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


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.



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.



Address: 161 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

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.



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.



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.



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.


Paranormal Salem - 5 Haunted Destinations You MUST Visit

Paranormal Salem – 5 Haunted Destinations You MUST Visit


Today we’re diving into the deep end with a thorough overview of Salem’s haunted past. In this video, you’ll get a once-over on a wide range of haunted Salem history from such eras as:

  • The Salem Witch Trials
  • Prohibition
  • The Revolutionary War
  • Salem’s Era of Maritime Trade
  • The Civil War
  • And more!


Is Salem Haunted?

What I really love about Salem is that it’s a place that keeps giving. The more you look, the more you see in the Witch City. And the haunted history of Salem Massachusetts is no different. So it should be no surprise that what began as a somewhat idle curiosity about the haunted history of the Witch City should evolve into a weeks-long affair.

What really surprised me is that The Salem Witch Trials has almost nothing to do with the supposed ghosts that roam the brick-lined streets. Only a handful of the specters floating about had anything to do with that storied era in 1692.

It’s for this reason that I actually think Salem’s haunted history is actually a really good pathway into the town’s history in general (by the way, that last link leads to what I consider to be the definitive online source on Salem’s past and present, so click it if you’re interested).



Skimming the Surface

The thing that initially drew me to Salem is still true for me today. Namely, you can feel the history of the place in every alleyway, on ever shore. And I’m not just talking Witch Trials here either. While I was somewhat surprised to find that Salem’s haunted past goes as deep as it does (believe it or not, this 18 minute video is really just skimming the surface), I wasn’t surprised that it existed necessarily. It seems all of Salem is like this: you think it’s one thing and it turns out to be another entirely.

So, is Salem haunted? Yes. Haunted by ghosts? Well, that’s another conversation altogether. Stay weird, witches!


More on Haunted Salem

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Full Video Transcript Below:

Hello witches and welcome to Salem, the weirdest place on earth. Today we’re getting ready for the oncoming Autumn by having a look at five of the more notorious haunted locales in the witch city. To appear on this list, a location had to meet two criteria. First, the history surrounding the purported haunting has to have been genuinely fascinating. And second, every single location on this list you can still visit today. Please do take a moment to subscribe to the channel and hit the bell to be notified when our witchy goodness makes its way to the YouTube. Now get your EMF readers ready and your proton packs primed. Let’s get spooky witches. 


5) Wicked Good Books

We’re starting this list off with Salem’s official haunted bookstore which, in a town filled with shops that claim to traffic in occult knowledge (how people believe that consumerism and hidden knowledge play so nicely together is beyond me), is saying something. Wicked Good Books is a quiet, unassuming little shop on Essex Street that most visitors to Salem will likely recognize. The shop maintains a nice collection of local books and never fails to organize its window dressing in exactly the way you’d want a New England bookstore to. 


Oh and it’s also super haunted. Guests and employees have both reported instances of books flying off shelves. This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon for Wicked Good Books either. The shop was formerly called Derby Square Bookstore and was rather infamously known for its floor-to-ceiling stacking system. Even in that store’s 40 year run, there were reports of hauntings about. When the Derby Square Bookstore finally closed its doors, local lawyer Denise Kent stepped in to open another book shop in its place. 


During the renovation process, Kent called in renowned paranormal investigator Ron Kolek of New England Ghost Project fame to check out the recently-discovered tunnels beneath the shop in an effort to determine if there was indeed any support to the long held local belief that the building was haunted. Kolek returned “convincing” evidence of human remains as well as two supposedly entombed runaway slaves. I did look for some kind of documented evidence of Kolek’s hunt, but had trouble finding any. So if you happen to have some primary sources, please let me know in the comments below. I’d be fascinated to check it out. 


4) Bunghole Liquors

Speaking of hidden chambers and basements, Bunghole Liquors is not just an irresistibly amusing thing to say, it’s also a rather popular spot down by the water in the Pickering Wharf area. But before this liquor store was a hole for bung, it was a hole for cadavers. It served as a funeral home for some time, most notably during the Prohibition-era. 


Now, don’t get me wrong, I like a stiff drink every now and then. But I’m not sure I would go to the lengths that Prohibition-era Salemites did to get one. With limited access, the owners of the funeral parlor decided to run a sort of tavern out of the basement. This was, quite grossly, the exact same spot where bodies were embalmed in preparation for their ultimate rest. 

After Prohibition was lifted and the parlor received its second liquor license, one of the original owner’s relatives (who was actually a priest), suggested that the now-governmentally permissioned liquor spot adopt the name that locals had taken to calling it during the Prohibition. Ya know that little hole in a barrel? That thing was called a bunghole in 1930’s slang and it commonly became shorthand to refer to the Parlor without any interested parties knowing what the heck you were talking about. So, instead of saying, “Hey Brian, let’s meet at the funeral parlor later and drink whiskey next to corpses.” You could simply say, “Hey Bri-bri. Bunghole later?” 

