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The Orleans Inn

By Thomas D’Agostino: From Haunted Massachusetts.

It was July 19, 2006. The day was dismal and wet. The thunder echoed through the harbor and the rain came down in sheets. Arlene and I were traveling through Cape Cod researching our book Haunted Massachusetts, a book that would be used for various documentaries and television series. Our next stop would be the Orleans Inn. Once inside the inn, it was a whole different atmosphere. Ed and his family were the most welcoming hosts. Arlene and I immediately felt like regulars there. He gave us a quick tour to where the haunted places were, then left us alone to investigate.

Our preliminary investigation started in room four, where the ghosts of two cats are known to reside. In this room, guests and employees have seen the spirit of a girl the staff calls Hannah. She is said to be one of the women who were murdered when the inn was a brothel of sorts in the 1920s. Two old women bought the structure in 1900, where they kept many cats as pets. It seems Hannah likes to let the cats out of the room. Here we held a vigil with recorders and tarot cards but Hannah and her cats were not into guests at that moment.

Our next stop, the infamous cupola. The fifth floor, called the Belvedere, is a small room, containing a dining table where a couple can feast and savor the romantic view of the harbor. The sixth floor is the cupola. A Christmas tree stands up there year round. This was a way of welcoming sailors home after a long journey at sea. This is also where a former bartender named Fred hung himself. His spirit also makes itself known in many ways around the inn. Waitresses have extinguished the candles on the dining room tables only to find them relit. They think it is either Fred or Hannah looking for attention. A former manager was so used to the ghostly antics of Fred that upon locking up for the night she would say goodnight to Fred. One night she froze in her tracks when a ghostly voice echoed out a goodnight response from nowhere.

There is another ghost at the Orleans. An employee of the inn, Paul, was found hanging in the basement. Current and past staff members have seen the manifestation of Paul, dressed in early 1900s clothing, near or on the stairs in the basement. All these characters seem to pale in comparison to the activities of Hannah. Ed once saw a naked woman waltz out into the main room towards the kitchen late at night. Half asleep and groggy, he passed it off as an eccentric guest. A few days later he received a startling account. Some local residents were passing by the inn late that same night when they saw a naked woman silently dancing in the Belvedere just below the cupola. They could easily see by the glowing form that it was not of the living world.

A local high school held its twenty-fifth reunion at the inn. In one of their photographs was the misty figure of a woman gliding in front of several alumni. The figure is easily recognized as human in nature. There are also the usual doors opening and closing as well as phantom footsteps in places where there is no living person.

After a thorough investigation of the Orleans Inn, we gathered our equipment and headed back to our hotel to review our findings. Although our evidence was inconclusive, it can be assured that the many people who have experienced the ghosts of the Orleans cannot be wrong or imagining the occurrences that have sent a chill through their bodies.

Since our visit other groups have investigated the inn, some for several television series. Ed’s son Shawn stated to us that he was a skeptic. In regard to the paranormal occurrences at the Orleans, his ten years as bartender has gone by with little event. “I don’t think there is anything out there that cannot be rationally explained,” was his firm belief. I can relate to his opinion for the most part. It is when the explanations run out and the rational becomes abnormal. It then becomes paranormal and we must try to figure out why.