Plymouth Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour

This paranormal-themed walking tour in Plymouth, Massachusetts is a fun, “spirited” way to learn a little about Plymouth history. While we’re all familiar with the pilgrims’ story, Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower, etc., the Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour takes you to lesser-known locations, and tells the story of some of the town’s less fortunate residents. For an additional fee, the tour continues inside two historic buildings near the oldest street in America.

The tour begins at dusk, 7pm, outside Plymouth Rock. Each participant gets a small oil lantern, which must make an interesting sight in large groups. I took the tour on a cold night in April, with only two others on the tour. Our guide, Jan Williams, runs it with her husband, who spent most of the tour taking pictures, hoping to show us where the ghosts were.

Anomalous photos featured prominently in the tour. Our guide not only encouraged photography, but showed us several pictures sent to her by former attendees that purportedly showed ghostly figures. Many of the photos featured full-bodied apparitions, as opposed to the “orbs” and smudges typically passed off as “ghosts.”

The tour stopped at a handful of locations, Burial Hill featuring prominently. We probably spent two thirds of the Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour on Burial Hill (not including going inside the houses). I was expecting to stop at more locations. If I hadn’t paid the extra $5 to tour inside the homes, I might have been disappointed. Aside from Burial Hill, we stopped at Spooner Alley and Coles Hill, where many pilgrims were originally buried, and First Parish Church and the former courthouse, both located at the bottom of Burial Hill. Despite this, our guide had no shortage of stories.

The 1725 Captain Taylor House, home of Dead of Night Ghost Tours and Curiosity Shop, and 1849 Trask Museum Building were the two additional locations. I can’t confirm whether the Trask Museum is open to the public, but apparently at one point it was owned by the Plymouth Antiquarian Society. There were historical displays on the first floor of the home. It is allegedly haunted by an unlucky man who broke his leg, fell down the stairs during recovery, and died of an infection. A ship captain haunts the Taylor House. His ghost is believed to hang out in the upstairs bedroom in his favorite rocking chair.

Jan Williams also offers a local history tour, but if you’re looking for an unconventional way to learn more about the “other side” of Plymouth history, the Twilight Lantern Ghost Tour is an entertaining option. You do not have to walk far, but expect to go up and down some steep hills. Also, Burial Hill isn’t exactly wheelchair accessible. For more information, and to order tickets, visit

Author: Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and occasional traveler. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He enjoys studying military history, folklore, and philosophy.

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