Happy September everyone! I swear I walked outside this morning and it smelled like pumpkin spice. It’s supposed to be 90 degrees next week but I cannot be convinced. Summer is dead, here comes autumn! And to celebrate the coming fall, the Hocus Pocus Spirit Halloween collection and the start of pumpkin everything we are traveling to….Haunted Salem.
When you think haunted history, one of the first places that pop into most people’s minds is Salem, MA. With a dark and devastating history and the highest concentration of practicing witches in the country, it seems only natural for spirits to stick around. Or maybe they stay for the insane fall foliage, who knows. But walk with me under the falling leaves and let’s tour the most haunted places in The Witch City.
The Witch House
The last remaining building from the actual Salem Witch Trials, this house was owned by Judge Jonathon Corwin who bought the house in 1675. He would later have a huge hand in the deaths of 19 innocent people.
Widely considered to be one of the most haunted places in Salem, patrons experience cold spots, disembodied voices and people who feel they have been touched. Guided and self-guided tours are available for a price range of $4.25-10.25. Children under 6 are free.
The Hawthorne Hotel
This hotel was built in the early 1900’s in Salem and named after famous writer Nathaniel Hawthorne who lived in haunted Salem as a boy. It was built on land that used to be an old apple orchard owned by Bridget Bishop, the very first person to be executed during the Witch Trials.
The most common activity in the hotel is phantom smells. Patrons will smell fresh apples when no apples are to be found. Mists, disembodied sounds, and poltergeist activities are also experienced. It is said that rooms 612 and 325 are the highest in activity.
Turner’s Seafood (formerly The Lyceum) was also build on the same orchard property and has its own activity as well as a full body apparition.
Now a sports field, this patch of land was the execution spot for the 19 individuals wrongly accused of witchcraft. Eighteen were hanged and one pressed by heavy rocks on the hill. It is no surprise that their tragic deaths have laid an energy imprint on the land.
Anomalous pictures, EMF readings, videos and audio recordings have been captured there in the past and continue to show up to investigators who investigate in haunted Salem.
The Joshua Ward House
Build in the mid to late 1700’s, this house is still attributed to the witch trials by the land it rests on. Built on land owned by Sheriff George Corwin who used sadistic methods to interrogate accused witches during the trial, he would use those methods to kill Giles Corey, the only man to die during the trials and the only to die by stoning.
Sheriff Corwin was buried in the land beneath the house but later moved to a cemetery. It is said that Corwin and Corey both haunt the residence along with the spirit of a woman. Visitors to the home get heavy feelings of unease when there. Although often caused by high EMF readings in the home, one can’t rule out something possibly paranormal.
Danvers State Hospital
Although technically in Danvers, MA, it rests only 8-10 miles from the heart of haunted Salem. This gothic –style hospital rests atop Hathorne Hill. So named after the owner of the land, Jonathon Hathorne. Judge Hathorne was the man who interviewed Bridget Bishop during her trial.
Bishop : I am no witch
Hathorne : Why if you have not wrote in the book, yet tell me how far you have gone?
Bishop : I have no familiarity with the devil.
Hathorne : How is it then, that your appearance doth hurt these?
Bishop : I am innocent.
Hathorne : Why you seem to act witchcraft before us by the motion of your body which seems to have influence upon the afflicted.
Bishop : I know nothing of it. I am innocent to a witch. I know not what a witch is.
Hathorne : How do you know then that you are not a witch?
Bishop : I do not know what you say.
Hathorne : How can you know, you are no witch, and yet not know what a witch is?
Bishop : I am clear…
–Records of Salem witchcraft, copied from the original documents by Woodward, William Eliot, 1864
Not a great man to be sure. He is the great-great-grandfather to Nathaniel Hawthorne who perhaps changed the spelling of his name to distance himself of his family’s dark past.
Danvers State Hospital was a psychiatric hospital built in 1874. As often happens in these old “lunatic asylums” the treatment was barbaric and deadly. In 2006, many of the buildings were demolished when a residential company bought the property, despite a lawsuit started by the residents of Danvers.
After a fire that could be seen all the way to Boston destroyed the residential company’s structures and damaged what was left of the original building, only outer shells remain at this time. The property has since been sold again and is awaiting further renovations.
Some honorable mentions include In a Pig’s Eye, The Bunghole Liquors, the historical cemeteries and Wicked Good Books. Haunted Salem is a gorgeous, historical town with beautiful foliage, wacky residents and a dark past. I highly recommend to each one of you to visit this town in your lifetime.
What location do you want us to travel to next? Let us know in the comments! And check out last month when we traveled to London to walk the streets of White Chapel, climb the stairs of the Tower of London and have a pint in the haunted pubs.
A big thanks to Haunted Rooms for providing some of the information for this post.
(Featured image courtesy of InWanderlust)