Haunted Stays XII: The Charlesgate Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts

Charlegsate Hotel in Boston Dark Side

Researchers of the paranormal in Boston, Massachusetts, believe the Charlesgate Hotel was nothing but bad news from the start. The hulking gothic brownstone building was built by eccentric architect J. Pickering Putnam in the 1800s. It’s believed that Putnam was a student of the dark arts and worshipped the prince of lies with other like-minded people. According to some researchers, Putnam used materials in the building of the Charlesgate for the purposes of attracting and amplifying supernatural phenomena believed to take place there. If this sounds familiar to you that’s because Putnam and the Charlesgate were used as the inspiration for the building in Ghostbusters. Dan Aykroyd really did his homework where it counted the most.

When the Charlesgate opened, it was considered to be the jewel of Boston. Almost immediately the rich and famous found their way to the elegant hotel that offered first rate accommodations. What they didn’t expect was something dark and sinister lurked in the halls of the hotel. Whatever this dark thing was may have been unleashed by Putnam and his occult followers.

In its first 50 years of operation, guests and hotel staff reported coming face to face with bizarre masses that emanated feelings of dread. Although the hotel was the centerpiece of Boston society, the suicide rate was unusually high. Hotel management diligently worked at keeping this unpleasant situation under wraps, but the news eventually got beyond the walls of the hotel. Due to this, the luxury hotel gained a reputation for not only being haunted, but also as being cursed.

Two years after World War II, the Charlesgate closed its doors to guests. When asked, the owners said financial difficulties precipitated the closure. However, there was a rumor that a horrific incident, possibly a murder, is what caused the hotel to close. Of course, the owners denied anything of the sort happened.

The building didn’t remain empty for long. The once great hotel was reopened for a much different clientele. Prestigious Boston University snatched the building up for a low price and turned it into a dormitory. The Charlesgate housed young men who were leaving home for the first time. As you might expect, whatever dark forces possessed the building wasted no time in making the lives of the new inhabitants as miserable as possible.

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Sadly, suicide is a common problem on college campuses all across the United States. But this dormitory was different. The suicide rate in the old hotel broke the national average. One student in his suicide note wrote that he could no longer live with the voices that invaded his head; he would rather end it all before committing some heinous act he would regret for the rest of his days.

The entities that stalked the old hotel did more than just speak to the students. Students reported witnessing shadowy forms hovering over their beds and attacking them as they slept. Whatever haunted the former hotel had new people to torment and seemed to delight in the terror it caused.

After many years of hearing frightening tales of ghosts in the dormitory, the university shut the building down. Following this wise decision, the building sat derelict and became a haven for addicts, the homeless and cultists looking to commune with the darkness that called the Charlesgate home.

Apart from the shadows said to haunt the Charlesgate Hotel, human apparitions have been seen. One of the most frequently encountered ghosts is a cherub faced little girl on the sixth floor. According to the story, while playing, she stumbled into an elevator shaft and met her fate six floors down. She is still seen playing on the sixth floor and her screams are heard coming from the blackness of the elevator shaft where she perished.

In spite of all the reports of evil ghosts and suicides, Emerson College purchased the building in 1981. Like Boston University before it, they turned it once again into student housing. It wasn’t long until the dark forces reasserted itself by causing mysterious accidents and suicides. One crazed student, in a grisly act of desperation grabbed a knife and slashed his neck ear to ear. Prior to the horrific death, his friends said he was being told to do bad things by voices in his head and black shadows that visited him at night. I guess even institutions of higher learning don’t always learn a lesson.

Today, the former hotel and dormitory are high end apartments and condominiums. From time to time, residents still have experiences that transcend the rational. Cold breezes are felt when no windows are open. And phantom footsteps are heard in the halls and units. Several residents have even caught a glimpse of a fast-moving shadow darting around the building. Some believe the nefarious forces that caused so much trouble in the hotel and dormitory may be dissipating. Nevertheless, others believe the infernal energy is merely lying in wait.

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About Rick Hale 106 Articles
Rick Hale became interested in anomalous phenomenon at an early age after encountering an apparition in his grandparent's home. Rick is the author of "The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghost and Demons," and "Behold! Shocking True Tales Off Terror...And Some Other Spooky Stuff." Rick has been published in Haunted Times Magazine, Paranormal Underground Magazine, The Supernatural Magazine, Spookyisles.com and Legends Magazine. Rick appeared in Ghost Tapes 2 and Ghost Tapes: The Series found at YouTube.com.


  1. In the 1990’s I was a Emerson College Police officer. One night during a gentle blizzard type snow storm. Myself and approximately 4-6 officers were held over night, being essential personnel, and we’re getting sleep on the 6th. Floor. It was a student lounge/ common area, above the corner of Charlesgate East and Beacon street. The lights were off and as my fellow officers trickled off to resume duties back at the Police station, that was on the 1St floor, Beacon street, dude of the building. I was left alone, in the dark to try and resume sleeping. As I did this, something not human and without shape/ or form ran down the hall in the corridor outside, turned left and continued running down the hall. This was right outside the door were I attempted to sleep. Right past my head. I immediately got up and returned downstairs to the Police station.

    • That must have been a creepy building to work in? I was a Campus police officer myself , just up the road in Chelsea at the Soldiers Home. In my brief 2 years working the graveyard shift, I saw and heard a few creepy things. The soldiers home has been there since 1882 . Lots of ghost stories amongst the staff there, although nothing ever published that I am aware of. Head up Crest Avenue in Chelsea and see the place for yourself. It is creepy

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