Guest Post: John Williams and a Ghost at the Tanglewood Music Festival

This article is written by Rob Marsh as a Guest Post writer, who should be getting back to serious stuff about now! His site is

For a large part of my life I've been a huge fan of film composer John Williams, the man who has single-handedly crafted some of the greatest, and most memorable, music ever, ranging from music for the Star Wars films, Superman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and countless other films. And while Williams' music is generally an incredible compliment for the film, even isolated from the movie the music is an incredible experience. Ok, enough gushing praise and on with the article...

John Williams 
Years ago I remember reading a peculiar headline that caught my attention, namely because being the John Williams fan that I was back then, I was surprised to see his name in the news article for a somewhat strange reason. I recall the headline: "Music-loving ghost reported around Tanglewood", and scanning the article, discovered that film-composer John Williams was mentioned in the article! Very strange indeed!

The story, reported back in the summer of 1992, had to do with John Williams and some others doing an imprompt ghost hunt, tracking down a music-loving ghost haunting rooms at the Tanglewood music festival, the summer home of the Boston Pops orchestra. The reports described a ghost that apparently made noise, opened doors, turned on faucets, and even caressed someone's hair (that freaks me out thinking about it). The ghost even supposedly spooked Leonard Bernstein shortly before his death. Apparently the story is that Bernstein (another legendary conductor/composer) was sitting at a bay window two months before his death in 1990. Marcia Duncan, the house manager who was with him at the time, said that he "flew out of that window seat" and "threw his arms towards the sky, saying, 'What is it that's here? Who is it?'" Shortly after he left the house.

Williams took part in the investigation with some others, was intrigued by the visit to the house, but had to depart for a national tour after his Tanglewood performance with the Boston Pops, and he was not available for comments after this incident. The house at Tanglewood, a three-story Victorian house, is known as Highwood Manor. The exact age that it was built is unknown. The 58-year old Tanglewood festival decided to purchase it in 1986. Another interesting detail of the mystery, that happened around the time people started talking about the ghost, was recorded by groundskeeper Jim Mooney, is that apparently his grounds workers moved a stone memorial from a site a couple hundred yards from the house. The 4-foot high memorial, in the style of an old-fashioned tombstone, marked a spot where a 37-year old Oreb Andrews died in 1822 when a tree fell on him. The memorial at the time was moved and propped against a wall of a shed, where it had been relocated to make room for a parking lot (isn't that the type of thing that you do in the movies that generally turns out bad?)

Perhaps, but my own theory is this: it's just a ghost with a great taste in music, but also a penchant for bugging people. When I die, I have every intention to go on to meet my Maker. But in a ghostly form, if I personally had the chance to pop in, before I left, to listen to just a little bit of John Williams' music before my spirit moved on, I think I'd take up that opportunity as well. Its just a ghost with an exceptionally good taste in music!


Ludington Daily News - Jul 29, 1992 (via
Sun Journal - Jul 30, 1992 (via
The Telegraph - Jul 29, 1992 (via

No comments

Powered by Blogger.

Hi, we noticed that you're using an Ad Blocker

We depend on ads to keep our content free of charge. Please consider disabling your Ad Blocker while visiting this website.

If You Already Disable Adblock Reload This Page