Scary Story a Day…The Glen in Woburn

Old true stories that are meant to just give you a little chill as you go about your day…
Keep checking in to see the new one every day…
We’re going to start this week with a series of stories that all take place in an area of Woburn, Massachusetts, know as the Glen.  We already told one story that’s related to the neighborhood, and our story on Horn Pond has gotten some interesting feedback, but there are several more we’ve collected over the years.
It makes you wonder if certain places are more haunted for a reason, and what those reasons might be.
If you have a Woburn story or legend, contact us at

There are places where the paranormal events are more extreme and more frequent.  Whether it is because of energy in those places or some event that has trapped spirits due to trauma or joy, they become magnets for activity, like the Bridgewater Triangle or Salem.

An area known as the Glen in Woburn is such an area.

The Glen was originally apple and cranberry bogs when the town was first settled.  It lies close to one of the first Shaker settlement in Massachusetts, a settlement eventually forced to leave.  The houses were originally nothing more than shacks, like bungalows, and as the area expanded, there became less farming and the houses were built on.  There are very few houses that stand as they stood when the town was formed.

Upon first looking at the Glen, you might think the numbers are consistent with other neighborhoods in Massachusetts, but a closer look shows something unusual lies on the street.  Even in a town with a sorted health history like Woburn (read or see Civil Action), there is an unusual amount of cancer in the people that live there.  There is also an anomalous amount of divorce and domestic abuse.  Diane, being more sensitive than the average person, feels the energy around her, and her house has become a weigh station for spirits passing through and for those who have chosen to settle.

One house she used to own is now my sister’s, a house she owned but refused to live in because it felt “evil”.  (Read Mr. Moustache) Although she feels there is something darker in that house, she counts several family members as the unseen residents in her own.  Di often works nights and sleeps during the day and relies on her dog Bo to keep her company.  Bo often walks up out of a dead sleep and follows things with his eyes that aren’t there.  “If you ever had a dog you would know,” she says.  “They have a perception of spirits.”  He takes off down the hallway after things that cannot be seen, but Di doesn’t need to see them.  She hears them.  When she is home during the day, or even at night when she gets home, she hears the front door open and footsteps go into her Mother-in-law’s old room.  The spirit that does the walking has changed though.

When they first moved in they lived with her husband’s father.  Diane would often hear the footsteps and feel that something was watching her.  She even began seeing things out of the corner of her eye.  The father got sick and died in 2000, and the activity became more frequent and took on a slightly different feel.  Although it was a much bigger room, they never moved into his bedroom, instead turning it into a “guest room”. Di and her husband bought the house from his siblings and gutted the place out.  Di feels that her father-in-law doesn’t like that.  They would disagree when he was alive about things having to do with the house.  He struggled when he became sick and did not want to die.  Di believe these two factors have caused an angry man to replace a curious wife in the house.

“When we bought the house we gutted it.  Every time I was doing something I would feel guilty.”  She thought it was in her head, but eventually the feelings become more “odd” than just guilt.    “I know he’s there.  It is a different energy.  He didn’t want this stuff removed when he lived here, I don’t think he wants it out now.  The air gets so thick I have to open the windows.  I Never felt uneasy when it was her.”  She still hears the footsteps and sees things she cannot explain and often wakes to think there is an intruder in the house, and once she even saw something hovering over her bed when she woke up that disappeared when she looked back.

She notices the activity most late at night and in the mornings.  She also feels the two spirits have found each other, and that the mother is trying to help the father deal with the changes in the house and with his own death.  “She would have liked the changes.  I think she tells him to chill when he gets mad.”

People have gotten odd sensations in her house, but no one had heard anything until her husband was home alone one night.   He was watching television when he heard someone open the door, close it, walk right by him and then down the hallway.  He then heard the “guest room’s” door open and close.  He stopped making  fun of Di after that.

Di also feels the energy in the area allows her already sensitive spirit to call upon her father and sister.  She feels the room change when they arrive and sometimes hear them out loud speak with her and often hears there voices inside answer questions she asks.  She knows it sounds crazy, but it makes her feel closer to them.


Meeting Mrs. Gately

The events that mold our lives usually happen when we are looking the other way.  We blink, and fate steps on our toes.  Relationships are the same way.  We hold a door open and our soul mate smiles at us.  People who experience the paranormal often come face to face with the butterfly effect, wondering what it was that brought them to the park that night or what attracted them to the house they now cringe to enter.  Kenny, a former resident of East Dedham, Massachusetts, met the woman who would change his ideas about life almost thirty years ago.


Unfortunately, she was dead.


On October 27, 1977, Kenny experienced something that would have a profound effect on his life: so profound he recites the date from his teenage years today without even thinking about when it happened.  He was walking to his Grandparent’s house in East Dedham at about 4:30 p.m., just as the sun was setting.  Unlike other teenagers, he enjoyed going over there and often made the short trip from his house.


As he walked he noticed an odd, sparkling glow underneath a streetlight about 150 yards away.  It being Halloween time, he thought it might be a Halloween decoration, but as he got closer he saw it was the perfect image of a woman.  Thinking it might be a gag he kept walking towards her, looking for some type of projector creating the image, but the closer he got the more defined her face and features became.  As he came several yards from the image he realized he was staring at a ghost.


The woman was in her late 30’s or early 40’s, tall, with her hair tied up in a pun and pinned down.  She was wearing a long pleated dress almost to the ground with puffy shoulders, but her feet were clearly several inches above the pavement.   One odd feature he still remembers is her long fingernails.  The entire figure was in white, and she seemed translucent, as if she were a projection, and Kenny continued to look around for something that was throwing her up there.  The woman was completely still, and image and not an interactive spirit, and she stood with her mouth open and her hands at 90 degree angles with her palms up.  What Kenny really remembers, even today, is the detail of her clothes and face.  She was not in this world, but he could see every line of

her face and every wrinkle of her clothes.


He became convinced he was seeing a ghost when he began to circle the woman in white.  He was 3 or 4 feet from her and she appeared in three dimensions, hologram technology too advanced for the late seventies.  He was curious, not scared, and although he considered himself open-minded but by no accounts a believer in ghosts, he thought there might be a reason she was there.  During the entire encounter, the street was completely silent, and he felt there should be more activity or that someone would come by and see them.  He asked her who she was and if there was any reason for her to appear, but she did not move or speak.  After about ten minutes, he began to feel there was something wrong with his grandparents and ran the rest of the way to their house.


Kenny arrived at their house, winded and a bit nervous.  The asked him what was wrong, but he stayed silent until he grandfather asked him why he was off.  Kenny eventually opened up and told him the whole story, but his grandfather did not seem startled by his tale.  He had experienced something similar when he was younger in that same area while he was working a pony cart.  It was just dark when he saw a woman come out of the woods and knew it was a ghost.  He whipped the horse to get out of there quick and never went on the road after that when it was dark.


He attributed it to a story he had heard about a man who either had killed his wife and dumped her in the water to be found later or had killed her near the water.  The brook where she was found became known as Murder Brook.  Kenny’s grandfather believed he had seen the murdered woman walking from the water to her house, trying to get home.


Although he was known as a character, Kenny believed his grandfather.  Kenny had never been strongly religious or thought about death, but what he had experienced caused him to doubt what he did believe.  He held his feeling inside though, never daring to tell anyone for fear of being thought crazy or ridiculed.  It wasn’t until he was pressed because of his change of moods that he finally told his closest friend, Tom.  Tom was silent about the haunting, but came back a while later and said he wanted Kenny to meet someone.


Kim was slightly younger than the boys, but she had told Tom a story and had sworn him to secrecy.  Murder Brook ran through her backyard, and for the past ten years she had seen the ghost of a woman at the foot of her bed.  The hauntings happened two or three times a year and disturbed her greatly.  When the two of them compared descriptions of the women they matched to the finest detail.


Kenny held on to his story for almost thirty years, telling only a few people, but always wondering about the woman he had seen and the reason he had been chosen to witness.


Research shows there was a murder like the one Kenny’s grandfather described.  Although there is no body of water known as Murder Brook, and the Dedham Public Library and the Dedham Historical Society were unable to find any reference to it in any literature, there is a Mother Brook nearby.  They were also unable to find any legend about a woman in white walking either in the woods or near water in Dedham.  Records do not say if Mother Brook was used, but a murderer did try to wash his crimes away in a body of water in East Dedham.


In 1881 James Gately killed his wife, Mary, by beating her with an ax handle.  The real reason for her murder remains a mystery, but Gately was quoted as saying her hit her to pacify her.  He then walked to a brook nearby, washed his bloodied self off and went back to the house to go back to sleep in his son’s room.  Although the autopsy report states she died of one fatal blow to the head, the room was covered in blood and struck police at the time as the worst murder they had ever seen.  He was brought to trial a year later and found not guilty by reason of insanity.  He was committed to the Worcester State Hospital and is presumed to have died there because there is no record of him after that.  The age of Mary at the time of her death is consistent with the ghost seen by Kenny, his grandfather and Kim, but records could not be found to prove where the Gatelys had lived and where the blood was washed off (Dedham Transcript 5/20/1882)


Even proof can be selective.  As we collect more information on the Gately murder we may prove Mary Gately was killed at the very spot Kenny saw her in 1977.  The mystery will never be solved for Kenny.  He had walked that stretch of road his whole life and drove it as a cabby for years after.  That night something was different, and it is this difference that haunts him today and keeps him coming back to that night.  The ghost he saw may have moved on since then, but in some ways Kenny is still in that moment in time, trying to make sense of fate and give reason to the supernatural.