The Salem Witch Trials Memorial

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial

 

Everything you need to know about the Salem Witch Trials Memorial in a short read! How did this contemplative, centrally-located monument come to be? Whose names are on the Salem Witch Trial Memorial benches? Where is the Salem Witch Trials Memorial? Let's dive in witches!

 

 


 

History of The Salem Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials only officially lasted a few months in 1692. But those few months ended with the executions of 14 women and 6 men. The toll would have likely been far higher had the governor of Massachusetts intervened.

The victims were tried, convicted and sentenced to death by hanging in all but one case (Giles Corey, who was pressed to death with stones after refusing to enter a plea of innocent or guilty thereby ensuring his land wouldn't be confiscated by the court). Most of the accused were women, though several men were accused as well, and a few were executed.

 

History of the Memorial

This memorial is the city's simple but dramatic homage to the 20 victims of that horrible era.

The principle thrust to create the memorial came from Salem's mayor in 1986. The design was selected from a pool of applicants after an international public competition. Two hundred and forty six design applications were submitted.

Ultimately, artist Maggie Smith and architect James Cutler, whose design was based on the Vietnam War Memorial, won the competition. Honestly, if you've seen the Vietnam War Memorial, the similarities are striking.

Both monuments utilize the simple etching of victims' names on stone. But, while the Vietnam Memorial employs sleek black tablets, Salem's memorial opts for roughly-etched hunks of gray stone. These tougher chunks of earth speak to the nature of America itself during the late 17th century.

They also remind this New Englander of the craggy hillsides you'll find on a hike in any particularly untouched part of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Connecticut. Perhaps the same roughly-graveled hillside is reminiscent even of the spot where 19 of the 20 victims in the Salem Witch Trials lost their lives at the end of a noose.

In August of 1992, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel dedicated the memorial to the victims. Also in attendance at the unveiling was Arthur Miller, creator of the most popular depiction of the Trials, The Crucible.

 


 

What Does The Salem Witch Trials Memorial Look Like?

The memorial consists of 20 benches, one for each victim, surrounded by a low stone wall. Etched onto each bench is a name, the means of execution and the execution date. Black locust trees line the middle of the memorial. It's believed that the black locust was in fact the genus of tree that tethered the hangman's rope in 1692.

 

 

At the entrance to the memorial, you can read words of the accused directly from court transcript also etched into stone. And across the pathway from the memorial, a taller shelf commemorates the monument itself.

 

 
The names on the benches forever memorialize the twenty victims of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. Their names are: Ann Pudeator, Mary Easty, Martha Corey, Giles Corey, Samuel Wardwell, John Willard, Sarah Wildes, Margaret Scott, Bridget Bishop, George Burroughs, Wilmot Redd, George Jacobs, Elizabeth Howe, Alice Parker, Mary Parker, Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, John Proctor, Martha Carrier, and Susannah Martin.

 

 

Check out every single bench, as well as other images from the memorial on the Salem Images page.
 

Touring The Salem Witch Trials Memorial

The memorial serves as a quiet and peaceful place to pay respect to the 20 victims of the Salem Witch Trials. It's right in the middle of all the things to do in Salem, directly beside the Salem Witch Village and Charter Street (Old Burying Point) Cemetery.

It's actually perfect place for you to reflect on tolerance and understanding. This is only true, however, if you're visiting any other time of the year besides October. In that case, the memorial's central location actually works against it and tourists flood the entire area. In that case, you're better off going to the Proctor's Ledge Memorial. Proctor's Ledge is the only other real witch memorial in Salem, MA as it commemorates the believed site of the hangings themselves.

 


 

Another really cool aspect of this memorial are the tokens that visitors leave on the benches. This is an especially powerful gesture as most of the people whose names you'll find on these benches weren't afforded proper burials in the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692. Instead, they were thrown into a burial pit near the site of the hangings.

There is some lore suggesting that some of the victims were dug up by loved ones (John Proctor perhaps most infamously), but it's hard to corroborate these claims. So, in very important ways, these benches actually serve as the graves the accused never got. As such, feel free to leave a flower, coin, or any token you feel especially resonant next time you're in Salem.

 


 

Hours of Operation

  • Monday - Thursday, Saturday: 07:00 - 8:00
  • Friday, Sunday: 12:00 - 8:00

 

Salem Witch Trials Memorial Address

Address:  24 Liberty St, Salem, MA 01970

 

Does It Cost Money?

The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is entirely free thanks to the city. However, if you'd like a hands-on presentation, I'd suggest checking out some of the walking tours on offer in Salem. A personal favorite of mine is the Salem Witch Walk, which includes a ton of information about actual witchcraft in Salem both in 1692 and beyond. You'll begin that tour beside Crow Haven Corner and you can grab tickets here.

 

What's Nearby?

The memorial is right in the middle of town, so listing everything that's nearby would be a bit of a challenge. The closest attractions are the Salem Wax Museum, Salem Witch Village, and the Peabody Essex Museum. As previously mentioned, the Charter Street Cemetery is right next door. As for places to eat, head south a block on Liberty Street to find plenty of options including Bambolina (wood fired pizza), Cilantro (Mexican), or Brothers Taverna (Portuguese). There's also a super secret barbecue place nearby, but I'm not telling you anything about it.


Witch Dungeon Museum

 

 

Everything you need to know about the Witch Dungeon Museum in a short read.

History of the Witch Dungeon Museum

This museum has been sharing a particularly interesting recounting of the Salem Witch Trials since 1979. The building was initially designed as a chapel for the East Church and you can still see the resemblance to a church today. After a fire in 1902, the East Church's congregation relocated elsewhere in Salem. The building was then passed on to the Church of Christ Scientist. The new owners began holding their services in the building in 1908 and continued until 1979. Then, the Witch Dungeon Museum purchased the building. It's been running as one of the many Salem Witch Trials attractions in the Witch City ever since.

 

What's Inside the Witch Dungeon Museum?

An eerie mood is set before you even enter the building. On the outside of the structure a pillory awaits any Salem visitor eager for a photo op. Behind it, a strange tableau of a Witch Trials hanging rests in the bottom of the main building.

 

The entrance to the Witch Dungeon Museum involves a slight ascent up a flight of stairs to the gift shop, where you'll purchase tickets. You will not be exiting from the gift shop, so be sure to grab any trinkets you'd like while you're in line to purchase your tickets.

