Salem Massachusetts certainly fits the role for a Halloween trip during the month of October. This is the city where the infamous ‘witch trials’ were held during the spring of 1692. The trials were brought on by the hysteria that spread throughout Colonial Massachusetts after a group of girls accused several local women of witchcraft. By the end of the summer about 150 men, women and children had been burned as witches, before the public turned against the trials, and the Massachusetts General Court annulled many of the guilty verdicts.
Although centuries have passed Salem still holds a fascination for the curious, history buffs and horror fans, who are not disappointed, as the city has many attractions all dealing with the “Salem Witch Hunts”. During the month of October there are special Halloween events from haunted houses to Halloween parties, to historic sites, all recounting the days of the witchcraft trials that made the city famous.
Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre
Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre, 7 Lynde Street has a witchcraft and ghost experience that is done by live actors and special effects to uncover the secrets of Gallows Hill, learn about the trials, witches, legends and myths, come face to face with supernatural entities and visit the museum lobby where there are replica artifacts, historical information and interactive portraits.
Witch Mansion,186-1 Essex Street. Museum Place Mall is Salem’s premier haunted house an attraction built and designed to give ‘chills and thrills’, where high-tech animation and creepy ghost illusions combine with actors for a scary show. The event runs from noon on Oct 5 to 9 p.m. on Oct 31. The date and time you wish to attend must be booked in advance, go here to get your tickets – Adults $8, children under 12 years $7.
Witch Dungeon Museum
Witch Dungeon Museum 16 Lynde Street, Salem, has been educating and entertaining visitors for over 30 years with, not only, a unique educational experience, but one with chills & scares. This is where you can see a performance of a witch trial, adapted from the 1692 historical transcripts. The October performances take place between Oct. 12 and 31. See the schedule and purchase tickets here.
Salem Witch Museum
Salem Witch Museum, Washington Square North, Salem. This is where you can experience the drama of the ‘witch trials of 1692’, where live guides take visitors through changing scenes of witches, and where in October there are special presentations. Oct 17 & 30 at 7:30 p.m. Brenda Sullivan and the Graveyard girls presents a virtual tour called “welcome to the graveyard”. Tickets cost $30 and can be purchased online.
House of the Seven Gables
The House of the Seven Gables is Salem’s premier site with 330 years of history. Visitors are greeted by professional guides then taken outside to see the ‘Seaside gardens’, and inside to discover a mysterious secret staircase. This is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden house in New England, and was the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel of the same name. October has many Theater events that focus on the days of the witch trials – Legacy of the hanging judge and Spirits of the Gables – to name a few.
The Witch House/Corwin House
The Witch House/Corwin House at 310 Essex Street, is the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the “Witchcraft Trials” of 1692. It was the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, a local magistrate and civic leader who was appointed to investigate the claims. During October there will be the annual tales when one can move through the dark rooms by lantern light as costumed actors relate macabre tales of superstition, mystery and secret tales of the graves. Get the dates, time and ticket costs here.
Cry Innocent is a show about the trial of Bridget Bishop that started the hysteria and witchcraft trials in 1692. It is the longest, continuously-running show north of Boston. In October from the 5th to the 31st it will run from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Reservations and tickets are available here. available here.