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Hammond Castle sits atop a rocky cliff in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Most Massholes have been there at one time or other. I went in sixth grade, a field trip. It was something that stuck with me my whole life. European in design, and macabre with it's artifacts and designs within-this place is out of a twilight zone episode. Or maybe some Christopher Pike book (remember those?).
The castle was created by John Hammond Jr. son of a wealthy diamond and silver mine tycoon, Hammond loved his time in England at boarding school. Obviously at that time he was influenced by the castles and history of the country. He kept that interest in his heart, and his travel.
Hammond Castle was built from other things
The castle itself was created from 1926-1929 by Hammond for his wife. He married a divorcee-in 1925. That was a huge no-no-divorcee's had low morals according to the times. So, he created a castle with parts from ruins. His drawbridge is from an old dock, the inside was created to look like a medieval church. People have weddings there now, and sometimes the ghost of Mrs. Hammond is said to attend. Don't worry, legend says she just pops in, she never liked crowds anyway.
Hammond Castle has an weather controlled pool
In the courtyard, designed to look like a medieval roman one there is a pool. That pool is climate controlled. Hammond like to swim in the rain, so he created artificial rain. There is a lever that lets 30,000 gallons of fresh water turn to salt water, and on cloudy, New England nights he created moonlight to bath the pool.
Hammond and his wife explored spiritualism
They held seances, had elaborate funerals for their cats and Hammond even wanted to come back as one. They built a Faraday Cage in the dungeon. Some people say Irene Hammond still looks out of the windows. There are secret passageways, rooms without doors, and again strange and macabre decor.
People from all over came to see the Hammond's.
The Rockefeller's, Greta Garbo, and famous thinkers of the day ventured to see Hammond. He inspired them with his collections. He inspired with stories of his exploits that took him to the path of Columbus. He grabbed a head there, a skull said to be the skull of one of Columbus' men.
When Hammond died in 1965 he requested his tomb be covered with mummified cats, and poison ivy. But, the estate back in 2008 sold that part of the land to pay for upkeep. They buried him instead in the cat cemetery.
When to go: CLOSED but can call the museum and they will answer your call.
Hammond Castle's Website: Hammondcastle.com
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