Tag Archives: Jerusha Howe

The Haunted Room. Did I Meet Jerusha’s Ghost?

The haunted room

Jerusha’s Room #9 (Modern lock), Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, Sudbury Massachusetts

When I described Jerusha Howe’s historic room at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, I told you a bit about what it is like to stay in a haunted room. I also hinted that there might be more to tell. Did Jerusha visit me?

Since this is a ghost story–a story about a haunted room– it is appropriate to tell you on Halloween. (Be sure and follow that link above to see ghostly pictures of her room,  and the historic background. Go on. We’ll still be here when you get back.)

I mentioned in that prior article that people leave notes to Jerusha stuck into the beams in the ceiling:

Notes tucked in ceiling over bed of Jerusha's Room (#9)

Notes tucked in ceiling over bed of Jerusha’s Room (#9)

or stuffed into secret drawers in Rooms 9 and 10:

Haunted Room

People Leave their marks inside the secret drawer in Jerusha Howe’s Room (#9) at Wayside Inn

Letters in the secret drawer in Room #9.

Letters in the secret drawer in Room #9.

I don’t know when this all started, but according to a program for an event by Para-Boston, a paranormal society, by last year, they were able to read more than 3000 letters that had been left in the rooms. A man who used to work at the Wayside Inn told me that people leave notes in every drawer and closet available, and the staff gathers those notes up and puts them in the secet drawers where they belong. The earliest one that Para-Boston reproduced in their booklet was written in 1973. It reports seeing dark shadows move around the room.

I spent some time reading through letters, and was alternately amused and bemused by people’s disappointment at not seeing any ghostly signs, or being frightened out of their wits.

My favorite, however, said, “Yes, the ghost was here for us–either that or they have some heavy duty plumbing issues.”  The plumbing issues might explain why we got a call from the desk downstairs while I was taking a shower to complain that there was water coming through the ceiling into the Old Kitchen dining room below us. That happens, the caller said, when we don’t get the shower door shut tight and water leaks outside the shower.  I checked, and the floor outside the shower was completely dry.

I found it interesting, that although seemingly EVERYONE who sleeps in Jerusha’s room is devoutly hoping to see a ghost, Para-Boston reports that of those 3000 letters, only 180 mention a paranormal experience. Yet we go on hoping. I didn’t believe anything untoward would happen, and yet….

As for our stay, we did not smell Jerusha’s orange blossom perfume, nor did she whisper to us.  We did not feel a sudden chill, nor see the curtains move inexplicably.  So I wrote a rather sarcastic (and perhaps premature) little note for the Secret Drawer Society.

The Haunted Room

My letter in the Secret Drawer in Jerusha’s room at the Wayside Inn

In case you cannot read my writing, it says

Dear Seekers Who Found the Secret Drawer –

I am a descendent of John, Samuel and David Howe, the first innkeepers of the Howe family.  Here for a reunion with seven relatives to visit the haunts of our ancestors.

Perhaps because Jerusha is a distant cousin, she did not feel it necessary for her to visit us last night. Yes, the floor creaked and hinges squeaked, but only from human activity.  I did see the ghostly 77 [it had been mentioned by other letter writers] formed by light on the ceiling–suspiciously near the light that shines in the crack over the door top where it meets the frame.

I will be giving Jerusha two more chances to communicate, as we’re staying two more nights. Read about my results at ancestorsinaprons.com

I dropped the letter into the Secret Drawer and closed it. That was that. Not quite.

Almost immediately, I heard two sharp knocks on the inside of the door of a closet to my left.

Was Jerusha reprimanding me? Skeptical still, I ran through the possibilities. It was my husband. But no–he was elsewhere. It came from another room. No, there is no other room on the other side of that wall. Someone was in the closet?

If they were–they’re still there, because I was thoroughly spooked, and not about to explore any further.

Have you ever stayed in a haunted room? What did you experience?

 

52 Ancestors: #39 Jerusha Howe, the Ghost of the Wayside Inn

Jerusha Howe (1797-1842)

If you want to meet Jerusha, it is recommended you stay in Room 9 at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. It was our good fortune to be assigned that room during our reunion of some descendents of the Sudbury and  Marlborough Howes.

Jerusha's ghost

Room 9, Jetusha’s room, over the Old Kitchen.

The last family members to run the Howe’s Tavern/Inn were a brother and sister, Lyman and Jerusha Howe. By then it was called Longfellow’s Wayside Inn because Longfellow had written about it during their father, Adam’s time. (John How>Samuel How>Ezekial Howe>Adam Howe>Lyman and Jerusha).

Rooms 9 and ten, above the old kitchen in the right hand wing are rented today as historic rooms, the only original Howe rooms you can sleep in. (The other rooms are part of a later addition.)

Jerusha's ghost room from outside.

Room 9 appears in the top left of this wing, with room ten to the right.

Here are some appropriately spooky shots of the room of Jerusha’s ghost.

ghost room

Candle sconce in Jerusha’s room

stairs to ghost room

Back stairs directly to Old Kitchen (now a dining room.

Jerusha's ghost chair

Some people have seen Jerusha’s ghost in this chair.

Jerusha's door

Well worn door, one of many in Jerusha’s room.

The following  Is borrowed from Gothic Horror Stories, which bases it’s explanation on several books on the Wayside Inn.

“Rumors that the Wayside Inn is haunted date back prior to 1868. Found among the notes for the hostess of the inn was a report of an incident where a ghost was reported half floating half running through the room known ever since as the Hobgoblin Room. The room had been used for dancing parties and large group meetings, though later converted into a bedroom, was also known as the Old Hall.

“But the most famous ghost of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn would have to be that of Jerusha Howe …  Jerusha was far above the typical country girl of the period, according to Harper’s New Monthly Magazine “she possessed great common-sense, combined with refined tastes, musical accomplishments and rare domestic abilities. She was delicate in person, not of robust constitution, which kept her much at home under the care of watchful parents.”

“Known as the belle of Sudbury, Miss Jerusha was an arbiter of taste in the area …”

“She was known to have rejected all suitors, and it is from this that the story of Jerusha’s ghost first comes to life. According to legend, rumor or innuendo, it’s no longer known which, Miss Jerusha fell for a visitor from England, who  … pledged to return for her after his return to England. But he never did, and it’s not known whether he was lost at sea, lost on land or maybe betrothed back in England.”

Haunted Room at Wayside Inn

Notes left for Jerusha in haunted Room 9 at the Wayside Inn.

Today, people leave notes to Jerusha, tucked in ceiling joists, or they become members of the Secret Drawer Society, by discovering a secret place where notes are left. Did I find the hidden place? Where? I’m not telling.

Did I see Jerusha’s ghost? I think that would be a good Halloween Story, don’t you?

How I am Related

Jerusha Howe is my 1st cousin 6 times removed.

 Notes on my Research

 

  • As Ancient Is This Hostelry: The Story of the Wayside Inn, by Curtis F. Garfield and Alison R. Ridley(1988)
  • A History of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn by Brian E. Plumb (2011)
  • Howe Genealogies by Daniel Wait Howe (1929), Massachusetts Historical and Genealogical Society. This is said to be the best of the several genealogies of the family. Although I do not have a copy of the entire book, portions of it are available on the Internet.
  • Middlesex County records found on Ancestry.com. Birth, death and marriage.
  • Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts Vol. 1, ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane (1907) Available as a Google Books e-book.
  • FindaGrave.com
  • I also have had assistance from the archivist and a historian at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn