What happens to ghosts when a haunted house burns down?

Do ghosts linger after a haunted house fire? Maybe. I’m fairly certain the ghosts remain, whether a house is there or not.

What happens when a haunted house burns? AnswersMany ghosts seem to be tied to the location rather than the structure on it.

While “green lady” ghosts may actively protect their homes, they may be unique in that kind of attachment.

According to one story about Henniker, NH (USA), the ghost of “Ocean Born Mary” helped the fire brigade at her haunted house’s fire.

A good example of a haunted site — and a related fire — started in November 1942.

That’s when the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston (MA, USA) burned to the ground. That was a tragedy with enormous impact, and it changed building codes across America.

Today, the site of the fire — at what used to be 17 Piedmont Street — is mostly a private parking lot in Bay Village, a residential neighborhood.

Cocoanut Grove fire site
Plaque at the Cocoanut Grove fire site, Boston, Massachusetts (USA).

The parking lot is protected by a strong fence. As far as ten feet from it, ghost hunters still record baffling EMF spikes, eerie EVP, and “hot spots” (thermal). Also, we see interesting, light-related anomalies, even during the day.

I’m not sure the site was haunted before the fire. Since then, it’s one of the most unusual, highly active sites I’ve visited. So, though the original building is gone, it’s definitely haunted… intensely haunted.

The house or the land…?

Now and then, a client asks me about her newly-built (but haunted) house.

Sometimes, it used to be the site of another home or building. The old one either burned down, was torn down, or fell into decay. (More often, the site has a more ancient history, including Native American associations.)

In general, I don’t believe any ghost is injured when the home it’s attached to is destroyed. I’m not sure that it’s “set free” by the fire (or bulldozing, or whatever), either.

In some cases, it appears that the ghost remains at the location. The ghost seems to wait until a new house is built on the same site. Then it may stay, or decide to move on.

I’m not sure what to think of the Amityville Horror House. The evidence is conflicted, at best. However, it seems as if something odd had lingered there, and affected Ron DeFeo.

A few years ago, I researched the house for an Armchair Reader book. I discovered several odd aspects of the story, “hiding in plain sight.”

I don’t believe that haunting will be over until all of the evidence is found, and the true stories told.

When the ghost stays with pieces of the house

I can think of one case where a ghost (or ghosts) remained attached to the physical structure rather than its former location.

Path to Tyng Mansion
Path to the Tyng Mansion site.

That’s the Tyng Mansion in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts (USA). The house was haunted long before it was destroyed by a devastating fire.

(The fire was rumored to be arson.)

What remained at the site — mostly charred building materials — was bulldozed. They pushed the rubble into a slightly marshy field next to the home’s foundation.

(You can visit the site. It’s next to the parking lot at the Boston University Corporate Education Center on Tyng Road in Tyngsboro.)

The remaining foundation of the house seems normal and generally inactive.

Instead, I’ve seen EMF spikes around the overgrown, somewhat marshy, rubble-strewn land next to it. That’s where you’ll see evidence of decaying outbuildings.

You’ll also find what’s left of the house, after a 1982 archaeological team removed everything of historical value. (It’s not a safe place to investigate, due to uneven ground, lots of brambles, and a large overgrowth of poison ivy.)

Other than that, I’ve never investigated a site where the ghost (or ghosts) clung to the actual building instead of the land it had been on.

Author: Fiona Broome

Fiona Broome is a paranormal researcher and author. She describes herself as a "blip analyst," since she explores odd "blips" in reality. But mostly, she investigates ghosts and haunted places.

4 thoughts on “What happens to ghosts when a haunted house burns down?”

  1. I think it’s funny that there are actual ghost hunters that get paid to do what they love. My husband always talks about being a ghost hunter, and working for haunted houses. I can’t help but always laugh at him. I think it’d be fun though to visit a real haunted house, we’ve been wanting to since Halloween ended last year.

    1. Taylor,

      The real thing is always SO much more intense than seasonal “haunted houses,” I’m just as amazed that anyone goes to the latter… except for fun, I suppose.

      Jobs at actual haunted houses can be few and far between, especially if you want a job title involving ghosts. (Well, I suppose there are marketing jobs, but it the job description might include cleaning trash chutes and mowing the lawn, as well.)

      Visiting a real haunted house can be worth traveling to (assuming you’re in Las Vegas, that is). Los Angeles is a bit of a drive, but it has some superb, truly haunted houses.

      Cheerfully,
      Fiona

  2. I just had a house fire and am deciding to bulldoze all or leave the oldest part, an 1850 antique colonial, and rebuild with new additions. The spirits in my home were lovely and protective, and I am hoping they will still be present. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    1. Hi Kelly,

      I’m so sorry to hear about the fire. I’m sure you were very sad.

      If it’s possible to salvage the oldest part of the home, for history if not for the spirits, I think that’s a good idea. Your local historical society may have some advice or even some helpful resources.

      In general, it seems as if spirits prefer to linger at “their” homes — things that seem familiar to them. But even when a building is torn down or bulldozed, many ghosts remain. I think that’s especially true of those who’ve made themselves known to the residents, and those who have a protective nature.

      I hope things go very well for you and your ghosts. It sounds as if you have a wonderful relationship with them, and I’m sure they appreciate your thoughtfulness.

      Sincerely,
      Fiona

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