Haunted: Joshua Ward House
So continuing on with the idea of Salem, Massachusetts being an epicenter of some sort of energy based on its history, let’s take a look at what may be considered the most haunted house in the state. So, what is the Joshua Ward House, and what goes on there? Let’s explore.
The Joshua Ward House is a historic building in Salem, Massachusetts. It is a Federal-style building constructed of red brick. Having finished construction in 1784, it was the first building of its kind in Salem. It was built for the successful merchant named Joshua Ward, hence the name. The home has housed several notable people throughout its long history. George Washington apparently specifically requested to stay there while visiting Salem in 1789. In the 1800s, the building was used as a tavern. The Joshua Ward House Since 2015, the building has been a popular hotel.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this building is the fact that it was built on the land on which George Corwin’s house once stood. Yes, that George Corwin from last week’s post. Corwin has a lot of blood on his hands with the witch trials, plus there were rampant rumors about him keeping prisoners in his basement to torture them – though these have largely been disproven. It’s easy to see how the Joshua Ward House has come to be known as the most haunted home in Salem.
Most accounts of the hauntings in the Joshua Ward House claim that there are three distinct spirits in the home. The first has come to be known as the Strangler. While no evidence has come forward to verify this, it is generally believed that the Strangler is the spirit of George Corwin. It is a matter of record that Corwin died of a heart attack on the property. The name “the strangler” comes from the rumor that Corwin would take accused witches to his home to “interrogate” them – or, rather, physically assault them until they falsely confessed. Allegedly, his favorite form of torture was strangling the accused. People who visit the home have felt their throats being squeezed by an unseen force. This spirit typically targets men.
The second spirit is thought to be Giles Corey. This makes sense, since Corwin is pretty much responsible for the execution of Corey. The spirit of Giles Corey is said to be responsible for a myriad of low-level activity within the house – cold spots, knocking things over, etc. One strange phenomena that gets attributed to Corey is that all candles melt in the shape of an “s” – for sheriff.
The third spirit is known as the witch. This spirit haunts the top floor of the building and has gained notoriety across the globe. In 1981, a company was having their Christmas party on the top floor of the Joshua Ward house. Feeling festive, a woman took a photo of her coworker. When the photo developed, her coworker was absent and in her place was a pale woman with tangled, curly hair. When the photo was published, more people came forward to tell of their own encounters with the spirit.