The Rose Files
True Scary Stories from Life
                                        Attention Shoppers!
                              Or… The “Supermarket Ghost!”

                                                       ~ Rose Titus ~

   Scary stories that are alleged to be true can come from anywhere…and sometimes, scary stories can
even come from places very close to home.  Sometimes scary stories can come from places as ordinary
as the local grocery store!

   This event happened sometime last year, but as my readers know, I was quite busy – wandering the
jungles in Central America in search of bats and other wildlife such as alligators and giant insects the size
of the damn tour bus, and exploring haunted mad scientist castles and such.  Well, what can I say?  I do
tend to live a life of adventure, having visited Loch Ness and the Bermuda Triangle and so on.

   But anyway, let’s get our grocery list together and see if we can find some scary ghosts!

   One evening while watching the nightly news on television, I happened to see a brief but amusing
feature on how a supermarket employee claimed to have “seen a ghost” while working at the store.  She
described the ghost as wearing Victorian era clothing and described how the ghost appeared to look
back at her and then the spirit apparently disappeared.  I didn’t have time to research it much then, as I
had been busy working, travelling, writing and researching other subjects – but I never forgot the
supermarket ghost.  So finally, I had the opportunity to look it up and put some research together.

   So here’s what I found out:

   The Market Basket employee who had this paranormal sighting said, “She was staring right at me.  It
must have been for a second and a half.”  Before this, she never believed in ghosts.  She was working in
the bakery, writing on a cake for a customer, and when she turned around to bring the cake to the
customer, that’s when she witnessed the ghost – staring right back at her.

   And then the spirit was gone.

   The store employee reported that the ghost appeared to be old, with curly “grandmother” style hair, in a
white dressing gown with a white cap, and wore no shoes.  The apparition disappeared so the employee
went looking for her down the aisles.  She was not there.

   Later the store employee posted about the incident on a Wilmington community Facebook page.  Many
people replied and commented, some claiming to also have seen something similar at the store.  One
person in the Facebook group mentioned a similar ghost that haunted her own home on Clark Street,
which is near the store.  And some, of course, just made fun.  The Wilmington Police even posted a video
with a cartoon ghost haunting the store’s parking lot.

   A Market Basket spokesperson made the statement, “As far as we know all of our stores are ghost

   And now there is an interesting theory as to the identity of this ghost:  The “Lady of Caskets,” an
eccentric character from the history of the suburban town of Wilmington who, if she lived today, would be
known as a real whack-job.

   Mrs. France B. Hiller had an obsession with death and the afterlife.  And she was a local Wilmington
town legend.  She moved to Wilmington with her husband, a wealthy doctor, in 1873.  They lived in a large
beautiful upper class home.  At night, Dr. and Mrs. Hiller were known to walk down the street together,
going down Main Street, right where the supermarket stands today.

   She dreaded decay and death, although she believed in the afterworld, and wanted her final resting
place to be above ground.  She also wanted a very ornate casket for her final rest – two caskets, in fact,
one to be inside the other.  A wood carver was hired to create the most beautiful of caskets.  Mrs. Hiller
then held an exhibition to display her magnificent funeral plans, putting the ornate caskets on display for all
to see, along with a design for a mausoleum.

   It was said that she enjoyed resting (while still alive!) in her new beautiful coffin, wearing an outrageously
expensive dress and her fine jewels, with a mirror on the ceiling, so she could admire her future deceased
self.  In fact, in 1892, she sent a letter to the newspaper to announce her death, which actually had not
happened yet (yes, she was still alive!).  A year after her announced “death,” she married again – to her
much younger coachman, thus creating a scandal.  She was also said to have been a morphine addict
and a drunkard and sometimes violent.

   Finally, in 1900, Mrs. Hiller got her wish and passed away at 62 and was buried beside her first
husband, Dr. Hiller.

   Fast forward to this century - the supermarket employee who witnessed the ghost was shown a portrait
of the notorious Mrs. Hiller and said it was similar to the “person” she saw, “That definitely could have been
her,” she said, “It looked like the same face.”

   Well, finally, one cold winter day I realized I needed a few items so instead of going the grocery store I
usually go to, I drove to the supermarket in the next town – Wilmington – where the ghost was alleged to
have been sighted.  I found cat food, paper towels, Kleenex, eggs, milk, bread, butter, frozen peas, peanut
butter, but I am very sad to say – no ghost.

   This does not mean that there is no ghost – it only means that, unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to
meet the ghost of Mrs. Hiller.  Oh well, maybe next time I go shopping I’ll remember to put “ghost” on my list
of things to find at the store!

   If you want to learn more about the supermarket ghost, then check out these resources:

   1.        Annear, Steve, and Ostriker, Rebecca, ‘Lady of Caskets’ in Frozen Foods? Boston Globe, April
7, 2019,
   2.        Wida, Erica Chayes, Ghost spotted in Massachusetts grocery store spooks locals – and sparks
debate, from Today. Com, March 28, 2019,
   3.        Copeland, David, Market Basket:  No Ghost in Wilmington Store, from Patch. Com, March 25,
   4.        Michaelson, Rob, Is This Market Basket Haunted?  Ghost Sighting at Wilmington Market Basket
Goes Viral, from NBC Boston. Com, March 27, 2019,
   5.        And available online – various videos describing the event.
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