Haunted Hull: Three True Ghost Stories To Chill You To The Bone



This mural depicts the esteemed Captain Joshua James,
keeper of the lifesavers station and witness to a spectral horse
and buggy.
The oldest towns in the Bridgewater Triangle area seem to harbor the biggest mysteries. And Hull, a seaside town settled just one year after the arrival of the Mayflower, is certainly no exception. With over 75 shipwrecks off its rocky coast, legends of monstrous sea serpents lurking in its waters, mysterious pea soup fogs that roll in and out in a matter of seconds...Hull is the perfect backdrop for tales of the macabre. These chilling tales are all true and shockingly, were well documented in the highly reputable Boston Globe.

The Silent Black Bay Horse And Empty Carriage

“One night the captain says the buggy rolled past him on the road leading to Stony Beach.Having heard much about the specter buggy, he hurried after it, when to his surprise, instead of turning to the right in the direction of Nantasket, or to the the left toward Battery heights, where it had usually been encountered.  it made straight for the railroad track which runs along the top of the beach, disappearing on the rails between sea wall and the little station.”


The first appearance of a phantom horse and carriage came two weeks too late for Halloween in November of 1896. but the sightings of this mysterious buggy would continue for years. Residents were mystified by first reports of credible witnesses who claimed to have seen a “phantom buggy”... a horse and carriage that would silently stroll the darkened streets just past midnight. The horse was described to be a healthy-looking large black Bay horse whose silent hooves “glided noiselessly through the village streets, with no apparent destination.”  The Boston Globe called the phantom buggy the “Up-to-date imitator” of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, reporting:


“People of Hull Village are mystified over the appearance of a substantially-built buggy drawn by a well-fed dark bay horse, which almost every night enters the town and glides noiselessly through the village streets, with no apparent destination, and then as quietly departs.


At times it is seen rolling over the smoothly graded main street in the direction of Pemberton landing, to which the boats have ceased run and where everything is closed, only  immediately to return and leave the town. At other times the lifesaving patrol has seen it standing near the dead house in one of the most isolated parts of the town, but here, as elsewhere, although the horse in usually slowly driven, no one has been able to get a glimpse of the occupant of the vehicle. Even, when citizens have come full upon it, only dense blackness has been under its low sheltering covering and when an attempt is made by the more brave pedestrians to satisfy their curiously, the horse is startled into a brisk trot.”


Six years later, The Boston Globe would report again about the Phantom Black Horse and Carriage in March of 1902, though no specific year is attached to the following account recalled by The Globe of Captain Joshua James’ infamous phantom buggy sighting. Captain Joshua James was the Keeper of the Lifesaving Station, and a highly-respected citizen of significant historical importance to the town of Hull, for it was under his command that over 545 lives were saved from drowning under his 75 years of service.


“This town, judging from a series of occult, or at least very mysterious events transpiring there from time to time within the past few years, is a good field for psychical research.


First it had its mysterious buggy, a vehicle that repeatedly rolled through the village streets at midnight without sound of wheels or clatter of hoofs and without any visible occupant.


This uncanny vehicle was seen by no less a personage than Capt. Joshua James, who is known not to have a particle of superstition in his makeup.


One night the captain says the buggy rolled past him on the road leading to Stony Beach.Having heard much about the specter buggy, he hurried after it, when to his surprise, instead of turning to the right in the direction of Nantasket, or to the the left toward Battery heights, where it had usually been encountered.  It made straight for the railroad track which runs along the top of the beach, disappearing on the rails between sea wall and the little station.


The captain was hard upon it, but when he reached the station it was nowhere to be seen up or down the track. It seemed to have dissipated into the air or been submerged in the breakers below.”


The Muffled Lady


“The figure stopped, and seemed to wait for him to catch up with it, and then in silence, walked along by his side. He peered into the face as best he could, but saw only two glistening eyeballs.”




In the winter of 1898, three separate Lifesavers--Patrolman Number Five, Six, and Two-- were witness to a mysterious woman who silently roamed the most deserted parts of town after midnight. The mysterious woman seemed interested in the men, for she would follow them,  her footsteps matching those of the Lifesavers. If they slowed down, she slowed down, if they stopped, she stopped. One lifesaver, upon hearing the footsteps behind him, went to draw his revolver, believing he was about to be robbed, only to see the woman.


