I recently finished reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables. It’s a good read and, like most classic novels, develops the story slowly. He spends a lot of time on the principal characters of the book, getting the reader into their psyches. I’ve always liked Hawthorne and have appreciated his style. This novel also made me very much interested in the house on which the book is based.
The house located in Salem, Ma., was built in 1668 by a sea captain and merchant named John Turner, and remained in the Turner family for three generations. Later, a cousin of Hawthorne lived in the house for a time, and Nathaniel's visits to the house inspired him to write the now-classic novel. Today it is a visitor center and museum with plumbing that allegedly has a mind of its own. It has been reported that faucets will turn on and off on their own.
A spirit, assumed to be that of a little boy, also likes to play in the attic, according to some accounts. He has been heard in those nether regions by more than one person. The image of a ghost boy’s face is believed to have been captured in a picture taken at the house. A small boy is at a window looking out into the courtyard and, supposedly, at the photographer. Apparitions and shadow figures also have been reported seen in the more than three-century home. A woman’s spirit, believed to be a former owner, walks its premises, sometimes showing herself as a full apparition to unsuspecting visitors before quickly vanishing back to the spirit realm.
The House of the Seven Gables is definitely on my list of places to visit. To learn more about the house and its interesting history, more about Salem and all that there is to see at this interesting place in the Bay State, check out the 7Gables website.
Before you plan a visit, however, make sure to read Hawthorne’s classic tale of centuries-old sin that, according to the novel, stained the mansion house in a town known for its historic witch trials.
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