If you’re looking for a juicy and genuine ghost story, then the countryside of Sudbury, Massachusetts is where you should be headed next; 72 Wayside Inn Road to be more precise…because that is where you’ll find the legend of the Longfellow Wayside Inn ghost.
The Longfellow’s Wayside Inn which is currently owned and managed by the Ford Foundation Trust wasn’t always known by that name.
In fact, the first structure was built over three decades ago by David Howe in 1707. It was a 2 roomed house with an upstairs bedroom constructed on an ancient Indian settlement for his wife and their first of 7 children.
The Howe’s were well-known inn keepers but it wasn’t until 9 years later in 1716 that David was licensed to run an inn in the premises.
It operated under the name Howe’s Inn when it opened its doors to the public as an entertainment spot. From there the family business was handed down through 4 generations until sometime in 1830 when the last of the Howe’s by the name of Lyman inherited the inn but sadly died without an heir to take up on the business.
Although the Ford Trust has carried out a few renovations on the property, careful consideration was made to preserve much of the original style and decorum. The inn currently doubles up as a museum.
However, maybe it’s important to note here that the original Howe’s Inn had undergone at least seven additions throughout the 4 generations it was passed down to family members.
By the time Lyman was the boss, the simple house had transformed to full tavern and inn with more additional rooms and a downstairs bar plus the parlor that was formerly an added 2-story family quarters.
Short Chronological History
1707 – David Howe builds the original home for his young family
1716 – The Howe’s are allowed to run a public entertainment house under the name Howe’s Inn
Late 1740’s – David’s son, Colonel Ezekiel takes over the business and renames it to “the Red Horse”. He carries out his own renovations adding more rooms which include a ballroom that also acted as the reception. Colonel Ezekiel also used the inn as a meeting for the militia during the Civil War.
1793 – Ezekiel’s son Adam takes over control and builds more additional rooms and a kitchen.
1830 – Adam passes ownership to Lyman his son who ended the Howe’s reign by dying single without a child. However, one of the most notable events during Lyman’s tenure as the boss has to be the time when a writer by the name of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stayed at the inn in 1862 to get over the death of his wife as well as the writer’s block he was experiencing. Henry was successful with the book titled Tales of a Wayside Inn which he completed a year later in 1863.
1897 – A wealthy merchant named Edward Lemon buys the unused property from the Howe’s and renames it from the Red Horse to its current name, The Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. Edward also remodels the place to include an art gallery where most of his prized art collections were displayed.
1923 – Edward’s wife Cora sells the building to Henry Ford after Edward dies. It is Henry Ford who renovates the inn to what it is today.
1923 to date – the inn/museum is still under the Ford Trust.
So, where did the haunting and ghost stories begin?
The Unknown Jerusha Howe Becomes Famous in the Afterlife
Nobody knows for sure when Jerusha lived at the family property, but one thing is now very clear, she has never left!
As a matter of fact, witnesses and members of the “Secret Drawer Society” have drafted small notes recording their ordeals and encounters with Jerusha’s ghost and stuck them in drawers or other crevices all over the inn since the early 1900’s.
But why is Jerusha’s ghost still at the inn?
Well, historical accounts say that Jerusha was once in love with a Brit who promised to marry her upon his return to the US after a short trip back home in Britain.
Again, nobody knows what happened to the poor chap but he never showed up…but Jerusha was ready to wait.
And wait she did, she kept attending to her chores and playing her music from the piano for years until she also died single and miserable in her old age.
Some people speculate that the guy was a Casanova and that he had a family in Britain – that’s why he never came back.
Anyway, a few centuries later, and Jerusha still hangs on to the idea of love finding her at the inn even after death.
Visitors at the inn speak of an unseen presence that wears a citrus-scented perfume and also enjoys caressing men fondly.
Some men have claimed that she joined them in bed while some report receiving warm hugs or seeing strange lights.
All this happens in two rooms on the second floor; No. 9 and No.4, where her former living quarters are rumored to have been located.
Jerusha’s ghost can also be heard walking up and down the twisting stairway leading to the upper rooms.
More witness accounts have reported hearing music coming from the empty building after everyone has left. Apparently the Copenhagen Waltz is her favorite tune.
Is There Any Solid Proof of this Haunting?
The only evidence confirming the haunting is from the countless notes stashed all over the inn by eye witnesses.
Victoria Shearer (writer/artist) is one of the known witnesses to ever experience Jerusha’s presence. She was treated to some amazing ghost light show while staying in room 4 at the inn.
So, is the Longfellow Wayside Inn ghost story real?
Well, you can make your way to Sudbury, Massachusetts and find out…the numerous ghost notes scattered within the inn’s walls are a good way to start your investigations.
Remember, mysteries are only solved as you move from the known, to the unknown.
FYI: There are claims of two more unknown apparitions currently residing in the inn with Jerusha but that has not been conclusively ascertained.
What do you think?
Do you have any proof of the existence of the other two ghostly residents at the Longfellow’s Wayside Inn?