Contents

Massachusetts Laws

Selected Case Law

Web Sources

Print Sources


Massachusetts Laws

MGL c. 93, s.114 "Psychologically impacted" Properties
Sellers and brokers do not have to disclose to buyers or tenants the fact that a property is perceived to be tainted by the health of a previous occupant, a murder or suicide, or paranormal phenomena. However, they may not be deceitful in answers to questions about the property.

Res.1957, c.145 pdf format of Resolves of 1957, chapter 145
Resolve relative to the witchcraft trials, amended by St.2001, c.122
"the General Court of Massachusetts declares its belief that [the witchcraft trials]... were and are shocking, and the result of a wave of popular hysterical fear of the Devil in the community, and further declares
that, as all the laws under which said proceedings... have been long since abandoned and superseded by our more civilized laws no disgrace or cause for distress attaches to the said descendants or any of them by reason of said proceedings"

Selected Case Law

Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc , 509 U.S. 579 (1993)
Set the standard for admitting expert scientific testimony in a federal trial. The court noted that, "[t]he study of the phases of the moon, for example, may provide valid scientific 'knowledge' about whether a certain night was dark, and if darkness is a fact in issue, the knowledge will assist the trier of fact. However (absent creditable grounds supporting such a link), evidence that the moon was full on a certain night will not assist the trier of fact in determining whether an individual was unusually likely to have behaved irrationally on that night. [Federal Rule of Evidence] Rule 702's 'helpfulness' standard requires a valid scientific connection to the pertinent inquiry as a precondition to admissibility."

Commonwealth v. Lanigan , 419 Mass. 15 (1994)
Massachusetts accepted the basic reasoning of Daubert concerning admissibility of scientific evidence

Woodbury v. Obear , 73 Mass. 467 (1856)
A jury could consider evidence that a testator believed in witchcraft and ghosts and thought that he had communications with departed spirits, among other things, to determine whether the testator was of sound mind at the time he executed his will, but it cannot be ruled as a matter of law that a belief in Spiritualism is itself an insane delusion, or such conclusive evidence of mental aberration as to destroy testamentary capacity. See Dunham v. Holmes , 225 Mass. 68 (1916).

Web Sources

Print Sources

  • Insane Delusion as Invalidating a Will, by J.E. Macy. 175 A.L.R. 882 Section VI: Speculative, Theoretical & Occult Beliefs
    Describes when belief in the paranormal could invalidate a will
  • Massachusetts Practice v. 36A (Consumer Law) , Thomson/West, with supplement
    Section 28:5: "Psychologically impacted" property

Last update: October 4, 2014

Questions, comments or corrections on this website? Contact the law libraries' webperson. Questions about legal information? Contact our Reference Librarians.

See all topics