These days, shoppers at the Bunghole claim that a female spirit and black cat both haunt the establishment. Perhaps they are the spectral remains of frequenters from the speakeasy era. Or maybe the black cat could’ve been a stowaway from a recently-docked pirate ship. Oh, you didn’t know Salem had pirates? Yeah, totally did. Speaking of which…


3) Mercy Tavern

One of those incredible areas that tourists don’t usually explore when they come to Salem is the town’s world-famous maritime trade industry. Honestly, this is way too big of a topic to get into in this video, but here are the highlights. Following the Revolutionary War, many of the burgeoning seaport towns on the east coast were financially decimated. This was not true for Salem. In many cases, Salem’s early maritime merchants actually came out richer than they were before. The reasons for this are numerous, but a large part of it is definitely owed to Salem’s natural harbor being absolutely perfect and a healthy spirit of industriousness being totally woven into Salem’s cultural fabric.


After the war, many international traders were eying Boston as the most likely Massachusetts. The burgeoning Salem maritime elite needed a big plan and they needed it fast. Luckily their ports were positively stuffed with armed trading vessels from the war. Thus began an era of trade and privateering (or legal piracy) that vaulted Salem into the ranks of serious international trade player, competing even with the likes of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charlston. 


In this era, the Pickering Wharf area became an infamous red light district of sorts. The reason why is pretty obvious – it’s a long stretch of businesses and houses right by the ports and, as we’ve already discussed, Salemites are industrious like nobody else. 


So with the swell in privateering and an unending flood of incoming travelers from China, India, Sumatra, and Arabia as well as whatever American ne’erdowells happen to have found their way to the Salem ports, Derby Street businesses shifted to seedier enterprises to capitalize. One such establishment is present day Mercy Tavern. A few years ago, the tavern was called “In a Pig’s Eye” and the patrons of it claimed to often hear disembodied voices, see sea captains disappear into walls, and be shocked by sudden, untraceable screams. Mercy Tavern is even reported to be linked via a secret network of underground tunnels that Pirate-era Salemites would use to traffic illicit goods and stolen people from Salem proper to the oceanfront in an effort to whisk them out to sea on some dark vessel. Geeze, what is it with Salem and secret tunnels? 


2) Gardner-Pingree House

Many tourists’ first indication that Salem’s history might have a bit more to it than witches alone rests at the intersection of Essex Street and Hawthorne Boulevard. This particular spot has three historically-fascinating spots all within a few block radius and each coming from a wildly different era of Salem’s past. 


Our second-to-last haunt reportedly inspired the following passage, an abridged performance of which I now humbly beg your indulgence for: 


“No doubt I now grew very pale; — but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased — and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound — much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath…I foamed — I raved — I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting,{j} and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder — louder — louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled…Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! — here, here! — it is the beating of his hideous heart!”


Edgar Allen Poe was inspired to pen the famous Tell Tale Heart based on the murder of Joseph White at the Gardner-Pingree House in Salem on the night of April 6th, 1830. The house is very much still a major part of the Salem scenery and is positioned right across the street from a few of the more frequented witch shops in town. So, if you’ve been to Salem, you’ve likely seen this place. And, if you’ve taken a ghost tour or two in the past, you may have even heard of the gruesome assissanation that occurred within. 


On that early April eve, the 82 year-old Sea Captain and former slave trader Joseph White was asleep in his bed when John Francis (or Frank) Knapp crept in through a downstairs window and silently made his way up the stairs to the bed chamber. There he bludgeoned White to death with a club-like weapon fashioned by co-conspirator Richard Crowninshield. 


Very long and fascinating story short, Knapp and Crowninshield had occasion to believe that if Joseph White were to die with his will having disappeared, his considerable wealth would be spread out among his surviving relatives. As it turns out, one of those was Knapp’s mother-in-law. So that explains why Knapp wanted White dead, but what about Richard Crowninshield. Turns out, he was just a bastard and everyone knew it. He frequented spots of ill repute and was known locally as “disreputable.” 


The conspirators met at the Salem common and planned the theft of the will and subsequent violent slaying. Unfortunately for them, none of it really worked out. Frank’s brother Joe (another conspirator) attempted to steal the will from an iron lockbox before the murder, but took the wrong document which was, as White was old and not a complete idiot, already safe in his lawyer’s lockbox. So, in the end, a fascinating hunt insued after White’s murder and John Francis Knapp was eventually apprehended as an accomplice to the crime. He rolled over on Richard Crowninshield as the principle in the murder and, therefor based on the legal system of the time, the first to be tried. Richard found this out from a friend before his trial date could occur and as a final insult to the legal system, hanged himself before the authorities could do it. This caused a bit of a problem as the law at the time held that the principle agent in the murder must be tried in order to pursue the accomplices. Cue the legendary Daniel Webster. 


Honestly, this segment is already super long, so I’m not going to go in-depth with who Daniel Webster was and why he’s one of the most iconic Americans who has ever lived, but suffice it to say his coming into this ordeal was a massive affair. He went on to deliver one of the most beautiful, elegantly phrased prosecutorial arguments in the history of my country’s legal system all in an effort to shift the principle blame from the now-deceased Crowninshield to Frank Knapp. Webster was successful and a few months later both Frank and his brother Joe were hanged. 


The murder and trial were such that the echoes of them reverberated all the way even to New York City and influenced the likes of Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne who was in his mid-twenties at the time. These days, the Gardner-Pingree house still stands as a reminder of the brutal slaying and almost cinematic aftermath of it. Plenty of visitors report hearing odd footsteps, doors slamming. They see odd, ghostly faces in the windows. Some even claim that on a certain night in April, if you listen very closely, you can hear the thwack of the club and groans of the old captain as his life slips gruesomely away. 


