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.

 

Location

Address: 16 Lynde St, Salem, MA 01970


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.

 

History

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

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

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


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

Hours:

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
October:

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

Location

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

 

 

History

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.

 

Intro

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. 

 

Outro

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

 

Location

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.