February 01, 2011

The Parker House: Ghostly Guests

The list of famous people who stayed at the Parker House is astounding. Charles Dickens gave his first public reading of A Christmas Carol while a guest there. While staying at the Parker House, actor John Wilkes booth practiced his pistol-shooting at a nearby firing range. Years later, a widowed Mary Todd Lincoln was a guest as well.

From politicians (Ulysses S. Grant, Ross Perot, JFK) to actors and celebrities (Judy Garland, the Grateful Dead, Emeril Lagasse), scores of well-known people have stayed at the Parker House.

However, the identity of its long-time ghostly guests is less certain.

A man dressed in Victorian clothing has been seen on the ninth and tenth floors. He appears solid for only a moment before fading away. Hotel lore says it is the ghost of found Harry Parker. Since this ghost once appeared at the foot of a guest's bed and asked if she liked her room, that seems like a good guess. Perceptive visitors to the ninth and tenth floors have also reported seeing orbs of white light floating in the hallway.

Apparently the third floor also has its share of supernatural activity. For many years the elevator would invariably stop on this floor, even when no one was visible. The famous actress Charlotte Cushman often stayed on the third floor, and died there in 1876. Hotel lore naturally blames the faulty elevator on her post-mortem dramatics, but I think the jury's out on which ghost is to blame.

On the same floor, guest room 303 was allegedly where a traveling liquor salesman killed himself. Guests and staff alike complained about the strange laughter heard in the room, and scent of whiskey that never left. To add to the general creepiness, strange shadows were seen on the walls and the water in the bathroom would turn itself on and off. Rather than rent out the room to thrill-seekers, the hotel management took a different approach and turned the room into a storage closet. This stopped the supernatural activity. Not even a suicidal liquor salesman wants to spend eternity haunting a closet!

The information about famous guests is from Susan Wilson's The Omni Parker House. A Brief History of America's Longest Continuously Operating Hotel. I found the ghost stories in Cheri Revai's Haunted Massachusetts.

17 comments:

Rhea said...

I love ghost stories. Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

i am staying at this hotel next month i hope i am not on the floors that have all the supernatural stuff going on

Belle said...

Visiting from NY for leisure, I've decided to do a more in-depth walking tour of Boston. I walked by the Omni Parker Hotel looking for a place to eat. I have not read anything about the Parker house, but it looked really interesting. I walked in and marveled at the grandeur. As someone who is interested in history, this was the place for me. After a marvelous lunch of their famous Schrod and Boston Cream Pie for dessert, I decided to visit the restrooms. The restrooms are located in the mezzanine.
It was Wednesday and an odd time for someone to be having lunch, I entered an empty restroom. In there I decided to look up and see if the Parker House was haunted on my phone. I started reading about it's ghostly history, and almost to the second right after I read the name of the actress who haunts the hotel, the stall next to me started flushing. The restroom stalls were equipped with motion activated flushers. The first flush didn't bother me, thinking maybe I wasn't alone after all -- but it was the subsequent endless flushing!!! I was excited and nervous at the same time. I calmly came out of my stall washed my hands, all the while the toilet is still flushing. Got the nerve to look below the door to check for shoes, and there was no one!!! I slowly pulled out my camera phone to take a quick picture when the main door to the bathroom opened and two ladies walked in. I immediately walked out.

Peter M. said...

Hi Belle!

Thanks for sharing your first hand testimony! It's good to hear the legend is still alive. I hope the food was good too!

Anonymous said...

Apparently the dead go on living, and by the looks of it they very much seem to enjoy the high life.

Anonymous said...

should of taken a pic in the giant mirror in the hallway.

Eric Hubbard said...

I recently was staying in the hotel and I saw the original owner at the foot of the bed and we were on the 4th floor. He said hello and slowly disappeared. I'm a 9 year old girl from jupiter fl and can't wait to stay there again, and I love the Boston creme pie too. Mom and dad say we can stay on the 10th floor next time.

Peter Muise said...

Good to hear that the ghosts are still lurking around the Parker House! It sounds like the owner isn't confined to one particular floor, but it is his property after all...

Amelia Wilson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amelia Wilson said...

Well this is great material for an insurance. You never know how the tenants will panic here with so scary stories circling around. As a mater of fact I think there is a renters insurance company in Tiverton RI that actually gives this kind of insurances.

Unknown said...

I'm staying here right now and on the 3rd floor. So far the scariest thing is I have no reception.

Jose Ortega said...

I'm staying here right now and on the 3rd floor. So far the scariest thing is I have no reception.

The Last Word said...

I write this from my bed on the 5th floor. Walked around earlier and did find room 303. Definitely wasn't a storage closet

Laurence said...

I recently stayed at the OPH in Room 903. On the second night of my stay went to the bathroom to brush mt teeth. When I put of the bathroom I found that my towel had been neatly laid out on the floor and my clothes placed in orderly fashion on top of it. It wasn't scary, just very very odd.

Teresa Morgan said...
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Anonymous said...

I was in the ladies room bathroom last night on the mezzanine. Walked in, all stall doors were open, silent as can be so assumed I was alone. As I was about to walk out of stall I heard a womans voice -- say something like "ohhh my" or some kind of sigh....very dramatically, as if she was in stall next to me. I booked out of there so fast. I just immediately knew it was a ghost. Went back in later a few minutes later with friends and it was still empty.

Unknown said...

Worked there in 1973. One afternoon my coworker entered a room to find a girl about to jump out the window. He ran toward her and she jumped pulling him out also. I pulled him in and he still had a hold of her. Most frightening day of my life. One month later I found a lady between the building. She jumped. Working the 3rd shift a very spooky time.