WORCESTER – A local couple is attempting to turn the mysterious, the paranormal and the ghostly into a multimedia collection of the haunted history of Worcester County.
Jess and John Curtin, of Worcester, are the creators of Haunted Worcester – a website, podcast and soon-to-be touring company, that is dedicated to all things spooky, ghostly and freaky in and around Worcester County.
Jess Curtin recently told ThisWeekinWorcester.com [TWIW] that she and her husband have been interested in developing a project dedicated to the paranormal for several years now.
“My experiences and interest goes way back,” Jess said. “I come from a long line of folks who are seers, healers, fortune-tellers and sensitives. I’ve been reading and collecting ghost stories and haunted tales since the second grade. Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark has been one of my favorite collections forever.”
“I’ve been a tarot reader since my teens, and have, since my thirties, been increasingly more sensitive to — for lack of a better word — ‘other worldly experiences.’ It sounds crazy, right? Try living it,” Jess added.
Jess said John’s interest was more in the old monster movies and the classics.
“[John] wasn’t really into the horror aspect, or ghost stories, for that matter. He sort of had to become interested once we met. He’s the one who keeps me from wandering off alone into haunted houses, falling into open graves, and — most of the time — biting off more than I can chew,” Jess Curtin said.
As far as their roles with Haunted Worcester, Jess does most of the story collecting and social media posting.
“It basically means I’m bribing people with coffee to let me record, transcribe, and post their stories. John does the majority of the tech upkeep [recording, editing, and posting the podcast],” Jess Curtin said.
Jess is also hosting the Haunted Worcester podcast which released its third episode — which introduced John and Jess — on Tuesday, May 20. The guests thus far have included Charles Longeway, author of Worcester’s Forgotten Catacombs [episode 2] and Kat Kimball, the host of Worcester’s Death Cafe [episode 1].
“We’re doing interviews with folks who are doing unique, dark, haunted, and/or quirky things in Worcester,” Jess said.
In Dec. 2018, Jess and John created social media accounts for Haunted Worcester and began sharing their own scary stories in the hopes that others would also share theirs.
“Haunted Worcester has a number of goals. Ultimately, we are looking to create a large collection of spooky stories, eerie encounters, etc. based in Worcester County. Lots of people have had brushes with the supernatural, or encounters with things they just can’t explain. It can be a comfort to know that other folks may have experienced something similar, and it can also be fun to share those creepy tales,” Jess Curtin said.
Haunted Worcester is currently collecting as many stories as they can and are posting them on their website and across their social media accounts. There is an open call out for stories and stories can be submitted to the Curtins via Facebook, Instagram, or by email at [email protected].
“They don’t have to be super long and involved — though we’re certainly happy to have those as well — just something spooky that can be put into print,” Jess Curtin said.
The couple live in a house in the Burncoat area of Worcester that, according to Jess and John, sees a lot paranormal action.
“There are a number of other houses in the Burncoat area whose residents report having ghostly activity as well,” Jess said, also naming Higgins Armory and the Worcester Auditorium as local buildings in the area that have been known to have seen “quite a bit” of supernatural activity.
“The grounds of Worcester State Hospital have been pretty active, and there are quite a few buildings downtown that have stories and rumors about ghosts and hauntings. A number of cemeteries also have quite a bit of haunted actions, though less than one would think,” Jess said.
The couple’s interest in Worcester’s haunted stories peaked further when they went on a ghost tour in a nearby [unnamed] city a few years back which the couple described as “really terrible” and “so horrible it was hilarious.”
Though that first tour was lackluster, the couple continued to go on others that they ultimately found were done well.
“When someone suggested to us that Worcester could use something like ghost tours, we absolutely agreed. Lots of major cities have them, and — most of the time — they are a fun way to learn about various locales and history. They’re also a great way to experience a spooky little thrill now an again,” Jess Curtin said. “How great would it be to have haunted tours in and around Worcester?”
She added, “We kicked the idea around for several years, and when it became apparent that no one else was doing it, we decided to go ahead and put the project together.”
On top of the podcast, website, social media and the actual collection of submitted scary stories, the Curtins are also trying to develop a tour of their own of haunted sites in Worcester.
“We’re in the middle of planning those tours we’ve been thinking about, as well as some unique haunted storytelling events. We really want to create some fun, spooky, entertaining and educational events for visitors and locals alike,” Curtin said.
The Curtins have recently announced their first Haunted Worcester Live Reading and Open Mic taking place on Sunday, June 2 from 6 PM to 7:30 PM at ArtReach at 322 West Boylston St.
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