Experiencing Salem, Massachusetts

Located in on the coast in Essex County, Salem was once one of the most significant ports in American Puritan history, yet it there is nothing more intrinsically linked with this town’s history than witchcraft. The Salem witch trials lasted for almost a year and a half, beginning in the winter of 1692 and ending in spring of 1693. It is one of the darker chapters in the country’s past, as twenty people were hung at the gallows after being found guilty of practicing witchcraft. Since those sad days, Salem has become a hotspot for everyone looking to explore the town’s macabre history to modern day practitioners of magic. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, book a hotel room early and brave the crowds to visit here during the Halloween season. Otherwise, pick and choose from the list before for the best ways to experience Salem!


Places to Visit in Salem

The Howard Street Cemetery: Located at 29 Howard Street, this is the spot where Giles Corey was pressed to death in the fall of 1692 after he and his wife Martha were both accused of witchcraft. Corey, who was no less than 81 years at the time of his death, refused to enter a plea and was subsequently tortured over a three- day period. In spite of his gruesome death, it appears that Corey’s spirit acts as something of a guardian for the town, manifesting shortly before some catastrophic event occurs, such as the devastating fire of 1914.

Salem Witch MuseumThe Salem Witch Museum: If you are looking to get the full story on the beginning, climax and end of the Salem witch trials, this is the perfect place to go. You gather into a circular room, where different staged sets complete with life-sized figures are systematically illuminated for an impressive presentation. Through the accompanying narration, you will learn details of the trails which were gained from actual court documents. While this place may be a little too scary for smaller children, it does have a wonderful gift shop attached that holds everything from stuffed animals to jewelry and clothing!

The Witch House: This place is the only structure still remaining in the town of Salem that boast a direct connection with the Salem witch trials. This was the home of Judge Jonathon Corwin, who was one of the members that investigated claims of witchcraft during the craze that overtook Salem in the 17th century. Along with others, he is directly responsible for sentencing 19 people to hang, though they all adamantly maintained their innocence. The home remained in the Corwin family until the middle of the 19th century. In the 1940’s, the street was widened, and the home was moved approximately 40 feet to where it stands today. During this time, it was restored to look much as it would have during the time of Corwin’s residence. Today, it operates as a museum offering guided or self-guided tours.

House of the Seven Gables: Salem-born author Nathaniel Hawthorne uses 340-year-old home as the setting for his gothic horror novel of the same name. Pay the nominal fee and take the tour, which includes glimpses of artifacts related to Hawthorne as well as the history of the town. Adding to the creepy vibe of the place, there is even a secret passageway available for exploring! You will also have the option to visit the home where Hawthorne was born, as it was moved from its original location to sit beside the house that inspired him so much!

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