Houghton Mansion

Houghton Mansion - pic by Nick Mantello
Photo by Nick Mantello
This huge three-story Victorian is still home to it's long-deceased former residents...
Berkshire Paranormal is lucky enough to call this mansion their base of operations, where they hone their ghost-hunting skills and host many paranormal events, conferences and tours.


Pierce Arrow There are mixed versions of this story, but I believe the following is a pretty accurate account. In the early 1900's, the mansion was the residence of North Adams' first mayor, Albert C. Houghton and his family. Four deaths are associated with the mansion, all occurring within just 11 days of each other. On August 1st, 1914 the Houghton's chauffeur, John Widder, was driving Albert Houghton, his daughter Mary and a family friend, Sybil Hutton to Vermont in the family's Pierce Arrow. They came upon a road crew on a mountain road, so Widders swerved to the edge of the road to avoid them. The vehicle hit a soft shoulder and rolled violently down a steep embankment.
Sybil died at the scene and Mary died enroute to the hospital. Both John Widders and Mayor Houghton suffered minor injuries. The chauffeur was deeply depressed and highly emotional. The following day, in the early morning hours, Widder was found dead in a barn behind the Mansion. He had committed suicide by shooting himself with a pistol. Mayor Houghton died just 9 days later...some say because of overwhelming despair.

Ownership was passed to the Gallup family in 1918 who quickly sold the property to the Masons just two years later. The Masons erected a huge Masonic Temple at the rear of the house. The mansion is still in use as a Masonic Temple today and is maintained by the Lafayette Graylock Masonic Lodge A.F. & A.M. and the Naomi Chapter of the Eastern Star -- non-profit associations that support many charitable organizations. Interestingly enough, when people leave the main house and enter the temple, many are suddenly filled with a feeling of peace. There have been no significant reports of paranormal activity in this newer section of the building.

A.C. Houghton's Grave Marker    Houghton grave plot    John Widder's Grave Marker

Pierce Arrow wreck    John Widders
V I R T U A L   T O U R

houghton mansion
P A R A N O R M A L    A C T I V I T Y

A.C. Houghton
The Houghton Mansion is "extremely haunted...to put it mildly."

- Maureen Wood, Fifth generation psychic and veteran paranormal investigator for the New England Ghost Project.

The Travel Channel calls the Houghton Mansion one "of the scariest places on Earth."
- Promo line for the Ghost Adventures show, in which the first season includes an investigation of the Houghton Mansion.

Rumors of the mansion being haunted have been whispered among the locals for many, many decades. Common occurences at the mansion include walking / running footsteps, female voices, cold spots, loud knocking on walls, slamming doors and lights going on and off. Some people have been touched by an invisible entity in the basement. Many have felt like they were being watched. Others have experienced chills and numbness when entering certain rooms. Mediums have made contact with multiple entities...some of which have not always been very friendly. The three principle spirits of the mansion seem to be that of A.C. Houghton, his daughter Mary, and John Widders.

Why do the ghosts of A.C., Mary and John still haunt the mansion to this day?
One recent theory (based on a psychic's impression):
John refuses to "cross over" because he commited suicide and is afraid he will go to hell. Mary, who was secretly in love with John, refuses to leave without him. Mary's spirit informed the psychic: "Our love was forbidden".
Her father wont leave because he's "afraid to leave those two alone". It's possible that shortly before A.C. died, he found out about Mary and John's secret love affair and was furious. With A.C.'s wealth and stature, he may have felt that no daughter of his was going to marry a servant and probably told Mary to stop seeing him. It's also likely that Mary continued to see John behind her father's back.
Whenever Mary's presence is felt in the mansion, it often comes across as a feeling of profound sadness. When A.C.'s spirit is present, he is often perceived by many sensitives and psychics as an angry spirit and does not wish to have strangers in "his" house.


For more photos and the first official Berkshire Paranormal investigation results see our Houghton Mansion Investigation page.

For Isis Paranormal's March 13, 2005 investigation results click here

For the New England Ghost Project's investigation results click here then click on "The Houghton Mansion" link.

A R T I C L E S   /   P R E S S

"Psychic Seeks Mayor's Ghost Inside Masonic Temple" - North Adams Transcript - Oct 2004

"This Just Can't Be Normal" - North Adams Transcript - May 2005

"Ghost Hunters Haunt Mansion" - North Adams Transcript - July 2005

"Masonic Temple to Host Ghost-Hunting Workshop" - North Adams Transcript - Oct 2005

"Houghton Mansion is Studied" - Berkshire Eagle - Oct 2005

"Waking Spirits - Ghost Hunters Investigate Mansion " - North Adams Transcript - Oct 2005

                                                  "Raising spirits - Ghost hunters converge on Masonic Temple " - North Adams Transcript - Sept 2006

                                                   iBerkshire's "The Five Most Haunted Places in the Berkshire Hills"

Albany's WNYT Channel 13 does a segment on the mansion - Halloween 2005

Reporter Subrina Dhammi at the mansion entrance

Josh and Steph at the entrance to Mary's room

Josh is interviewed in what's believed to have been John Widders room.

The mansion has also been featured in the following books and magazines:
David Pitkin's Ghosts of the Northeast Jeff Belanger's Encyclopedia of Haunted Places Cheri Ravi's Haunted Massachusetts Issue 20 - Paranormal Magazine

directions          map to Houghton mansion

Take Rt. 2 West into downtown North Adams.
When you get to the intersection where the Dunkin Donuts and McDonald's is located turn left onto Eagle St. and continue straight to the next light. At this light turn left and continue towards the statue, at the statue bear right onto Church St. Continue South on Church St. for approximately 1/4 of a mile. The Houghton Mansion will be on your Left just prior to Pleasant St.
Take Rt.2 East into downtown North Adams.
After going over an overpass you will get to the intersection that has a Dunkin Donuts across and to the left of you. At that intersection bear to the right and continue straight till you reach next light just up the street. At this light turn left and continue towards the statue, at the statue bear right onto Church St. Continue South on Church St. for approximately 1/4 of a mile. The Houghton Mansion will be on your Left just prior to Pleasant St
Take Rt. 8 south into North Adams until it joins with Rt. 2 and continue on Rt. 2 west, 8 south until first intersection. At this intersection a Dunkin Donuts and McDonald's is located on your right. Turn left onto Eagle St. and continue straight till next light. At this light turn left and continue towards the statue, at the statue bear right onto Church St. Continue South on Church St. for approximately 1/4 of a mile. The Houghton Mansion will be on your left just prior to Pleasant St.
Take Rt. 8 north into North Adams until you come to the intersection with Main St. (North Adams City Hall should be on you left and Holiday Inn on your Right) Turn Right at this intersection. Continue straight through first and second lights on Main St. Immediately after going straight through the second light bear to the right onto Church St. Continue South on Church St. for approximately 1/4 of a mile. The Houghton Mansion will be on your Left just prior to Pleasant St.
W H E R E  TO  S T A Y


North Adams

Blackinton Manor Bed & Breakfast 7 minutes
** Discounts available for Houghton Mansion event-goers!
Contact the Manor for details: 413-663-5795 **

Holiday Inn Under 5 minutes
Porches Inn 5 minutes


Cozy Corner Motel 10 minutes
1896 House 15 minutes
Williams Inn 10 minutes

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