1) Hawthorne Hotel

Now, Salem is like a lot of old New England towns in that it can be difficult to draw distinctions between historical facts and legends. Unfortunately, to even begin talking about the historical reasons behind our final haunting, we have to indulge in a bit of legend. Bridget Bishop was the first victim of the Salem Witch Trials and she was, to put it mildly, someone of an enigmatic character in 1692’s Salem. The next video we’re putting together is all about her, actually, so if you’re interested, check out the channel for that.




Anywho, our final haunting could really be subtitled “A Tale of Two Orchards.” Oddly enough, for reasons I don’t really understand, Bridget Bishop’s apple orchard is somewhat famous in Salem. Both the Lyceum or present-day Turner’s Seafood and The Hawthorne Hotel claim to be built upon the land where the apples once fell. Perhaps they both were? I’m not really sure. Maybe I’ll find out in the course of researching Bishop. 


Anywho, the hauntings of The Hawthorne Hotel begin, at lease chronologically with Bishop and her apple orchard. She is one of many spectres that have reportedly haunted the Hawthorne over the years. Visitors report seeing her spectral visage wandering the halls, bringing with it the scent of freshly bitten apples. She seems to favor room 612. Why that particular room? Well, I’m no numerology expert, but here are some guesses. She was hanged in 1692. There’s an obvious 1, 6, and 2 in there. She was killed on June 10 of that year. So, that would be 6-10-92, which is also kind of close. But this one’s the most interesting. If you actually add up all of the numbers in her death date, you get 1708. Then, divide that number by 2.79 to get 612. What’s 2.79 you ask? A number that works for this scenario. Again, I’m really not an expert. 


But Bridget isn’t the only deceased denizen of the Hawthorne. The hotel is rather famously the home of The Salem Marine Society. Now, again, this is a topic that’s bigger than this video. But, for our purposes here, know that many sea voyagers have made their way into somewhat hidden alcoves in The Hawthorne. And some of these reportedly never left. 


Sea captains, mariners, pirates, all have been reported in The Hawthorne. If I had to suppose such a thing, I would suppose that The Hawthorne is probably the most haunted place in Salem in terms of sheer volume and claims of sightings. Why exactly? I’m not sure. It certainly doesn’t have as colorful a history as some of the other places even on this list. It was only built in 1925, which by Salem standards, isn’t that old. Perhaps it has more to do with the venerable nature of its location and namesake. Everything about the Hawthorne feels like Salem. It is, in my opinion, the most Salem of the Salem hotels. Perhaps its very Salemness and the transient nature of its inhabitants, both marine or otherwise, somehow creates a liminal space between our material world and another, less graspable one. 


I don’t know, really. But I do know that the spirits here aren’t just seafarers and apple pickers. Infant ghosts reside here as well. Room 325 is a coldspot of electrical fault. The plumbing disrupts, the lights falter with no reason behind any of it. Perhaps that’s what’s truly terrifying about The Hawthorne – the sheer variety of seemingly malevolent, inexplicable entities prowling its halls. Viewed through such a lens, one almost longs for the comfort of a known ghost. A woman in the orchard, a drunkard in the cellar, an elderly victim in his deathbed, a merchant creeping through a darkened tunnel. The lens of history reshades each of these into yet more maddening horrors. But none such as these are as chilling as the infant with no name, the slow unexplained motion of a captain’s wheel untouched, yet still revolving on its axis, the moans from nowhere to noone. The Hawthorne Hotel has each of these and more in wait for any and all who dare to invite them in. 


Thank you so much for checking out this video. Please do like the video, subscribe to the channel, and hit the notification bell for more witchy goodness. Check out ToSalem.com for a boatload of images and articles and more all about the witch city. Stay weird witches. I’ll see you next time. 


The House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables

Everything you need to know about The House of the Seven Gables in a minute and a half! Keep scrolling past the video for a full transcript and much more information about The House of the Seven Gables.


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 House of the Seven Gables. 1) Hours of Operation Like many Salem attractions, The House of the Seven Gables has fluctuating seasonal hours: January 1 - 16, 2020: Closed January to late May: 10am - 5pm Late May to Late June: 10am-5pm most days, but until 7pm on Friday and Saturday Late June to Halloween: 10am - 7pm November and December: 10am - 5pm A bunch of seasonal/holiday hours, which you can check out at at https://7gables.org 2) Ticket Prices Adults: $16 Seniors aged 65+: $15 College (need ID): $15 13-18 year-olds: $13 5-12 year-olds: $11 Under 5 years-old: Free Salem Residents (with proof of residency): Free 3) Location The House of the Seven Gables is located a little bit further down Derby St. than Pickering Wharf. Coming from downtown Salem, it's on the way toward Salem Willows and Winter Island. It's also a stop on the Salem Trolley. The address is: 115 Derby St. Salem, Massachusetts 01970 4) Contact You can reach the attraction at 978-744-0991 or by emailing info@7gables.org. Music used in the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rQ4KJcOzX4 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 House of the Seven Gables.



Throughout The House of the Seven Gables' many years, it has inspired authors, artists, tourists, ghost hunters, and many more. It was built in 1668 by a merchant and shipowner named John Turner who was the head of one of the most prominent New England families at the time.



