The Almshouse on East Street in Walpole has been the sight of hauntings since a fire in the late 1800’s and may have been the site of more than one tragedy before that.
Built in the early 1800’s by the houses original owner, Daniel Allen, the house was transformed into a house for the poor of the town and a weigh station for the homeless who jumped the railroads tracks nearby. The poor farm allowed people to work in return for room and board and was supported mainly by town funds. Because many of the people who lived in the house were unregistered with the farm it was difficult to keep track of who was there and tragedies that might have happened to people who lived a high risk lifestyle, but in the late 1800’s a fire killed anywhere between 16 and 26 boarders. The house switched hands many times after the fire and in the early 1900’s children accidentally set fire to the barn and caused other damage to the property. There are also rumors of the house being used as part of the Underground Railroad, and as we have seen in other stories, there has been a coloration between these locations and hauntings, often because of escaped slaves caught, but also because of the emotion releases during the tense moments hiding for one’s life.
The house has been known to be the spot of several hauntings, the most regular of which is known as Uncle Joe. He is said to be responsible for tickling people on the back of their necks and misplacing thing. There is a bit of sadness in his haunting, as he seems to play out his failed escape from the fire by opening and closing windows and rattling windows.
There have been various investigations of the hauntings at the Almshouse, but they have yet to produce anything more than medium impressions and scary stories.
The majority of information for the Almshouse came from a 1970 article by Janathan Kannair and an Article in The Walpole Times which ran on October 31, 1985 by Steve Mackinnon
Thank you to The Walpole Public Library and librarian Warren Smith for the information. Libraries and Librarians like them are vital to the research I do and proved most helpful. Help them keep up the work they do by checking out the Friends of Walpole Public Library and giving what you can.