Ghost of the Sun Tavern
The Sun Tavern in Duxbury is the home of resident ghost Lysander Walker.
By Thomas D’Agostino
The Sun Tavern in Duxbury, Massachusetts, is famous for its fare and hospitality. It is also well known for its permanent resident, Lysander Walker.
The front part of The Sun Tavern was built in 1741. At the end of the nineteenth century, Lysander Walker, who gained dubious fame when his story was published in the Boston Herald in an article titled “Last Duxbury Hermit,” owned the building. For some time Duxbury folk knew that all was not well with Lysander. After the death of his wife, Lysander, getting on with age, refused to venture forth from the home, which had sheltered him for so long.
The children of the neighborhood always watched for the American flag hung at the corner of the house. Its presence was the signal that Lysander needed provisions from the local store. On October 3, 1928, 11-year-old Gladys Belknap saw the flag hung union down at the corner of the house. The locals entered the home and found Lysander seated on a sofa. Beside him, still tightly gripped, was a loaded revolver from which one shot had been fired. Lysander had signaled one last time in a way which would never be forgotten. The Tavern recently received a post card from Gladys Belknap confirming this story.
After Walker’s death, Father Francis Keegan purchased the property for a summer residence. He befriended Mary Hackett and financed her education at Salem State Normal School. In the early 1930s he suggested she take over the house to run as a restaurant. This small place of food and refreshment became very successful. Situated in the heart of cranberry plantations it was famous for its quaintness, beautiful flowers and delightful meals.
David Wells bought Mary Hackett’s in 1964 and changed the name to Fiddler’s Green Restaurant to convey the feeling of an English Pub. Somewhere along the way, it was renamed Buck’s Tavern. In 1987 the restaurant would be named The Sun Tavern, a moniker that remains to this day.
Larry and Carol Friedman owned the Tavern from 1996 to 2001. When it became available again, the couple could not resist the lure and charm of this enchanting property. The Sun Tavern in all of its incarnations is woven into the lives of countless people who have walked through its doors.
Wells put the house on the map after experiencing the ghost of Lysander Walker. Each night when the restaurant was being locked up, and every candle extinguished on the tables, just one would be relit, as he was about to walk out the back door. Of course David was teased about his “ghost.” Late one night the alarm went off and the police arrived to investigate. After checking the entire building and finding nothing, they closed the door and started up the path. Suddenly each officer heard footsteps in the restaurant. With guns drawn they entered the building but found no one. That would be the last time David was ridiculed about his ghost.
Larry and Carol have many stories to tell.
One evening the police were summoned to the restaurant because of a 911 call. Larry swore that the place was empty and no one could have called. It must have been a wrong number. The police told him the call came from his pay phone.
Patrons and staff have heard heavy footsteps in the building, yet no visible person was present to create the occurrence.
The towel dispenser in the ladies room began dispensing towels by itself one day in front of Larry.
A man was choking one night and suddenly unseen hands assisted him. He leaned over to thank the person next to him but they swore they were not close enough to help him. Before they could assist him, someone hit him on the back to dislodge the obstruction in his throat.
While Larry was telling Arlene and me this story, we heard a voice like a choking sound that we were able to record.
While we were visiting, there were three loud bangs that emanated from the dining room. We were the only ones in the building at the time. We have this recorded as well.
The phone seems to be one of Lysander’s favorite items in the tavern, as staff and patrons have witnessed his ghost standing in front of it.
To this day many have experienced Lysander’s presence. His constant visitations are only part of the magic and charm of The Sun Tavern.
Thomas D’Agostino and his wife Arlene Nicholson are seasoned paranormal investigators, authors, and co-organizers of Paranormal United Research Society. You can find out more about them by visiting www.tomdagostino.com.