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Maudslay State Park, Newburyport, MA


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#1 ParaEv

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 03:51 PM

Hi everyone, new member of the forums here. I live in northeastern Massachusetts and have been very interested in the paranormal for a long time. I've had many strange experiences, but one place that I keep getting drawn to repeatedly is Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, Mass. This is a large former estate (over 400 acres or so) that was transformed into a state park sometime in the '80's. Here's a link for those unfamiliar: Maudslay State Park

I first heard of the place about 15 years ago or so through some friends. At first it all seemed pretty sensational, kind of standard local urban legend types of things....an old mansion that used to be on the grounds which burned down supposedly can still be seen at night, trails throughout the park change unexpectedly, trees "come alive" and move, unexplained cold spots in summer, and of course, not one but two "gates to hell" located on the grounds. Also, according to these friends, there were lots of supposedly unsolved murders and satanic activity (natch) that occurred there throughout the years. (Anyone who is famiiar with the infamous Freetown State Forest in southern Mass. can relate I'm sure ;-) )

In any case, these friends and I went there to unofficially "investigate" these claims. We went toward late afternoon near dusk, which is when the park closes. I definitely got an eerie feeling from the place right away, and several times I was convinced that we were being watched or followed despite the fact that we seemed to be the only ones there at the time. Still, I chalked it up to being hyped up in advance about the creepy stories. We walked to where these supposed "hell gates" were....basically, it's sort of a storage barn that's half-built into the side of this hill. Nothing too sinister about it, in my view. The rest of our visit was uneventful, but I definitely felt some sort of eerieness in various places in there.

Over the next few years, I went back several times to see if I could find anything else around there. The culmination of these visits came in 2001 - 2002 when I attempted to do some historical research or even some research around the area of any local legends that may have sparked some of this, but I turned up very little information besides the literal historic facts of the place. Despite my lack of any concrete historical info, I had some pretty weird experiences....

First, I always felt like I was not alone there. Even in the most desolate trails and sections of the park, I felt like I was being watched or followed, even when no one was there. There is an old stone bridge that crosses a creek there that I've suddenly felt very very sad and depressed as I've stood there looking out over the water. I also experienced some very strong deja vu on that bridge, like I had been there long long ago in maybe a dream or something. As soon as I moved away from the bridge, those feelings went away. Certain areas there definitely have left me feeling unwelcomed, especially as you get farther and farther into the park. I even ran out of one heavily wooded section of the park after becoming overcome with a feeling of terror that I couldn't explain. And I'm not one to easily be scared of walking through deep woods ;-)....

I've scoured the internet and all the major and local ghost/paranormal sites looking for any information or anyone else who may have experienced things here, but haven't come up with much. The Shadowlands Haunted Places index has a listing that simply states "known to have had hauntings for many years", which is rather uninformative. I can't help but feel that there are some others out there who have had experiences. Is there anyone here from the Massachusetts area that has had any experiences at Maudslay, or would know where I could find more info? Thanks to anyone who can offer some help!

#2 GhostCat

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Posted 10 October 2008 - 06:42 PM

I live in Newburyport, MA and know Maudslay State Park well. My father was actually the attorney, among with many others that helped turn this private land into a state park. You will find very little information about anything, because nothing much has happened there. There have been no murders in the the park....don't know where that rumor came from. Actually the park is the area's
"best kept secret" and that is why you hardly see many people there. Shadowlands does list it as haunted. Supposedly people have seen a female ghost standing in the evening near the old foundation of the home which overlooks the Merrimack River. I was very interested in the history of the land because of experiences that I had there too.. The place really has a feel to it. The wooded section is really dense and on the sunniest of days in the middle of the afternoon, it was if it was night time. I stopped walking there and decided to ride my mountain bike.. I guess I felt as though I could get away faster on a bike, lol. I have also had that feeling of being watched, and it has happened all through the park... the meadows, the wooded areas, the river trails etc. I always stop at the stone bridge, the larger one near the small pond. The first few minutes are peaceful, but then it quickly turns into a creepy feeling. It doesn't last long because that is the spot where I seem to run into the most people. My husband has lived in Newburyport all his life. He remembers the old mansion on the property. I have asked many of the old timers if they know of any info. or stories, but they know nothing. If you ever go along the river trail and get to a section that says "private property, no trespassing".. don't go, no fear of police, but the owner. He is armed and will shoot....not people, but if you have a dog not on a leash, he will shoot it. It just happened last year to a family with a young german shephard... shot dead.
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#3 ParaEv

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Posted 11 October 2008 - 09:45 PM

GhostCat, thanks for that info! That's really something that your father was part of the team that assisted in the turnover from private land to state park. The place is really amazing in and of itself, and you're right about it being the area's best kept secret. I especially love walking around there in the later part of the day near evening as that's when it's the most mysterious.