It passed to the Ingersoll family in 1782. In 1804, Susannah Ingersoll inherited the home. For about a four year period in the 1840's, Ingersoll's cousin Nathaniel Hawthorne worked just down the road at the Custom House and would pop in frequently. These visits inspired Hawthorne to pen his famous novel The House of the Seven Gables.

After the Ingersoll's lost the mansion to creditors in the 1870's, the house bounced between a variety of owners until it landed on the Upton family. The artistic and industrious Uptons were both the first to give tours of the mansion and to sell souvenirs relating to it. This makes The House of the Seven Gables the longest-running Salem attraction!

The final notable owner was Caroline Emmerton, who worked with a local architect in the early 20th century to restore it to its original appearance as well as preserve it for future generations. It is because of Emmerton that The House of the Seven Gables stands in such fantastic condition to this day.


What's Inside The House of the Seven Gables?

The House of the Seven Gables offers one of the most bang for your buck admission policies there is. With the cost of the ticket you get:

  • A 40 minute guided tour of the house itself
  • Access to other facilities on the grounds, including: Nathaniel Hawthorne's birthplace, the Counting House, and the Living History Labs. The latter two both offer activities for kids.
  • Open access to the seaside gardens
  • An audio tour offered through a partnership with an app.

I've taken this tour twice. And both times I had an absolute blast with it. Check out all the images I have from both tours on the images page. My favorite part of the tour is also the most infamous. It's not often in life one gets to take a hidden staircase to an unfinished 17th century attic. But, the House of the Seven Gables tour lets you do just that. Disclaimer though, you must be relatively thin and fit the do it, it's a bit of a tight fit. There is also a more leisurely path up to the attic for all who'd rather avoid the tight squeeze.



Another distinguishing characteristic of the tour is that it includes multiple structures and outdoor garden spaces. And all of it is positioned seaside. This makes Gables a perfect stop on a gorgeous day in Salem as, after the tour, you're free to hang out in the gardens and feel the cool ocean breeze on your witchy face. The other structures on the grounds are absolutely worth checking out. They're more of a self-guided situation though, although there may be a guide waiting inside to answer questions. All things considered, the House of the Seven Gables tour is well-regarded for good reasons. It's one of the very few places I recommend for anyone traveling to Salem, even if they've been to the attraction before. There's always some new facet to check out at the Gables.

Hours of Operation

Like many Salem attractions, The House of the Seven Gables has fluctuating seasonal hours:

  • January 1 - 16, 2020: Closed
  • January to late May: 10am - 5pm
  • Late May to Late June: 10am-5pm most days, but until 7pm on Friday and Saturday
  • Late June to Halloween: 10am - 7pm
  • November and December: 10am - 5pm
  • A bunch of seasonal/holiday hours, which you can check out at at https://7gables.org



Ticket Prices

  • Adults: $16
  • Seniors aged 65+: $15
  • College (need ID): $15
  • 13-18 year-olds: $13
  • 5-12 year-olds: $11
  • Under 5 years-old: Free
  • Salem Residents (with proof of residency): Free


The House of the Seven Gables is located a little bit further down Derby St. than Pickering Wharf. Coming from downtown Salem, it's on the way toward Salem Willows and Winter Island. It's also a stop on the Salem Trolley. The address is: 115 Derby St. Salem, Massachusetts 01970

Contact the House of the Seven Gables

You can reach the attraction at 978-744-0991 or by emailing info@7gables.org.

Music used in the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rQ4KJcOzX4

Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery

Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery


Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery is a Salem Massachusetts attraction that has enjoyed considerable fame in its decade-long operation. This is at least partially due to the museum's featured attractions: horror movie monsters!

If you've visited any of Salem's attractions, you'll likely feel a breath of fresh air at the change in tone. It's still dark and spooky, like the Salem Witch Museum for instance. But, here be no witches (unless you count Anjelica Houston).


New Location

After more than ten years in operation, the Gallery moved locations in 2018. They packed up their Freddy Krueger, Pennywise the Clown, Dracula, and Wolfman displays and jaunted from a place near the wharf to the middle of the action: Essex Street. Now, Salem visitors are absolutely sure to come across the attraction, no matter when they visit.



Unfortunately, the Gallery doesn't allow pictures from within the attraction, so you'll have to check it out yourself (or browse their Instagram) for the inside scoop. As someone who has visited the new location, I can tell you it's definitely worth the trip.


Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery

Location: 217 Essex St. Salem, MA

Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm & Sun 10am-5pm

Site: https://www.nightmaregallery.com

Phone: 978.740.0500

Price: For general admission, you're looking around or less than $10 per person (lower for kids).


My Thoughts

Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery is one of those Salem Massachusetts attractions I just can't imagine NOT being around at this point. It's new central location is definitely earned, in my opinion. As a child of the 80's my favorites from within are: Freddy Krueger, Pinhead, and Tim Curry's Pennywise the Clown. That last one is actually the most unsettling one in the entire museum. They got Curry's moist, bulging eyes exactly correct and the effect is chilling to confront. They also kept Pennywise in a corner by himself when I visited, which made me start to wonder if the figure was about to offer me cotton candy in the sewer. I'd say Orlok's is definitely worth the price of admission, but especially if you're a horror movie fan. Even the figures that aren't exactly right are still super fun to see "in the flesh."


Salem Wax Museum

Salem Wax Museum


The Salem Wax Museum of Witches and Seafarers is perhaps the most well-known in town. It owes its notoriety to a few key aspects. Firstly, The Salem Wax Museum was the original wax museum, according to Salem's own tourist site. The attraction has also maintained its family-run roots in its two-decade long history.



