One of Massachusetts’ most interesting haunted locations is a place you’ve probably never heard of – yet.

This Weymouth mansion doesn’t have the grizzly history of a Lizzie Borden House or the tragic witch trials of Salem; in fact, it is a place that was filled with love, light and reverence throughout its entire existence.

The Emery Estate might be under the paranormal radar right now, but it won’t stay that way for long.

What Is the Story Behind Weymouth’s Emery Estate?

The Emery Estate was constructed in 1903 to be a replica of George Washington’s Mount Vernon home in Virginia. The Emery family purchased it in 1916, and different generations lived there until September 2010, when the last Emery to live in the home, Allan Comstock Emery, Jr., passed away at the age of 91.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

The Town of Weymouth had the first opportunity to purchase the estate and the 24 acres surrounding it, which it did for $1.9 million using Community Preservation Act funds. The land is now known as King Oak Hill Park, and the Emery Estate overlooks the park and a magnificent view of the Boston skyline.

Courtesy Jennifer Piantoni
Courtesy Jennifer Piantoni

The property also includes a carriage house and a garage, as well as a “children’s playhouse” that is probably about the size of many regular homes around town.

The Emerys were a very pious people, and for over 30 years, they hosted a weekly teen Bible study in their home.

Allan C. Emery was the Executive Chairman of the Greater Boston Billy Graham Crusade. Graham, the internationally-known evangelist and one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, visited the Emery Estate in Weymouth many times over the years.

Credit: Boston Public Library (CC BY-NC-ND)
Credit: Boston Public Library (CC BY-NC-ND)

There is even a room called the “Billy Graham Room” where it is believed he stayed when visiting the family.

How the Paranormal Can Help the Emery Estate

The eight-bedroom, 4,000-square foot house remained empty for a few years, but now the paranormal is helping to bring it back to life.

Christy Parrish, who has led the successful effort in Middleboro to revitalize the historic and haunted Oliver Estate, is now turning her attention to doing the same for the Emery.

After first conducting her own investigations to determine if the Emery Estate was indeed haunted, Parrish began helping raise funds by running ghost hunting events and renting out the property to paranormal investigation teams earlier this year.

And the house has not disappointed.

What Kind of Paranormal Activity Happens at the Emery Estate?

I recently had a chance to investigate the Emery Estate for the first time, and it was unlike any other paranormal investigation I have done.

In many other haunted spots across New England, you’re dealing with ghosts that lived a century or two (or sometimes three) prior to ours, and they’re not familiar with what it is we are trying to do when we attempt to communicate and interact with them using our modern ghost hunting tools.

The spirits of the Emery Estate, however, seem to have a good deal of knowledge about the process of paranormal investigation and the devices utilized. Because of that, they seem to be more interactive and more to the point that other spirits I’ve encountered.

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What Happened During the Paranormal Investigation of the Emery Estate?

I was with a group of about a dozen or so people, and Parrish took us through the house on a tour before we began investigating. She explained the history of the Emery family, the property, and recounted some of the activity they’d had in each room.

During this tour, while in a second floor bedroom, I felt something sharply poke me in my upper right arm, not once but twice. I just assumed it was something trying to get my attention, and figured we could attempt to communicate with it later, as I didn’t want to interrupt the tour.

Once we began the investigation, I went to the basement with a group of people to spend some time in the dark and try to get a “feel” for the location. I went about my usual initial attempt at communication – banging out the old “shave and a haircut” knock with my flashlight, and receiving back immediately the “two bits” double knock in response.

We were already off to an interesting start.

Later on, we were on the third floor, in another bedroom, where people have experienced being touched on the shoulder when standing inside the closet. I went into the closet myself to see if the same would happen to me, and almost immediately, I felt a pressure on my right shoulder, as if someone was leaning on me to stand up. Motion sensor lights inside the closet were set off, even as I stood still.

The only other item in the closet was a cane, and I found out that’s because the alleged spirit that was pushing down on my shoulder was actually that of a person with a physical impairment, leaning on my shoulder to keep themselves propped up.

I asked if it could also hold on to my other shoulder as well, and then I felt a pressure on my left one. After a few moments, my arms were slowly being pushed in toward my center, until they were practically touching.

The ghost was apparently hugging me from behind.

I jokingly asked if it could also crack my back, and I actually felt myself being pulled backward as if it was trying to honor my request.

Courtesy Jennifer Piantoni
Courtesy Jennifer Piantoni

At the same time, we were running a device called EchoVox that allows for real-time spirit communication; it has all the phonetic sounds of human speech programmed into it, and it randomly circulates through them, allowing spirits to manipulate the device to use the phonetics to make words.

Just about everyone else there that night had the same experience, except for a man named Rob. He never felt anything on his shoulder, and we finally figured out it might be because Rob stands well over six feet tall and may have been too tall for the spirit to reach. When he asked out loud how tall the spirit was, the EchoVox device said it was only a little over five feet tall.

Perhaps the funniest interaction, though, was when the device randomly said “happy birthday.” Although it was nobody’s birthday among those of us there, one of the people, Kim, said her birthday was a few weeks prior but the friend who came with her that night, Kristin, had just given her a birthday present earlier that day, because she hadn’t seen her since before her birthday.

As Kim was recounting this to us, the device spit out “not from Walmart,” and the two women burst out laughing.

We asked why it was funny, and Kim recounted to us that she had given Kristin a gift for her birthday that she tried to pass off as something handmade from Etsy – before finally admitting she had purchased it from Walmart.

Way to blow up her spot, ghosts.

After the Investigation

Even after everyone else had left to go home with a slew of amazing experiences to share, the activity still kept going.

I was standing outside the house with Parrish, who was telling me some other stories about the grounds, and we watched shadow figures darting around the property, moving around a bit before vanishing into thin air.

The Emery Estate is a unique haunted location unlike any I’ve experienced before, and I can’t wait to see what Parrish and the Town of Weymouth can turn it into going forward. The house needs a lot of TLC, but if anyone can help turn the supernatural into a super renovation, it’s her.

Photo of Billy Graham from Brearley Collection/Boston Public Library (CC BY-NC-ND)

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