The Chapel Performance

Once you begin the tour, you'll feel like you're back in time, in 1692, in Salem Village. While other Salem tours attempt to replicate this experience, no one does it to such an extensive and ultimately eerie effect. But we'll get back to that momentarily.

To start, you'll watch a brief recreation of a witchcraft trial that doesn't go so well for the accused. Another distinction from other Salem Witch Trials attractions is to be found here. You will not find a live experience with live actors very many places in Salem, certainly not ones centered on the trials.

This experience takes place in the old chapel room where you'll sit on long, old church pews. This setting only adds to the overall effect of watching a real trial take place after which someone will really be sent to the dungeons and, ultimately, the gallows.

 

 

Descent Into the Dungeon

Once the live show is over, you'll head into the basement for the truly chilling part of the tour. You'll walk through a recreated 17th century dungeon, complete with intense scenes that show you the conditions the accused endured while imprisoned.

There are plenty of wax attractions, but this one has got a little special something to it. The figures are unsettling, their positions eerie, and the whole thing just has a strange, off-kilter vibe to it. Take a look for yourself.

 

 

This museum is definitely one of the best ways to experience the Salem Witch Trials. Seeing it is eye-opening and, after touring, you'll certainly have a different appreciation for the horrors the accused suffered in 1692

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Hours of Operation

You can visit the museum everyday, from 10 AM to 5 PM, between April and November. The hours may vary in October, due to the Haunted Happenings in town.

 

Ticket Prices

You can save up to $8 per person if you choose to visit aside this museum, another two: the Witch History Museum and the New England Pirate Museum. Tickets are available at the door.

 

Location

Address: 16 Lynde St, Salem, MA 01970


The Peabody Essex Museum

Peabody Essex Museum

Here's everything you need to know about The Peabody Essex Museum in a short read.

History of the Peabody Essex Museum

One of the oldest still operating museums in the United States, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is definitely a must-see in Salem. It is the successor of East India Marine Society, an organization comprised entirely of Salem's maritime captains established in 1799. The society's members brought a huge collection of "natural and artificial curiosities" to Salem from Asia, Africa, and then-exotic locales from around the world. Due of this early global access, the museum still holds one of the most significant Asian art collections in the US.

 

 

In the 1820's, the society moved into its own building, East India Marine Hall. The building, now adjacent to the main PEM structure, still houses some of these early objects. In 1867, the Peabody Academy of Science acquired both the Marine collection and the building that housed it. Eventually, the Peabody Academy of Science was renamed Peabody Museum of Salem and after merging with the Essex Institute in 1992, became the Peabody Essex Museum.

In 2003 the museum completed a massive renovation and expansion by adding a new wing designed by Moshe Safdie. Then, more recently, it was renovated again in 2019 to include an entirely new wing.

 

What's Inside the Peabody Essex Museum?

This is for sure the perfect museum to get lost in for a few hours or maybe even days. Exploring the museum's vast collections and terrific exhibitions is a delight. The museum offers outstanding collections dating back to 1700's. As of early 2020, there's even some buzz that the museum will begin displaying its Salem Witch Trials collection, which would be incredible as PEM stores the vast majority of still existing Trials artifacts.

The international flare that distinguished earlier incarnations of PEM is still present today. This is perhaps the most exemplified by the gorgeous Yu Tang House.

 

 

Check out all of the PEM Exhibits Here

Check Out all of the PEM Events Here

Hours of Operation, Hotels & Parking

You can visit the museum from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 AM to 5 PM. The closest two hotels are the Hawthorne Hotel and Hotel Salem. There's also a parking garage very near PEM at 1 New Liberty St, Salem, MA 01970.

 

Ticket Prices

As of early 2020, adult tickets are $20, Senior Citizen $18, Students (with ID) $12 and Children (16 and under) free. Tickets are available at the door.

 

Location

Address: 161 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970


Artemisia Botanicals

Artemisia Botanicals

Would You Rather Watch a Video?

Watch the video below for all the info you need to know on Artemisia Botanicals in under three minutes! This video is part of the Salem Spotlight series which aims to offer brief introductions to all the attractions, restaurants, places to stay, tarot and divination in Salem Massachusetts.

 

Salem's widest variety of herbs can be found at Artemisia Botanicals. Watch this video to find all the info on the store's history, tarot readings, reviews and more.

History of Artemisia Botanicals

Established as a local herbs retailer in 1997, this store strives to provide Salem's community with a massive selection of healing solutions. Unlike some other Salem new age and witch supply shops, Artemisia promotes natural and organic products. So if you're at all interested in energetic integrity, this is a great place to supply your altar.

In addition to the absolutely incredible herb selection, they also offer amazing herbal blends, both for ingestion and magickal use.

 

What's Inside?

All told, the store offers over 400 varieties of herbs and 100 teas. In addition to their herbal supplies, Artemisia Botanicals sells other olfactory delights like handmade goat's milk soap. You'll also find the usual set of witch supplies like containers, oils and candles, wands, drums and spell books.

Also unlike some other Salem shops, Artemisia Botanicals offers a particularly robust online store, so you can access all of their wares at any time.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Artemisia is the atmosphere itself. This is no dark, stuffy witch shop. Instead, the store is bright, clean, and airy. It's a very nice addition to the Salem landscape for this reason.

The staff is also incredibly friendly. I've leaned on their expertise nearly every time I've been in the store and I've never been disappointed.

 

Tarot Readings at Artemisia Botanicals

The divination you'll experience at Artemisia is unlike any other in Salem. Not only can you get a tarot reading, but there are two other types of readings that are unique to this store and Salem itself.

In addition to the tarot reading, you may also choose to receive a tea leaf or lace reading at Artemisia Botanicals. The tea leaf readings are very well reviewed. so be sure to give this on a look next time you're in Salem.

 

My Review of Artemisia Botanicals

Artemisia Botanicals is among the particularly well-reviewed Salem witch supply shops. While I've never personally had a reading there, plenty of people who have tout the greatness of them - especially the tea leaf reading.

What I can say for sure is that Artemisia is one of the stores in Salem that I order products from year-round. Even when I'm not in Salem, I'm constantly tweaking the herbs and teas in my cart. These orders always arrive promptly and in fantastic condition.

Also, the friendliness and knowledge of the staff cannot be understated. All of the elements listed here (and others) make Artemisia Botanicals one of the very few Salem stores that transcends the realm of tourist destination. Locals and visitors enjoy this place alike all year long.

