Real Estate News

The weird Massachusetts law about ‘para psychological or supernatural phenomenon’ in homes

Not many states have a law like this.

Not many states have a law like this. Guillaume Souvanta / AFP / Getty Images

Whether you believe in paranormal activity or not, you might be hesitant to buy a home that has a “haunted’’ history.

Well, if you live in Massachusetts you may never know, because sellers and real estate agents don’t have to tell you.

According to state law, “The fact or suspicion that real property may be or is psychologically impacted shall not be deemed to be a material fact required to be disclosed in a real estate transaction.’’

Psychologically impacted?

The state of Massachusetts defines “psychologically impacted’’ in a variety of ways. Basically, facts about the house’s history that might freak you out, but that don’t actually relate to the physical state of the house, don’t need to be disclosed. That includes a past tenant with HIV or AIDS, or if a murder or suicide happened in the house. Or, you know, if the property has been the site of an “alleged para psychological or supernatural phenomenon.’’


That seems like a weird thing to be included in a state law. Is it?

Sort of. According to “Secrets Worth Keeping: Toward a Principled Basis for Stigmatized Property Disclosure Statues,’’ published in the UCLA Law Review in 2010, it is fairly common for states to have “stigma statutes’’ in their residential real estate laws. So that “psychologically impacted’’ idea isn’t unique.

But the UCLA Law Review article notes “only a handful of states expressly protect nondisclosure of ‘hauntings’ and related stigmas.’’

Massachusetts is one of them.

Try not to fear – if you explicitly ask your broker if there have been haunts in your home, he or she is legally obliged to tell you the truth.

You can also use the website to determine if someone has ever died in your home, because as Bloomberg Business points out, in some cases a death or fear of paranormal activity can make a home almost impossible to sell. Check out other Massachusetts laws about the paranormal here.

Related: New England Castles that used to be private homes:

New England castles that used to be homes

Searles Castle (Great Barrington): Edward Francis Searles, an interior decorator, met Mary Hopkins, whose late husband had been part owner of the Southern Pacific Railroad and left her with millions of dollars, according to the castleu2019s website. Hopkins had Searles work on her home in Massachusetts, which at the time was called Kellogg Terrace, and they were later married. The once private home is now the John Dewey Academy. (Correction: The above castle is located in Great Barrington, not Windham, New Hampshire as indicated in a previous version of this article. The Searlesu2019 owned a different castle in Windham.) Wikimedia Commons/ Faolin42

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Hammond Castle (Gloucester): Now a museum open to the public, school visits, and private rentals, the Hammond Castle was built in the 1920s. According to the museumu2019s website, John Hays Hammond, Jr. had it built for his wife as a wedding present and for a place to display their collection of medieval artifacts. Hammond did his work from the castle, as he was an inventor who produced over 400 patents, second only to Thomas Edison. He invented the remote control. Flickr/ Creative Commons (RachelC.Photography)

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Castle in the Clouds (Moultonborough, New Hampshire): Since it was open to the public in 1959, this estate has been known as the Castle in the Clouds because it is on top of a mountain in the Ossipee Mountain Range. But it was originally called the Lucknow Estate, according to the estateu2019s website. Thomas Plant, who made his weath in shoe manufacturing and had the mansion built from 1913 to 1914, after he was married to his wife, Olive. It is now owned and operated by the Castle Preservation Society. Flickr/ Creative Commons (Selbe <3)

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Gillette Castle (East Haddam, Connecticut): Now open for tours, William Hooker Gilletteu2019s castle was built from 1914-1919, with 25 men working on it. Gillette was an actor, director, and playwright, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environment Protection, and he is most well known for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. The State of Connecticut purchased the house in 1943. Flickr/ Creative Commons (PhotoPhiend)

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Castle Tucker (Wiscasset, Maine): The Tucker family was a shipping family who lived in this home from 1858 to the end of the 20th century, according to Historic New England. The home was built in 1807, but the Tuckers updated it when they moved in with Victorian features. When the family had money troubles at the end of the 19th century, they had boarders come in to live and the house remained unchanged, now making it one of the most intact Victorian homes in New England. It is currently open to the public. Wikimedia Commons/ WestportWiki

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Castle Hill on the Crane Estate (Ipswich): Richard T. Crane purchased the property in 1910 and, according to the Trustees of Reservations, it u201ccame to exemplify the American Country Place Era with its farm and estate buildings, designed grounds and gardens, and diverse natural areas.u2019u2019 The main house, which can be visited today and which was rebuilt in 1928, has 59 rooms and is furnished with period antiques. Flickr/ Creative Commons (jpitha)

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