The Boston Globe covered the story of the muffled woman on January 5, 1898, with the headline: “More Mystery. Hull Has Its Annual Uncanny Visitor.Figure in Female Attire in Lonely Part of Village.Several Life Savers Say They Have Met Her.Silent and Closely Muffled She Glides Along.None Can Prevail Upon Her To Answer Questions.” The story began: “Hull has become noted for its episodes of mystery. Scarcely a winter has passed without some excitement in the line of ghostology. Last year it was a mysterious buggy on the quiet village streets at the midnight hour, and although the hoofbeats of the specter horse have ceased to be heard, the mystery has never been satisfactorily solved.


This season having so far advanced the citizens had concluded that nothing would occur to disturb the dull monotonous routine. But a new mystery has developed. This time it comes in the form of a strange woman or possibly a man disguised in female attire, that has been seen, not on the well lighted streets of the village, but in one of the most isolated parts of the town, where nobody lives or visits except the lifesavers as they patrol the shore lying between Stony Beach and Pemberton every night.


What a female unattended, with her face closely muffled, can be doing in that lonely place after dark, night after night, and suddenly appearing before the life-savers, but making no reply to their challenges, constitutes the mystery. Few women, or men either, for that matter, would have courage enough to visit the deserted place at night, even under compulsion….Last Thursday night, patrolman No. 6 when a tall form clad in women's apparel appeared to him he instinctively to clutch his revolver. He had just received his monthly pay, which be had on his person and his first thought was that he was about the be wayland land robbed.  


The figure stopped, and seemed to wait for him to catch up with it, and then in silence, walked along by his side. He peered into the face as best he could, but saw only two glistening eyeballs”.


.The Robed Lady In White

Village Cemetery, Hull. How this jacket became draped over this stone is a mystery.
This stone is just feet away from the very spot the robed lady in white appeared to young Hull resident, Stillman Mitchell in 1902.


"The apparition which had started to descend the embankment drew back a step, but was silent. I was then convinced that had it been a member of the club or anyone that knew me he would have revealed his identity, but this thing in white, with one hand outstretched, stood like a statue with an electrical light right overhead streaming down upon it.”


On March 3, 1902, a mysterious woman would appear to 22-year old Spring Street resident Stillman Mitchell’s disbelieving eyes as he passed by the large tomb at the edge of Village Cemetery. Mitchell had just left a friend’s nearby house when young man witnessed a white-robed figure of a woman with her hand outstretched toward him.  Mitchell stopped and watched the ghastly figure for over twenty minutes. Mitchell described the woman to as appearing under a “glistening robe of white.”


Stillman Mitchell made a signed affidavit to The Boston Globe that his story was legitimate.The following comes that affidavit, which the Boston Globe published on March 4, 1902.


“The village cemetery lies less than a minute's walk from Miss Vining's. In order to get along as far as possible before the lights went out I walked quite rapidly. But I had scarcely reached the graveyard when a deep and sepulchral groan fell upon my ear. It startled me for an instant, but quickly recovering myself I kept on my way homeward.


Those awful and piteous moans continued, however, and just as I arrived opposite the new tomb a white-shrouded figure rose as if from one of the graves and advanced toward me. At this moment, when some people, perhaps, would have been terrified, I felt as fearless as if it were broad daylight. This might have been because it instantly struck me that some of the members of the club who had left for home early in the evening were playing a trick on me.


"I stopped and placed my hand on my hip as if to draw a revolver, at the time saying: What are you trying to do? You had better look out. It's a dangerous thing to do, whoever you are, as some folks have been shot while playing such tricks.


"The apparition which had started to descend the embankment drew back a step, but was silent. I was then convinced that had it been a member of the club or anyone that knew me he would have revealed his identity, but this thing in white, with one hand outstretched, stood like a statue with an electrical light right overhead streaming down upon it.”


I went on until I reached Miss Vining's residence about half way to the life saving station, when it occurred to me that my story would not be credited. Therefore I turned about determined to find out what was under that glistening robe of white if it still remained. When I reached the tomb I found the statue in white was still occupying the same place I had last seen it. One hand was on the fence and the other stretched toward me. I boldly stepped off the sidewalk and approached it.


I had reached the middle of the street when it began to disappear. It did not move from the spot on which it stood, neither to the right nor left, but seemed to dissolve until it entirely vanished.


I do not pretend to say it was a ghost," continued Mr. Mitchell, "I do not know what it was. But I have faithfully described my strange adventure at the cemetery in every detail."



                                                               Map of Hull's location.

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