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Bitterly Cold Sailing Expeditions, Spirits Who Still Keep a Tight Ship, and a Most-Festive Ghost

Posted on August 1, 2023
A montage of eerie photos. A long, ominous, wooden hallway; a man's prison mugshot; a historic whaling ship; an historic mansion; a missing person's flyer.
Source | Perry Normal


Provincetown, Massachusetts: a picturesque coastal town steeped in history and charm. Its not only celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant arts scene but also holds an intriguing reputation for its spectral inhabitants. Beyond the sandy shores and colorful cottages, Provincetown harbors a hauntingly rich ghost lore that dates back centuries. Tales of shadowy figures wandering along deserted streets, eerie apparitions haunting historic buildings, and whispers of long-lost souls lingering in the foggy sea breeze weave together a tapestry of ghostly mystery that both captivates and chills those who dare to explore the otherworldly side of this enchanting Cape Cod destination. 

Here, we chat with Perry Normal, the alter ego of Al Parker, and author of the tour Ghosts Legends and Lore of Historic Provincetown.

Provincetown ghost tours seek to share these stories—but Perry’s is unlike any others.  A seasoned paranormal investigator, Perry brings his passion for folklore, history and the unusual together in this winding walk through Provincetown. Read on, if you dare, for more-

A Q&A with Perry Normal

A black & white photo of a man, or spirit, seated in a rocking chair. He wears a three-piece suit, and a top hat.
Perry Normal shares the accounts of local lore with us.

Built Story Tours: Tell us a little about yourself. Where have your research and travels brought you?

Perry Normal: Perry is a throw-back to the classic horror movie hosts that most television markets had, usually on weekend nights. For example, Zacherly (New York), Svengoolie (Chicaco and now MeTV), Elvira and Vampira (Los Angeles), Dr. Madblood (Norfolk, Va), and Sammy Terry (Indianapolis).  I enjoy bringing these awesome stories and legends to life and scaring up stories and legends for my ghosts, I mean my guests. Everything I share with my guests is the story as I discover it. I always say, "I can't make this stuff up.  Someone else may have... one or two hundred years ago, but I didn't!  I just find and share to keep the stories alive".

Generally the older a place is, the more paranormal activity and energy you will find.  A little colonial sea port like Provincetown has more ghosts and legends than most major cities!  An older, small town like Murfreesboro, NC has more ghosts per capita than just about anywhere else in the country.  I've investigated ghosts and unexplained activity in a large variety of locations including London, Newcastle, Brussels, Paris, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Chicago, Williamsburg (VA), Nassau, Martinique, and Sydney.

 BST: Provincetown history is captivating. Of all the lore, do you have a favorite story?

An image of a newspaper clipping. Headline: "Provincetown Activist Babbitt Dies at 48 After Long Illness"
Active in the community, Babbitt co-founded the Provincetown AIDS Support Group, he served as president of the Board of Trustees of the Universalist Meeting House, as a member of the Provincetown Historical Society, and as president of the Provincetown Business Guild. He owned the Rose and Crown Guest House. Source | Provincetown History Project

PN: Provincetown is by far one of the most haunted towns in America. It is hard to think of a town this size with more ghost stories and legends.  You can't throw a stone without hitting a ghost or two.  My favorite Provincetown ghost is Preston Babbitt at The Rose and Crown - he is a most spirited spirit who is as full of personality now as he was when he was alive.  Preston is a most festive ghost!!! 


BST:  A tragic account you share, is that of Viola Cook. Enduring incredibly harsh circumstances, I'm not sure she ever really recovered.

A black and white, historic photograph.  A photo of a woman, looking directly into the camera. Not smiling.
Viola Cook. Source |

PN: A truly tragic story. Life here in Provincetown for the fishermen and their families was hard scrabble, but poor Viola had it very hard having to endure those whaling voyages to the Arctic.  She must have been a very strong woman to have earned the sobriquet of "Angel of Pauline Cove".  Months of sub-zero temperatures, poor food, and no daylight took a toll on her.  I hope she has found some peace and rest in the afterlife.

BST: Legends abound around Ptown. Is there one building, or street corner, where you can sense, or feel, the past the most clearly?

A sepia photo.  A historic mansion, it is 3 stories high, with an additional  fourth-level turret on top.
The Lancy Mansion in Provincetown, MA. Source | Al Parker

PN: The thing about Provincetown is that the echoes of history are literally everywhere you turn!  I guess if I had to pick, Ground Zero for paranormal activity would be the block of Commercial Street that has the Lancy Mansion, the Unitarian Universalist Church, and Town Hall.  This area literally teams with vibrations of the past. 

BST: Your suggestion for the best time to visit Provincetown?

An image of a newspaper clipping. Headline: "Provincetown Activist Babbitt Dies at 48 After Long Illness"
Photography | Nik Guiney

PN: Any time of year is a great time to visit; however, the winters can be cold!  Fall is a great time to visit, and the people of Provincetown put on an awesome Halloween!  Summers are lots of fun, but busy - especially Carnival Week, Bear Week, and the July 4th week.  You can find some great parties when the town is full of people.  Off season in the fall is a great time to enjoy our Built Story tour of the local ghosts, legends, and lore!

Haunted Places to Visit in Provincetown

In captivating Provincetown, the allure of the unknown beckons you to explore its haunted heritage. As you traverse the quaint streets and historic buildings, you may catch a glimpse of apparitions long past. Whether you seek spine-tingling encounters with the supernatural or wish to immerse yourself in the enchanting tales of the spectral realm, there are certainly ghostly places to visit in Provincetown. Perry Normal's Ghosts, Legends and Lore of Historic Provincetown tour offers intrigue at each turn, and will guide you right to each shrouded spot around town. Embrace the chilling misty coastline, where the echoes of the past coexist with the living present, in this bewitching Cape Cod town.

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