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Houghton Mansion is the second episode of Season 1 of Ghost Adventures. The Ghost Adventures Crew head to North Adams, MA, to investigate the Houghton Mansion. The Houghton family experienced several tragic deaths there. On August 1st, 1914 the driver of the car, John Witters, saw a group of horses and didn't want to run into them and drove to the left side of the road and the car ended up tilting and rolled down a steep embankment and it turned over three times and finally stopped in an upright position. Once the car sat in an upright position, everyone was thrown out of the car except for Mary Houghton. When the car first turned over, it instantly killed Mrs. Hutton, Mary Houghton was hurt just as badly and died at 3:00 pm that same day. The next day, John Witters blamed himself for causing the tragic car accident and at 5:00 am he committed suicide by shooting himself with a horse pistol. Ten days later, A.C. Houghton died over the loss of his daughter, Mary. Later, the mansion was sold to the secretive Masons, and they have experienced numerous paranormal events.


Zak, Nick, and Aaron travel to North Adams, Massachusetts, in search of one of New England's most mysterious and haunted buildings nestled within the Berkshire Mountains, the Houghton Mansion. This huge estate is the classic image of a huge, haunted mansion, and within is a Masonic temple. The crew proceeds to learn about the history of the place:

Albert Charles Houghton, born 1844 in nearby Vermont, made his fortune as president of Arnold Printworks, the largest employer in North Adams. He was elected the town's first mayor in 1896, and the mansion was built for Houghton and his family. The dark history of the mansion began in the early 1900's: As North Adams historian Paul Marino relates, on August 1st, 1914, Mr. Houghton and his daughter Mary Houghton decided to go to Bennington for a pleasure drive in a brand-new Pierce-Arrow touring car, driven by the family's longtime chauffeur John Witters and accompanied by a doctor, Mrs. Hutton from New York. About 9:30 AM, they came up what is now Oak Hill Road and came across a team of horses parked on the right side of the road. Witters turned the car left around it, but the engine started to race at a shoulder bend and the car toppled down a hillside, rolling over three times until it came to rest in an upright position in a farmer's field. Mr. Houghton and Witters escaped with minor injuries, but Mrs. Hutton was killed instantly and Mary Houghton died of her injuries at 3:00 P.M.

The Houghton Wreck, August 1, 1914

Witters, of course, was in a high emotional state in the days to come, and some days afterward he said to his friend he was going to go down and "tend to the horses". The friend, accompanied by the police, later found Witters in the cellar of the barn, having shot himself with a horse pistol. Mr. Houghton, heartbroken over the death of his daughter, died in the mansion 10 days after the car crash.

Zak & Co. go over to where the step great-great-granddaughter of A.C. Houghton, Rachel Branch, currently lives, to get more historical context about the building. Branch shows them an album with pictures of Florence Houghton, sister of Mary Houghton. The mansion remained with the Houghton family until 1926 when the Free Masons purchased it from Florence. The Masons, shrouded in mystery back in this time period, held their secretive meetings within a "temple" they constructed within the confines of the mansion. Several modern-day aspects of the building feature frightening reminders of old masonic activity, with a bed of nails, an electric chair, and so on. Paul Oleskiwisc, a Mason and Police Officer, shows Zak a Knights Templar sword belonging to the Masons and says the Free Masons were rumored to have protected the Holy Grail.

The Masons, back from the start of their ownership of the mansion to the present day, witnessed many supernatural occurrences - footsteps, doors slamming, the works. A Mason tells Zak that one snowy day he was waiting inside the mansion near the side entrance hall, and he heard the side-entrance door leading outside open and close and footsteps walk in, and he checked and saw the snowy footprints on the ground in the hallway leading away from the door - as one would expect as if someone walked in from outside. The only problem: There was no one present in the house, and no physical person tried to enter that door.

Another mason shows Zak to the rock-constructed walls of the stone fence surrounding the estate, saying that they were from the Hoosac Tunnel, a tunnel some distance away where men performed mining and stuff in the 1800s. That tunnel was called the Bloody Pit because of the nearly 200 men that died working in the tunnel over the years. The mason poses the hypothesis that these rocks are "cursed", and had some role to play in the deaths and misfortune of the Houghtons. Wanting to investigate further into this possible connection between the rocks of the tunnel and the tragic deaths, Zak & Co. follow the train tracks to the tunnel entrance, where they report a weird 30-degree breeze just shooting out of the tunnel. They enter and investigate the train tunnel - said to be haunted itself - and come across some strange activity, such as the sound of a brick falling in the distance, and Zak soon swears that he saw something run across the tracks far in the distance.

Zak & Co. then meet with Josh Mantello, a former president of the Masons, who has had paranormal experiences in the mansion as well, and he shows them around the various hotspots of the mansion. They go to Mary Houghton's room, where Mantello says they had previously caught EVPs in here of ghostly screams, the command "GET OUT", and others. Similar EVPs have been caught on the third floor of the mansion as well, and Zak is shown one of these EVPs. The third floor of the house is where the butlers and maids used to live, and Mantello says he saw a full-bodied apparition at a doorway at 11:00 at night in pitch darkness. There have been people up in the third floor who had to leave crying because they felt that upset. He also shows a photograph of the outside of the mansion, where a ghostly face in a third-floor window pane is visible. The lights in this third-floor room don't work because the electricity fixtures in the room are dead, but people living in houses nearby report that they have seen the lights on in this room at night.

