Visit the Captain at the Deane Winthrop House for a Haunting Experience

Marilyn Regan Photo by Bas Glaap on Unsplash

Winthrop Center is under construction with two big projects: Center Business District Project (CBD)and the 10 Somerset Ave. Project. Though the outcome will hopefully be a revitalization of Winthrop Center, construction is destruction and a good time to visit the quieter parts of town.

Well, they’re quieter during the day. At night, things become a little more active at this particular location. Well, those without the restriction of a physical body anyway.

Winthrop is home to the Deane Winthrop House, the oldest continually occupied house in the United States. And like any reputable, historic New England home, it has a few occupants who passed on to the other side several hundred years ago.

The most notable one is resident ghost Captain William Pierce who built the home in 1637. It is named after his youngest son, Deane, who lived there until he died in 1704.

Winthrop’s very own Ghost Busters confirmed the identification of the ghost in question. The crew consists of founder Ellen MacNeil, her crew Louis Gann, Sharon Koogler, and Sarah Campbell and are collectively known as Spirits of New England Paranormal Investigators.

The initial investigation in 2010 yielded some phenomenon, which including the smell of tobacco, “bone-chilling” cold, and moving mist, but overall was inconclusive. It would have been enough to ensure most of us never returned.

But ghost-hunting is their job and wanting to be being conclusive, Ellen MacNeil and her crew were encouraged, not deterred. They returned to the Deane Winthrop House in 2014 fully armed, so to speak, to collect data.


The equipment was and is extensive and records sights and sounds linked to paranormal phenomena, thus providing physical evidence of that which is not physical.

In addition to camcorders, Ellen and her team utilize a digital camera with “night shot” and special lights to enhance viewing. Digital audio recorders, electromagnetic testers, and meters to uncover and measure electromagnetic fields (EMFs). 

A special shadow detecting laser beam uncovers things hiding in the dark.

But seeing isn’t the only way to provide evidence for believing.

Digital audio recorders detect sounds unheard by the naked ear. Sound software then measures the electronic voice phenomena or EVP. 

And this is not a complete list.

Captain William Pierce

Captain Pierce, 1591–1641, lived in Winthrop in 1637.

In life, he was a hero to some. In 1630, when the food supply in Boston started to run low and it was clear it would not last the winter, Pierce sailed to England, and returned just as the food ran out. 

When Ellen and her team revisited the Deane Winthrop House, the Captain revealed himself. They detected his presence but wanted physical evidence.

It can in the form of sound. Ellen asked, “Does it bother you that people refer to you as a pirate?” a very deep and distinctive voice replied, “No.”

The Captain had spoken. Not many of us can say we’ve spoken even a word to a ghost, or better yet, had a ghost answer us directly.

There is also the story of the little girl who used to live there. At night, of course, she would go to her room and shut the door. Her mother would then hear voices, a conversation. But besides her daughter and her, no one else was in the house.

She asked her daughter who she was speaking to, and very casually she replied that the Captain was “telling her stories.”

And what fish stories he must have, having made many trans-Atlantic voyages over the years.

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Take a look for yourself and see if you think The Deane Winthrop House is worth visiting. It is located a mere 4.16 miles from Boston on 40 Shirley Street in Winthrop.

If you’re a resident, it’s a great way to get away from the noise and stress and visit some incarnates. 

The ghosts aren’t afraid of COVID and might even talk to you.

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Marilyn is a writer, yogi, spiritual medium and animal lover. She is a Bostonian in every sense and has the accent to prove it. She loves the ocean, the outdoors, wine, and sleeping in. She days what she means and doesn't waste words. Finally, she is mother to one son, two cats and has three grandchildren.


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