Investigations

Lizzie Borden's Bed & Breakfast

On August 4, 1892 Lizzie Borden's parents were found murdered in their home.  Almost a year later Lizzie was acquitted of the charges against her.  Two little known facts about the area around Lizzie's house are interesting to the case.  In 1832, a skeleton dressed in bronze armor was unearthed just a couple of blocks away from the Borden home.  In 1848, next door in the house which was owned by Lizzie's uncle Lawdwick, his wife, Eliza darling drowned two of her three children in the cellar cistern.  After she had finished this horrific deed she went upstairs and sliced her throat with her husband's straight razor.  Today the Lizzie Borden House is a hotbed of paranormal activity.

 

 

"I'm a good daughter!"
"Oh jeesh, there's a man
in the hall watch the
murderers repent!"
"She has rocks...
rocks like knives!"

The Andrew Robeson House

Andrew Robeson was born in Pennsylvania and moved to New Bedford around 1817.  He 

married Anna Rodman and they built their beautiful mansion in 1821.  In its heyday the mansion sported an atrium and extensive gardens.  Andrew owned the dory mother ship, the Pacific 2 which was a massive 331 ton whaling vessel.  He also owned a whale oil refinery, built mills and a wharf in Fall River and helped to start the Merchant's/Mechanic's Banks, and was also a founder of the New Bedford Institution for Savings.  Andrew was also an active abolitionist in the city and helped many slaves.  During the 1970s the house was in danger of being demolished but WHALE stepped in to save it.  With the Blizzard of '78 stalling the house in the middle of the road this once-loved home made it to its present location on William Street, where it is a busy attorney's office.  During the night, Luann heard a beautiful voice ring out in an upstairs room and a man's voice rang out telling us he knew that whaling was illegal today.  We also found out who Andrew bought his oars from when a woman's voice told us the name, Edward Swan.  If you asked us if we thought the Robesons followed their home when it made its move, we'd have to say, yes!

"Head to the men's...Andrew!"
"I know, sir!"
"Edward Swan!"
1891 New Bedford City Directory

Gallery X The First Universalist Church

Now the home of Gallery X, one of New Bedford's best art galleries this beautiful historic

church building once housed the First Unitarian Church.  Built in 1855 this building has

seen a lot of history.  All through the years, no matter how many times it changed hands this

was always a well-loved structure that stood tall above the other buildings of downtown New Bedford.  The building changed hands when the universalist membership decreased and the

costs of maintaining the building were too much.  The Pilgrim Church took over in the early

1930s and did extensive renvations on the building.  They repaired the steeple that had been

damaged in a stom in 1929 and added heat and many amenities to the basement so that

they could house a Sunday School there.  For a time it became the Frederick Douglass

African Methodist Episcopal Church and in 1994 it became Gallery X, one of New Bedford's

best art galleries.  

Photo Courtesy of

Frank C. Grace

"Here comes David!"
"Stupid blond!"
"Shut the door baby,
we're trying to sleep!"
"Martin Hoyt..Ann!"
1905 Fairhaven Town Directory

The Houghton Mansion

The Houghton family moved to North Adams from Vermont into a beautiful mansion.  In the early part of the twentieth century they experienced a horrible tragedy.  Taking a day trip in August of 1914, in their new automobile their chauffeur lost control and the car rolled down a steep hillside. Albert Charles Houghton survived the crash but his daughter Mary died later from the injuries she sustained when the car rolled over her.  Today the house is home to the Masons and they have kept the building with loving pride since the 1930s when they purchased it from the last living daughter of Houghton.  

The day after the car crash, their driver, John Widders committed suicide in the basement of the barn.  They blamed the accident on the slippery edge of the road where he had driven to avoid a road crew.  John must have blamed himself.  It is said that the spirits of Mary who died in that crash and possibly her older sister, Laura who died before her family moved to North Adams but is buried in the North Adams family plot and John Widders all haunt the mansion.  Whaling City Ghosts investigated the mansion in September of 2015 and gathered evidence of these spirits and possibly more.  

 

The house is very active and on more than one occasion we heard the disembodied voices of these people who once called this beautiful (and HUGE) mansion home.

 

During investigation we not only heard the little girl that is claimed to roam the basement in different locations around the house we also heard a male voice repeating what an investigator had asked them to.  Below is the audio recording where Lead Investigator, Marc Pacheco heard a male spirit repeat the word, "Echo," and his suprised response.  I admit, we were expecting a female child to answer so it was surprising to hear such a deep voice.  So much happened during our stay at the mansion and we highly recommend it to anyone interested in working with aware spirits.

