Ask anyone who knows anything about the paranormal, and they’ll tell you just how haunted New Bedford really is – but a new report from a betting website is backing up that claim.

According to, New Bedford is the No. 2 city in all of the Commonwealth when it comes to ghostly encounters. The site claims that you have a 3.86 percent chance of coming face-to-face with a ghost in the Whaling City.

Wow, I'm surprised we're not number one,” said Luann Joly, founder and lead investigator with New Bedford-based Whaling City Ghosts. “Most of Massachusetts can claim a haunted history, but none so proud, misunderstood, and violent as New Bedford. The more you look, the more you find.”

How Was It Determined That New Bedford Was No. 2 for Ghost Encounters?

The website described its methodology in determining the most haunted cities as such: “ utilized to compile the amount of ghost sightings across the state of Massachusetts. After determining the number of sightings per city, we developed the chance and odds for ghost sightings in each city.”

Now, the site doesn’t explain what it considers to be a true ghost encounter. Did it go through the reports listed on to determine their validity? Taking a look at the site, it does appear that there are a lot of reports of things like strange sounds or unexplained sights that might actually be something completely mundane.

Another problem is that there are no real time frames or dates listed on, so this was just taking a total count of all the reports for each city that have been posted over many, many years on a website not a lot of people know about when it comes to actually reporting their paranormal experiences. Then, they applied that number of reported incidents against the total overall number of reports on the site (1,398).

It’s totally arbitrary, but then again, it’s just for fun.

Where Are You Most Likely to Encounter a Ghost in Massachusetts?

The website lists Lowell, Massachusetts as the Commonwealth city where you are most likely to encounter a ghost. With 59 listed sightings on, it’s been figured that you have a 3.93 percent chance of encountering a ghost there.

New Bedford was not very far behind, with just five less ghost encounters with 54 reported incidents.

“If you're looking to have a paranormal experience, the Greater New Bedford area is the place to look,” Joly said.

Another Bristol County city, North Attleboro, takes the No. 3 spot – although with just about half of the number of ghost encounters that New Bedford has at 23, with a 1.65 percent chance of encountering one.

After that, Ware and Chicopee are tied for fourth; Malden, Danvers and Brockton tied for sixth; and then Whitman and Orange tied for ninth.

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Wait – What About Boston, Salem and Fall River?

“It’s interesting that the state’s largest city, Boston, doesn’t make the list,” mentioned. “Also, not on the list: Salem, scene of the infamous witch trials, and Fall River, home to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast.”

Why Is New Bedford So Haunted?

Todd Sylvia, founder of New Bedford-based Relatively Paranormal, is out almost every weekend investigating for ghosts around the Whaling City.

“New Bedford has a well-deserved ranking as the No. 2 most haunted location in Massachusetts,” Sylvia said. “Maybe it should be No. 1.”

Sylvia looks to New Bedford’s varied history as a reason for its hauntings.

“I find much of the paranormal activity in New Bedford goes back to the whaling era, where many of the lavish mansions built by wealthy merchants and captains of the whaling vessels still stand today. I have yet to investigate one of these historic homes and not encounter spirits from that time,” he said.

“Add to that its time as a booming industrial revolution textile city; like the whaling era, the socioeconomic dynamic of the haves and have nots left the former living extremely hard lives where even children died while being forced to work in the factories," he said.

“New Bedford has many layers going all the way back to its role in the Massachusetts Bay Colonial era, and many times when one of those layers is peeled back, you find the lost soul of one of the city's residents there,” Sylvia said.

Why Is Massachusetts as a Whole So Haunted?

Sylvia, like many other paranormal researchers who have studied the Bay State, thinks there are a number of reasons why there are so many ghosts in Massachusetts.

“Many early colonists died in large numbers just trying to survive day to day in the pursuit of religious freedom. Even more horrific is the thousands of Native Americans being displaced, murdered, and infected with disease over land,” Sylvia said.

“Add to the battles that occurred during the Revolution and in particular King Philip's War, it's no wonder so many lost souls wander the state with unfinished business,” he said. “Massachusetts is also home to the Bridgewater Triangle, which is rife with paranormal activity. I have yet to visit a location in the Triangle that didn't have extreme paranormal activity.”

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New Bedford was recently named the No. 2 city in Massachusetts for ghost encounters. These are some of the real-life ghost stories of the Whaling (or is it Wailing?) City, as submitted to

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