What To Expect

Another quality key to The Salem Wax Museum's longevity is the nature of its figures. We'll come back to this, but for now just know that the museum does feature some really stunning pieces. My favorite, and most people's favorite, is the statue near the end. It's called, "The Towne Sisters Statue - Mary, Sarah and Rebecca." I'll be revisiting these three ladies in the future I'm sure. But for now if you're wondering who Rebecca Nurse, Mary Easty, and Sarah Cloyce were, as well as why this statue is so haunting and resonant, I'd suggest you head over to The Salem Witch Museum and ask around - that is, until I can get my entire Salem Witch Trials series put together of course.



The Salem Wax Museum features I'd guess around 30 wax figures, made in London. These depict scenes from both the Salem Witch Trials and from Salem's lesser-known maritime history. As one of the stops featured in Salem Massachusetts' Haunted Neighborhood, you receive discounts when purchasing multi-attraction tickets. These other attractions are mostly nearby and feature haunted houses, walking tours, and an actual Spellcasting ceremony/Q&A.

Negative Reviews

Now that you know what to expect at the museum, let's address the melting elephant in the room: the figures. When looking at reviews for this attraction, you'll quickly notice that several visitors are pretty critical of their appearance. I've visited The Salem Wax Museum twice. And I'll join the chorus here and I'd say that it's 100% true some of the figures could use updating. But I also think that the thrown-togetherness is part of the attraction's overall charm. This is true for a lot of Salem Massachusetts now that I think about it. If you'd like to see the figures before making your decision, The Carpetbagger has a wonderful video that features many of them.


If you would like to make a contribution, my Patreon can be found here https://www.patreon.com/carpetbagger Check out my T-Shirt shop if you are interested https://carpetbagger.spreadshirt.com/ www.thecarpetbagger.org Like me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Carpetbagger... Follow Me on Twitter and Periscope @jcarpetbagger I am also on Instagram https://instagram.com/jacob_the_carpe... Feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com


Your Visit to The Salem Wax Museum

To conclude I'd say that if you're looking for serious history, culture, and flawless execution The Salem Wax Museum may not be the best attraction for you. But if you want a bit of Salem Witch Trials and maritime history in a condensed and kind of cooky exhibit and/or you're looking for a great deal on a set of attractions, give this one a go. It's just a bit south of The Old Burying Point Cemetery and super close to pretty much everything else in Salem Massachusetts.



The Salem Wax Museum:

288 Derby Street Salem, MA 01970


January - Weekends only 10am - 5pm
February - 10:30am - 5pm
March, April, May - 10am - 5pm
June - 10am - 6pm
July - 10am - 8:30pm
August - 10am - 8:30pm
September - 10am - 5pm

1-14 - Mon-Thurs 10am -7pm, Fri-Sun 10am - 10:30pm
15-30 - Mon-Thurs 10am - 8pm, Fri-Sun 10am-11pm
Halloween - 10am-10:30pm

November - 10am - 5pm
December 1-23 - Weekends only 10am - 5pm
December 26-31 - 10am - 5pm

Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas

Phone: (978) 740 - 2929



Email: info@salemwaxmuseum.com

Ticket Prices: Generally just under $10 with discounts for children and seniors. As mentioned earlier, there are a set of ever-changing group discounts. Find the current set of discounts and purchase tickets here.

The Witch House

The Witch House


The Witch House is one of the only remaining structures in town with direct ties to The Salem Witch Trials. You may also hear it referred to as "The Witch House," or "The Jonathan Corwin House." Here's a short video introduction to the building. Keep reading past the video for 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 Witch House. More Info on The Witch House: The Witch House Tours: The house contains four large rooms – a kitchen, a parlor and two bedrooms. The tour begins in the kitchen, which has a brick fireplace which covers almost an entire wall. Moving forward, you will find Witch Bottles full of hair, fingernails and urine (told you it was disturbing). More than that, you will experience 17th century life by enjoying the incredible architecture of the the large dining area included in the parlor, and the upstairs bedrooms. Also, you can find a gift shop – where you can buy tickets for tours and shop the oft-lauded Salem merchandise array in the back of the house. Hours of Operation March, 15 to November, 15: open everyday 10 AM – 5 PM Winter Hours (November, 16 to March, 14): Thursday – Sunday 12 PM – 4 AM Location Address: 310 Essex Street, Salem, MA Find way more about all things Salem at https://tosalem.com/ Facebook: facebook.com/tosalemsite Instagram: instagram.com/tosalemsite Twitter: twitter.com/tosalemsite


This video is part of the Salem Spotlight 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. Here's some more information on The Witch House.


History of The Witch House

The house is the only remaining structure that's directly related to the infamous Witch Trials in 1692. Originally built for Captain Richard Davenport, the Witch House became Jonathan Corwin's residence in 1674. The judge, who was on the court that ruled on the Salem Witch Trials, stayed in the house for 40 years, but the building remained in his family for several generations. Corwin also reportedly held meetings relating to the trials in the house. Throughout the years, The Witch House has undergone many renovations. In the 1850s, the house was sold to a local pharmacist who opened a pharmacy inside the building.