If it wasn't obvious already, I highly recommend giving this place a go, no matter who you are. If you're in Salem, chances are, you'll love it. And if you're looking for ethically-sourced, organic supplies for your spiritual endeavors, you can't go wrong here either.

 

Hours of Operation

You can stop by every day, from 10 AM to 6 PM.


Halloween 2020 - Will It Happen in Salem Massachusetts

Salem Massachusetts Halloween 2020 - Will It Happen?

Recently on the site I posted a video/article called, "Should You Visit Salem Massachusetts?" That got me thinking about Halloween in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. So I made it my mission to try and answer the question, "Are we going to have Salem Massachusetts Halloween 2020?" Here's what I found.

 

Will Salem be open for Halloween 2020? This question has been on my mind a lot lately, so I decided to fig in and find an answer. In this video, I have a look at the toll that the Coronavirus pandemic has already had on the Witch City, what would need to happen in order for tourists to enjoy a safe Halloween in Salem, and ultimately speculate as to what I expect to happen in the coming months. Luckily, there's a lot of things you can do to help ensure Salem Halloween 2020 happens. The first is to support your favorite Salem establishments by following them on social media and buying from their online shops when available. The second is that you can reach out to your federal government (and local/state if you're near Salem) and advocate for the further ubiquity of proper COVID-19 testing. There's a lot of people/Salem locations I'm grateful for and miss terribly that I'd like to shout out. I list a few of them below. If you want to dive into the conversation happening in the business sector in Salem, check out the conversation also linked below. Together, we might just be able to #SaveHalloween. Stay weird witches. Full business conversation in Salem: https://www.salem.com/fyisalempodcast Some people/Salem places I'd like you to show some love to: Mayor Kim Driscoll: https://twitter.com/MayorDriscoll Emporium 32: http://www.emporium32.com/ Peabody Essex Museum: https://www.pem.org/ House of the Seven Gables: https://7gables.org/ Gulu Gulu Cafe: https://www.gulugulucafe.com/ Die With Your Boots On: https://diewithyourbootson.shop/ Pyramid Books: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Gift-Shop/Pyramid-Books-290521906538/ Find way more about all things Salem at https://tosalem.com/ Facebook: facebook.com/tosalemsite Instagram: instagram.com/tosalemsite Twitter: twitter.com/tosalemsite

September 2020 Update

Instead of recording another video to update everyone, I thought the best way to handle it would be to simply update the on-site space with Salem Massachusetts Halloween 2020 information as it rolls out. Here's what has developed since the recording of the video above.

On May 18th, Massachusetts started a four phase reopening procedure that is still currently underway. The restrictions in play impact the sorts of things you'd expect: group gathering sizes, indoor occupancy limits, proper sanitation procedures, mask policies, etc.

Unfortunately, the city of Salem is in a bit of a hard situation with such restrictions in place. Usually, the Haunted Happenings celebration brings a massive number of visitors to Salem's streets where they are jam-packed into the small city center to enjoy concerts, vendors, food, and spooky fun. As you'd imagine, the very idea that a mass of people might descend on what has been one of the hardest-to-manage COVID regions in the US is enough to make the Massachusetts and Salem government clamp down hard. Here's what to expect.

 


 

What to Expect from Salem Massachusetts Halloween 2020

  • Salem Halloween 2020 Events

    • As of now, many of the regularly-scheduled events in the Haunted Happenings celebration are canceled. A full list of cancellations can be found here, but some of the larger ones are: the Haunted Happenings Grand Parade, the Kids’ Costume Parade, the Biz Baz Street Fair, Creative Collective Merchant Marketplace vendors, all Outdoor food vendors, the Great Salem Pumpkin Walk, and several others.
  • Salem Shops

    • Most of Salem's shops remain open. A few have unfortunately gone out of business entirely due to the pandemic. But, generally, you can expect most of the stores to be open with alterations. All stores will have occupancy limits enforced, so expect some wait times. Some will have outdoor browsing options. Salem's psychics and tarot readers will also be operational, but no word yet on how they'll maintain social distancing during the readings.
    • Luckily the city of Salem has set up an online portal for you to frequent all of the shops and vendors who either won't be open this year or can't attend the celebration for other reasons. You can check that out here.

 

 

  • Halloween 2020 Parking in Salem

    • Parking in the downtown area will be severely reduced to accommodate the now needed outdoor space for Salem's vendors, restaurants, attractions, buskers, and more. While the garages will be a safe bet, street parking should be considered mostly off limits. If you can safely take public transportation and sidestep the need for parking entirely, the city of Salem definitely encourages it.
  • Public Transportation

    • Public transportation will be open, excluding the ferry from Boston to Salem. The city of Salem is encouraging visitors to use public transportation whenever possible.
  • Salem's Mask Policy & Other COVID Restrictions

    • You are required to wear a mask in downtown Salem at all times, except when dining. A Halloween mask that covers your mouth and nose entirely would be just fine. Expect social distancing (6 feet) and indoor occupancy limits to be enforced. Obviously, if you're feeling sick, don't go to Salem during Halloween this year. In fact, don't go anywhere but to a hospital if you need it.
  • Massachusetts' Out of State Travel Restrictions

    • Probably the largest consideration for anyone wanting to come to Salem for Halloween this year is the travel restrictions enacted in August. Read the full guidelines here. For our purposes it's important to know that if you are travelling from most places in the United States, you will have to do the following upon your arrival to Salem:
      • Fill out a travel form so that contact tracing is possible, should you unknowingly spread the virus
      • Either self-quarantine for 14 days after your arrival to Salem or produce a negative COVID-19 test administered up to 72 hours prior of your arrival in Salem. This effectively means you'll need to get tested before you travel to Salem or arrive two weeks before you plan on being out in public.
      • Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in a $500 per day fine.
    • Now, these guidelines ONLY APPLY TO TRAVELERS FROM HIGH-RISK STATES. As of this writing, there are far more high risk states than non, so here is a list of the states from which the above guidelines will not apply (in other words, if you're coming from one of the following states, you can just come and enjoy your Halloween without needing to do the travel form, quarantine, or COVID test): Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. I'll try to keep this list updated as we get closer to the holiday (hopefully there will be way more states by then).

 


 

Should You Even Go to Salem for Halloween 2020?

The short answer is probably not. The long answer is it really depends on a few things.

First, if you're coming from a high-risk state or country, I'd advise you to stay home. The restrictions are intense, testing isn't nearly as ubiquitous as it is elsewhere in the world, and you're probably better off coming another year. If you've never done a Salem Halloween before, I'd also advise you to come another year. While I have zero doubt that it will be a fun time, it will not be what Halloween is famous for being. So, save your shekels and come another day.

