Real Haunted Houses

Real Haunted House

Sprague Mansion

Cranston, Rhode Island
By Shannon Reinbold-Gee

Today, â??one of Americaâ??s most haunted mansionsâ? is open to the public for tours. Around Halloween each year they also hold an annual Ghost Partyâ?? playing on their reputation and the homeâ??s history of tragedy to maintain a building of significant historic value. Once the home of societyâ??s elite members, the Sprague Mansion in Cranston, Rhode Island fell on hard times and faced demolition in 1967. Luckily the local historical society purchased and has since maintained the estate.

The Sprague family was powerful in Rhode Island society. Investing early in textile mills and printing the popular calico cloth of the late 1700s and 1800s in bulk brought them riches. But it also seems to have brought them a share of tragedy. Two of the Sprague brothers, William and Amasa, ran â??Sprague Print Worksâ? in Cranston in the 1860s. Business was booming and the Sprague family was growing tremendously wealthy thanks to the wonders of industrialization and the factory system. And then, on New Yearâ??s Eve day, 1843, Amasaâ??s badly beaten body was found. Amasa was dead and there were no eyewitnesses.

There was, however, an entire family to blame the murder on. It seems an Irish immigrant (a member of an unpopular minority at the time) by the name of Nicholas Gordon owned a small pub near the print factory. At lunch the Spragueâ??s workers would frequent Gordonâ??s pub and drink a pint or two. The idea that their workers were drinking on the job infuriated the Spragues and Amasa managed to get the city council to revoke Gordonâ??s liquor license.

Amasa had no real reason to ask such an action be taken, but he was a Sprague, and therefore quite influential. Gordon was just another struggling immigrant. The license was revoked.

Unfortunately, Nicholas Gordon had asked his entire family to come join him in Rhode Island due to the popularity of his pub. He felt certain he could find work for them since business was going so well, being as how he was so close to the Spragueâ??s factory. His family had only recently moved in when the liquor license got revoked. It must have been like a punch to the gut. Suddenly Nicholasâ?? booming business was nearly worthless.

So when Amasaâ??s body turned up, dispersions were automatically cast on the Gordons. Amasaâ??s body lay in state at the family home in Cranston before his burial. Perhaps this is why his spirit lingers there.

The police supposedly arrested every member of the family they could find, including an elderly matriarch and the pet dog. Claiming the Irish families were tremendously tight and surely there was quite a conspiracy as a result, the first trials were for Nicholasâ?? brothers. With a prostitute as the main witness (and she supposedly kept mixing the brothers up when delivering her testimony) and a jury that certainly included no Irish immigrantsâ?? peers, the first trial found John guilty of the murder. They had no tangible evidence, and the prosecution and the judge both showed blatant examples of discrimination. John was hanged as a result. It took him twenty minutes to die. William was found unanimously not guilty. Nicholas was released on bail, most of his jurors voting for an acquittal. By the time his trial came up, the murder that originally had no witnesses now had nearly 100.

Perhaps it is no wonder that Amasa haunts the family homeâ??rather it may be a greater marvel that John Gordon does not as it seems he certainly has a right to. Strange presences have been felt in the house and a man in black has been seen on the stairs. Cold spots are frequently felt and visitors often get strange and creepy feelings related to the â??doll roomâ? where a collection of traditional dolls stares at the visitors staring at them.

Strange things have shown up in photographs of the cellar and people have seen strange reflections in the cupola; some were debunked by the â??Ghost Huntersâ? (TAPS) investigation crew in 2007. But TAPS also experienced some strange things while there. The RI Paranormal Research Group also performed a lengthy investigation of the site, finding sufficient evidence to support claims the mansion is indeed haunted.

