Since Thanksgiving is only two weeks away (can you believe that?!?!?!), I thought we could focus on the Plymouth, Massachusetts area for our ghost stories for the next couple of weeks. And, not surprisingly, I found quite a few locations in that area that are haunted. This week, The Sun Tavern is the one that caught my eye.
The Sun Tavern was built in the early 1700s. It was originally a farm house and actually stayed a private home until 1928 when it became a tea house. The current owner of the tavern, Larry Friedman, did an interview with PCN, a local cable network about his haunted tavern.
He explained that the last owner of the house was Lysander Walker, a recluse who killed himself in the sitting room of the home in October 1928. The Sun Tavern’s website introduces us to the famous ghost.
“At the end of the nineteenth century it (the building) was owned by Lysander Walker who gained dubious fame when his story was published in the Boston Herald in an article titled “Last Duxbury Hermit.”
For some time, Duxbury folk knew that all was not well with Lysander. With the stubbornness of advancing years intermixed with pride and sentiment, he refused to leave the house which had sheltered him for so long and which he still called home.
In Duxbury, however, as in all small communities where the smoke of wood-burning stoves hangs heavy on the evening fog, a feeling of friendliness prevails. Lysander Walker had neighbors. Hardly a day went by that some member of the Belknap family did not drop in for a friendly word or to leave some tidbit to tempt an appetite made dull by solitude.
The children always watched, as they passed by the house, for the American flag which was the signal that something was needed at the store. The flag was always hung at the corner of the house. On October 3, 1928, eleven-year-old Gladys Belknap, saw the flag was hung union down at the corner of the house.
They found Lysander seated on a sofa. Beside him still tightly gripped was a loaded revolver from which one shot had been fired. Lysander had signaled one last time in a way which would never be forgotten. (Years later, the Tavern received a post card from Gladys Belknap confirming this story.)
David Wells bought the restaurant in 1964 and changed the name to Fiddler’s Green Restaurant to convey the feeling of an English Pub. David also put the house on the map for he claimed it was inhabited by the ghost of Lysander Walker. Each night when the restaurant was being closed down and every candle extinguished on the tables, just one would be relit as David, the last to leave, was about to walk out the back door. Of course, David was teased about his “ghost.”
Late one night the alarm went off and the police arrived to investigate. After checking the entire building and finding nothing, they closed the door and started up the path. Suddenly each officer heard footsteps in the restaurant. With guns drawn they entered the house but found no one. Never again was David ridiculed about his ghost!”
In 1987, the restaurant was purchased by the Friedmans and named The Sun Tavern as it remains today. The Friedmans have had their own experiences. While researching the house, Larry learned that two young girls named Betty and Mary died of scarlet fever in the house in 1745. That information went a long way in explaining the complaints from his bus staff that they were always hearing young people talking to them, but could never see anyone. His manager’s daughter worked at the tavern when she was seventeen and she constantly heard someone calling her name.
A local paranormal group asked permission to record the paranormal phenomena in the tavern and Larry allowed them to be there one night. In their recordings, they could distinctly hear the sound of girls humming. They also recorded a sound in the basement of an angry man yelling, “Get out!” I’m sure Lysander wanted a little more privacy than they were giving him.
My favorite story about the haunting was told by Larry in the interview. One night he was working in the kitchen when his bartender frantically yelled for him. Someone at the bar was choking. Larry ran across the room towards the choking customer, but before he could get to him, the object he was choking on flew out of his mouth. Gasping for air, the guest turned to Larry and thanked him for saving his life. Larry shook his head and explained that he hadn’t done anything. Then he turned to the only other person in the vicinity, a waitress, and thanked her. She said she had only just arrived at the same time Larry had.
The customer was confused. “But that can’t be,” he said. “I felt a distinct whack on my back that dislodged the food. Someone saved my life.”
Maybe Lysander didn’t want someone else dying in his living room…