Nearly Destroyed

In 1944, the city decided to widen North Street. The house was set to be destroyed to make way, but the building survived thanks to a group of locals. They raised enough money to move the building about 35 feet to its current location. An added bit of interesting history about this house is that it wasn't the only "Witch House" in Salem. StreetsOfSalem has an excellent examination of Salem's other no-longer-existing witch house, complete with fascinating historical images.


Paranormal Lore

The house is also quite haunted, second perhaps only to The Hawthorne Hotel. In fact, Ghost Adventures did an episode there and ToSalem favorite AmysCrypt has also covered the locale. Visitors have reported a variety paranormal phenomena over the years, including seeing the ghost of Corwin himself. Guests also experience apparitions' touch, hear the untraceable laughter of children, and feel cold spots.


What's Inside The Witch House?

The Witch House tour is one of the best in Salem. You'll enter through the rear of the house. Inside, you'll find countless items from the 17th century, including some fairly disturbing illustrations of what life was actually like back in the 17th century. Additionally, there are fascinating placards that explore some pretty offbeat history. My favorites tend to explore the odd medicinal ingredients and practices of our puritan forebears.




There are, of course, plenty of relics related to puritan-era witchcraft.  For example, in one display case, you'll find a simple black shoe. The shoe was supposedly found inside the wall of another house. According to puritan tradition, a shoe put inside the wall of a house effectively warded against witches. Another display case houses a poppet - a doll supposedly used to perform witchcraft. Such dolls were instrumental in accusing the likes of Bridget Bishop and others during the Salem Witch Trials.



Bridget Bishop has unfortunately been relegated to the set of familiar names connected to The Salem Witch Trials, but few know her story. Today, I'd like to change that. This in-depth analysis tracks Bridget's life, failed marriages, lost children, pre-trials history with witchcraft, role during the Salem Witch Trials, death, and everything in-between. For a full transcript of this video and a few other resources connected to Bridget's life, check out the site page here: https://tosalem.com/the-salem-witch-t... As always, when visually depicting people alive in the 17th century, one doesn't generally have portraits to draw from. As such, this episode features several stand-in likenesses for anyone whose portrait I could not locate. These include: Thomas Oliver, Mary Leman, William Stacey, Christian Oliver, and Edward Bishop. There are also a few images of women who are not actually Bridget Bishop, including one contemporary shot, the image of pregnant Bridget, among others. The sources for this episode are numerous, but there are three books in particular that were useful in constructing this episode. They are: - Six Women of Salem: The Untold Story of the Accused and Their Accusers in the Salem Witch Trials: https://amzn.to/2RFpOTL - A Delusion Of Satan: The Full Story Of The Salem Witch Trials: https://amzn.to/2xvOlnh - The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege: https://amzn.to/2Vamces Find way more about all things Salem at https://tosalem.com/ Facebook: facebook.com/tosalemsite Instagram: instagram.com/tosalemsite Twitter: twitter.com/tosalemsite


The Witch House Architecture and Historical Artifacts

The Witch House is a nearly unmatched example of its period's architecture. Only the John Ward and John Turner houses, both operated and with tours offered by the Peabody Essex Museum, competes for such pristine 17th century architecture in Salem.  In addition the witchcraft items on display during the tour, you'll also find tools, textiles, pottery, artwork, instruments, and much more from the era. The house contains four large rooms: a kitchen, a parlor and two bedrooms. The tour begins in the kitchen, which has a brick fireplace that covers almost an entire wall. From there you wind upstairs, through the rest of the house.



The Tour

Guided tours are around $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for kids. You can also just walk around the house without a guide for about 20% less. The entire experience takes about thirty minutes to an hour. There is also a gift shop on the way in and out of the house.


Hours of Operation

  • March, 15 to November, 15: open everyday 10 AM - 5 PM
  • Winter Hours (November, 16 to March, 14): Thursday - Sunday 12 PM - 4 AM


Address: 310 Essex Street, Salem, MA

The Salem Witch Museum - What's the Story?

The Salem Witch Museum - What's the Story?


The Salem Witch Museum is probably one of the most famous buildings in the Witch City. Salem hope owners frequently plaster it's visage on postcards, t-shirts, stickers, and so much more. Today we explore the history of this world-renowned landmark from the beginning of its storied history in 1718 to today. On this page, you'll find everything you need to know about The Salem Witch Museum.



Don't Have Time for a Deep Dive?

For a very fast, general overview, check out this one minute overview of The Salem Witch Museum.


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 Witch Museum. Here's some more handy info about The Salem Witch Museum. 1) Hours of Operation The Salem Witch Museum is open all year from 10am to 5pm. In July and August, they extend their closing by two hours to 7pm. October hours vary, so check here for those. The Museum closes on Thanksgiving, Christmas, at 3pm on New Year’s Day, and a couple weeks in January. 2) Ticket Prices Adult tickets are $13, Senior Citizen $11.50, and Children $10. Tickets are available at the door. 3) Location They are located at 19 1/2 Washington Square North Salem, Massachusetts 01970. They are very near the Roger Conant statue, the Salem Commons, and The Hawthorne Hotel. There is on-street parking nearby or you can park at the Bridge Street garage at 1 New Liberty St. Salem, MA 01970. 4) Contact The Salem Witch Museum can be reached at 978-744-1692 or at faq@salemwitchmuseum.com. Music used in the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rQ4K...