After reading what you had to say as well as such a lack of any "real" evidence, both historical and local legend-wise, I really think that a lot of these stories that I've heard are little more than campfire-tales passed around to scare people. Still, there is definitely a feeling about the place....(feeling watched, the creepy stone bridge over the pond, etc.) It could just be old land with lots of residual imprints from things that happened long long ago, even long before the Moseley family built their estate there.

Still, it's good to hear from someone else who has had some similar experiences there! I had never heard about the woman's ghost near the old foundation before, either...very interesting, indeed!

#4 sublimeluva420

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 03:59 PM

:ghost: i have been to maudslay many times, and i always get that same eerie feeling. my friends and i have went into one of the houses and it was pretty creepy, someone had obviously broken in before, because there was broken glass and things were strewn about. we always try to find the paranormal while there and have taken some good pictures near what i believe is an old slave house. there is an enclosed area with 3 or 4 foot walls, and trees surrounding, this area seems to be the back side of the house. as we walked into this area a strange and forbidding feeling washed over us and we debated moving on. as we stood there, we heard a noise coming from the path in front of us, it sounded like breaking branches, so we took some pictures of the area. when we looked at the pictures we saw a red orb hovering over the gate, and in the next picture, it had moved to the left slightly. as we zoomed in on the picture, it seemed as it there was the shape of a small body, that was giving off light. as we looked through the next picture the lights surrounding the "thing" seemed to light up the area. we left this place, too scared to continue and walked along the river paths. every few minutes we would stop and could hear things moving around us, it wasnt like a squirrel or stray cat, it seemed like something bigger. as we moved along the path i felt as if i couldnt breathe. i stopped and waited for the feeling to pass but it seemed to get worse. i felt as if something was pushing me along and wanted us out of the area. as we continued exploring, we came to the well and the feeling of being overwhelmed and not being able to breathe passed. but once we got to the stone bridge the feeling came back. i cant exactly say for sure that this was a paranormal experience but i was with four people and we all felt the same way at these points. there is a feeling of evil at maudslay, and it is rumored that the tunnel was once the site for a satanic cult that dressed in all white, and as people have reported before, they see a women in a white robe. i have also heard that the path to the bridge runs along the roselines. i am not sure if any of this is true, but i know what i feel when i walk through maudslay state park and it is not a friendly and inviting feeling even in the daytime. it is a feeling of evil, like something doesnt want us there. it is forbiding and is always there.

#5 Michelle Lynne

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:36 PM

Hi I just registered here because I had to share with you that I had the same experience as you on a bridge today. It was a smaller bridge and it said 1914 or some date similar to it. I called my mother to see if we had been there before because I felt like we had. She assured me we hadn't been there but I felt like I knew that bridge. I sat there for a while with my friend then we moved on.

Just letting you know that someone else had that experience! Maybe it means something? Curious to know any other info you have about what you felt!
-Michelle

#6 RIPTIDE

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 08:45 PM

I grew up in Sailsbury and Newburyport as well. I actually own a house less than 2miles away from the site.


I just wanted to add that I have always felt the feeling of being watched and what sparked me to google today was what happend to me this morning while walking my dog over there. He just wasn't himself and I felt drained after spending sometime around the 1929 storgae area refered too in this thread.

I posted some pic's on another fourm and some of the more gifted folks said they felt someone passed away but hadn't moved on in that area. Anyone know of a homeless person passig away on the grounds? I'm just a good old Christain boy, but I know when I'm being watched. Anyone that's local and wants to do some more research please message me.

Edited by RIPTIDE, 10 December 2008 - 08:48 PM.


#7 alicegoask

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 07:43 PM

I used to rent a house that was part of the original estate. I did not live there but ran a small online business out of the facility. It is still standing and quite grand. It is privately owned currently and on the outskirts of the park. There was a ghost in the house that was very mischievious. I was there alone most of the time and there were buzzers circa early 1900's in each room to call servents from the old kitchen. Occasionally all the buzzers would just start ringing. There were cold spots throughout the house that were totally unexplained and on one occasion a phone/network installer refused to return to the basement. There were so many odd occurances. One day when I had the alarm system on in the middle of the day in January a duck walked into the room I was in. I put a blanket over him with some assistance from the caretaker and let him out. Shadows would pass in front of mirrors. I never feared the ghost (perhaps I was naive) but it never made me feel threatened. I never spent a night there but there was one room in the servents quarters I could not enter. The basement also caused me concern as it was mostly dirt and had odd cavern areas. On one of the last nights before my lease ended I had a dream that there was a young servent that was very ill and the owners of the house refused to get her medical care and she died unecessarily and because they were fearful of being blamed they buried her in the basement. I may just have a prolific imagination in my sleep or I was on to something. I tried to substantiate my theory but never could find any documented information. I believe the woman they see in the park proper may be my ghost. She is young and in nightclothes, late teens early twenties, caucasion, long hair. I never actually "saw" her but I can describe her to a "T". Almost no one could stay in the house except for me and I was told that previous tenants suffered psychatric breakdowns while living there. The owners of the home have not lived there in years but prefer to visit "the carriage house" instead. Very odd experience that I will never forget.