If you've been plenty of times before or it's not much of a stress to go (if, like me, you're in a location where it's easy and cheap to get to Salem, for example), I'd say it's still worth going this year. Even with the closures and restrictions, you still have all the decorations, food, shops, costumes, chill in the air, and so much more of what truly makes Salem Halloween-Central (if you're curious how Salem became Halloween-Central, by the way, check out this series - it's a fascinating story).

In reflecting on all of this, I've come to the conclusion that this might actually be a good year for the honest-to-goodness pagans to descend on the Witch City. Why? Well, the relative emptiness of the city's streets will, I believe, help cultivate the perfect environment from which to do one's pagan workings or get in-tune with the spirit of the holiday that Halloween is based on ("Samhain," for all you not yet witches out there).

In other words, I think that the sort of holiday we're looking at is more in-line with the contemplative, reflective nature of the pagan holiday Samhain than the largely commercial enterprise of Halloween. While that is a turn off to some folks, my suspicion is that there are a lot of people out there who share a similar disposition to myself and are relishing the opportunity to embrace a more quiet, more mature Halloween season.

That's all for today. I'll update the information above as it develops. Below you'll find all of the details from the original video. Stay weird, witches!

 


 

Salem Massachusetts Halloween 2020 Original Video Transcript Below:

Now obviously before I get started here it's important to note that this is developing every single day, literally tomorrow everything I say in this video could be irrelevant, at which point I will likely post some sort of update for you. So as of today, May 1st 2020, May Day, Beltane, go dance around a pole, here is where we stand.

 

Medical Status

So medically as of May 1st, Salem and the surrounding areas are all in their plateau phase, this means basically that they're not adding on an exponential amount of COVID cases, nor are they seeing a decline in the ones they already have.

Now crucially the medical community is looking to see a few metrics before the city fully reopens, we're getting back to some of these metrics later. But it's important to point out right up here up front that unfortunately the lack of testing capacity makes the metrics that the city and surrounding areas are looking for as sort of indicators that it's a hundred percent or ninety five percent safe to reopen for Halloween impossible. They simply don't have enough tests to be sure or even relatively sure that Halloween is a sure thing this year.

That's really what it boils down to and just to break this down in terms of just how big the need is right now, currently in the country we're doing somewhere in the neighborhood of seven hundred thousand tests a day and some experts are estimating that to be truly safe, this is not just in Salem but the entire country-wide, some experts estimate that we actually need to be testing around 5.5 million people a day.

So 700,000 is what we're currently doing, they're saying we need to be ramping up to be able to do about 5.5 million. So that is a massive ramp up in the testing capacity that people in Salem and people all in the medical community all throughout the United States want to see to feel a hundred percent safe. Now I have personally seen some viral videos going around this past week from medical professionals that are pretty harmful in my opinion.

I think at this point it's pretty safe to say that if you see anyone doubting the fact that we need ubiquitous testing everywhere to be safe you can pretty much just write that person off. Medical professionals in Salem are saying it, the Corona task force assembled to serve that region is saying it, everybody in the know is saying it. So that's the first thing to point out here, that Salem like the rest of the country does not have near the testing capacity that they need to be fully safe not just for now but for October as well.

So therefore because not having the testing capacity means that you don't have a full data set over what you're actually experiencing or what you're likely to experience, Salem's health community and business community are starting to look at a situation in which they may reopen some things, see what the result is, and then close some things, and reopen some things, and close some things, and kind of have to do this teeter back and forth. And they have to do that because they don't have adequate testing or adequate testing support so that they can just know what the landscape is.

What I will say though is that my interactions with Mayor Kim Driscoll and Dave Roberts and the corona task force assembled there in Salem is that these people are 100% committed to the safety of everyone in Salem and that includes any tourists that do come in for October so you can be sure that if tomorrow all of this changes and and Kim Driscoll announces on her Twitter, by the way she follow her she's awesome, if Salem is officially open for business in October and everything's gonna be great, know that she would not do that unless it were 100% safe for her to do so. So that is where the medical community is right now in Salem, that is where things stand.

 

The Federal and Massachusetts State Governments

Let's talk a little bit about where the state and federal governments are having an impact on the ability of Halloween to happen in Salem. So the commonwealth of Massachusetts has formed an advisory board made up of 18 members and on May 18th they are expected to release a report that details what the reopening of services statewide might look like.

What they're trying to with this task force has come up with a set of guidelines and systems and procedures that are sort of statewide, are everywhere because if everyone's not following the same rules it kind of defeats the point. The great thing about this committee among other things is that they're actively seeking the input of business owners and residents and tourists to Salem to kind of see what everybody's thinking, get some ideas from people about what would help make their Salem October experience as good as it can be given the circumstances.

So I fully expect that when that report does drop on May 18th it's gonna be filled with a lot of really really useful information. And it'll likely be that however Salem does look in October, we'll be able to trace the roots of how Salem got there back to this report. So you better believe that on this channel we are gonna be talking about that report when it does come out. Now unfortunately the scarcity of testing is not the only issue that the Commonwealth is experiencing in its relationship with the federal government and the assistance that they are providing. A lot of the halted progress toward increased sanitation, testing, and the sorts of measures you would want to see in place to make sure that a Salem Halloween is 100% safe, or as close to safe as it can be is actually coming from a sort of breakdown in communications between the state government and the federal government.

There's a lot of guidelines that aren't necessarily clear and procedures that aren't spelled out in such a way so that local business owners feel like they can act and project into October and even ask the question what could we do feasibly to be open during the Halloween season? A good example of what I'm talking about here is the Paycheck Protection Program loan. Now this was sold to the American people as a very helpful way to keep small businesses afloat during this coronavirus crisis but the feedback that I am getting is that a lot of small business owners in and around Salem are actually afraid that this loan is going to cause a medium to long term load on them that they cannot bear given their short-term difficulties. So they're skeptical, they're tentative, they're slow to act. They're afraid that they're not gonna have a business tomorrow. And so a lot of the ramp up sort of stuff that you would normally see this time of year heading toward October from the business community in Salem is really scaled down or in some cases just not there at all.

