Barnstable House

Barnstable House
Barnstable House is a Haunted house in Barnstable, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, known as the “House of Eleven Ghosts.” The Barnstable House is occupied by several Ghosts, though 11 different ones have not been distinguished. The house is located on Old Kings Highway, which runs through Cape Cod. A stretch of the highway 42 barghest that passes through Barnstable is renowned for being the most haunted area on the Cape. The house sits atop an underground stream.


Barnstable House has passed through numerous owners in its nearly 300-year history. It was framed in Scituate, Massachusetts, shipped to Barnstable, and constructed by James Paine in 1716. Paine’s grandson, Robert Treat Paine, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

By the time of the American Revolutionary War, the house was owned by Edmund Hawes. On October 1, 1776, Hawes sold it to Elisha Doane, who paid for it in worthless continental currency. Distraught, Hawes committed SUICIDE by hanging himself from a tree on the property.

In 1799, the house was bought by Samuel Savage, a doctor who owned it until his death. It passed to his daughter, Hope Savage Shaw, the second wife of Supreme Court Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw. In 1832, the house was sold to Abner Davis. Upon his death, it passed to Davis’s wife, Nancy, and then to her son, Adolphus, a Boston shipowner. During the time the house was owned by the Davises, it was believed to be occupied by a sea captain named John Grey, known as an unfriendly man.

Barnstable House became an inn and restaurant during the 1900s. There was a revolving door of owners and names, among them the 1716 House, Old Jail House, The Sign of the Blue Lantern, Andrea Doria Inn, Captain Grey’s, and, ultimately, the Barnstable House, its present name. In the 1980s, the house was turned into a commercial office building, its present use.

Haunting Activity

Barnstable House has long been reputed to be haunted, and Séances have been held at different times on the premises. The name “House of Eleven Ghosts” was bestowed by a psychic, who said that 11 different entities were on the premises. There is no record of their specific identities.

The most famous incident took place in 1973 when a fire broke out in the house in the middle of the night. The Barnstable Fire Department responded to the call at about 3 A.M. and sent two fire trucks to the scene. Several firefighters saw a woman standing in one of the upstairs windows. They raced inside to rescue her, but no woman could be found. Within moments, she was seen floating about the fire trucks about two feet off the snowcovered ground. She was wearing a long white dress and had long blonde hair. The witnesses attested that she had a sad expression and asked, “Where is the dalmatian?” There was no dog on the property or in the house. The woman then vanished. Mediums who said they contacted the ghost said her name was Martha. There are no historical records to validate the name. One possibility is that a guest named Martha stayed there during the house’s days as an inn.

The ghost of Captain Grey is said to lurk about the basement. He is known as “the door slammer” after his favourite activity—slamming open doors shut without apparent cause.

Another ghost is said to be that of Lucy, a young girl who died in the underground stream. Her ghostly mother rocks a rocking chair, waiting for her daughter to return. There is no known historical record of such a girl or a drowning.

Once a spontaneous fire burst out in a downstairs fireplace and extinguished itself just as suddenly. At the time, a group of students was upstairs making noise; the fire went out when they quieted down. Candle chandeliers also have suddenly flamed.

Barnstable House
3010 Main Street
Barnstable, Massachusetts 02675
Website :



  • Jasper, Mark. Haunted Cape Cod & Islands. Yarmouth Port, Mass.: On Cape Publications, 2002.


The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007

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