Now at the basement, Mantello tells that before Houghton built his mansion here, there used to be another house occupying this site, which was picked up and moved to another city except for this cellar hole here which was integrated as part of the new mansion's layout. Mantello says he and others down here have encountered and been tapped by a spirit many times down here, likely that of a little girl.


Zak & Co. begin their lockdown investigation (drilling a locking mechanism into the door to ensure they trap themselves within). They set up a night vision camera and a motion-sensing system at the side-entrance hall. At 10:00 PM, they set up another camera upstairs, but suddenly hear the motion sensors they set up downstairs going off. They investigate the camera's footage, and are stunned by the footage of a very vague, wispy human-shaped shadow bolt from the left side of the hall to the right side. They assume this to be A.C. Houghton's spirit, so they call out to him, and Zak reports that he just felt as though something came in and hit him with a sudden blast of cold air or something. Shortly after, while asking questions, they and their cameras very clearly hear a girl's yell from somewhere in the house, with the EMF detector Zak is holding instantly spiking when the voice is heard, and Zak feels freezing cold again.

At midnight, as they search for the spirit of Mary Houghton, they hear three loud footsteps coming from Mary's room upstairs, and go up to the room to investigate. They attempt to utilize a new piece of equipment called a Darklight, which is meant to illuminate the buffering zone between our world and the spirit world using electromagnetic resonance - as in, attract ghosts like bug-zapper lights would be used to attract bugs. Zak goes in and waves the darklight around while asking questions, then comes out of the room and takes a series of photographs with an infra-red camera, which is used to see above the light spectrum visible to the human eye and thus illuminate possible ectoplasm. The camera can also record the current temperature at the time of each snapshot taken. The photographs all show a constant reading of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, except for one photograph registered as being taken in 64 degree conditions - this shows a ghostly form clearly manifested near a table. Zak poses the question whether this is the ghost of Mary Houghton.

Their investigation leads them to the Masonic temple within the grounds. The doors seem to be the points of interest here, as while they investigate a door they think they keep on hearing making noises, a door elsewhere is clearly heard and recorded on audio as shutting itself, and soon afterward its squeak is heard again. They immediately check behind a metal door to see another set of metal doors which make the exact sounds as what they heard.

Next, at 3:00 AM the three investigate the third floor where there is that room with a lot of activity. They try the Darklight approach again at various rooms up in the third floor. This mansion is like a maze, with countless stairwells, hallways, and doors to contend with at every turn, and trying to explore the place in pitch darkness with only night vision cameras can be downright dangerous; as they head into the basement, Zak walks straight into a double-door, leading to a brief moment of levity. Now in the basement, everyone wears gas masks because they were told earlier there may be asbestos down here. They soon hear noises of shuffling amongst the cellar hallways. Afterward, Zak sits on a chair to have a recording session by himself with a ball on the ground to try to catch an alleged girl ghost, while the other two investigate the electric chair and bed of nails. They hear and record sounds of small footsteps going up the nearby stairs towards them. Zak, during his attempted communion, hears a noise, and captures an EVP of an older man very clearly saying "RAN FOR HELP"; perhaps this is John Witters. Then Zak bolts out of his chair when he hears another clanging noise and tries to investigate.

At 5:30 AM, their lockdown ends. Zak & Crew travel to their hometown Las Vegas, Nevada, to have some of their evidence analyzed by photo technicians at Las Vegas Paranormal Institute (LVPI), such as the ghostly mist form next to the table, and the swift shadow figure in the hallway (which could be the little girl spirit that they heard the yell of shortly after). This makes for a good classification of a haunting in LVPI's opinion.


  • Apparition: A faint, dark shadow quickly and briefly moves on a wall, sets off the motion-sensing alarms set up in the hallway, and vanishes.
  • EMF Fluctuation/Residual noise: When a little girl's yell is heard, the EMF Detector that Zak was holding suddenly spikes up. Seconds after the yell, Zak receives several more unexplained spikes.
  • Residual noises: Yelling, footsteps, doors slamming, doors squeaking, shuffling, and clanging
  • Apparition/Temperature fluctuation: A digital photo taken by Zak shows a small mist that appears in midair with a sudden temperature drop (from 75°F to 64°F) that is recorded on an infrared camera.
  • EVPs: "Ran for help"




  • The first of Home Sweet Hell location
  • The first of haunted mansion to investigation
Season 1 Episodes
Bobby Mackey's Music WorldHoughton MansionMoundsville PenitentiaryRiddle HouseSloss FurnaceAbandoned NJ Psychiatric HospitalEdinburgh VaultsOld Idaho Penitentiary