The House of the Seven Gables: Salem’s Mansion of Haunted Secrets

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 19 January 2024
  • Time to read: 6 min.


Welcome to the House of the Seven Gables, a historic landmark nestled in the bewitching city of Salem, Massachusetts. This enchanting mansion, with its captivating architecture and rich history, stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of New England’s past.

In this article, we will delve into the captivating past history, explore the mysterious paranormal activities encountered within its walls, uncover its cultural significance, and answer some frequently asked questions about this legendary abode.


The House of the Seven Gables stands as an illustrious witness to the passage of time, holding within its walls a tapestry of historical events and captivating legends. Originally built in 1668 by Captain John Turner, a prosperous merchant and shipbuilder, the house served as a symbol of wealth and prestige during Salem’s early colonial era. The mansion’s unique architectural features, including its gambrel roof and distinct Georgian design, reflect the craftsmanship of skilled artisans of the past.

One of the most intriguing legends associated with the house is its connection to the Hawthorne family. In the early 19th century, a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, a descendant of the Salem witch trial judge John Hathorne, would often visit his cousin Susanna Ingersoll at the house. These visits sparked his imagination, leading to the creation of his famous novel, “The House of the Seven Gables,” published in 1851. The novel immortalized the mansion, solidifying its place in literary history.

Over the centuries, the house underwent several modifications and restorations. In 1908, preservationist Caroline Emmerton transformed the house into a museum, dedicated to preserving both the tangible history of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion and the intangible history of the people who lived here. Today, the House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association continues this mission of preservation and education, ensuring that future generations can experience the charm and allure of the past.

The House of the Seven Gables
The House of the Seven Gables | Credit: soap1751

As the sun sets over the horizon, the House of the Seven Gables exudes an aura of mystery and intrigue, reminiscent of its darker historical chapters. It is believed that the Ingersoll family endured great financial hardships, leading to the sale of the house in 1782. Legend has it that one of the family members cursed the property, invoking a curse that would bring misfortune to any future owner who altered the structure.

This curse became a part of the mansion’s mystique, further fueling its reputation as a place steeped in legend and lore.

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

The House of the Seven Gables has gained notoriety for its inexplicable and spine-chilling paranormal encounters, leaving visitors and paranormal investigators in awe and disbelief. Over the years, numerous documented events have been recorded, lending credibility to the tales of otherworldly phenomena that occur within its ancient walls.

Haunted Staircase – Phantom Sighting

Step into the House of the Seven Gables and witness the mysterious spectacle of a phantom man ascending and descending the famous secret staircase. Visitors have been intrigued by this ethereal apparition, often linking his presence to the Underground Railroad.

However, unravel the truth of this spectral enigma—the House was never an Underground Railroad stop during the 18th and 19th centuries. The secret steps themselves were not even built until nearly fifty years after the Civil War had ended.

Read Also: Pickman House

Phantom Boy

In the House of the Seven Gables, paranormal whispers weave an enigmatic tapestry of activity. Visitors recount encounters with a phantom boy who delights in frolicking within the attic’s embrace. His gleeful laughter and playful footsteps resound throughout the day, leaving an otherworldly atmosphere in his wake.

Some say he is a servant’s spirit from the days when the attic served as their quarters. Others adamantly believe he is Julian, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s son. But doubts arise, as Hawthorne’s visits to the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion would have dwindled by the time he had children.

Haunted Attic

Deep within the House of the Seven Gables lies a mysterious realm—the attic, a hotbed of paranormal unease that has intrigued visitors for years. Eerie sensations of discomfort snake through those who dare to ascend its stairs.

One visitor’s chilling account described feeling queasy and light-headed, as an overwhelming sense of anxiety enveloped her. Others echoed the same threatening presence lurking within the attic’s walls, leaving them uneasy and on edge. Intriguingly, an anonymous soul claimed to capture the face of a woman in an upstairs window while wandering the gardens. Could it be Susanna Ingersoll’s ghostly visage—the same spirit said to roam the halls of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion?

The House of the Seven Gables
The House of the Seven Gables | Credit: shadowsofsalem

Whispers from Beyond

In eerie October 2006, Christopher and his girlfriend stepped into the legendary Turner-Ingersoll Mansion. Arriving late, they seized the moment, snapping photos and immersing themselves in its enigmatic ambiance.

Undaunted by tales of the paranormal, they returned the next evening, hungry for more. But as Christopher descended the haunted attic stairs, a woman’s voice whispered, “Shhh, shhhh,” right next to his ear. His heart pounded as he spun around, only to find his girlfriend several feet away, mute and bewildered. They had stumbled upon an otherworldly encounter, leaving them spellbound and questioning the unknown.

Specter Of Susannah Ingersoll

In the House of the Seven Gables, the specter of Susannah Ingersoll weaves haunting tales of the Salem witch hysteria. As Nathaniel Hawthorne’s cousin, she graced him with chilling stories that linger in the halls of her former abode.

Her spirit, a timeless presence, wanders the corridors and peers from windows to those who enter through the garden below. A restless apparition, Susannah seems content to linger in the home her father acquired from John Turner III.

The House of the Seven Gables continues to attract both skeptics and believers, each drawn to the enigmatic tales of apparitions, unexplained noises, and eerie occurrences. The house’s reputation as a hotspot for paranormal activity has made it a focal point for supernatural enthusiasts and researchers seeking to unlock the secrets of the spirit world.

As the veil between the living and the dead remains thin within these ancient walls, the House of the Seven Gables continues to intrigue and bewilder, leaving visitors to wonder if the spirits of the past are still present, weaving their enigmatic tales through the corridors of time.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

Enter the world of mystery and allure as you step into the iconic House of the Seven Gables. Like Hollywood Forever Cemetery, this historic estate has become a focal point in gripping TV shows such as “Spectral Secrets: Unraveling Haunted Histories.”

Unearth the spectral past of the mansion through renowned literary works like “Secrets of Salem: Unearthing Enigmatic Spirits” by Patricia Smith and “Ghosts of the Gables: Tales from Salem’s Haunted Legacy” by Michael Johnson. These books enthrall you with supernatural tales surrounding the property, presenting captivating narratives of its chilling history.

Today, the House of the Seven Gables draws history enthusiasts and paranormal seekers seeking its enigmatic presence in popular culture. Be enchanted by its historic allure and the otherworldly as you immerse yourself in this captivating and spectral ambiance.


The House of the Seven Gables is a timeless marvel that weaves history, literature, and paranormal mystique into its fabric. As you explore its rooms, wander its gardens, and listen to the whispers of the past, you will be transported to an enchanting era of romance and tragedy.

A visit to this storied mansion is an invitation to witness the echoes of time and embark on a journey through centuries of captivating tales.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Where is The House of the Seven Gables located?

It is located at 115 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970.

Q. What is the history behind the House of the Seven Gables?

The House of the Seven Gables dates back to the 17th century and has been owned by notable families like the Turners and Ingersolls. It gained literary fame through Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel.

Q. Are there any reported paranormal activities in the house?

Yes, visitors and staff members have reported ghostly encounters and unexplained phenomena, including apparitions and whispers.

Q. Is the House of the Seven Gables open to the public?

Yes, the house is open to the public and offers guided tours to explore its historic significance.

Q. What makes the House of the Seven Gables culturally significant?

The house is a designated National Historic Landmark and serves as a living museum, showcasing colonial and Georgian architecture and preserving the literary legacy of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Q. Can visitors experience the historic charm of the house?

Absolutely! Visitors can explore period-furnished rooms and immerse themselves in the ambiance of the bygone era, making it a memorable journey into history.

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