If you step inside a simple store in Salem, you won’t have trouble finding T-shirts screaming, “Witch and Famous”. Salem seems to be permanently stuck in a Halloween dream, mostly for what occurred in 1692 when over 150 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. The Salem Witch Trails would put this community just 17 miles north of Boston on the map for those in search of a truly Halloween appropriate destination. Even if everything in town appears to have “witch” stamped across it, Salem remains a fine spot to visit on a crisp October day.
Learn about the Salem Witch Trails at the Salem Witch Museum
If you want a bit of insight into the Salem Witch Trails, albeit a bit hokey take on the trails, you can tour the Salem Witch Museum. The museum provides a detailed introduction into the 1692 trails. Visitors can also learn about witch-hunts throughout the years. The museum remains Salem’s most visited museum.
Appreciate Architecture and Witchy History at the Witch House
While it may seem like every house in Salem has “witch” attached to its title, this is the real deal, or it least the only standing structure in town with direct ties to the witch trails of 1692. You can tour the home of the local magistrate and civic leader Jonathan Corwin. Corwin served on the Court of Oyer, the one that sent 19 “witches” to the gallows. Even if you aren’t into the witchy history at the home, it is worth seeing merely for its 17th century architecture.
Visit the Spooky House of the Seven Gables
The home that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1851 novel is very much a part of Salem. The house and its seven gables belonged to Hawthorne’s cousin. Today it stands in a somewhat eerie fashion, with squeaky floorboards and a dark exterior. The novel about life under gloomy Puritan ideals in early New England can be felt throughout the home. Built by Captain John Turner in 1668, the House of the Seven Gables is with period-appropriate furniture, pieces referenced in the book and even a somewhat surprising and spooky secret staircase. Included in the price of a tour of the home is a visit inside Hawthorne’s bright red birthplace. The structure was moved on the grounds to be within a few steps of the House of the Seven Gables. The novel setting appreciates a view overlooking Salem Harbor.
See TV’s Favorite Witch in Statue Form
Even though Samantha Stephen’s character played by Elizabeth Montgomery on the TV show Bewitched had nothing to do with Salem, she has a presence in town. A statue to TV’s favorite witch stands right next to Lappin Park. The statue was donated to Salem by TV Land and bears a somewhat scary representation of the Bewitched star. You can find Sam hanging out on her broom on Essex and Washington.
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Photo: David Paul Ohmer