 

 

Unfortunately until adequate assistance is flowing and the lines of communication are open and the guidelines and the rules that everybody has to follow are clear, this probably isn't gonna get much better and by better I mean that things aren't gonna change as fast as they could, things won't be put in place quickly, things will get delayed, and the more things are delayed the less likely it is that Halloween goes off at all. So luckily for us we live in a representative republic which means that if you don't like anything that I just said, you can reach out to your local people, let them know that you don't like it. Maybe we can put some pressure on some people in power and help to save Halloween this year.

Alright so now that we've explored the role of the state, the role of the federal government, and the medical influence that's going on around Halloween, let's have a look at sort of the fallout of COVID thus far in Salem. And why we should all be desperately hopeful that some version of Halloween can occur this year. So the three private sector industries that I see as being the most affected by Halloween either happening or not happening this year in Salem are going to be lodging, restaurants, and tourism. So let's look at  each of these three industries in Salem and kind of look at what COVID has already done to them. As well as what they are currently expecting Halloween to look like.

 

Lodging

In the lodging industry it seems that reservations are still holding strong for around the October season and they are still coming in up to 90 days out, but the reservation policies and cancellation policies in place right now are very, very generous which is a good thing, but that means that we can't really predict too accurately if those reservations are going to stay in place or if people are making reservations sort of tentatively if they have the expendable income they can a make reservation, then cancel it later.

 

Dining

The dining industry has been almost totally decimated by COVID, they were the first industry to close and since then they have had nearly 93 percent, this is nationwide, 93% staff reduction across all employers in the dining history - that's insane. So far the industry has lost about 2.3 billion dollars and a lot of this is because many in that industry are finding it hard to shift to a takeout or delivery model because that kind of changes the entire business model. The dining establishment in Salem in October depends on foot traffic, depends on people being able to walk through the streets freely so this is another area where it's kind of like no one really knows what to expect.

 

Tourism

And then there's a tourism industry and this is the one that breaks my heart the most unfortunately, there are losses already in Salem in the tourism industry that are unfixable. And the really really heartbreaking thing about it is that Salem was on track 2020 to be the most profitable tourist year in the city's history, especially because of Halloween. Halloween is on Saturday this year and it's not just on a Saturday, it's on a full moon, and it's not just on a full moon it's on a blue moon which means it's the second full moon of the month of October.

So destination Salem and the tourism industry in Salem had a whole lineup of events scheduled to kick off actually this weekend and continue just straight through the peak season into November. There was an uptick in reservations across the board I know I personally had four, four scheduled, planned trips to Salem between now and the end of October. So everyone was looking forward to this October is the point, if you're watching this video chances are you were looking forward to it as well. And Destination Salem and the tourism industry have not made an official call yet on whether Haunted Happenings is happening or not.

But it is important to note that as of April 21st Munich has canceled its annual Oktoberfest which is a massive festival falling around the same time of the year. And that festival has not been canceled since World War Two and there are plenty of people saying that any sort of large-scale public gatherings should just be canceled and not happen this year.

 

So Will there Be Halloween in Salem in 2020?

Which brings us to the point of this video: will Halloween happen in Salem in 2020? Nobody knows right now. But, it is clear that Salem is preparing for a much different Halloween than they've had probably since Haunted Happenings began in the 70s. And the reason why I kind of already laid out, but just imagine it you know most of the activity in Salem in Halloween happens in the downtown area which is only a mile radius and during the month of October something like 500,000 people pour into that small space and Halloween being on a Saturday this year that means that a good chunk you know maybe up to a third or even half of that number are gonna do it on Halloween night.

With that many people in that small of a space, with testing as low as it is, the conflicts between the state and federal government what they are, some states considering reopening right now, which will cause further peaks, will cause floods in the healthcare market later down the road, will extend this thing, it just seems like there's no way you could have even a tenth of that number of people in that small of a space with anything resembling responsible safety. So that should tell you that what does need to happen this year in order for Salem to have a safe Halloween is a significant ramp up in what they're able to do medically.

So what does that look like? Well let's get back to those metrics that I mentioned at the very beginning of the video. So in Salem and the surrounding areas they're really looking at four metrics that they kind of look out and say okay if we hit these four metrics this means that it is really safe to open, everyone can come and know that they're gonna have a good time and be safe and no one's gonna get this thing or very few people are gonna get it or basically we can have our normal Haunted Happenings go off.

One, the healthcare system has to be able to handle the current volume and severity of the patients that they are currently seeing. Two, they want to have a 14-day period without a positive COVID case or death coming in through the doors. Three, they want to be able to widely test all contacts of patients who have tested positive for COVID. This is why they need so many tests, they're not just testing the doctors and nurses who have symptoms, they want to test the doctors and nurses you don't have symptoms which they can't currently do.

They don't just want to test the patients who have late stage symptoms, they want to test the patients who have earlier stage symptoms which they can't currently do. And when someone is positive, they want to be able to look at that person's social network and test everyone around them to see how far it is spread and therefore isolate that particular strain coming from that particular person and if they need to provide a place for those people to stay to quarantine until they're better, they want to be able to do that - none of that is possible without the tests. And for they want to have it so that if they introduce all these measures, one person is only infecting one other person.

Currently in the Commonwealth one person is infecting three to four people, that needs to come way down. So considering where we're at and where we need to get to, now that we know what that is, the medical establishment and the administrative bodies in Salem are really looking at a much much different Halloween in Salem because it's starting to become clear to them that they're not gonna get what they need to be a hundred percent safe in October. So here are some things that they are currently exploring in Salem in terms of what Halloween might actually look like given the circumstances as they are right now. So this would be stations that offer sanitation, disinfection and masks. The promotion of small group activities and events, which follow the CDC guidelines of social distancing.

 

 

Extreme changes for any attractions and events with multiple touch points. So those attractions where you go in and you're encouraged to touch things, got to scale that back. Likely elimination or limitation of print materials including the Haunted Happenings brochure throughout all of Salem. This includes all brochures, you go to Salem for Halloween, you come away with like 15 brochures from the tours and the museums and the attractions trying to get you to go visit. Probably not gonna happen this year, it's just too hard to control that paper flow and keep it sanitized and safe. Restaurants and retail establishments are gonna utilize excess outdoor space like parking lots and sidewalks as shopping and dining space. I'm actually pretty excited about that. So now that is all accumulated from people I've talked to, heard from, and read about over the past week and a half or so.

