The latest theory about the Grafton State Hospital tower

It was used to look for escaped patients from the hospital? Add that to the list, which now includes:

  • It was used as a watchtower during the Civil War (which came nowhere near Grafton);
  • It is a former water tower (with windows and a door);
  • It was built by Irish mental hospital patients;
  • And then used by the hospital to experiment on the affects of moonlight on mental hospital patients (did they turn into werewolves?);
  • Satanists held rituals there (that one came from a certain middle school student).

Want more? Here’s where I got this theory:

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12 thoughts on “The latest theory about the Grafton State Hospital tower

  1. In Irish it’s called a Cloigtheach (Bell Tower). There is one at St. Mary’s Cemetary in Milford. Built as a memorial to the Irish who were buried there. I’d be willing to bet that there are a lot of Irish buried in the Grafton cemetary. (We Irishmen are often mis-diagnosed as being insane).
    Check it out here…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_round_tower
    Like I always say…if it’s on Wikipedia, it must be true. 🙂

  2. Hi Bob!

    Since I grew up in Milford and attended St Marys, I am very familiar with the Irish round tower and I was skeptical that the tower in Grafton was also Irish due to the lack of a “capstone” and it’s shorter and wider appearance. The wikipedia page you referred to made me think otherwise when I got to the bottom of that page! This one looks very similar to the one in Grafton!

  3. Thanks Michelle,
    You have confirmed my earlier comment that we’re all (Irish) considered insane at some point…I digress…However, if we can, somehow determine this to be an actual Irish Round Tower, that would be significant. How can we do that?

    Jenn…any ideas?

  4. I’m going to drop an email to a couple people I know who are interested in Grafton history. The issue with the tower is there are so many theories — I don’t know if there’s even a record about when it was constructed, never mind by whom.

  5. It’s only my opinion, but the Irish Round Tower theory is the only one that makes sense. Even the people who have studied the ones built in Ireland centuries ago don’t know what their purpose was. When you think about it…an old stone tower in a cemetery at an insane asylum with un-marked graves, in a small New England town is a perfect recipe for urban legend. It’s no wonder there are so many theories. I can see a movie in this…let’s get Stanley Kubrick or Sam Raimi on the phone.

  6. Jenn…your posts about the Stone Tower at Grafton State Hospital intrigued me, so I did a little digging.

    When I first saw the photos I immediately thought of Scargo Tower in Dennis, but there are many stone towers around Massachusetts. Bancroft Tower (Worcester), David Tower (Worcester), Norumbega Park’s Stone Lookout Tower (Waltham), Stone Tower (Lynn), Viking Tower (Weston), Wright’s Tower (Medford). They seem to be built for the purpose of memorials, watch towers, and interestingly part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) for fire observation.

    I don’t believe it could be an Irish round tower; they were too tall and capped. The Grafton Tower, however, does look very similar to an English Round Church. Is it possible it was started to be a church and was never finished? The land near the Grafton State Hospital used to be old farm communities, and right next door being the Axtell land who’s descendants came from England. Thomas Axtell was a leader in the church.

    Maybe one of the old families from town erected it?

    Enjoying the mystery!

  7. I still think it looks more like an Irish round tower than an English round church. The only thing that makes me think differently is that the door is on ground level. Typically the door would be a few feet above the ground.

    Also, I didn’t realize that the tower and the cemetary are in Shrewsbury, not Grafton. They are a couple of yards over the line.

  8. It was an old “water tower” that was actually built (somewhat) as a cover up. I have had access to the files; the building was started, discontinued, & Worcester’s water mains extended under Grafton. The site was used as a burial ground for deceased patients until the hospital discontinued service.

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