Oct 192015
 
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Haunted Happenings in Salem

The Salem witch hunt was indeed a real-life horror story.  In case you need a refresher, twenty innocent people were put to death during the Witch Hysteria of 1692, leaving Salem forever branded.  Actually, these days many people refer to Salem as “The Witch City.”

The people of Salem totally play up their spooky reputation to tourists, too.   In addition to the town’s normal bewitching attractions, Haunted Happenings run for the entire month of October and draws nearly a quarter of a million people to the city.  This year, my family was among Salem’s visitors and today I want to tell you about all the fun we had there.

**Disclosure:  I received a complimentary media pass to all of the locations mentioned in this post in order to tell you about our experience in Salem.  All opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

Since we had the kiddos with us, we kept our visit to Salem family friendly (well, as family friendly as the murders of 20 innocent people can be I suppose).  Here are all the things we did while we were there:

The Salem Witch Museum
The main presentation is based on actual trial documents. Visitors experience the drama of that dark time though thirteen life-size stage sets, figures, lighting and a stirring narration as they are witness to the web of lies and intrigue of the Salem Witch Hunt.
In our second exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions, live guides take you through changing interpretations of witches, the truth behind the stereotypes, witchcraft practice today and the frightening phenomenon of witch hunting.

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The Salem Witch Museum is located at 19 1/2 Washington Square and is open daily, year round: 10:00am-5:00pm, but they do have extended hours on select dates in October, so be sure to check their website before you go.

The Witch Dungeon Museum
Here you will see a live re-inactment of a 1692 witch trial as well as get a guided tour through the dungeon to see some of the recreated cells that the witches were held in.

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This museum is located at 16 Lynde Street and they have continuous live shows all day (April through November) from 10am to 5pm.

The New England Pirate Musuem
A 20- to 30-minute walking tour, where you’ll meet some 60 buccaneers from the days of yore, and you’ll behold their artifacts and treasures. Visit a recreated dockside village, board a pirate ship and meander an eighty-foot batcave, filled with hidden booty. These pirates, and not accused witches, were the real rascals and villains of 1692 in Olde Salem Towne.

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It’s located at 274 Derby St and is pen every day 10am to 5pm, May through October. (Open some nights during Haunted Happenings in October.) Weekends in November.

The Witch History Museum
The untold stories of 1692 told through an historically accurate live presentation followed by a guided tour downstairs where you will walk through the forest, meet Tituba in Rev. Parris’s kitchen, visit Old Salem Village and view 15 life size scenes depicting these stories

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The Witch History Museum is open every day April through November 10am to 5pm. (Open some nights during Haunted Happenings in October.)

The House of Seven Gables
Discover a house made famous by fiction, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The House of the Seven Gables. guides will lead you on a 35 minute tour that introduces two prosperous merchant families, the Turners and Ingersolls, and reveals some of the earliest Georgian-style interiors. Guests also learn about Salem’s maritime history and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s connection to this legendary home.

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The House of Seven Gables is located at 115 Derby Street. Admission includes guided tours, Hawthorne’s birthplace, gardens and museum store. Continuous tours daily 10:00am – 7:00pm

Mahi Mahi Haunted Cruise
The fabled coastlines of Salem sound come alive with tales of haunted lighthouses, eerie islands, ruthless pirates, and living monsters who wreak havoc on passing ships to this very day! This spook-tacular 75-minute cruises screams Haunted Happenings Fun day or night…

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While aboard enjoy: Lively storytelling blended with Halloween’s best party songs, Personal tarot card readings (complementary)
Professional face painting (complementary), Spooky photo ops plus there is a full bar & Fresh Grill serving up hot fall favorites like grandma’s spiked cider, hot coco and fresh clam chowda’

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The tour leaves from the pier on Congress Street & there is a booth there where you can purchase your tickets.