This video is part of the Salem Spotlight video series. This series aims to give you brief introductions to all of Salem's attractions, places to stay, and much more. You can check out the entire series here. 


Everything You Need to Know about The Salem Witch Museum

Below you'll find a much more comprehensive exploration of the history of The Salem Witch Museum. Continue past the video for transcripts from both of the videos on this page as well as some supplemental tourist and visitation information. This video features a bunch of research and fascinating photographs of the building throughout the ages as well. So if you're interested in seeing the Salem that was, watch the entire thing. And also see where The Salem Witch Museum placed in our Top 5 Things to Do in Salem Massachusetts video.


The Salem Witch Museum is probably one of the most famous buildings in the Witch City. It's plastered on postcards, t-shirts, stickers, and so much more. But did you know that this building actually has a bit of history related to the trials themselves? Today, we explore the storied history of The Salem Witch Museum all the way from it's construction to today. Reference links for this episode: http://salemwitchmuseum.com/assets/pdfs/SalemWitchMuseum_background.pdf https://patch.com/massachusetts/salem/then-now-history-within-history-the-salem-witch-museum http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/people/c_mather.html http://www.historybythesea.com/2017/10/the-salem-witch-museum.html https://www.flickr.com/photos/salemstatearchives/23538971518 http://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/witch-museum-loses-fight-for-witch-book/article_cd26676e-d2bc-5c2e-97b7-b4d9d9ec4d69.html Music By: Ross Bugden https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOrxwqvfD2E 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



Quick Info on The Salem Witch Trials Museum




The Salem Witch Museum is one of the most iconic locations in Salem, Massachusetts. The structure originally functioned as a church built in 1718. In 1956, a fire nearly destroyed the structure. Soon after, the owners sold the building. Amazingly, the building housed a variety of congregations from 1718 until the sale in 1956. In 1958, it opened as an automobile museum and shop. Then, a decade later another fire destroyed that enterprise. In 1972, The Salem Witch Museum officially opened its doors. It went on to be pivotal in the beginning of Salem's October-long Haunted Happenings Festival a year after its opening. Learn more about the history of this fascinating building here.


The Salem Witch Museum Inside

The attraction features a primary presentation, secondary presentation, and gift shop. After entering the building, guests meet a hallway housing various artifacts relating to the witch trials. They are then led into the main chamber, within which the primary presentation occurs. Wax figure dioramas perch above and around guests.


Light cues and audio narration sequence the dioramas and detail the events that lead to and occurred within The Salem Witch Trials. The secondary presentation is led by a museum guide and it is in a much smaller back room. It has to do with the perception of witchcraft through the ages. Guests are led through the gift shop after this second presentation on their way out of the attraction.



How Long is the Salem Witch Museum Tour

The entire tour, including both collections, takes no more than 30-45 minutes. The second half of the tour, which takes place in the smaller back room in the building, varies in time depending on tour guide and audience size.


Salem Witch Museum Hours

The attraction is open all year from 10am to 5pm. In July and August, they extend their closing by two hours to 7pm. October hours vary, so check here for those. The Museum closes on Thanksgiving, Christmas, at 3pm on New Year’s Day, and a couple weeks in January.


Salem Witch Museum Tickets and Prices

Adult tickets are $13, Senior Citizen $11.50, and Children $10. Tickets are available at the door. You can buy Salem Witch Museum tickets online for same-day visitation here.


Where is the Salem Witch Museum Location

The museum is located at 19 1/2 Washington Square North Salem, Massachusetts 01970. They are very near the Roger Conant statue, the Salem Commons, and The Hawthorne Hotel. There is on-street parking nearby or you can park at the Bridge Street garage at 1 New Liberty St. Salem, MA 01970.


Hotels Near Salem Witch Museum

The closest hotel to the Salem Witch Museum is The Hawthorne Hotel with its entrance roughly two blocks from the museum. Other nearby hotels are The Salem Waterfront Hotel and Hotel Salem. Both are about as far away from The Salem Witch Trials Museum. The Waterfront is in the Pickering Wharf area of the Witch City, which is slightly removed from the main Essex Street drag, but still well within walking distance of everything in Salem and on the Trolley line.

Hotel Salem is on the main Essex Street drag and is centrally-located to everything in downtown Salem.


Contact the Salem Witch Museum

You can reach The Salem Witch Museum at 978-744-1692 or at faq@salemwitchmuseum.com.

Music used in the Spotlight video here.


The Salem Witch Museum - What's the Story Full Video Transcript:

Below you'll find the recording transcript for this video.



Hello witches and welcome To Salem, the weirdest place on earth. Today we’re having a look at one of the most iconic buildings in everyone’s favorite haunted locale, the Salem Witch Museum. If in your many wanderings you have ever Googled Salem, gotten a Witch City postcard from a friend, or just happen to have seen literally anything from the town, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already been exposed to this gothic landmark. But what’s the deal with this place? Was it built to be a spooky-looking museum? Does it double as a satanic church by chance? Are there blood sacrifices in the basement?


Let’s find out in this episode of What’s the Story With the Salem Witch Museum. 


Church History

Let’s get the most obvious point out of the way right at the top. Yes, this used to be a church. Now, when you visit Salem, one of the more disappointing things you’ll likely learn is that there remain very few actual public artifacts from the Witch Hysteria of 1692. The Peabody Essex Museum houses some notable trinkets from the trials in its collection, but is not displaying them any time soon.


