Personal Ghost Tour: Most Haunted Houses on Cape Cod


The 5 Most Haunted Houses on Cape Cod

someone under a sheet that looks like a ghost with light streaming in from wooden slated windows

Cape Cod might be synonymous with relaxation, but its storied history refuses to be forgotten. The spirits of sea captains, lost children, and colonialists alike cause unexplained phenomena that have convinced even the harshest skeptics. With a chill in the air and Halloween approaching, Autumn is the best time of year to explore haunted spots on Cape Cod. Treat yourself to a self-guided ghost tour with our pick of the most haunted houses on Cape Cod below.


The exterior of Barnstable house.  A white clapboard building
image courtesy of


Lucy lives at the Barnstable House. She’s ten years old, likes playing ball, and one more thing: she’s a ghost.

Back in the colonial days when homesteads were built by sources of running water, the young Lucy was playing with a blue ball in the cellar when it rolled into a spring. She went in to retrieve it and, in a terrible twist of fate, drowned in the waters.

It’s said that Lucy’s mother never believed Lucy was truly gone and waited in her rocking chair for Lucy to one day return. She still waits to this day; you may spy a rocking chair moving on its own in the “blue room” and hear her humming patiently. Others have spotted Lucy herself, skipping about the property or chasing still after her blue ball.

even more entities

The story of The Barnstable House doesn’t end there. When the modern dollar dethroned the Continental Currency, fortunes disappeared overnight. Edmond Hawes, the former owner of the house, was one such victim of this change. Unable to cope with the loss, he hanged himself from a nearby tree. His presence is still felt around the property, perhaps watching from the trees.

In the 1970s, a fire broke out in The Barnstable House. Firefighters came to rescue a woman known as Martha, who was trapped on the third floor. They went in to rescue her, but she had disappeared among the smoke. Her flowing white gown and high collar are seen in stolen glances.

The final entity reported in The Barnstable House is a sea captain: Captain Graves. As you’ll find when you read further, many Cape Cod inns- The Platinum Pebble included- are former houses of sea captains. Although many of their causes of death may be unknown- Graves included- they still reside in their old homes, no matter how they change. Captain Graves’ presence is felt the strongest in the cellar.

the captain linnell house

Antique portraits of a man and a woman
image courtesy of

While Captain Graves of The Barnstable House may have died from unknown causes, Captain Ebenezer Linnell’s demise is well-known. In 1864, a storm struck his ship at sea. Linnell tried to bring himself to safety, but the storm threw the Captain against the ship’s wheel. A spoke punctured his lungs. Captain Linnell was buried at sea.

The first mate sent a letter to his widow, Rebecca. The news devastated her. She is said to have waited for sixty years at the cupola on the home that Linnell built for her, clutching the letter, hoping still for his return. She never remarried.

Today, guests visit the Captain Linnell House for American cuisine in a stately atmosphere. Even still, a figure remains in the cupola, staring out at the sea that stole away her love.

The old yarmouth inn and tavern

The exterior of the Old Yarmouth Inn, a white clapboard building surrounded by a white picket fence and trees
image courtesy of

Established in 1696, the Old Yarmouth Inn and Tavern holds the record as the oldest inn in America which still operates today. It was part of the Underground Railroad; slaves were hidden in a secret room in the attic.

The spirit of an enslaved person still lingers. A male guest was awoken in the night by a figure that sat on his bed. The man hid under the covers. He felt his feet being massaged by unseen hands. Suddenly, the presence shook the bed vigorously from the bedposts. He ran out of bed and sat on the porch into the morning hours when the sun rose. It’s believed this entity was female and formerly enslaved. Giving a foot massage would have been the duty of a woman toward the slave owner.

A guest sleeping in the inn awoke in the middle of the night to see a man sitting at the foot of his bed. Unlike the unseen presence that may have once been an enslaved person, this one was far more visible, taking the shape of a gentleman in 19th century clothing. The spirit was described as having full cheeks and jowls. Apparently, he was puzzled what this guest was doing in his room.

His presence is described as calm and refined. The other is playful. The owners of the Old Yarmouth Inn and Tavern believe there may be other possible entities, which would explain occurrences that would be out of character for the two known spirits. Ashtrays slide across the bar and flip on their own. Bartenders have to hold their glasses when pouring drinks to prevent them from shaking. Wait staff often hear their names whispered in their ears. Even if you go by yourself, you won’t dine alone.

the orleans waterfront inn

Exterior of the Orleans Inn as seen from the water.  Water and boats in the foreground
photo courtesy of

Back in the 1920s, the Orleans Waterfront Inn building was a brothel. When one of the women there was murdered, her ghost stayed in the house. The Inn owner refers to her as Hannah, and claims she’s innocuous enough. After sleeping out on the couch in case a guest needs something at night, he was greeted by an unfamiliar woman not wearing any clothing. He at first didn’t think much of the encounter, as if it were a dream. Soon after, the owner received a call from a passing motorist requesting that he should put curtains on the fifth floor belvedere window, because he could see a woman in the nude dancing in the room.

The issue? There were no guests staying on the fifth floor.

Since that encounter, Hannah has been a recurring presence at the Orleans Waterfront Inn, one of three. She’s known to be a kindly presence who lights candles, opens doors, and still tends to dance in the nude. The SyFy show Ghosthunters did an episode on Hannah, in which they were able to have a conversation with her by asking her to turn a flashlight on and off. She was murdered by a customer to the brothel and there are other ghosts in the Inn. Hannah stays in Room 5.

dillingham house

Exterior of Dillingham House, a red clapboard building with shrubs in front
image courtesy of Beverly Comeau,
Kinlin Grover Real Estate

the dillinghams

In the town of Sandwich, there’s a humble house built in the 1650s by one of the town’s founders, Edward Dillingham. The house was passed down to his grandson, Branch Dillingham, who lived there in the early 1800s with his wife and nine children. Fate changed when Branch Dillingham committed suicide, leaving his family behind. Weeks later, his wife would follow. The nine children were left to fend for themselves in an empty house.

Its said that most lived into adulthood, even though records of their conditions aren’t well documented. The house soon fell out of the Dillingham family’s hands and became a boarding house in the 20th century. Neighbors had begun to notice strange occurrences, however. Children run through the halls, footsteps echoing through the property. Doors locked and unlocked on their own. A stern-looking man dressed in Victorian clothing has been seen in the windows.

photo of a hand seen through foggy glass

the dillingham children

As the house was converted to a bed and breakfast, the strange phenomena continued. The owner complained of the smell of gamey meat pervading the house. Guests swore they saw and heard children, even when none were staying on the property. One woke up to see a little girl at the end of her bed watching her.

At their most active, the children’s spirits- perhaps the Dillingham orphans themselves- are said to play pranks. Knocking on the walls may cause them to knock right back. A guest at the former bed and breakfast called to complain about noise from the third floor, believing the owner was renovating or doing heavy work upstairs. Nobody had been on the third floor. At least, nobody alive.

The kicker? The activity of the spirits has always spiked around Halloween.

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