In the small town of Rochester, MA, a rock that sits on private property, at an imposing height of twelve feet. It is branded with a painted silhouette of a witch, along with the words: “Witch Rock”. But the question remains of how this rock gained its supernatural reputation.

11428040_978075158889803_4205130859326782643_nOne theory states that the rock was once a Native American holy place: shamans would sit atop the rock
and watch the mist rise from the crevices in the stone. And early English settlers viewed this ritual as witchcraft, deeming the Algonquian holy rock “Witch Rock”. And rather than a place of divine inspiration, the boulder became a place of terror.

One modern legend marks the rock as a location where witches were hanged, and that the soul of one witch was trapped in the rock, along with many other evil spirits. It claims that the spirits howl and try to escape through the cracks in the rock. According to an article from The Wanderer, a Southeastern Massachusetts newspaper, in 2012, the property that houses the boulder was owned by a family of Abenaki and Pequawket descent. Shirley Vaughn Thompson Norton, the matriarch of the family, told her children that the spirit of the hanged witch (that resides inside the boulder) emerges from the boulder every full moon. Often, on Halloween, the boulder is used as a festive backdrop for apple bobbing and other ghoulish activities.