The town does its level best to work against this with interesting attractions that allude in an immersive way to its witchy history. The Salem Pioneer Village and Witch House are probably the best two examples of this. But, in general, most of the actual buildings connected to the Witch Trials no longer exist. 


Salem Witch Trials Connection

There are, however, some structures in town with interesting bits of anecdotal or peripheral witch trials history. And The Salem Witch Museum is one such place. In April 1718 a mere 26 years after the conclusion of the witch trials, Cotton Mather preached the first sermon at The East Church. This building is the present day Salem Witch Museum, albeit slightly modified - we’ll get to that later. You’ll remember Cotton Mather penned, among other things, the infamous account of the possession of the Goodwin children in Boston in 1684 titled Remarkable Providences.


Cotton Mather's Involvement

This work outlined behaviors that were eerily similar to that of the Salem accusers’  during the witch trials and some speculate that that is no coincidence. Mather was not directly involved in the witch trials. But he did warn the court to be cautious when considering spectral evidence, an urging that, had it been heeded, might have kept the entire sordid affair from ever occurring. He was also instrumental in the makeup of the trial’s judges and he and his powerful father Increase Mather both seemed to justify the trials after they occurred.


Cotton was also directly involved in the execution of the only minister to be hanged in the witch hysteria, George Burroughs. So, Cotton was a lot like all of us: a bit of a good guy and a bit of a frightened mouse in a giant maze trying desperately to have some order in a disordered world and helping kill innocent people to do it. What? You don’t do that? 


From Church to Museum

But there’s more to the East Church’s history than Cotton Mather. In 1897 the East Church and Barton Square Church combined forces to create the Second Unitarian Church. Five years later, a fire destroyed a good deal of the interior including the pipe organ, causing major renovations to occur. The beginning of the end of the church days for this building came in 1956 when another church merger caused the congregation to vacate the space. It was then put up for sale in 1958. A year later, the Salem Auto Museum and Americana Shops opened inside and housed vintage automobiles and 14 shops. This museum remained in the space until 1969 when another fire destroyed the interior of the building. Another remodeling followed this and in 1972 the Salem Witch Museum officially opened its gigantic doors. 


What's It Like Inside?

Upon entering the museum, the lobby houses all the history you’d like to know before the presentation begins. We’re talking the names of the victims, some interesting period replicas, and even information on some cool media things like Arthur Miller’s The Crucible and the movie adaptation of it with Daniel Day Lewis and Wynona Rider. Inside the cavernous main area, a series of sets and life-size figures surround visitors. The presentation involves lighting the sets sequentially as a voiceover narration tells the tale of the Witch Hysteria.


After the main presentation, guests relocate to the back room. In this much smaller space waits an installation from 1999 titled “Witches: Evolving Perceptions.” This area attempts to talk about the western perception of witches throughout the ages and its correlation to the real witches of today. There’s a gift shop on your way out because of course there is, this is Salem after all. 



Who Owns The Salem Witch Museum?

The museum is owned by Biff Michaud, a Marblehead resident who comes from a prominent local family. Biff is responsible for helping turn Salem into Halloween central as he worked with the Salem Chamber of Commerce to create “Haunted Happenings” which was, initially, a one-day family celebration, but has evolved into a month-long October behemoth that draws in most of Salem’s tourist bucks and keeps a lot of the local businesses afloat.


The museum itself is touted as the most popular in Salem, a claim backed up by the Boston Business Journal. It was also heavily involved in the 300 year remembrance of the witch trials in 1992 as well as the dedication of the Salem Witch Trials Memorial by Elie Wiesel. It remains a must-visit for every Witch City tourist, although in my opinion it could definitely use some serious updating. 



So there you go! That’s the story with the Salem Witch Museum. Please be sure to subscribe for all things Salem and check out all the videos linked to this one for more information on the Witch City. Stay weird witches! I’ll see ya next time. 


Salem Regional Visitor Center

Salem Regional Visitor Center



The Salem Regional Visitor Center is located at 2 New Liberty Street in Salem Massachusetts. Due to its central location, it's often the first stop for many seasonal tourists. During the Halloween season, there are a whole row of restrooms outside, but much nicer ones are inside the building.



The Visitor Center is located right beside one of Salem's prime downtown parking garages! The entrance to that garage is also on New Liberty Street, right across the street. It charges both flat day rates or hourly, depending on how long you stay.





What's Inside The Salem Regional Visitor Center

Inside you'll find everything you need to begin your Salem trip including brochures, pamphlets, posters, merchandise, and much more. In addition to this merchandise, there's an ever-evolving collection of books on display. Local authors penned many of these books and this is definitely one of the better collections in Salem. So if history, culture, or arts are your thing, The Visitor Center is a great place to browse. But, if you're looking for new age or occult topics, there are definitely better places in town to get going. Add to this a very knowledgeable staff and that cements The Visitor Center as a great first stop on your trip to the Witch City.


You can also find information on restaurants inside, which is definitely valuable as Salem offers many selections for foodies.


Visiting The Salem Regional Visitor Center

Lastly, some mapping platforms (like Google Maps) label the Visitor Center differently. You may see it also referred to as, "Salem Maritime National Historic Visitor Center." Don't worry about it, these places are one in the same.



The Visitor Center is run by the National Parks Service and you can reach them at (978) 740 - 1650 or head to their site.