By Seth Daniel
History is a way of life in the present of Charlestown, and there are lots of people who know volumes about the life and times of residents of the Town in periods gone by.
But few have actually talked to them.
That’s where Charlestown’s MaryLee Trettenero comes into the picture, leading her annual October tours of historical sites in Charlestown through the eyes and experiences of a psychic – tours known as the ‘Spirits of Charlestown’ walking tour.
Trettenero’s popular tours are informed by her psychic abilities and her abilities as a medium, and she said she uses those abilities to see energy imprints of previous events and also to talk to those spirits from the past. Already, she has given a few tours this month, but she has three tours coming up this weekend, including Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 30 at 2 p.m.
The walking tour starts in City Square and proceeds to John Harvard Mall, the Training Field, the Bunker Hill Monument and ends at the Warren Tavern.
“I go to these historic sites and the tour is based on me going to those sites as a psychic and a medium and talking to the spirits and feeling the energy there, which is like an imprint of history on the place,” she said. “The John Harvard Mall has a lot of energy, and I’ve picked up during the time period of the Battle of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill there was a two-month period of time where there was a fair amount of violence because I picked up that there was a full-fledged field hospital on the Mall. After some research, I found Isaac Foster was the head of the hospital department for the colonies…He lived on the corner of Main Street where there is a dry cleaner now.”
Trettenero has conducted the tours four years now, and they get a great response – and sometimes even some voices that speak to her during the tour.
“I’m amenable to tuning in to what’s happening during the tour too,” she said. “If they were there initially to give me the information, they will be there now as well. In fact, I’ve had requests to listen for the spirits during the tour and see what they say about the tour. Once they told me, ‘This is why we did this tour for you because we want you to be interested.’”
Many of her experiences, however, are valuable because they encompass her interpretation of energy imprints or conversations with spirits who are everyday people. Those people interpret history through a different set of eyes than one might typically experience. It’s those common man or woman accounts that give her clues and set her tour apart as particularly interesting.
For instance, she’s spoken with slave girls and women simply sweeping their steps.
“When I go around, I have conversations with some of them,” she said. “One was an older woman who was from England. She was just sleeping her steps and telling about her experiences in the war years. I do believe I have had Dr. Joseph Warren before and there was one time I had Abigail Adams in the 3 Cranes Tavern. The spirit will give you clues about who they are. Abigail Adams said she was a woman dressed in finery, so the question was, what was a woman of finery doing in the Tavern because they didn’t like women of finery in taverns. It turns out Abigail and her husband were patients of Dr. Warren, so maybe that is why they were there. It’s kind of hard to know why they go where they go.”
For the slave girls, Trettenero said it was a part of history she was clued into that many may not think of during the Revolution in Charlestown.
“I sat in the park by the 3 Cranes stones and immediately heard the voices of slave girls,” she said. “They told what things were like during the war and how they were treated. It turns out that one of the owners, Robert Long, and another owner did have slave girls. It’s on record. Long comes across as treating them well, but the other man did not treat them well at all…The thing about something like that is it gives a voice to the voiceless in history. It doesn’t change history, but it adds to our understanding.”
Trettenero said she comes from a long line of psychics, including her mother and grandmother. Growing up in the Midwest, her mother talked about it often and even used telepathic energy to get the kids home before the days of cell phones. Her father did not like it at all, she said, so they had to pretend not to be interested when he was around. After trying to walk a “normal path” in the hotel industry for some time, Trettenero eventually turned to her skills full-time and has written books as well, including ‘We’re Still Here: the Secret World of Bunker Hill’s Historical Spirits’ – which is what the tour is based upon.
Anyone who would like to be a part of one of the tours this weekend can get tickets online at EventBrite (Spirits of Charlestown Haunted Historical Ghost Tour Tickets 28271304232), or by calling her at (617) 785-0306.