Barnstable House

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Besides being the beloved forever home, these spirits have their own reasons to stay.

More or less, they are willing to share the house with businesses.




The Barnstable House was built in 1716, by James Paine, who has the posthumous honor of being related to Robert Treat Paine, a signer of The Declaration of Independence. It was built over an underground river, which can be a convenient labor-saver, or an accident ready to happen, depending on the circumstances. In the basement of the home, there was an opening that led to the river, so people in the house could conveniently get water from it.

Michael Aston, founder of the new England Society of Paranormal Investigators, shared with me how the home was constructed: “The Barnstable house is unique in such a way that the original house was built from one tree and was sailed over by boat in three pieces. This is the house you see today.”

The first floor had the usual common rooms. The bedrooms were on the 2nd floor. The third floor attic room was finished, and fairly big, probably used for living space at some point in time. The basement was a useful space as well.

The layout of the home made it a versatile property, that could be used for a variety of purposes, which ensured that it would be well taken care of throughout its existence. It was never allowed to become a woebegone fixer-upper.



Besides being a family home for many people over its very long existence, the handsome Barnstable House became an inn and restaurant/tavern, because of its location, right off the main road, attracting weary, thirsty, hungry travelers. The locals also enjoyed a good beer, and a fine meal here.

During the 1970s, when the house was vacant, a fire started, probably in the third-floor attic room, but it was quickly put out by firemen.

In recent years, The Barnstable Restaurant and Tavern moved down the street into another building, and this colonial structure became a commercial building, with several businesses that serve the Cape Cod area. The dining room became a conference room.

Though the inside may have been modified a little, to better serve as business offices, only one small addition was made in the 1970’s. Considering the age of this structure, (268 years), this is pretty remarkable.

Today, it is a busy home to several businesses, who take its paranormal activity in stride, knowing that the spirits are benign, and won’t hurt them. Admittedly, they can be a little mischievous, strong-willed at times, and even a bit crabby. Private ghost tours are done by appointment.



For a variety of reasons, the Barnstable House has been and is popular with spirits of people who loved it in life. It has been nicknamed, “The House With 11 Ghosts.” Eleven spirits have been felt/seen by psychics and mediums that also like to visit, or hang out here. Many families and people have enjoyed living/working in this handsome home over the years.


Practicing Spiritualism via seances can open doors to the spirit world, making it easier for spirits to stay and /or just visit.

Hill-Stead House, CT (Theodate Pope Riddle, Owner of Hill-stead House, became enticed about Spiritualism, and held many seances in her home).

LeDuc Mansion, MN (The LeDuc sisters were active in the practices of Spiritualism).

The White House in Washington D.C. (Mrs. Lincoln would hold seances in the White House, to contact her deceased children).

The Barnstable House, MA (Dr. Samuel Savage, who owned the home at some point, experimented with seances in the home).


Sudden, tragic deaths of children/youth can cause their spirits to stay with their family or loved ones in the earthly places with which they are familiar, and where they felt loved.

Saint Augustine Lighthouse, FL (Tragic deaths of three children due to an accident caused the spirits of the children to stay).

Copper Queen Hotel, AZ (The son of the hotel maid drowned in a nearby water source).

New River Inn, FL (A little girl drowned in the nearby river).

The Barnstable House, MA (A young girl, Lucy Paine, probably in the 4-7- year-old age range, was the daughter of one of the early owners. Lucy fell through the opening that led to the river that runs under the house, and drowned).


People kill themselves to escape what they think are unlivable circumstances, to avoid facing the emotional pain, shame, and disappointment of the moment. When the emotional pain doesn’t go away, they sometimes find themselves unable to move onto the other side.

Hotel Bethlehem, PA (A guest hung himself in the workout room of the hotel).

Hotel Adolphus, TX (A bride who was stood up at the altar hung herself on the stairway).

Skirvin Hotel, OK (An unwed mother abandoned by her boyfriend jumped with her baby to their deaths).

The Barnstable House, MA (A former owner, Edmund Howes, filled with despair and hopelessness after losing all his money during The Revolutionary War, ended his life by hanging himself from one of the trees on the property.)


Former inhabitants/servants of a cherished building sometimes choose to stay in their earthly home/building in their afterlives, enjoying their memories, and keeping an eye on the new owners.

Hemingway House, FL (The spirit of Ernest Hemingway enjoys writing there, while his ex-wife’s spirit remembers her good times).

O.C. White’s Pub, FL (The spirit of the former owner has her own ideas on how to run things).

Joslyn Castle, NE (The first family still resides here, mostly approving of the actions of the living).

The Barnstable House, MA (A crabby, disagreeable entity, known as Captain Grey, sulks around the basement cellar. The spirits of several women who lived here when they were alive have been seen in this house).




The Spirit of Edmund Howes

His apparition has been seen by folks, through the windows in the upstairs, sealed attic, which is not used by the living.

Apparently, Edmund finds the area just fine for his existence in this world.

The Spirit of Captain Gray

He expresses his sour disposition by slamming the doors, probably getting some chuckles when the living jump!