This is what I will just say is coming from me. I would expect all large-scale gathering events related to Halloween in Salem this year to just be canceled. This might include things like the parade, concerts, Halloween balls, Samhain ritual circles stuff like that. Basically if they can't control the volume of people and ensure that people are being 100% safe doing whatever the thing is, I just think they won't do it and honestly I think that's probably for the best even though it sucks. Now if we had a significant ramp up in testing, we might be having a different conversation come June, July but as it stands right now it doesn't seem like that's gonna happen.

So those things not being there would not be ideal, right that's not the Halloween we all know and love. But there is plenty of stuff still to do in Salem and actually there's plenty of cause for hope that some version of Halloween is going to go off. So here are some other sort of key takeaways that I've been able to gather about what we can expect in Halloween this year. The first is that if something does go off we can likely expect far fewer people to come then we have seen before.

 

Cause for Hope

Now there's a significant hope that it seems the entire business and administrative bodies in Salem, everyone who has a business or is in public office and medical establishment, all of them are expecting a giant surge to come to Salem when it becomes safe to travel. Now they expect that safety to sort of go in tiers. They expect people who live within the immediate region up to four hours of driving range away from Salem to be the first to return. And so they're gonna start reaching out to those people starting sometime around June to try and get them to come to Salem safely.

By that point, they're gonna have their procedures and guidelines in place because that report is gonna come out in mid-may. They're gonna have adhered to that and it'll be relatively safe for the people around Salem to come enjoy Salem through the mid summer. After that they are gonna target people who live a further driving distance away and then just keep expanding out. Then they're gonna go into domestic flights and international flights. But that is a process that's gonna be going through 2021 maybe even 2022. So it's not like you know: May close people, June the entire country.

 


 

How You Can Help #SaveHalloween

Another reason to hope is that you can actually help make sure that Salem remains Salem. There's a lot you can personally do right now to help make sure that Halloween goes off this year and not that Halloween goes off this year but that Salem comes back from this admittedly gigantic hit. A lot of the businesses in Salem are trying to pivot into a digital first mentality, they're trying to figure out a way that they can share their attractions, their shops, their merchandise with people digitally, so if you have a shop whose brand you absolutely love whether it's clothing witch supplies, restaurant, whatever buy from their stores online right now if they offer it.

Keep them afloat through this time if you can and if you don't have expendable income, find them on social media, drop them online just say hey I miss you, I love your stuff, I can't wait for you to come back, I'm so so excited about walking into your store again when I can. I personally would like to shout out Gulu Gulu Cafe, Die With Your boots On, Pyramid Books, House of the Seven Gables, Peabody Essex Museum, Emporium 32, God there's so many, so many places that I cannot wait to go back to and I hope you're all staying strong and I can't wait to see you again. I'm gonna be ramping up my buying from these places in the months to come to try and keep them afloat. I'm gonna be reaching out to these people via social media and making sure that they've got what they need and helping spread the word here if I can and you can do that on your own platforms as well. My bottom line is I think Halloween will happen this year.

I think it will be a very different Halloween than we've seen in Salem before. Nobody knows what that's going to look like yet but the comments, the new subscribers, the support here on the channel, there's been a big uptick recently, I've been producing more, you guys have been loving what I'm doing, and letting me know that, that has warmed my heart so much to log onto YouTube and see a new sub, or a new comment, or whatever, a new like. To see that on the Facebook on the Twitter on the Instagram on the website it's like it just gives me what I need to keep going through this. So spread that around to the Salem community. Give it to them, you're giving it to me, I'm giving it to them, you give to them, they'll give it to you.

It's how we get through this thing together. And you can be damn sure that if Halloween in Salem is canceled this year, it will be back. And I promise you that I will do my level best with your support to keep that autumn fire burning and stoked and ready until that beautiful city can return. So that's all for today, that got a little sentimental there at the end. Won't apologize for it, I'm a ooey gooey cancer. Please continue the support, it's been absolutely phenomenal the way this stuff is growing. I really can't believe it, I'm so so grateful. Share this stuff around, spread the word.

I'm so so excited about next week's video, so if you are watching this and that is already out, you should check that out because the very first interactive ToSalem experience is coming your way and boy is it a lot of fun. It is my first offering into the land of let's keep it Halloween all the time and I'm very, very excited to share it with you and I will be announcing it formally next week so check out that video if it's popping up on your screen right now. If not, subscribe to the channel and hit the notification bell to be notified when that does go live so you can be sure not to miss it. So that's it for today, stay weird witches, I'll see you next time.

 


Proctor's Ledge Memorial

Proctor's Ledge Memorial

 

Everything you need to know about the Proctor's Ledge Memorial in a minute-long video! Keep scrolling past the video for a full transcript and much more information.

 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts. Today we’re having a look at the Proctor’s Ledge Memorial. More About the Proctor's Ledge Memorial: Touring The Proctor’s Ledge Memorial: The place is a beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives during the Salem Witch Trials. As the site of the hangings, the memorial is a must-see in the city. Also, it’s the perfect place to pause, reflect and remember. Many visitors to the memorial claim to have felt a real connection with the events of 1692. Hours of Operation: You may visit the memorial everyday, from 8 AM to 8 PM. Location: Address: 7 Pope Street, Salem, MA Find way more about all things Salem at https://tosalem.com/ Support ToSalem on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/tosalem Facebook: facebook.com/tosalemsite Instagram: instagram.com/tosalemsite Twitter: twitter.com/tosalemsite

 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts. Today we're having a look at the Proctor's Ledge Memorial.

 


 

History of the Memorial

The Proctor's Ledge Memorial is a simple monument dedicated to the 19 people who were hanged during the Salem Witch Trials. For centuries, historians believed that the executions of the accused took place at the summit of Gallows Hill. However, seventeenth century Salemites didn't list the exact site of the hangings. So for years, the exact spot where the hangings occurred remained a mystery. In 1921, a local historian - Sidney Perley - determined that the spot of the executions must have near the base of the hill on Proctor's Ledge. So, considering his conclusion, the city purchased a part of the hill and called it "Witch Memorial Land".

 

Proctor's Ledge wasn't officially confirmed as the location of the hangings until January, 2016 when a group of academics made the determination after nearly six years of research. One year later, the city erected the memorial, a full 325 years after the end of the Salem Witch Trials.

 

What Does the Proctor's Ledge Memorial Look Like?

Nineteen engraved stones embedded in a semi-circular granite wall make up the memorial. On each of these stones, you'll find an engraved name and the date of the execution. The memorial doesn't list victim Giles Corey. Unlike the other 19 victims, the Court of Oyer and Terminer pressed Corey to death much closer to the middle of present-day downtown Salem.

