By Thomas D’Agostino
Stone’s Public House at 179 Main Street in Ashland, Massachusetts has held the spirits of a few guests who never checked out. Even the Colonel himself who built the structure still resides in the old inn just west of Boston.
In 1834, Colonel John Stone, a farmer having served in the militia, saw a business opportunity in the newly laid Boston and Albany Railway. He built an inn for travelers to take in some relief from the long train ride and seek comfort in a warm bed. It was originally called the Railroad House. The inn opened on September 30, 1834 but there was only one problem. Colonel Stone had erected the building too close to the tracks and when trains rolled by it would shake most vehemently. John Stone ran the inn for only two years before leasing the business to Napoleon Stone. He continued to reside on the property. Some years later, Napoleon bought the business outright. John Stone died in 1858 and W.A. Scott purchased the hotel in 1868.
It was later called the Ashland Hotel until 1976 when Leonard Fournier bought it and changed the name to John Stone’s Inn. Marti Northover owned the inn until 2003. Matt Murphy then purchased the establishment and renamed it Stone’s Public House.
During Stone’s tenure it is alleged that he killed a traveling salesman with the handle of his gun over a game of cards after accusations of cheating turned violent. He then buried the man’s body in the cellar. He and his friends were sworn to silence and as no one knew the salesman had ever stopped there, the crime went unpunished.
It is reported that the spirit of John Stone and the ghost of the salesman still roam the inn. Two male apparitions have been seen in the basement. One account is of a manager who went into the cellar to get ice from the machine. As she reached in, something held her arm in the ice for a few moments before surrendering its cold grip on her. Both Fournier and a bartender gave accounts of being tapped on the shoulder while in the basement.
My wife, Arlene and I have visited the inn numerous times including one for a special investigation. Although the spirits were quiet that day, a bartender and another employee were eager to share their paranormal experiences. They also showed us a photograph of what appears to be a ghost mingled in with some patrons of the tavern. The waitress spoke of the spirit of a little girl who resides upstairs. She can often be heard laughing or crying. On many occasions they have heard the footsteps of what sounded like a child skipping down the upstairs hallway. It is said that a young girl was terribly cut when she looked out the window to see the train go by and the vibration of the train shattered the glass in her face.
Others have heard and seen the ghost of the child. Some come to the inn just to witness the phenomena. A cook once reported that he saw a head with no body in the kitchen. There are also photographs of similar sightings taken in the kitchen of what appears to be John Stone himself. An original picture of John Stone hangs above the fireplace in the lounge.
A bartender, Lisa Whitin was in the walk-in freezer when something slammed the door behind her. Whoever or, whatever it was held the door closed despite her pounding and pushing on the door. Finally, it flew open and she rushed out. The room however was void of any living entity. She anxiously checked the safety latch and it was in perfect working order. On another occasion she went into the ladies room and heard a voice whisper her name. She called back to it but there was no reply. She then saw the shadow of feet move from under one of the stalls. When she called out again there was no reply. Thinking it was a prank being played on her by a fellow worker she pushed the door of the stall open only to find it empty. After that she refused to enter that bathroom for three months.
One day she had just closed the umbrellas and put the chairs on the tables of the patio to secure it for the night. As she was entering the building she heard a noise behind her. When she turned around all the umbrellas were open and the chairs were set up on the patio again. At that point she hastily locked up and left.
In the dining room she witnessed a very spectacular occurrence. She blew all the candles out and set the room up for the next day. As she turned out the light and went to close the door, she saw a glow from behind her. All the candles had been relit.
When the inn was changing ownership to Matt Murphy, she was in the waitress station with a few other employees wondering about the future of the public house when a box came off of the top shelf and slowly hovered across the room then dropped to the floor. “The whole time,” Lisa related, “I wondered if what I was seeing was really happening.
Customers have seen the little girl in the window as well as on the porch of the building. Matt Murphy had seen the little girl as well. He was upstairs when he saw her in a little room to the left of the stairs. The room according to Mr. Murphy was used as a meeting room during the early days of the boarding house.
To read more about the inn and many other haunted places look for Haunted Massachusetts by Thomas D’Agostino with photography by Arlene Nicholson.
- Wednesday, 09 May 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Tales from Beyond