Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

TS Eliot's Gloucester, MA home is up for sale, with complementary TS Eliot ghost haunting

This is the way the world ends: not with a bang, but a mortgage.

The town of Gloucester is situated right there by the sea, so if you're looking for your own Death By Water, this could be it: TS Eliot's old Massachusetts summer home is currently up for sale — and it's said to be haunted by the ghost of Eliot himself. Indeed, the woman selling the house claims that her late husband, who passed away while working on a novel, claimed to see and hear TS Eliot's ghost around the property, as well as other spiritual entities.

Besides being an utterly fantastic opening pitch for a horror movie (sharpen those pencils, spec scripters!), this also begs the question: do ethereal forms need to be explicitly included in a Purchase-of-Sale agreement in order to be guaranteed along with the property? Or are they something like, I don't know, walls, which count as being something that is intrinsically bound to the house? I suppose it depends on the nature of the haunting, really.

Of course, the realtor herself denies the presence of any ghosts in the house, and doesn't even include it amongst the amenities in the property listing. Realtors in Massachusetts are actually not required by law to disclose any information about murders, deaths, or paranormal happenings that may be related to a property. According to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 93, section 114:

The fact or suspicion that real property may be or is psychologically impacted shall not be deemed to be a material fact required to be disclosed in a real estate transaction. “Psychologically impacted” shall mean an impact being the result of facts or suspicions including, but not limited to, the following:
  • (a) that an occupant of real property is now or has been suspected to be infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or any other disease which reasonable medical evidence suggests to be highly unlikely to be transmitted through the occupying of a dwelling;

    (b) that the real property was the site of a felony, suicide or homicide; and

    (c) that the real property has been the site of an alleged para psychological or supernatural phenomenon.
No cause of action shall arise or be maintained against a seller or lessor of real property or a real estate broker or salesman, by statute or at common law, for failure to disclose to a buyer or tenant that the real property is or was psychologically impacted.

I'm not sure why AIDS is explicitly singled out in there, but either way, it doesn't relate to Eliot's apparition, considering that he was living in the UK when he did. So I'm actually not even sure how or why his ghost would have gotten back to Massachusetts — although I suppose that could be an interesting story in and of itself.

Point is: if I were a realtor, I would definitely use TS Eliot's ghost as a selling point for the property, maybe even as a leverage point to mark up the price a bit more. This could also be why I'm not a realtor (also I'm terrible at negotiations because I think they're stupid so I probably wouldn't do that even if I was a realtor).

Interestingly enough, it seems that the house isn't even listed on any historical registries — and according to the seller, the only people who ever come by looking for some kind of Eliot connection are Asian tourists. I'm not sure if or how that's relevant to anything, but WGBH felt the need to make a note of it, so I thought I'd include it here as well, just in case.

Anyway, here's a little tour of the property, in case you've got $1.4 million bucks lying around and are just looking to make your life into a cheap horror plot:

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
 Should say: "That is not what I meant at all;
 That is not it, at all."