But then thereâ??s the ghost of the lovely Kate Chase Sprague. Kate may well be the ghostly woman first reported in 1925. In her time Kate was considered a remarkable beauty and a woman at the height of fashion. Her style was often mimicked by other ladies, and, as the wife to Governor William Sprague, she hoped to someday be the First Lady of the White House. But things did not go as Kate had hoped and she died at her fatherâ??s deteriorating estate in Washington DC, destitute and all alone in 1899. It is no small wonder then that people have believed theyâ??ve seen Kate standing before the mirror in the mansionâ??s ballroom. Perhaps she returns to the mansion to relive better times just as Amasa returns to revisit tragedy.

18 comments on this haunted house. Share your story »


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Jason says:

October 4, 2008, 4:40 pm

Another haunted place! Check out my site at

We cover all the information does not!

masha says:

October 4, 2008, 10:09 pm


joe o says:

October 12, 2008, 2:55 pm

i think you have been hitting the drugs a little to hard go and check with one of those tell you wana hear phycics o sorry i mean phonys and try to say they see dead people what they see is their ugly face in the mirrior lol.. funy the best solution is to bring a gun or multiple guns and if your hear a noise or a bump in the dark unload every round into the walls windows and other rooms and i promise it will stop (the people in the other rooms with set up gear to make noises and bumps creaks noises) they will stop.

jorja brown says:

March 22, 2009, 10:32 am

Once my mom my auntie and i heard screaming and we were the only ones there scary right

Jillian says:

July 18, 2009, 9:26 am

This place is like the Morey Mansion in California so cool!

Abigail Sprague says:

November 10, 2009, 8:32 pm

You think thats freaky? Try being a decendant of William and Amasa.. No joke.. If you think Im lying, whatever but I’m not my grandma has already done the research.. Theyre waaaaaay at the top of my family tree..

Becca says:

January 27, 2010, 11:12 pm

What is so freaky about being a descendent? You seem to be looking for recognition that you certainly dont deserve. Your waaaaaaaaay at the top of the nutso tree. Get a life and a history of your own. As for the rest of you, do you kiss your mother’s with those filthy mouths?

Beth says:

April 23, 2010, 12:55 pm

Joe O must be part of the NRA. Closed-minded hick.

Abigail says:

April 23, 2010, 10:27 pm

Well Becca, I’m NOT looking for any recognition! I just simply thought it was an intresting chunk of my history. Don’t be such a close-minded egotist. How would you feel if someone said something like that to you??

Ana says:

April 28, 2010, 8:15 pm

Interesting site! Abigail thanks for sharing that information, there is nothing wrong with telling family history. Bah, to anyone who is narrow-minded.

Sherry Sprague says:

August 10, 2010, 7:55 pm

Abigail, my research has led me back to this “chunk of history” also. Would like to compare notes.

Sherry Sprague says:

August 10, 2010, 7:56 pm

Abigail, my research has also led me back to this “chunk of history”. Would like to compare notes.

ivy ruhle says:

December 1, 2010, 4:16 pm

i have had a private tour of this masion and i have very immediate connections and this mansion really is haunted, that tour was a terrifying experience for me.

Zoe says:

August 2, 2011, 3:16 pm

Cool, now i want to go there. XD

Amber says:

October 28, 2011, 1:40 pm

hey, abigial and Sherry, My Mom always said long ago a memeber of our family owned one of the newport mansions. I know this is not one, we are related to the Spragues too. I dont remember the whole story, but a Son in the mansion that was owned by our ancesters, apperntly the son was disowned or something by the family. I always felt an extremely strong connection to the newport mansions even though I have never been. Maybe thats why!

shana says:

March 9, 2012, 6:06 pm


Rich says:

October 9, 2012, 9:57 pm

You wanna talk about creepy? What this page forgets to mention is that this place is not only haunted but right down the street from a huge cementary and literally right near streets full of old mill houses former mill workers lived in. not only that I live right in between all this it gets weird at night time!

The Rising Storm says:

May 9, 2014, 2:57 pm

The doll room sounds creepy!ð??¶

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