Gloucester, Massachusetts: Hammond Castle. I love Gloucester. Gloucester was my home for close to a decade, and to me, Gloucester is Heaven on Earth. Being currently "land-locked", I miss the ocean, my friends, the saline smell, the boats around the harbor, the beaches and the rocky coast.
The last time I visited Hammond Castle [by the sea] was in 2007. It was a stormy morning, and fortunately, there were not a lot of tourists lurking about on this day. One could peer out of the castle windows and watch the waves crash against the rocky coast below, spraying mist high into the sky. You could hear the mighty crashing, and the wind howling through the windows and walls.... It made for a perfect tour! (At the time of my last visit, I lived across the harbor and could see Hammond from my kitchen and library windows!)
"Hammond Castle was built from 1926 to 1929 by John Hammond, making the castle just short of a century old, but it has all of the flavor and relics of a grand European castle. John Hammond was a very important inventor of this time. Some compare his inventions "on par" with Thomas Edison."
"John Hays Hammond, Jr. built his medieval-style castle ...to serve both as his home and as a backdrop for his collection of Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance artifacts. The castle was constructed as a wedding present for his wife Irene Fenton Hammond to prove how much he cared for her."
"His adult life was shaped by childhood experiences. When his family moved to England, Hammond fell in love with castles and life in earlier times. In South Africa, he saw his father's work as the mining engineer of Cecil Rhodes's diamond mines.
When the family moved to Washington, D.C., Hammond met Thomas Alva Edison, who introduced him to Alexander Graham Bell. Under Bell's direction, Hammond worked as a clerk in the United States Patent Office. Hammond attended Lawrenceville School, invented, and studied at Yale University, graduating in 1910."
|Rare photo of John Hays and Irene Fenton Hammond building the castle|
He developed a radio controlled torpedo system and submarine sound transmission for the navy. Hammond developed the "dynamic multiplier" (today's stereo), and was an FM radio pioneer. He had 437 inventions and held over 800 patents.
In 1926 he began building his castle home in Gloucester, Massachusetts, for his wife, Irene Fenton. The castle included a laboratory where Hammond continued to work. For a time Nikola Tesla lived on Hammond's estate.
Hammond received the Elliot Cresson Medal from Philadelphia's Franklin Institute which named him the “father of radio control.” He also received the Medal of Honor from the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1962 and 1963." (bio by: rjschatz/FindAGrave)
The Eccentric John Hammond
Hammond was quite a local character in his day. An inventor by trade, he expressed his eccentric streak in a number of unusual ways. He once sent a pilotless, remote controlled fishing boat zooming around the harbor, scaring the fishermen.
|Another view of Invention Room|
|Antiquated doorway in the Castle|
|Above, Photographs of the indoor "pool" area|
|The Hidden (invisible) Door|
Hammond's taste for the macabre and creepy didn't stop at funerary art and hidden doors. He also owned the skull of one of Christopher Columbus's crew men, and kept it in a Buddhist manuscript container. If you visit the castle and want to see the skull, it's in the Great Hall tucked in an alcove near the piano.
|Skull in alcove|
|The Faraday Cage|
|Psychic, Mrs. Garrett|
Investigations Into the Occult
The circular library was one of Hammond’s favorite places and he spent a lot of time in there. He owned an extensive collection of books on the occult, which are still on the shelves. Caretakers have reported finding these books opened and lying on the desk or carelessly thrown onto the furniture. Disembodied voices are often heard in here, as well as throughout the rest of the castle.
Hauntings in the Castle
Hammond secretly married local divorcee Irene Fenton in 1926.
Irene suffered frequent depressions and gradually became reclusive and unhappy in the marriage.
An accomplished artist, she painted the walls of her bedroom with lush scenes of animals, trees, and flowers - and then painted a wide railing over it showing how trapped she felt.
Guests often see her gazing out through a window in the Italian villa front that overlooks the Roman pool.
|4 Photos above: Different views of the Hammond Organ|
|Harpsicord in Hammond Castle|
Irene died in 1959. After her death, she was interred in the Fenton family plot in Gloucester's Mount Pleasant Cemetery rather than in the above-ground mausoleum that Hammond had built for himself. In 1965, Hammond died and was buried in the sepulcher, whose steps run from the tomb’s door down directly into the sea. He was interred with some of his Siamese cats which had been preserved in formaldehyde; visitors to the tomb have reported hearing the muffled sounds of crying cats. Guests touring the castle have reported feeling a small animal brush up against their legs.
|Sepulcher built for Irene Fenton Hammond - She was never laid to rest here. She is buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery|
In 2008, against Hammond’s express wishes, his body was removed and re-interred in a bronze vault inside the Cat Garden, a walled enclosure which is part of the immediate Castle grounds. According to an article in the Gloucester Daily Times, the mausoleum property will be sold off to pay for Castle upkeep. It remains to be seen what effect this move will have on paranormal activity at the Castle.
Sources: Suite 101/New England Folklore
Statuary and miscellaneous art around the Castle
Inside the Castle:
|Castle Dining Room|
|Another view of Servant's room|
|A Servant's Quarters|
|View of Great Hall|
|Great Hall Fire Place|
|Pictures of Hammond Family (Genealogy)|
|Sitting Room which overlooks the harbor|
|Another view of the kitchen and collections|
|Sitting area, with ocean view|
|Looking up into the Tower|
|Medieval chair with stained glass back ground|
|Small Dining Room|
|Early American Bedroom|
|Grand bell which has its own quarters outside of the castle|