#8 Scarletskye

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 11:26 PM

I was at Maudslay today; walked throughout, plenty of nature spirits, I think; re the stone bridge over Flowering Pond; I did feel a sense of longing, almost despondence; I believe it's because the look of the stone bridge, the large oak at the end, and the path leading up the hill looks so like Ireland it broke my heart. Anyone else of Irish heritage having this experience? The rest of the park felt very welcoming.

Edited by Scarletskye, 03 July 2009 - 11:31 PM.


#9 alicegoask

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 09:04 PM

I used to rent a house that was part of the original estate. I did not live there but ran a small online business out of the facility. It is still standing and quite grand. It is privately owned currently and on the outskirts of the park. There was a ghost in the house that was very mischievious. I was there alone most of the time and there were buzzers circa early 1900's in each room to call servents from the old kitchen. Occasionally all the buzzers would just start ringing. There were cold spots throughout the house that were totally unexplained and on one occasion a phone/network installer refused to return to the basement. There were so many odd occurances. One day when I had the alarm system on in the middle of the day in January a duck walked into the room I was in. I put a blanket over him with some assistance from the caretaker and let him out. Shadows would pass in front of mirrors. I never feared the ghost (perhaps I was naive) but it never made me feel threatened. I never spent a night there but there was one room in the servents quarters I could not enter. The basement also caused me concern as it was mostly dirt and had odd cavern areas. On one of the last nights before my lease ended I had a dream that there was a young servent that was very ill and the owners of the house refused to get her medical care and she died unecessarily and because they were fearful of being blamed they buried her in the basement. I may just have a prolific imagination in my sleep or I was on to something. I tried to substantiate my theory but never could find any documented information. I believe the woman they see in the park proper may be my ghost. She is young and in nightclothes, late teens early twenties, caucasion, long hair. I never actually "saw" her but I can describe her to a "T". Almost no one could stay in the house except for me and I was told that previous tenants suffered psychatric breakdowns while living there. The owners of the home have not lived there in years but prefer to visit "the carriage house" instead. Very odd experience that I will never forget.

The house I'm referring to is known as Chailley House on the Merrimack River..it was part of the original Maudsley estate..White with red roof...end of Spring Street....It's private property so don't venture on the grounds without permission...

Edited by alicegoask, 05 July 2009 - 09:07 PM.


#10 GhostCat

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 11:23 PM

I used to rent a house that was part of the original estate. I did not live there but ran a small online business out of the facility. It is still standing and quite grand. It is privately owned currently and on the outskirts of the park. There was a ghost in the house that was very mischievious. I was there alone most of the time and there were buzzers circa early 1900's in each room to call servents from the old kitchen. Occasionally all the buzzers would just start ringing. There were cold spots throughout the house that were totally unexplained and on one occasion a phone/network installer refused to return to the basement. There were so many odd occurances. One day when I had the alarm system on in the middle of the day in January a duck walked into the room I was in. I put a blanket over him with some assistance from the caretaker and let him out. Shadows would pass in front of mirrors. I never feared the ghost (perhaps I was naive) but it never made me feel threatened. I never spent a night there but there was one room in the servents quarters I could not enter. The basement also caused me concern as it was mostly dirt and had odd cavern areas. On one of the last nights before my lease ended I had a dream that there was a young servent that was very ill and the owners of the house refused to get her medical care and she died unecessarily and because they were fearful of being blamed they buried her in the basement. I may just have a prolific imagination in my sleep or I was on to something. I tried to substantiate my theory but never could find any documented information. I believe the woman they see in the park proper may be my ghost. She is young and in nightclothes, late teens early twenties, caucasion, long hair. I never actually "saw" her but I can describe her to a "T". Almost no one could stay in the house except for me and I was told that previous tenants suffered psychatric breakdowns while living there. The owners of the home have not lived there in years but prefer to visit "the carriage house" instead. Very odd experience that I will never forget.

The house I'm referring to is known as Chailley House on the Merrimack River..it was part of the original Maudsley estate..White with red roof...end of Spring Street....It's private property so don't venture on the grounds without permission...



