Legends haunt Fort Pierce house

From The Post Historical Archives

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Oct. 22, 1984.

Talk of ghosts, ghouls and goblins will abound this week, as thousands of youngsters tour ‘haunted house’ attractions around the United States. Believers of things spiritual, however, say South Florida has its very own haunted house - all year-round.

FORT PIERCE – The Boston House, the red Georgia brick structure with white trim that has graced downtown Fort Pierce for 75 years, presents a stately façade. 


But some folks say there’s strange goings-on behind those walls. 


The inhabitants of the house are a pair of lawyers and their staff. There are, however, said to be nonliving inhabitants, including a maid, a hanging victim and a woman named Aleaceon Perkings who is looking for her lost son Tim. 


The law offices of Phillips and Gale occupy the first floor of The Boston House. The second floor and the supposedly haunted third floor are under renovation, a shambles of boards and paint cans. 


“We have never seen any ghosts here – yet,” said Jack Gale, who, with his law partner, has owned the building since April. 


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“It’s rumored that it’s a female ghost on the third floor. I can categorically tell you that we haven’t run across any females on the third floor. I don’t discount the rumors, but I just haven’t run across the lady yet. We’d welcome another partner here.” 


Gale is using the supposed haunted past of the house at Second Street and Indian River Drive to place it on the National Register of Historic Places. The structure, built in 1909 by former St. Lucie County Sheriff W.T. Jones, has a history filled with ghost stories. It’s spooky reputation is well deserved, said former owner Diane Cottom, now a Palm Beach resident. 


“There’s a whole bunch of stuff there,” Mrs. Cottom said. “One of my sisters saw a woman falling down the steps. Another one of my sisters saw someone hanging.” 


Fort Pierce accountant Leonard Cottom, who with Diane Cottom owned The Boston House from 1976 to 1984, said a séance was conducted by a medium on the second floor of the building in 1979. 


Cottom, however, said he was skeptical of the psychic’s claim that the house was haunted by a victim or a mourner. 


“They said that someone was in the corner of the house wailing and that the body was still hanging from the rope.” Cottom said. 


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Mary-Frazier Palmore, an English teacher at Westwood High School in Fort Pierce, interviewed the Cottoms for a story she wrote about The Boston House. It appeared in the January 1979 edition of Indian River Life magazine. 


“(Mrs. Cottom) told about seeing a man at the top of the stairs who tried to push her down the stairs,” Mrs. Palmore said last week. “They even called in a medium from Miami and he agreed that he felt certain things there.” 


Mrs. Palmore said Mrs. Cottom told her about seeing a ghostly red-haired black maid in the house and a group of Indians sitting in a circle on the lawn. 


During her research, Mrs. Palmore said, she heard stories of a “gloriously beautiful female voice singing” and “spaces filled with a chilling cold,” in the house. 


One of the stories told to Mrs. Palmore was of a young woman who visited The Boston House several years ago. As the woman approached a stairway, the story goes, she was possessed by a “female spirt.” Speaking through the woman, the spirit identified itself as Aleaceon Perkings – circa 1810 or 1910 – and begged stunned onlookers to help her find her son Tim.

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