By Tom McGovern
Boston Common, as we learn during the Ghost & Graveyard Tour, is the last resting place of many Boston citizens. Known as The Common, it has had a long reputation as a killing field. In the 1890s a mass grave was unearthed — 900 men and women now rest in an unmarked grave at the northeast corner of the park. It is also the place where public hangings took place between 1817 and 1876.
You will hear more about this and other creepy tales of the city when you board the Trolley of Doom. The first person you encounter is a woman named Madeline Seawall. She lures you to come on board and experience Boston in a different (and hair-raising) way. Once on board, you travel through the streets of Boston — and two graveyards. You will learn of a murderess by the name of Jane Toppan, whose only goal in life was to kill “more men and women than any other person in the United States.” You will also ascertain the strange facts surrounding the still-unsolved case of the Boston Strangler. In the summer of 1962, no woman in the Boston area was safe. The killer did not hold fast to any class distinction, and to this day the case sends shivers up the spines of the city’s gentry.
Guests may also embark on a moonlit tour of the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. It is in this cemetery that persons such as John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Sam Adams are buried. It is interesting to note that two of the three people mentioned are not in their respective marked graves. To find out more and discover which of the three are not, you will just have to take the tour. There is also a journey to the King’s Chapel Burying Ground. Here you will find other interesting and creepy tales of Boston’s underbelly.
The city of Boston is really about its past. If you are interested in history, there is no greater city in the world for you, and this tour will get you wondering more about the rest of the city.
Tour reservations can be made in person outside the Long Wharf Hotel at the corner of State Street and Atlantic Avenue, just around the bend from the hotel entrance. You may also call (617) 269-3626. Tours are available from April through October. An adult must accompany children under 13. Tours are conducted rain or shine.
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