The House of The Seven Gables

Having been such at some previous time, before we were born, there was an indentured servant from England, who had a son named John Turner. John, however, was not satisfied to make other people rich, oh no. John had the knowledge and drive and became one of the wealthiest men in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

John Turner decided to build a house, it was originally simple, but then as he became more successful, he expanded his house and investments in other properties. His son, John Turner II, inherited six homes, 200 acres of land, and several ships docked in the port.

After three generations, the Turner’s were no longer wealthy and lost the house known as the Turner Mansion. It was then taken over by Samuel Ingersoll. His daughter, Susannah, inherited the house and she would often host her cousin at the house. Her cousin, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was originally born in Salem, and was rather a reclusive person.

During the time of his stay, the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, as it was known, only had three gables, instead of seven that the book made famous. Susannah shared the home’s history and showed him the architecture in the attic where the original gables were. The fact that the house had seven gables was an inspiration to the young writer and he was quoted to say, “The expression was new and struck me forcibly…I think I shall make something of it.” The idea inspired the novel, The House of The Seven Gables. Published in 1851.

The book was written and described in the novel as if it were a living thing. If the house were truly a living thing, what secrets does it have? The answer to that depends on who you ask.

Some people will tell you that the house is cursed, fortunes are made and lost, and it could be blamed upon a curse from the witch trials of 1692. Nathaniel’s great-grandfather, Judge John Hathorne, who served as a judge during the witch trials of 1692. The records show that he may have assumed sympathy for those accused, but he never showed regret or remorse for his involvement in their trials and executions.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

After the hysteria, the Hathorne family lost most of their wealth. In 1804 when Nathaniel was born, the reported curse had not been lifted. Nathaniel attempted to distance himself from that dark period by adding the ‘w’ into his name. However, his complete disgust over the sins of his ancestors was portrayed in his books. In the opening to his debut book, The Scarlet Letter, he took the time to apologize for his family’s involvement.

For many years there have been a number of spirits reported at the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion.

  • In the famous, secret staircase, visitors have witnessed the spirit of a man clambering up and down the stairs.
  • Some claim a phantom boy enjoys playing in the attic. Throughout the day, his footsteps can be heard playing around upstairs as he giggles and laughs.
  • The last frequently seen specter is Susannah Ingersoll, her spirit has been spotted walking the halls of her former home and even peeking out the windows to those who enter the estate through the garden below.

The one area that is commonly mentioned where people experience the most unease is the attic.

People often claim extreme anxiety when in the attic or on the hidden stairs. Some have even heard whispered voices in their ears.

The next time you get to visit Salem, take the time to check out the House of the Seven Gables. Do check their website for operating hours and any other requirements.

Happy haunting!

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