The Goat Ghost of Ipswich

by Lorraine Page

In the summer of 2016, we continued the process of updating the old plumbing in our ancient house in Ipswich, Massachusetts. We realized we needed to completely replace all the plumbing in our downstairs bathroom, and, in the process, we opened up the floor. We opened the entire floor, including an area under the stairs that apparently had not been touched in hundreds of years. This goat skull was in there: At least I think it is a goat skull, as its horn nubs are embedded in the bone.

Along with the goat skull, we found other assorted animal bones and bone fragments. I’ve saved and photographed and documented all of those discrete segments, numbering in excess of 2,300.It’s not every day that you find over 2,300 animal bones in your bathroom floor. I’ve got a lot to say about this. But not today.

Today, because we are approaching Halloween (also known as Samhain and also known as The Day of the Dead), and because the veil between the worlds is becoming thinner now than at any other time of year, I’d like to talk about my haunted house. In 2014, soon after we’d bought our old house, I was standing in the entranceway by the front door (that is, the door that opens to the street) and noticed that the hook-and-eye latch to the basement was lifting itself up, all by itself. And then the door swung wide open – fast – and hit the surrounding wall. All by itself. The door unlocked and flung open. All by itself. Like in the horror movies.

Continue reading: L.A. in Ipswich | Restoring a 17th century home in Ipswich, Massachusetts (on a shoestring).

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  1. Our neighbors found bones in their dirt floor cellar when they attempted to even it out to put down concrete. The police were called. It turned out that the Victorian-era house stood over old pasture and the bones were bovine. Love your latch and door story. Perhaps someone was blasting away nearby. Our house walls have shifted since we bought it 25 years ago.


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