The Houghton Mansion in North Adams has been called one of the most paranormally active spots in New England. It has a tragic history that sounds like it was ripped from the pages of a Hollywood script, and more than enough ghost stories to send shivers down your spine.
Albert Charles Houghton, President of the Arnold Print Works and first Mayor of North Adams, built the Houghton Mansion in the 1890s. In the spring of 1914, the wealthy Houghton family bought their first car. It was a seven-passenger Pierce-Arrow touring car, and the family’s long-time chauffeur John Widders was instructed to learn to drive it. On August 1 of that year, Mr. Houghton and his daughter Mary decided to go to Bennington, Vermont for the day with their friends Dr. Robert Hutton and his wife, Sybil.
At 9:30 a.m. in Pownal, Vermont, the car rode along the left shoulder of Oak Hill Road to avoid a team of horses. Though the vehicle was only going 12 m.p.h., it slid over the edge of the shoulder and began rolling into a steep embankment.
The car flipped three times, throwing everyone but Mary Houghton from the vehicle. When the dust settled, it was discovered that Mrs. Hutton had been crushed and killed as the car rolled over her and Mary Houghton had sustained fatal wounds. She would die later that day at North Adams Hospital.
The men all walked away from the accident with seemingly minor cuts and scrapes. Mr. Houghton went home, but he died ten days later in the mansion.
Grief-stricken and wracked with guilt, the family’s chauffeur John Widders descended into the basement of the Houghton barn on August 2, 1914. He took a horse pistol and shot himself to death.
These grim events are the basis for what some people consider one of the most intense hauntings in New England. Ever since the accident, people have reported hearing the disembodied voices of Mary Houghton, her father and John Widders. Shadowy figures have been seen roaming the hallways, and visitors often remark on a heavy, sad feeling that descends upon them as soon as they step into Mary Houghton’s old room.
Still eerier are the tales of the spirit of a little girl seen in the basement. Before the Houghton mansion was built, another home sat on the property. When that structure was demolished, the original basement remained and the Houghton Mansion was built over it. The Houghton’s themselves were reported to have remarked on a strange feeling in the basement.
The mansion is now being used as a Masonic lodge. Besides a change in roofing and some new siding, the building looks just as it did in the Houghton family’s time. The video below claims to feature one of the ghosts of the Houghton Mansion. Watch and decide for yourself.