October 26, 2017

Ghost Encounter at the Boston Athenaeum

Weird ghost stories that get told don't usually have much weight. Usually, it's told by people that want the attention.

However, the ghost story at the Boston Athenaeum is not only scary but the person who encountered the ghost was a pretty famous author.

Characters Background Information

Reverend Thaddeus Mason Harris was a Harvard librarian, Unitarian minister and was a lifetime member of the Boston Athenaeum.

Nathaniel Hawthorne is a well-established author famous for many books including The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables.

Nathaniel Hawthorne Ghost Encounter

In early spring 1842, Nathaniel Hawthorne was in the library doing some research for his book "The New Adam and Eve".

He visited the library on and off for several months and encounter other authors in the Athenaeum readings rooms. He even saw Reverend Harris sitting in his favorite chair reading the Boston Post.

One day, As he was leaving the reading room a librarian informed him that Reverand Harris had passed on. Nathaniel Hawthorne was sad to hear the news as he wanted to introduce himself to him but never got a chance.

The next day he returned to the library and sat down and looked over to the Reverand chair by the fireplace and spotted Reverend Harris reading the newspaper by the window. He was probably reading his own obituary.

This went on for weeks, as every time Nathaniel Hawthorne visited the library he would see Reverend Harris sitting in the chair reading a newspaper.

Nathaniel Hawthorne never saw Reverend Harris enter the room or leave. No one else appeared to see the Reverend.

Nathaniel Hawthorne has claimed that it appeared like the Reverend wanted to talk to him but remained silent waiting to be spoken to first. After a few weeks, Reverend Harris stopped showing up in his chair.

About ten years later, while visiting friends in Europe they convinced him to put the story in writing. It would eventually get published in the Living Age magazine on February 10, 1900. (The Ghost of Doctor Harris, page 345

Read The Ghost of Doctor Harris

The Ghost of Doctor Harris

Download The Ghost of Doctor Harris and read the story of the encounter by Nathaniel Hawthorne by the author.

About the Boston Athenaem

The Boston Athenaeum is a private library and the oldest library in Boston. In order to access the reading rooms mentioned in the story, you need to take a tour of the library. Currently tours start at $10.

Individual Membership to the library is $315 a year.

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