William shot himself in the heart with a .38 caliber revolver in the same building where his father died eighteen years before.

In 1943, yet another tragedy occurred when William Lemp III died of a heart attack at 42.


After the death of the brother Charles Lemp, the mansion was sold and turned into a boarding house. Along with the nearby neighborhood, the building began to deteriorate, and the haunting tales started. Residents complained of hearing ghostly knocks and phantom footsteps throughout the house. As these stories spread, tenants were hard to find for the boarding house, and it continued to decline to a near flophouse status.

However, in 1975, the old mansion was saved when Dick Pointer and his family purchased it. Immediately they began to renovate the building, turning it into a restaurant and inn. Workers within the house often told stories of apparitions, strange sounds, vanishing tools, and a feeling of being watched. Frightened by the hauntings, many would leave the job site never to return.

The Pointers continued to restore the mansion. As they worked, the Pointers experienced several unexplained occurrences. Once, when Richard Pointer was painting William Lemp’s former bathroom, he was frightened into leaving early. In describing the event, Pointer said, 

“I was painting the bathroom by myself. There was no one else in the house, and I felt someone behind me, watching me. I mean, it was a terrible feeling, the most burning sensation you could have. I get goosebumps just now, thinking about it. I turned around, and nothing was there. I started working again and got the same feeling, so without looking behind me, I cleaned my paintbrushes and got the hell out of there.”

Pointer hired a local artist named Claude Breckwoldt to restore the mansion’s hand-painted ceilings. Pointer did not inform Breckwoldt of any strange goings-on at the estate. Yet he, too, had a similar experience. Breckwoldt said,

“I was on the scaffolding, lying on my back and painting the ceiling in the dining room when I got the feeling that someone was staring at me. I felt as though they were in the hallway just outside the room, but I couldn’t see anything through the frosted glass doors. I went on working, and about an hour later, the feelings returned. It was weird. I felt like I just had to get out of there right then.”

Breckwoldt left without cleaning up, washing his brushes, or even locking the door behind him. He told Pointer, “That place is crazy. You must have a ghost in there or something!”

Pointer’s son Dick was once sleeping in the mansion, alone except for his Doberman Pinscher Shadow. He and Shadow awoke to what sounded like a loud bang or kick outside his bedroom door. A subsequent search of the house turned up nothing.

One night, Dick was closing the restaurant with an employee when they heard two keys played on the piano in the empty mansion. A search for any one who could have made the sounds was fruitless.

Dick, his sister Patti, and various Lemp Mansion employees and guests have experienced unexplained events too numerous to recount here. These include a candle on the mantle being inexplicably lit; the drawer of a furniture piece belonging to the Lemps opening and closing without the aid of a human hand; glasses moving, objects disappearing and reappearing in different locations, soft, disembodied voices, and hearing the “clip-clop” of phantom horses’ hooves on the streets leading to the carriage house.

The Pointers say they’ve lost many employees over the years due to the unexplained phenomena in the mansion. One such incident involved former waitress Bonnie Strayhorn. She explained,

“Early one morning, I was going through the house, making sure that everything was as it should be as the restaurant opened, when I noticed a dark-haired man seated at a table in what was originally the Lemp family dining room. He was facing away from me, so all I could see was the outline of his shoulders and head. I was surprised to see someone in the restaurant so early, but I asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee. He did not answer. When I looked away for a moment to flip the light on, I turned around, and he had vanished.”

Strayhorn quit her job that day and sought employment elsewhere. She said a man couldn’t have been sitting there and exited the room without seeing him do so.

Numerous supernatural events have and continue to occur. Since the restaurant opened, staff members have reported several strange experiences. Again, apparitions appear and then quickly vanish, voices and sounds come from nowhere, and glasses will often lift off the bar flying through the air by themselves. On other occasions, doors lock and unlock by themselves, lights inexplicably turn on and off by their own free will, and the piano bar often plays when no one is nearby.

Said to be haunted by several members of the Lemp family, there are three areas of the old mansion that have the most activity—the stairway, the attic, and what the staff refers to as the “Gates of Hell” in the basement. “Gates of Hell” refers to the basement location where the caves’ entrance runs from the mansion to the brewery.

William Jr’s illegitimate son, referred to only as the “Monkey Face Boy,” is said to haunt the attic. This poor soul spent his entire life locked in the attic of the Lemp Mansion. People report strange occurrences on this third-floor level of the mansion. A boy’s face has regularly been seen from the street peeking from the small windows of the mansion. Ghost investigators have often left toys in the middle of his room, drawing a circle around them to see if the child will move the objects. Consistently, when they return the next day, the toys are found in another location.