"Houghton"
"Good night, dinner's over"
"Echo!"  (Heard audibly)

Freetown-Fall River State Forest

The forest has had many crimes in its past.  People have been shot, a homeless man who was mistaken for an undercover officer was killed and in 1978 a local 15 year old cheerleader was found tied to a tree.  The "ledge" a body of water left behind by a quarry that used to operate there has been dredged and dozens of bodies were pulled from the deep water.  The most infamous murders that gave the forest a dark reputation were the Cult Murders.  During the late 1970s a self-stylized satanic cult performed rituals in these dark woods.  They went so far as to break into a mausoleum to steal the skull off the body within.  Three women lost their lives when cult members ritualistically slaughtered them.  Barbara Raposa, Doreen Levesque and Karen Mardsden were bound and stoned to death.  Karen's body was never recovered.  She was identified through skull fragments, jewelry and the testimony of convicted murderer Robin Murphy.  Murphy was among three people convicted of the crimes.  Carl Drew and Murphy are still serving life sentences while Andre Maltais died in prison.  During our investigations in the forest we've recorded some pretty threatening EVP!

The Sad Case of Sarah Maria Cornell

During an investigation in an undisclosed location in Fall River, Ma, we recorded blood curdling screams that none of us were aware of at the time.  We couldn't find anything related to them in history except a mill fire close by that could be an explanation as to why we recorded the screams.

 

 

Five years after recording these screams, we stumbled upon a book that told the story of the Minister and the Millworker.  We learned of Sarah Maria Cornell, called "Marie" or "Maria" by those who knew her in life and how she was carrying the child of her minister, Reverend Ephraim K. Avery.  He had arranged for them to meet near the mills during work hours so the machines would cover the sounds of her screams.  He then dragged her through the city streets, beating and abusing her all the way to the Durfee Farm, where present day Kennedy Park is today in Fall River, Ma.  After trying to remove the four month old fetus from her womb, he then proceeded to strangle her with a clove hitch knot and left her hanging, her knees dragging in the snow.  

 

After a very sordid trial in which Avery's congregation most likely perjured themselves in the reverend's defense, he was found not guilty.   Sarah's body was laid to rest on the Durfee farm but was later moved to Oak Grove Cemetery where many made pilgrimages to her grave to honor her memory.  So many people were angered by the verdict that they burned effigies of Avery and tried to lynch him on several occasions.  Avery lost everything and later moved to Ohio where he eventually died.  He may have died in Ohio, but we believe some part of him remains on in Fall River at the scene of the crime.  

 

As for Sarah, we can only hope that she rests in peace!

 

The Minister of Murder

 

Here be the tale of a lowly mill-working lass.

'Tis a shame that clandestine meeting on a winter's dark night in 1832 was to be her last.

If the cause of her torment had been by force or of her own free will, we'll never know.

Only that he left her hanging by a rope, her knees dragging in the snow.


 

Suicide! the men of Fall River Village cried, in all modesty not wanting to lift her skirts.

It was the ladies taking her body with care to prepare her for funeral who learned of her hurts.

Soon the cries of the ladies over the obvious misdeed got around.

There was no choice but to raise her broken body up out of the ground.


 

When they examined her corpse with great care they discovered a tiny fetus almost dislodged,

the poor woe begotten girl's unborn baby.

A search for the culprit of this indecency brought them none other than Reverend Ephraim K. Avery.


 

After a long, sordid trial a most unlikely verdict was given, shocking the crowds: Not Guilty!?

Was justice a thing our poor girl's tormented soul would never see?

As for Avery he traveled far to escape a well deserved lynching and lost everything he had.

To imagine his torment as he tried to outrun his fate, well, I don't know about you, it makes my heart glad!

 

For you see, there's something I have forgotten to say,


That the spirit of Sarah Maria Cornell still wanders the streets, screaming to this very day....

 

 

Screams, then a man's voice, "Who are you?  Leave!"

Spirits of the Wampanoag

In 1675-6 King Phillip's War rocked this young country and almost decimated a whole people.  Whaling City Ghosts has had the fortune to meet up with some of the spirits of those tragic days.  The Wampanoag were a peaceful tribe and can be credited with helping the Pilgrims to survive when Massasoit, the Great Chief helped them by sharing their winter stores.  Only a short time later, the greed of the settlers for more land led to war.  WCG has been honored to record the voices of Wampanoag spirits speaking their native language in various locations throughout south eastern Massachusetts, including Anawan Rock in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

Antietam/Gettysburg

On our recent visit to Antietam and Gettysburg we were overwhelmed by the history and graceful natural beauty of these battlefields.  Stay posted on more from our investigations of the battlefields.  We plan to return as soon as we are able and will keep you posted on that!  Check in for new audio taken from these lands forever scarred by the deaths that took place upon them!

Salem, Massachusetts

During our stay in Salem, we investigated The Nathaniel West House of the Salem Inn and the "secret tunnels" of Rockafella's Restaurant, which had its beginnings as a church and later a jewelry store.  This recording was taken in the tunnels of Rockafella's and seems to point toward the building's more religious days. 

 

"Where blood is my faith."   

© 2023 by Johan Cage. Proudly made by Wix.com