 


 

An oak tree in the center of the memorial reminds visitors of the endurance and dignity of the accused.

 

Touring The Proctor's Ledge Memorial

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The place is a beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives during the Salem Witch Trials. As the site of the hangings, the memorial is a must-see in the city. Also, it's the perfect place to pause, reflect and remember. Many visitors to the memorial claim to have felt a real connection with the events of 1692.

 

Hours of Operation

You may visit the memorial everyday, from 8 AM to 8 PM.

 


 

Location

Address: 7 Pope Street, Salem, MA


Burying Point Cemetery

Burying Point Cemetery

 

Everything you need to know about the Burying Point Cemetery in a minute-long video! Keep scrolling past the video for a full transcript and much more information.

 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts. Today we're having a look at the Burying Point Cemetery (also known as the Charter Street Cemetery). More Info on The Burying Point Cemetery: Touring the Burying Point Cemetery: To put in plainly, if you’re in Salem, you must see this cemetery. At the entrance of the graveyard, you will find a map of the location. There are also several tour companies that make the cemetery a central stop. Hours of Operation: The cemetery is open everyday from 9 AM to 5 Pm and it’s free to visit. Location: Address: Charter St, Salem, MA 01970 Find way more about all things Salem at https://tosalem.com/ Facebook: facebook.com/tosalemsite Instagram: instagram.com/tosalemsite Twitter: twitter.com/tosalemsite

 


 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts. Today we're having a look at the Burying Point Cemetery (also known as the Charter Street Cemetery).

 

 


 

History of The Burying Point Cemetery

The Old Burying Point (Charter Street) Cemetery is the city's first graveyard. It opened for business in 1637, just 55 years before the Salem Witch Trials, and is the second oldest cemetery in the country. Additionally, winged "death heads" decorate the graves, which were popular motifs in the 17th century. The symbol represents the ascension into heaven or the flight of the soul. Even after years of tourist bombardment, the old tombstones are mostly intact and supremely carved.

 

Who's Inside The Burying Point Cemetery?

There are about 300 individuals resting in Burying Point Cemetery, including two Witch Trials judges. Unfortunately, none of the accused were interred here. Sadly, most of them weren't given graves at all. But, just next door you can visit the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, which features the names of each of the hysteria's twenty victims.

 

One of the principle magistrates of the witchcraft trials, John Hathorne, lies in a grave on the left of the cemetery. Also, in the center of the graveyard, you will find a red sandstone tabletop tomb. There are the remains of another judge from the trials - Bartholomew Gedney.

 


 

Touring the Burying Point Cemetery

To put in plainly, if you're in Salem, you must see this cemetery. At the entrance of the graveyard, you will find a map of the location. There are also several tour companies that make the cemetery a central stop.

 
 

Hours of Operation

The cemetery is open everyday from 9 AM to 5 Pm and it's free to visit.

 

Location

Address: Charter St, Salem, MA 01970

 


Howard Street Cemetery

Howard Street Cemetery

 


 

Everything you need to know about Howard Street Cemetery in a minute and a half! Keep scrolling past the video for a full transcript and much more information.

 
 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts. Today we’re having a look at the Howard Street Cemetery. More info about Howard Street Cemetery: Touring the Cemetery: The cemetery is definitely a little more out-of-the-way than other prominent ones in Salem. Many of the gravestones are faded, so you can barely read the inscriptions. But there has been a ton of ghost sitings in this place, so if spooky is your things, this is a good place to check out. You can visit it by yourself at any time before dusk or with an organized tour. Hours of Operation: You may visit the cemetery everyday, from dawn till dusk. Address: Howard St, Salem, MA 01970 Find way more about all things Salem at https://tosalem.com/ Facebook: facebook.com/tosalemsite Instagram: instagram.com/tosalemsite Twitter: twitter.com/tosalemsite

 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts. Today we're having a look at the Howard Street Cemetery.

 

 

 


 

History of the Howard Street Cemetery

The cemetery is one of the three significant to the Salem Witch Trials. Even if it doesn't seem to get the same foot traffic as the Burying Point Cemetery, this graveyard has a much darker history. It was officially established in 1801, and it is located next to the old Salem Jail.

 

 

Who's Inside the Howard Street Cemetery ?

Nowadays, the cemetery is famous for being the location of the remains of one of the most notable of the accused. Giles Corey refused to plead either guilty or innocent during the Salem Witch Trials in an effort to avoid having his land confiscated by the court. To try and coerce a confession, the court punished Corey by crushing him with heavy stones. He refused all the way to his last breath. Giles Corey's remains rest beneath an unmarked grave in the Howard Street Cemetery to this day.

As Corey was dying, he reportedly placed a curse on Salem, so it's believed that the cemetery is haunted by his ghost.

 

 

Touring the Cemetery

The cemetery is definitely a little more out-of-the-way than other prominent ones in Salem. Many of the gravestones are faded, so you can barely read the inscriptions.

But there has been a ton of ghost sitings in this place, so if spooky is your things, this is a good place to check out. You can visit it by yourself at any time before dusk or with an organized tour.

 


 

Hours of Operation

You may visit the cemetery everyday, from dawn till dusk.

 

 

Location

Address: Howard St, Salem, MA 01970


1692 Salem Jail

1692 Salem Jail

Everything you need to know about the Salem Jail of 1692 in a minute-long video! Keep scrolling past the video for a full transcript and much more information.

 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts. Today we’re having a look at the jail used to house the accused during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. More info on the 1692 Salem jail: Location: The site of the Salem Jail is right in the middle of downtown at 4 Federal Street, Salem, MA. Again, only a plaque remains to commemorate the site. But you can see an original timber used in the construction at the Witch Dungeon Museum. Find way more about all things Salem at https://tosalem.com/ Support ToSalem on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/tosalem Facebook: facebook.com/tosalemsite Instagram: instagram.com/tosalemsite Twitter: twitter.com/tosalemsite

 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts. Today we're having a look at the jail used to house the accused during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692.

 

History of the Salem Jail

The accused in Salem were actually held in four separate jails, but this one, built in 1684, hosted the majority of them. To call the building's conditions inhumane would be an understatement. The lower level dungeon was even used to torture the accused as they awaited trial.

 


 

This jail was abandoned after a new one was built and, after that, in 1863, Abner Cheney Goodall used the old jail's timbers to construct a residence. In the 1930s, the family recreated the jail and opened one of the very first witch city attractions in Salem.

