Concord, Massachusetts is a town with many layers. Before the United States was even formed, this heretofore sleepy little town grew to be a hotbed of revolutionary sentiment. Alerted by Paul Revere, William Dawes and Samuel Prescott of the advancing British troops, the local minutemen banded together to confront the soldiers. These stalwart New Englanders actually pushed a contingent of the British Army, the world’s dominant force, back to Boston in retreat. The role Concord played during the American Revolution was a significant one, but even afterwards, this small village was not content to fade away into history.
Concord reinvented itself as one of the literary hot spots in the 1800’s. Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were the celebrities of their day and all of them called Concord home. It’s really an amazing town with a beautiful, varied history. Today, this bustling town, just a short jaunt from Boston, is a haven for artists and historians and is a favorite among tourists.
Within this favored town is the popular Colonial Inn, located right on Monument Square in the heart of Concord. In its earlier incarnation as three separate private homes, the oldest dating back to 1716, the Inn was witness to the American Revolution. One of the original buildings was used to store munitions prior to the Revolution, and it was there that the British were heading when they marched towards Concord. Another of the dwellings housed the Thoreau family during the 1830’s and Henry David Thoreau called it home while he attended Harvard. The three buildings were joined together in the late 1800’s and were opened as a hotel in 1889.
Room 24 is located in the oldest section of the Inn. This section was reportedly used as an emergency hospital during the Revolution. It is in Room 24 that the ghost story of this historic inn stems. In 1966, a young bride, Judith Fellenz, was staying in Room 24 with her husband during their honeymoon. Some time during the night the bride awoke to find a grayish figure a scant four feet from the side of her bed. As she stared at it, trying to grasp in her mind what she was seeing, the figure glided to the foot of the bed, in front of the fireplace. As the poor woman stared at the apparition, her body frozen in fear, the form slowly “melted” away. Mrs. Fellenz couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night, instead she spent the remaining dark hours trying to think of a logical explanation of what she had seen. She could think of none. In the morning, she told her husband what she had seen, only to be assured by him that the experience wouldn’t cost them any extra….the ghost was included in the price of the room.
Mrs. Fellenz didn’t make any remark to the staff at the hotel the following day as they checked out, but did send Loring Grimes, the innkeeper and part owner, a letter shortly after explaining her experience. The eloquent innkeeper wrote her back to express both his regret that she may have been frightened on such a momentous occasion and his delight to learn that they have a “resident character”. My favorite excerpt from Mr. Grimes’ letter is, “We are also sorry that your husband was not awake to share your frightening, if unique, experience. It is a Concordian’s belief that a man should be well scared on his wedding!” He went on to suggest that the nighttime visitor may have been Ralph Waldo Emerson trying to communicate some advice to a newly wed couple on how to attain a long, happy marriage. Mr. Grimes summed up his letter saying that the visitor could have been almost anyone in the Inn’s (then) 250 year history who might have wanted to have a little mischievous fun at the couple’s expense. “In the inn,” he says, “they (the ghost) break dishes, creak the planks, melt the butter, and sometimes even overstimulate our cocktails.” Mr. Grimes seems to have been a c0medic innkeeper after my own heart!
Many outlets of the media have showcased the Colonial Inn’s haunted Room 24, including The Boston Globe, The Today Show, A&E’s Psychic Kids, GhostVillage.com and SyFy’s Ghost Hunters. The Inn’s website has a page dedicated to its haunting, which is where I located the media list. The Inn also hosts special paranormal themed events, like the February 5th event that is currently advertised on the Inn’s website: an evening with renowned medium Andrea Allen, readings and dinner included. I encourage you to explore the Colonial Inn’s website yourself, if you have an interest in visiting this spectacular town and its lovely inn: http://www.concordscolonialinn.com/