Westport’s Ghostly Legend of ‘The House Next to White’s’
If you ask anyone of a certain age what the most haunted house is on the SouthCoast, they’re not going to mention Fall River’s Lizzie Borden House, Middleboro’s Oliver Estate or even Wareham’s Fearing Tavern.
Instead, they’ll bring up a place that is long gone physically, but whose ghostly legend lives on decades after its demolition.
They’ll tell you about the “house next to White’s” in Westport.
First, that’s a bit of a misnomer; the white, two-story raised ranch house was actually just under a half-mile away from White’s, but that wasn’t too big of a difference to those driving past on Interstate 195 eastbound, looking off to the side of the road to catch a glimpse of the notorious home.
Located at 101 Old Bedford Road, the house abutted the Wordell Burial Ground. This led to rumors that the house was actually built on unmarked graves that should have been part of the burial ground. An even more popular legend was that it was built on what was formerly a Native American burial ground.
Neither appear to be true, but the truth doesn’t have to get in the way of a good ghost story.
The True Story of “The House Next to White’s”
According to a Herald News article from 2000, the property was purchased in 1943 by Marie and Armand Brodeur. The home they originally built was torn down as part of the creation of I-195, so in 1969, the couple built the home that became so infamous.
In 1979, it was sold to a teacher from New Bedford, who remained in the house until 1985, when she sold it to Sumner J. Waring, Jr., the owner of Waring Funeral Homes (now Waring-Sullivan).
According to the Herald News article, Waring bought the property with the intention of turning it into administrative offices for his business, but chose another site instead and then just left the house sitting. Fifteen years after purchasing it, he told the reporter in that 2000 article he still had no idea what he was going to do with the property.
He did, however, nix the idea of any haunting.
"It’s a lot of hogwash, frankly," Waring said in the article. "The whole thing is absurd."
"I can’t imagine anyone would take any credence in this stuff. Any rational individual knows there aren’t ghosts coming out of that place," he said.
The Stories of the Hauntings at “The House Next to White’s”
So even though we can trace the residency of who lived at 101 Old Bedford Road from the time the house was built, that doesn’t stop the stories coming from people who claim to know someone who lived there and experienced paranormal activity.
There are tales of apparitions of Indians parading through the house, unseen hands gripping at them from under the bed or strange noises emitting from the house, even after the home was vacated by the school teacher and remained empty over a decade and a half.
Those who approached the house would report sensing a general heaviness surrounding the property, an oppressive and unwelcoming feeling that only got closer to the front door. There were reports of unexplained lights inside, despite there being no electrical service to the home and the windows and doorways being boarded up.
What Happened to “The House Next to White’s?”
For years, Waring had to contend with people breaking into the house looking for a thrill. The Westport Police had to patrol by it frequently, especially around Halloween. Waring had concrete pillars put in front of the driveway to keep cars from pulling into it.
It eventually got to the point where the home was leveled and a couple of businesses are in the building that now stands in its place.
Of course, we haven’t heard about any ghostly occurrences at that location, but the legend of “The House Next to White’s” will live on.