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Hammond Castle Museum

  • 80 Hesperus Ave Gloucester, MA (map)

It was a rainy August weekend. Aisha and I had plans to be all outdoorsy, but the weather had other ideas. Thinking of nearby indoor adventure, I remembered Hammond Castle in Gloucester MA. Yes! Medieval-style castles pair so well with foggy days. Eerie, possibly haunted fun. 

Built in the 1920s, Hammond Castle was once home to inventor John Hays Hammond Jr and his wife Irene. Their love of ancient architecture and artifacts is showcased throughout the place, as well as their eccentric tastes. John Hays Hammond worked in radio waves, and Irene dabbled in the psychic and spiritual. So, no surprise, the castle is reportedly haunted. The Ghost Hunters investigated it for their show in 2012 and encountered spooky voices and a swinging chandelier. 

When I last visited Hammond Castle a few years ago, this potential paranormal aspect seemed more at the forefront of the museum. Now there's almost no mention of the seances and other experiments, like sticking a psychic in a Faraday cage to test the effects of electromagnetism on ESP. Maybe they museum was attracting too many ghost hunters and they were like, "enough of this." Who knows.

My favorite room inside the castle is the courtyard, which has a fountain, plants, tudor-style walls, and doors to rooms on all sides, almost like a "choose your own castle adventure." I also like the round library, which has a cool ceiling that plays acoustic tricks, and the Great Hall, which houses a big-ol' organ, a grand piano that George Gershwin played on, a skull of one of Columbus's crew mates, another other interestingness. 

The inside of the castle was hot and humid though, so my favorite part of the museum on this particular trip was the exterior, especially the lawn that overlooks the ocean, where weddings are sometimes held. It's fun to explore all the nooks and crannies of the castle exterior, like creepy lantern-lit doors, gargoyles, archways, and a drawbridge. We were lucky that the rain held off long enough to get some outdoor time.  

We checked for ghosts in our castle photos after the trip, but no luck! The spirits must've been feeling pretty chill that day. 

Earlier Event: August 9
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Later Event: August 24
A Day in Vacationland (Maine!)