Pierce Mansion

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures

Listed as the number two most haunted home in New England and the ninth most haunted house in the United States, the Pierce Mansion is a haunted house for the ages. Located in Gardner, Massachusetts, just over an hour from Boston, the home was built in the late 1880s by successful businessman Sylvester Pierce after he achieved great fortune as the owner of the S.K. Pierce and Sons Furniture Company. His business’s success led to Gardner’s entire city being known as ‘Chair City.’


Why is the Pierce Mansion haunted?


The tragedies that occurred within the home are said to have left a heavy energy that consumes those who enter it. Keep reading to learn more about the spirits that are forever tied to this macabre mansion.

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Massachusetts' Haunted Victorian Gem

Sitting upon his hordes of cash, Sylvester Pierce decided it was time to build himself and his family a mansion that fit a man of his public stature. Situated on 4 W. Broadway Street, the mansion that followed was an architectural marvel for its time. It was nearly 7,000 square feet and had ten bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 11-foot ceilings, and marble fireplaces throughout.

It took over a year and a half for 100 construction workers to build. Hand-carved moldings and décor are seen throughout the entire home. Meticulous detail was number one to Sylvester Pierce, and each corner of the house is more ornate than the last. Those who visited the home for dinner parties include former President Calvin Coolidge, Bette Davis, P.T. Barnum, and Norman Rockwell. The mansion also served as a well-known meeting place for the secretive Freemason Society.

Tragedy Befalls The Pierce Household

Sylvester, his wife Susan, and their son held big hopes when moving into this one-of-a-kind home, but those dreams fell apart when, just weeks after moving in, Susan Pierce mysteriously succumbed to a bacterial illness. After a year of mourning, Pierce married a woman named Ellen, who was 30 years younger and had two more children.

Unfortunately, Susan and Sylvester didn’t spend much time in their mansion, as Sylvester passed away a few years later in 1888, leaving behind his new wife and their three sons. When Ellen passed away years later, the three Pierce sons began to bicker and argue about ownership of the furniture business. The Great Depression ended up stifling the industry, and eventually, Sylvester’s youngest son, Edward, took control of the mansion.

Hard times hit the family, and the fortune began to dwindle. Edward turned the mansion into a boarding home to bring in some extra income, where unsavory activities began to occur, such as prostitution, gambling, and heavy drinking. Even tales of murder arose from the saddened home, with a story of a prostitute being strangled in the infamous red bedroom on the second floor.

Another tragedy was reported when a boarder, a Finnish immigrant named Eino Saari, burned to death in the master bedroom in 1963. Some believe that spontaneous combustion occurs in the home and is what caused Saari’s death, considering there was minor damage to the surrounding rooms. Another death reported was that of a young boy who was drowned in the basement.

What is it about this mansion? Could it be that its very first weeks were filled with misery, sickness, and death? Over the following years, guests of the mansion suggested that it was overflowing with ghostly activity. Boarders have encountered the spirits of Sylvester Pierce, his wife, and their son Edward. The alleged murdered prostitute, her murderer, a young boy, and a young girl have also been reported throughout the Pierce Mansion. Over the years, and in different owners’ hands, seven reported deaths have been documented in the home.

Haunted Happenings in the Pierce Mansion

Guests have experienced it all here: voices, chanting, full-body apparitions, moving furniture, slamming doors, temperature changes, shadow people, foul odors, screens flying off of the windows, footsteps on the stairs, and an ominous lion’s roar that shakes the house have all been reported. Many believe that the roar comes from Sylvester Pierce’s spirit to show his displeasure with the home and how his life there turned out. He sees others enjoying the mansion while he and his family have nothing but heartache here.

Some visitors have felt the pressure of hands pushing against them. One visitor even reported feeling pushed on the stairs, while another reported being almost forced out of a third-floor window. Investigators who visit the mansion have said that the entities here are some of the most powerful they have witnessed. They are capable of harnessing the electrical power in the home and using it to move large objects.

More recently, a woman named Lillian moved into the home with her husband Edwin, unaware of the history. Just a few weeks following her arrival, she began to experience strange and unexplained things within the walls of Pierce Mansion. She started to hear chants and whispers, which soon turned into screams and banging on the bedroom walls. They began to see apparitions in the halls, which beckoned them and called their names.

The house had already made a name for itself, and a ghost investigation group came in and asked the spirits here who the owner of the house was. Unsurprisingly, the ghosts here responded with ‘Lillian.’ Video evidence of the hauntings at Pierce Mansion is scattered throughout the internet, and a quick Google search will bring up pages of investigative evidence.

A plethora of other ghost investigation teams have been to the mansion, including Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and My Ghost Story. Investigators have witnessed the most hair-raising phenomena, such as disembodied voices saying they want to ‘squeeze every throat.’ The most concerning aspect of the haunting seems to be the foul odors detected by visitors throughout the mansion.

It’s well known in the ghost-hunting community that foul and sulfur smells are linked with negative and sometimes demonic entities. Could the old home just have a strange smell? Of course, but with all the happenings here, one begins to wonder why the home attracts such tragedy. Is the land the home sits upon cursed? Was Sylvester Pierce himself cursed? Could his wife’s death and the sadness that followed just have left an extremely negative, energetic imprint on the home?

It seems that when it comes to the Pierce Mansion, there are more questions than answers. Joni Mayhan’s book Haunted Massachusetts and Bones in the Basement: Surviving the SK Pierce Haunted Victorian chronicles the previous owner’s experiences within the home. The book truly tells the tale from the homeowners’ perspective, from their feelings when buying the home to their horrifying experiences while living inside it.

Dying to know more? Follow along with us on our blog! And be sure to book a ghost tour with Boston Ghosts to learn more about the hauntings in Massachusetts!