What an interesting story, I will have to take a peek at that house when I am out there. I live just over a mile from the park and will be out there lots in the next several weeks walking and biking. Maudslay is really a sentimental place for me as my father was the state attorney that
turned this legally into a state park back in the mid 1980's. It was an odd story about naming the park.. the Moseley families estate back in England was "Maudesleigh", but somehow the state of Mass. thought that would be too "confusing", so they named it "Maudslay". Big pet peeve of mine, not many pronouce it right. It's pronounced as it is... Mauds...then lay...not leeee, confused with moseley.. Also, on the other side of I-95 is a park called Moseley Woods.. I have not been to Maudslay in a while, but will a lot over the next couple of weeks. I will let you know if anything happens... I have never had anything paranormal happen there except the "feeling of being watched" which gave me the spooks.. I will have to take my camera too.. something I have never done is take photos there..
"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."-- Robert A. Heinlein

#11 PHANTOM MONK

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 12:09 PM

I had never heard of the Park that has been cited but thanks for taking the time to do so. It was very interesting and motivated me to try and find out more about it. Thanks again. :)

#12 pommom

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 07:26 PM

A friend and I rode our horses in the park today. Beautiful day, lot's of people walking on the trails. I purposely went to see if I could find the ruins but no such luck. Will have to try again. I did cross a stone bridge with rhododendrums on the end but did not have any feeling of sadness or dread. It was actually quite peaceful. We didn't see the eagles but we heard them up in the pines. I didn't feel like anyone was watching. Could be just a regular feeling you have walking alone in the woods; any woods.

#13 JonCollyer

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 11:22 PM

HEY EVERYONE!!! tonight I was at hells gates from between about 8-11 O'Clock and I was with a group or about 14 and we saw a lot of messed up stuff, we saw some lady in white walking a dog a really tall object in the shadows walking twords us, we made 4 trips back and forth there because we would see something book it to our cars and speed away and we also had to go and pick up friends we entered at the gate that you have to jump to get in and it leads to the field and if you look to the left of the field theres a trail that leads to that private house and that old abandoned inground giant pool.

Well we went to the right and went to that old house and inside the bushes that are at the begging of that short little walkway to the house and well someone said "DUDE THERES A NOISE!" and I go come on guys suck it up and lets go and right as I walked there was a loud like grunt/growl that came and also a loud thud as if something was hitting the ground with some serious force then when we were walking back to the gates to leave we saw a black shadow pacing the gates as if to guard it

my e-mail is- thatswhatshesaid9999@gmail.com

for anyone that has gone and has experienced anything please e-mail me so we could maybe discuss it

also maybe if someone that has experienced this before would like to get a small group together so we could go and check it out

please reach me!!!

Thanks, Jon

#14 pommom

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 11:28 AM

HEY EVERYONE!!! tonight I was at hells gates from between about 8-11 O'Clock and I was with a group or about 14 and we saw a lot of messed up stuff, we saw some lady in white walking a dog a really tall object in the shadows walking twords us, we made 4 trips back and forth there because we would see something book it to our cars and speed away and we also had to go and pick up friends we entered at the gate that you have to jump to get in and it leads to the field and if you look to the left of the field theres a trail that leads to that private house and that old abandoned inground giant pool.

Well we went to the right and went to that old house and inside the bushes that are at the begging of that short little walkway to the house and well someone said "DUDE THERES A NOISE!" and I go come on guys suck it up and lets go and right as I walked there was a loud like grunt/growl that came and also a loud thud as if something was hitting the ground with some serious force then when we were walking back to the gates to leave we saw a black shadow pacing the gates as if to guard it

my e-mail is- thatswhatshesaid9999@gmail.com

for anyone that has gone and has experienced anything please e-mail me so we could maybe discuss it

also maybe if someone that has experienced this before would like to get a small group together so we could go and check it out

please reach me!!!

Thanks, Jon



#15 pommom

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 11:51 AM

What you most likely saw/heard was the theater people practicing for the Haunted Maudslay event that they have every year. I was there on Saturday and there were several of these performers walking around on stilts and some had these awesome costumes consisting of puppets that sat up on their shoulders so to make them look life-sized. They were scheduled to meet Friday evening to practice.

When I went Saturday, I walked rather than ride my horse and I checked out some of the old ruins. We visited some of the old cottages, the pet cemetery, the greenhouse, and the gardens. There were a lot of people in the park doing the Haunted Maudslay thing so it was quite noisy. Again, nothing eerie or spooky. I even entered a few of the cottages that were not boarded up. It surprised me that they were open; animals could be living in them. I actually felt very sad that the state doesn't either restore the place or protect it better. Some of the cottage lawns had junk strewn about and we even found a trash barrel turned over with dozens of empty beer cans. THey should fix them up the way they were and charge a fee to tour them. I would love to.

I took a lot of pictures. Only one came out strange. It was black and there is a white streak that is in the upper right hand corner. Not sure how that happened but I'm sure it's explainable. Even pictures I took inside one of the old cottages did not yield any ghostly images or orbs.

I'll go back next week and poke around some more as I still did not see all of the ruins and we could not find the swimming pool.

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