His clear apparition has been seen in the cellar by various owners, staff, and others, puttering around.

The Male Spirits of Colonial Tavern Server(s)

The spirit of a former owner may possibly be among them.

When the Barnstable House was a restaurant and tavern, patrons would be sitting in the tavern, when a lifelike, solid man, dressed in colonial attire, would pass their table, carrying a tray of old-fashioned beer mugs (“tankards”).

At other times, patrons were approached by other lifelike “colonial servers” who also turned out to be spirits, perhaps trying to help the tavern owner.

Female Child Spirit Lucy Paine

She was/is a sociable little girl, trying to find someone among the living who would play with her. Her favorite game was playing ball.

Lucy would suddenly appear in front of some guest or staff member, getting a variety of reactions – from startling them to scaring them silly.

Lucy probably played mischievous pranks on the living, trying to get their attention.

Her Big Move

It was no fun in an empty house, and now it smelled of smoke!

After the fire, she attached herself to a piece of furniture that was being moved to the Barnstable Restaurant and Tavern down the road, where she was hoping to find people in this world to play with her.

“Notice Me!”

She has committed a lot of mischievous pranks on the living to get attention at her new home, the Barnstable Restaurant and Tavern.

Lucy has pestered a staff member to the point where the staff member told her to stop, because she couldn’t play now, and had too much work to do.

Lucy pouted, and went away for a time, but has since come back to the restaurant and tavern.

Back Again!

Lucy has since come back to the Barnstable House to play, though it is believed that she now probably likes both places.

EVPS of a little girl have been caught on tape recently, and it is thought to be Lucy.

The Spirit of a Woman

The description given of her from the firemen who saw her is that of a young woman, wearing a white gown-like dress, with long blonde hair, who floats along instead of walking.

While she was seen in solid form, her color wasn’t normal, but opaque.

This woman was seen floating across the street after the fire to the Beechwood Inn, choosing to stay there for a while.

This woman was seen floating across the street after the fire to the Beechwood Inn, choosing to stay there for a while.

She likes both homes now.

Two Versions of What Happened

As mentioned above, a fire broke out in the house in the early 1970’s. I have found two slightly different stories about the firemen’s experiences with this female spirit.

Version 1: The firemen arrived quickly and saw a woman looking at them through a window on the third floor. When they got to the room, it was empty. The woman was floating above the front yard lawn, wearing a long white gown, for several minutes, before disappearing.

Version 2: The firemen went into the house to put out the fire, and tried to find the source of the smoke coming out of the skylight as well. Suddenly a woman was with them, moving about the group, asking strange questions. These firemen were the only ones who saw her, and didn’t realize at the time that she was a spirit, not a living person. After all the excitement, when they had time to think about it, they realized that she floated rather than walked.

The Spirit of the Lady of the House

She has been seen in the rooms on the first floor, especially the dining room.

A lawyer who had opened an office in one of the spaces on the first floor was working at his desk, and saw and heard the latch to his door open.

He saw a spirit of a woman, with a hatchet in her hand, calmly walk through, on her way to do a chore, like killing a chicken for dinner?

This same lawyer saw the same woman churning butter by the fireplace.

Perhaps she is the entity who preferred that the old-fashioned tallow candle chandelier be lighted, and would do so herself, when the Barnstable House was an inn, catering to tourists and visitors to the area.


Throughout the years of this structure’s existence, many personal experiences of paranormal activity have been reported.

Not only does this property have many reports of this, but spiritual investigations done by psychics, sensitives and mediums, and the gathering of hard evidence as well backs up some of the claims reported.

Hard evidence captured and shared backs up the personal experiences of many people, from former and present property owners of the inn and restaurant days, to that of on-duty firemen, to owners of the various businesses which inhabit the house now.

The New England Society of Paranormal Investigators was an experienced group. While no longer in existence, they did use a variety of equipment, and were skilled in the art of catching inspiring EVPs from spirits on their investigations. True to form, they captured some intelligent EVPs at Barnstable House.

They have shared a digital video of what happened during an an EVP session at the conference table in the former dining room. In an area right behind the investigators, a heavy whale, attached to a pole in a cast-iron stand, solid and sturdy, fell over by itself with a big bang!!

After thanking the unseen spirit for making his or her presence known, the investigators tried to re-enact this, but quickly realized that it took some force to knock it over.

Was it perhaps the grouchy, salty sea captain, trying to get some chuckles, and recognition? Such a thing would sort of be his style, as he likes to slam doors to startle the living, and perhaps get noticed.




The Barnstable House has lived up to its reputation of being the home of 11 spirits, give or take a few. As living people sometimes need a change of scenery, so do some of the entities who stay at Barnstable House, who apparently visit other establishments close by.



3010 King’s Highway/Main Street
Barnstable, MA 02630

The Barnstable House can be found just north of the town of Barnstable, along the King’s Highway, 6A, that turns into Main Street.


  • Haunted Massachusetts, by Thomas D’Agostina, Schiffer Publishing, 2007.
  • Article by Jack Sheedy, found on The New England Society of Paranormal Investigators.
  • The New England Society of Paranormal Investigators

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Massachusetts