Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Haunted Henniker House

Every year we get a call wanting to book the haunted room.  It usually comes in October and goes something like this:

“We’d like to book your haunted room for October 31st

“You’re welcome to book a room but we’re not haunted.”

“But I read it on the internet.”

“Don’t believe everything you see on the internet.”

And then there are the emails from the paranormal investigators who want to come and check out our place for ghosts.  “No thanks.  We’re not haunted”.

too cheery to be haunted

I know where they get this bad information.  The story of Ocean Born Mary, Gussie Roy and a photo of our bed & breakfast have been put together on a web site -  It was first brought to my attention after we’d been here about 2 months.  I was checking the web to see what was already out there with the B&B’s name (I found a really nasty review too).  I printed it out and filed it away under “interesting but not important”.  Even now, their write up just makes me laugh – 6,000 acres – we’re in town; the Main St is at our front door and the river behind, no way could you stake out 6,000 acres – even in the 18th century.  And besides, the photo shows a fine old Victorian, not a grand house built by a retired pirate who was pillaging the seas in 1720.

Much of the press about the ghost can be caulked up to Louis Maurice Auguste Roy.  He bought a house in Henniker in 1917 and proceeded to create a legend.  The folks at Yankee Skeptic checked it out -  The house he bought is outside of town, with sweeping views of the valley, but not 6,000 acres either.  Certainly a ghost was good for Gussie’s business but not for me and my B&B.  “We’re not haunted”.

The Henniker Historical Society does an excellant job summarizing the “actual history and the other side of the coin” .  In 2011 the Historical Society hosted Jeremy D’Entremont who wrote “Ocean-Born Mary, the Truth Behind a New Hampshire Legend”.  This is a fascinating slim book published by The History Press, Charleston SC.  It includes illustrations, naval research as to who the pirate might have been and detail about Gussie Roy who is described as a “smaller scale P.T. Barnum of New Hampshire”.  It is just the thing to read on rainy afternoon.  I think I’ll put the kettle on now and refresh my knowledge of the facts so I’m ready for the next “I’d like to book your haunted room” call.

1 comment:

  1. I apologize in advance, Kate, if I contribute to the false notion that your beautiful house is haunted. You see, my next mystery is set in Henniker and involves the Ocean Born Mary house. And because I'll be staying at the Henniker House for NEC Fall Weekend soon and again next year, I just might be reinforcing the notion that you have something to do with a haunted house, totally unintentional. Also, I have an old friend who was raised in Henniker and posed as a young girl for pictures in the OBM house for Gussie Roy. How's that for coincidence! Looking forward to our visit soon.