In the downstairs women’s bathroom, which was once William Jr’s domain and held the first free-standing shower in St. Louis, many women have reported a man peeking over the stall. On one such occasion, a woman emerged from the bathroom, returning to the bar, and stated to the two men she was there with: “I hope you got an eyeful!”  However, the two men quickly denied ever having left the bar, for which the bartender verified. This ghost is said to be that of the womanizing William Jr.

In William Lemp, Sr’s room, guests have often reported hearing someone running up the stairs and kicking at the door. Legend has it that when William killed himself, William Jr ran up the stairs to his father’s room and, finding it locked, began to kick the door in to get to his father.

Several years ago, a part-time tour guide reported hearing the sounds of horses outside the room where William Lemp, Sr, kept his office. However, when the tour guide looked through the window, nothing was there.

The mansion has been featured in several magazine articles and newspapers and now attracts ghost hunters from around the country. Today it features a bed and breakfast with rooms restored in period style, a restaurant featuring fine dining, and a mystery dinner theater. Tours are also available at the mansion.



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**Thanks to Ronald Rabe for contributing this blog post**

Source: The Travel Channel:

Haunted legends and supernatural lore are well-suited to the Winchester Mystery House. The place was under construction for 38 years by Sarah Winchester to allegedly appease the spirits of those lost to the Winchester rifle. The U.S. Department of Commerce has certified it continues to be one of the spookier construction projects in history.

After her husband and child’s death, Sarah Winchester (the wife of the rifle maker’s son) consulted with a seer who proclaimed the ghosts of those who died of bullets from her family’s guns killed her family. The seer suggested that only perpetual construction on the family’s mansion could mollify these spirits. So that’s what Sarah Winchester ordered. Workers labored on the property every hour of every day for 38 years.

What makes Winchester Mystery House unique, apart from its spooky atmosphere, is its very design. The entire building is fashioned as a maze to, as the rumor goes, confuse the resident ghosts. Rooms within rooms, and false doors, with some of them opening to a free fall, dot the Winchester Mystery House.

The illusionist, Harry Houdini, visited after Sarah Winchester’s death to debunk spiritualists. It didn’t seem to work. The ghost stories continue today. Some visitors are adamant that they have seen the ‘wheelbarrow ghost,” a kindly apparition in white overalls who continues to work on the house after his death.

Until Next Time,

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Book Review Submitted by Steve Levi

Usually, books which deal with the dark and dangerous take place in spooky castles, dingy dungeons, or in graveyards at midnight.  After all, how many times have you seen a movie where the murderous, machete-bearing spirit of the dead attacks on a beach at noon?

Not often, eh?  

Then there is the ghost of Cook Inlet. Right here in Anchorage?  

Not exactly.  Yes, it is the Cook Inlet we see every day but in a smaller town – don’t look for it on a map – Raven’s Cove.

Yes, evil is lurking in Cook Inlet.  Specifically, it’s lurking in Raven’s Cove, a small community in Cook Inlet.  Actually, it’s a fictional location as well as a book of the same name by Mary Ann Poll and released by Publication Consultants.  It involves murders most foul, an unwelcome FBI agent and the mysterious visitor whose “dark past and knowledge of the murders make him a suspect.”  It’s everything a mystery reader would want—and not only is it Alaskan; it’s local as well. (If you want to know how it ends, you have to read the book!)

HOWEVER, and this comes from someone who spends as little time as possible reading horror, if you are a casual reader of the supernatural, do not read this book before you go to bed.  It does not make for pleasant dreams.  It is a nail-biting drama that will certainly keep you up – unless you are comfortable with the supernatural.  It is well-written and drags you from moment of horror to drama and then back to horror.  Enjoy the trip!

 RAVEN’S COVE is an expansion of Alaska’s literary frontier.  It mixes local lore with the supernatural with history within an established genre.  It gives new meaning to the term unique.  Just as important, it adds a dimension to the Alaskan experience – a twisted dimension.  Readers should keep in mind that we are in the dawn of a literary Golden Age.  A decade ago, the BIG PUBLISHERS only published what they thought would sell.  They did not publish good books, just marketable ones.  Now, with book stores vanishing, readers can find any kind of book on the net from small publishers. This means books like RAVEN’S COVE can find readers. Publication Consultants, an Alaskan publishing company, focuses on Alaskan writing, Alaskan subjects and the Alaskan perspective.  RAVEN’S COVE is an example of the new era of writing – and it’s Alaskan!

Source: The Anchorage Press

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