Bradford College - Atlas Obscura

Bradford College

A defunct all-girls college which may be the resting place of H.P. Lovecraft's real-life Necronomicon. 


Evolved from the Bradford Academy (est. 1803), a women-only institution meant to train missionaries’ wives, Bradford College in Haverhill, MA eventually became a liberal arts college and adjusted its name in 1971 when it began accepting both sexes.

The school existed as such until budget shortfalls led to the institution’s abrupt closure in 2000.  However over its nearly 200-year history, the school managed to accrue a healthy amount of supernatural lore including one tale involving a master of supernatural horror.

Bradford College had many of the familiar undergrad scare stories of ghostly students who had been wronged by miscreant teachers or orbs of light appearing in closed-off tunnels, but there is also a very specific tale involving famous author H.P. Lovecraft and his supposedly fictional book of the dead, the Necronomicon. According to a story that has been generally accepted among the more superstitious Bradford alumni, Lovecraft briefly dated a student from the college and during their relationship he hid the REAL Necronomicon in a sealed tunnel beneath the school’s Tupelo Pond.   

Lovecraft went on to base his fictional Miskatonic University, which became a fixture of the shared world of many of his stories, on Bradford’s historical campus so it is hard to say whether the story existed prior to his focus on the school. The closed Bradford College has since been purchased and is now the Northpoint Bible College, so discovering the truth behind a hidden book of unspeakable evil is less likely than ever.

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June 3, 2013

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