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Osterville Historical Museum’s town spirit
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Posted: Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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This ghostly article of mine was published in the May 27, 2011 issue of THE BARNSTABLE PATRIOT. After the story broke, a local paranormal expert commented that there appears to be multiple spirits in the photo (rather than just one)!


"Unexplained mist photographed in Cammett House


The Osterville Historical Museum’s official opening day is June 2, but it already has one spirited visitor – that is, a visiting spirit.

Jack MacDonald, a restoration contractor with the Craig Smith construction company, witnessed the ghostly guest while working on the restoration of the Cammett House.

Director Cynthia Hall, who has been preparing for new and upcoming events at the museum – particularly the rededication ceremony for the Cammett House and its 18th-century garden – recounted that “Mr. MacDonald was working on the house’s window frames and had to take a ladder to go up to the top window.”

The attic had been architecturally interesting to MacDonald “because of the old, original wood and beams,” but there proved to be something even more interesting in the space.

As Hall retold the story, “He decided to go inside to take photos with his cell phone. As he was standing with his back to the attic window, he took three photos. By the third photo, he felt someone behind him, and the hairs on his neck rose. He turned, expecting to see his colleague, and no one was there.”

By the time MacDonald reached the bottom of the ladder, he’d alerted his colleague to the astonishing pictures he’d taken.

In her own description of the images, Hall, who has her own copies, said, “The first image was just the inside of the attic, the second was the same, but the third image of the room had an unexplained mist floating through the top of it.”

Celebrations are underway for the museum, including the newly-restored Cammett House and herbal garden which are part of the museum complex.

The Osterville Garden Club has beautifully maintained the museum’s gardens since 1979 and will be celebrating during a July 30 rededication ceremony for the Cammett House on the complex, alongside the period-inspired herbal garden.

The old Cammett House was moved in 1981 to its current location on the museum grounds, so the July 30 celebration also marks the 30th anniversary of the home’s relocation. The Osterville Historical Society received Community Preservation Committee funding to have the restoration work done on the foundation, as well as 11 Cammett House windows.

A brief history of the house describes the earliest existing town records showing Captain John Cammett as residing in it with wife Eliza (whose maiden name was Eldredge) from 1808 to 1885, although it’s believed to have been built in the 1730s. Cammett worked in the coastal trade, and had an 80-ton schooner named The Talent in 1828. The Lovell family lived in the house from 1889 to 1936.

“It’s hard to tell who the ghost might be,” commented Hall, “since there have been a number of families living in the house, and a series of different owners after 1936.”

Regarding one of a few possible reasons why a spirit might remain in or revisit the house, Hall said there have been no known deaths on the property. However, paranormal researchers say that spirits tend to be stirred up when their former haunts are changed or renovated, and perhaps this is why such a spirit may have been abroad during renovation time.

Changes made to the Cammett House tie in with a new exhibit, which will be downstairs in the house and be “about the building’s architecture, and how it developed and expanded over the centuries from a small, one-room house,” said Hall.

The town of Osterville is known globally and historically for its Crosby Yacht Yard, a business with a longstanding reputation for crafting the finest catboats, Wianno Juniors and Wianno Seniors. Some may recall photos of President John F. Kennedy’s “Senior,” which was built and stored at the yard. At the museum, seven Crosby boats are featured in full. Quite fittingly, too, the museum’s website has recorded the story of how, in 1850 the business began with C. Worthington and Horace S. Crosby’s father, Andrew Crosby, advising them from the afterlife to start the now-famous boatbuilding business, making the suggestion during a séance to their mother, Tirzah Lovell Crosby, “who relayed it to her sons” through a medium.

The Osterville Historical Museum’s hours are Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (starting June 2). In addition to its ongoing displays of period art and furniture, plus ceramics, it will start featuring new and upcoming events/exhibits after opening day.


Web Site: Osterville Historical Museum

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Reviewed by Sue Glasco 8/12/2011
Interesting account.

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