Peddocks Island Ghost Story

Main Piece

Informant CH told many ghost stories from the Boston Harbor, on islands near her hometown. She recalls that of the islands, Peddocks Island was the “scariest place she’s ever been” and that she was taken there on a camping trip in both 7th and 8th grade.

An island tour guide who frequents Peddocks told her and her classmates of ghost stories that took place there–there are abandoned wartime barracks on the island and an abandoned ship watchtower, and the grounds are said to be haunted. One such story involves “hearing someone playing a piano, but there’s nobody there.”

While on a walk with another 7th grade peer at night by the barracks, CH and her friend saw a wandering man in a “war helmet with a visor,” wearing black, green, and white. He was “limping and had a gun slung over his shoulder.” They both screamed and the figure didn’t react at all. He was “walking on a path that didn’t exist” and, upon later recollection, CH added that she didn’t remember his walking making any sound. When they returned to camp and told of the occurrence, other teachers and peers didn’t believe them and asked why they all didn’t see it if something was there.

The next day, CH and her peers were taken to a history museum, where she saw photos of soldiers with the “same color grade and hats with visors and everything.” She learned that soldiers used to be trained on this island, and there used to be homes and hospitals set up on the grounds where she was camping.

The next year, CH returned as an 8th grader and, while staying in tents by the old watchtower, she saw a “girl…sketching the exact same guy because she said that she also saw him.”


Informant Interpretation: CH believes this story to be one example of many haunted stories told about Boston Harbor, and traces this back to the fact that “this is the portion that still retains its history.” No one builds or tears things down on the island. “The life as it was is still how it is,” CH mentioned, which makes it a “magnet” for stories like this. CH noted that she honestly believes she and her friend saw a ghost that day, and that this occurrence made her think ghosts dwelled in a parallel world (as he didn’t acknowledge her or her friend) rather than haunting this one.

Personal Interpretation: I found this story to be emblematic of a regional perspective on haunting, as permitted by the history of Boston Harbor–as a city much older than many others in America, it feels more in touch with its history. This plays out in CH’s legend by virtue of haunting coming about in old, untouched places–ghosts become representative of the collective public memory, remaining relevant because so much physical history and buildings remain too. I think it’s also an apt example of human perception informing folk narrative–observation of physical land features, attitudes of locals, and sheer emotional intuition all lend themselves towards forming regional beliefs and legends.


My informant is a current student of Theatre at the University of Southern California, originally from Hull, Massachusetts (located on a peninsula on Boston Harbor). She grew up there, and notes that her family has strong ties to the area. Both of her parents believe in ghosts, though she believes there to be a general local apprehension about their existence around the Harbor.

CH is white and of European (primarily Irish) descent, and female-presenting.