As Halloween creeps around the corner, Neighborhood View coordinator and “Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub” author Sam Baltrusis left no gravestone unturned in search of Malden’s most haunted. The city boasts a bone-chilling assortment of ghostly hot spots rumored to be stomping grounds for spirits … and not one of those El Diablo concoctions at Ferry Street Food & Drink.
Speaking of the new restaurant formerly occupied by watering holes like Jimmy O’Keefe’s, the Shamrock Inn and No 9 Ale House, Ferry Street Food & Drink (118 Ferry St.) made headlines last summer about a resident ghost rumored to still claim his bar stool in the afterlife.
According to lore, the left-behind ghost looked like John Candy’s “Uncle Buck” character. The spirit supposedly slipped and died in the basement when the space was Jimmy O’Keefe’s.
Shannon Ladd, Ferry Street’s co-owner, claims she recently had a close encounter with the Uncle Buck ghost. “Your timing is impeccable because (not) until last night, we have had that hair stand up feeling but nothing has happened,” says Ladd. “Then last night around midnight, for the first time I saw something move on the opposite side of the basement and I swore someone was there. But everyone had left except myself and Jason (Ladd’s husband) and Jason was upstairs.”
Ladd continues: “We took over the space in March, so maybe he was just shy until now. To be honest, I pretty much just ran up the stairs and got out of there! He hasn’t shown up on his bar stool just yet, but we do have bar stools stored in the basement.”
Sharon Santillo, a resident of the former Belmont School on Cross Street, says her fellow tenants encountered a ghost girl when they moved in 10 years ago.
“My condo building was converted from a school that had been built in the late 1800s and added on to in 1930s,” Santillo recalls. “All the tenants moved in around the same time and two people on the ground floor saw a ghost of a young girl. She had long dark hair and did not seem upset nor were they frightened by her.”
Santillo says the girl was spotted near the school’s former theater. “Someone who had been a teacher in the building told us the area where she was seen had been the stage end of the cafeteria back when the building was a school,” she says. “We made up a story about her that she had happily acted in school plays and came back to be in that place of good memories. But the conversion of the building took away that stage and the girl has not been back since those early months, that I have heard about anyway.”
Michael Baker, a well-respected paranormal investigator with Para-Boston and featured expert in “Ghosts of Boston,” says Malden has several ghost stories including the “Lady in Grey” specter at Holy Cross Cemetery. “There is a ghostly hitchhiker that has been picked up several times only to disappear once she is inside the car,” Baker says. “I know that is a popular theme for cemetery haunts, but this one comes from the ’60s.”
There’s also the legend of the mad scientist buried in Bell Rock Cemetery, which has a gravestone dating back to 1670, known as the Walking Corpse of Malden. The scientist experimented with chemicals to keep his post-mortem flesh from rotting. “A group of people opened up the mad scientist’s tomb after several years and were shocked and amazed to find that his flesh had not decayed as expected,” according to the story here. “A medical student impetuously decided to sneak into the tomb that night and try to steal the corpse’s head, but was tormented by apparitions and frantically ran out of the cemetery. He tossed the severed head into the tomb, and it is believed that a headless ghost walked the cemetery at night searching for its missing head.”
Baker says he heard several creepy stories about the now-closed Malden Hospital being haunted. “A nurse friend of mine who passed away a few years ago used to tell me about crying that she would hear coming from a room that was vacant on the third floor,” he says. “She told me that several other nurses noticed the nurse call light coming on from that room during the night shifts when the room was empty. She claims that she wasn’t the only one to hear the crying and described it as a cry of pain … sort of a moaning. “
Baker continues: “She also said that the freight elevator would sometimes take you to the third floor no matter which floor number you hit.” Click here for spooky photos of the former West End hospital vacant since 2001.
The paranormal expert also overheard a ghost story at a store in the space formerly occupied by the Granada Theatre located near the corner of Pleasant and Main streets in Malden Square.
“I overheard a couple of the employees talking about a sighting of a man with a cape and a strange hat,” Baker recalls. “They were arguing about where they thought he was from. I then found out that what they were talking about was a ghostly apparition that one of the employees saw when they came in to open in the morning. The employee had to go home because she was so shaken up.”
The former pharmacy was in the exact 21 Pleasant St. spot which housed the former Granada. For the record, the allegedly haunted theater closed in the mid-’80s and was later demolished after two girls snuck in 1987 and set a fire which destroyed the historic structure.
Yep, the show must go on … even in the afterlife. –Sam Baltrusis