Shortly after, in 1956, the New England Telephone Company destroyed that building to construct their new headquarters. So unfortunately, the jail structure no longer exists, but there is a bronze plaque displayed at the Federal Street location where it once stood.

 

Connection to the Witch Trials

The jail is well-known due to its connection to the Witch Trials. The jail was dirty, dark and dismal. Quarters were absurdly tight, illness was everywhere, and some of the accounts of the time spent in the jail are absolutely horrifying.

 


 

It was also from this Salem Jail that Giles Corey was taken to an open field and pressed to death. It was here that Margaret Jacobs accused several others of witchcraft, including her grandfather. And this is, honestly, just a slice of the horrors that occurred within these dank, ugly walls. So perhaps it's not such a bad thing that the building is gone?

 

Location

The site of the Salem Jail is right in the middle of downtown at 4 Federal Street, Salem, MA. Again, only a plaque remains to commemorate the site. But you can see an original timber used in the construction at the Witch Dungeon Museum.

 


 


1692 Salem Courthouse

1692 Salem Courthouse

 

Everything you need to know about the Salem Courthouse of 1692 in a minute-long video! Keep scrolling past the video for a full transcript and much more information.

 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts all in a minute! Today we're having a look at the infamous site of the 1692 Salem Witch Trial hearings: the old Salem Courthouse. More Info on the 1692 Salem Courthouse: Connection to the Witch Trials This was the place were those accused of witchcraft were tried and condemned to death. To sum up, there were nineteen people sentenced to death by hanging by the Court of Oyer and Terminer. The best known of the trials was the one of Giles Corey who refused plead “guilty or innocent” and thus was pressed to death with heavy stones. The executions ended in September of 1692. Shortly after, Governor Phips dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer. However, as more than 50 of the accused were still in jail, additional trials were held during 1693. Three of the convicted were actually still found guilty but all of them were reprieved by Phips. Location The site of the Salem Courthouse: 70 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970 Find way more about all things Salem at https://tosalem.com/ Support ToSalem on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/tosalem Facebook: facebook.com/tosalemsite Instagram: instagram.com/tosalemsite Twitter: twitter.com/tosalemsite

 

Welcome to the Salem Spotlight, a series in which I tell you everything you need to know about attractions, restaurants, hotels, witch shops, tours, and a bunch of other locations in Salem, Massachusetts. Today we're having a look at the Salem Court house from 1692.

 

History of the Salem Witch Trials Courthouse

The Salem Courthouse that would go on to gain so much infamy came into being in 1677. It stood in the middle of Washington Street for forty years.

Of course, 1692 brought what was likely the building's darkest days: the Salem Witch Trials. During that time, the courthouse was located on the second floor of the Town House.

 


 

In May of 1692, Governor William Phips created The Court of Oyer and Terminer. Phips would go on to be largely uninvolved with the Trials until they neared their end. But by the time the court was established, the hysteria was already well underway. The court initially consisted of Chief Justice William Stoughton and other eight prominent citizens. Among the most noted were Jonathan Corwin (owner of The Witch House), Bartholomew Gedney, and John Hathorne.

The original Salem Witch Trials Courthouse building unfortunately no longer exists. However at its location, you will find a plaque that memorializes where the old courthouse once stood.

 

Connection to the Witch Trials - Salem Witch Trials Location

This was the place were those accused of witchcraft were tried and condemned to death. There's way more information on the Salem Witch Trials on the site page if you're interested in the full story.

To sum up, a sudden outbreak of witchcraft accusations sprang forth in Salem Village, an adjacent agrarian community that had been taking steps prior to the trials to gain more independence from the urban Salem Town (where modern-day Salem is located). This was only the second such outbreak (that we know of) in American history up to that point. A smaller, but no less violent surge of witchcraft hangings occurred in Connecticut a few decades prior.

In Salem, nineteen people sentenced to death by hanging by the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Many enigmatic Salemites lost their lives during the trials or in the wake of its carnage. Some of the more memorable are Giles Corey, who refused to enter a guilty or innocent plea and was crushed to death for it. Rebecca Nurse, who had been among the church's most loyal servants and was condemned to death largely because old age prevented her from being able to hear the questions thrust upon her during her hearing. And of course there's Sarah Goode, who's daughter was only four years old when she was sent to prison alongside her mother. While the daughter survived, she was badly mentally deranged by the affair and spent the rest of her life in torment.

The End of the Salem Witch Trials

The executions ended in September of 1692. Shortly after, Governor Phips dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer. However, as more than 50 of the accused were still in jail, additional trials were held during 1693. Three of the convicted were actually still found guilty but all of them were reprieved by Phips.

 


 

The early hearings were actually held in a number of locations in and around present-day Salem. Such shifts were primarily due to a few key factors. The first is that the Salem Witch Trials largely broke out in an area outside of modern-day downtown Salem. The earliest accusations and hearings were held much closer to the homes of the infamous teenage girls who set off what would become the trials because it was far easier than traveling into town.

The second reason there were multiple locales is that a courthouse wasn't really viewed as necessary for the early hearings. Many times the accused were questioned in taverns, meeting houses, etc. It wasn't until things got formal that the courthouse was established as the primary location for the Salem Witch Trials.

 

Location

The site of the Salem Courthouse: 70 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970. This is right in the middle of present-day downtown Salem. Unfortunately, there is little resemblance between what an accused with would have seen on this spot in 1692 and what a tourist sees today. One does get a sense of the past, however, by turning around to face the other side of Washington Street. There, the seat of Salem's government rests in resplendent, albeit non-spooky, glory.

This location would have been prime during the Salem Witch Trials as well. Not terribly far from this spot, you can still walk to Derby Wharf which would have been teeming with seafarers and tradespeople in the lead-up to and for sometime after the Trials. The courthouse was a stone's throw from the prison. And both are about a twenty-five minute walk from the spot were the condemned were hanged.

 


 

One easily imagines the final days of the accused's lives. They must have been spent in a state of abject suffering. The nights chilly and breathless, the mornings stale and unnerving. Until one day a rickety cart came and hauled away the woman across the jail from you. Or perhaps her husband. Or perhaps on this day it came for you. From the prison, the accused were carted to Gallow's Hill (present-day Proctor's Ledge). There they were hanged, most likely from a tree branch, until dead. The ropes likely were not long enough to break their necks. So it's highly likely that most of them strangled to death.