Salem Trolley
The Salem Trolly provides visitors with a narrated one hour tour and all day shuttle service through beautiful and historic Salem.  It’s an eight mile ride around the city that takes you past the Charter Street Burial Ground, the House of the Seven Gables, Witch Dungeon Museum, Salem Witch Museum, the historic waterfront area and other locations, including Chestnut Street considered to be one of the most beautiful streets in America.  You are able to get off and on at any of their 13 stops throughout the day and view Salem at your leisure, using the trolley as a convenient shuttle service.

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The narrated tour starts at 8 Central Street and it runs from April 1st – November 1st daily 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

We managed to squeeze a lot into our day in Salem, but that is literally just a fraction of the things to do or see in Salem.  Here are a few of the things that we wanted to do, but just ran out of time to see:

The Witch House
The Witch House is the 17th Century home of Witchcraft Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin.  It is Salem’s only remaining structure with direct ties to the tragic events of 1692.  Inside you can explore architecture, furnishings and lifestyle of the Corwin family as well as see some trial history, strange remedies and superstition in early colonial Salem.  The Witch House is located at 210 1/2 Essex St an is open daily from 10-5, but they do have some extended hours in October.

Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop
The year is 1692. Bridget Bishop has been accused of witchcraft and YOU are on the Puritan jury. During the show you will hear the historical testimonies, cross-examine the witnesses and decide the verdict. Is Bridget Bishop capable of witchcraft? This is where you can play your part in history! Cry Innocent is the longest continuously-running show north of Boston and it’s located at 32 Derby Square (the Old Town Hall).

The Peabody Essex Museum
The PEM features unrivaled collections from New England and around the world, special exhibitions, and historic properties, including an 18th-century Chinese merchant’s home. The PEM is located at 161 Essex Street.  Check their website for more information and hours.

Philips House
Visit the Phillips House to learn about five generations of life in Salem.  You will find the Philips House at 34 Chestnut Street. Check out their website for hours and more information.

Pioneer Village, Salem in 1630
America’s first living history museum, the village features examples of colonial architecture: dugouts, wigwams, thatched roof cottages, the Governor’s Faire House, culinary and medicinal gardens, and a blacksmith’s forge. The Pioneer Village is not located within walking distance of the rest of the main actions in downtown Salem, but it’s not a far drive to Pioneer Village-Forest River Park, which is not a far drive.

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In addition to all of that, there are tons of walking tours in Salem.  TONS.  I wished we had time to do them all this year, but these are some of the ones we want to do next time we visit Salem:

1. Rory Raven’s Magic Lantern Tour – Historian and author Rory Raven will guide you through the streets of Salem while telling you tales of history,ghosts and murder. The tour leaves at 7 pm on select nights from 7 Lynde Street.
2. Pirates and Privateers Walking Tour – If you’re looking for an alternative to witch history or ghost tours, you can learn about the history of Salem’s pirates and privateers. Tours are Mondays and Wednesdays at 5 pm on select nights and leaves from 7 Lynde St.
3. Salem Historical Tours – They offer numerous tours including the Haunted Footsteps Tour (which I took about four years ago), Salem 101, Cemetery 101, Storied Salem Architecture and the Salem Witchcraft Walk.
4. The Legendary History of Salem Tour – Also lead by Rory Raven, on this tour you will learn about the shipping industry in Salem as well as some of the witch trial history. Tours leave from 7 Lynde Street at 3 pm on select days.
5. The Witch Trail Tour – Salem’s oldest walking tour will take you on a journey to the sites of the 1692 witch trials where you will listen to historian Jim McAllister tell you the stories to go along with them. Tours depart at 7 pm from the Old Town Hall, Thursdays – Sundays October 9-30th.

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If I get a chance to get up there sans children, these are a couple of things that we felt that the kids were too young for:

Gallows Hill Museum
It’s an interactive show full of story-telling, surprises and jump scares which is blended with historical fasts about the Salem Witch Trials, ghosts and local legends. Shows are performed daily 10:45 am – 8:15 pm, every half hour. The Gallows Hill Museum is located at 7 Lynde Street.

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Jump scares and little kids don’t mix, so that’s why we decided to sit that one out.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
With continuous yearly additions, this unique Cinematic Wax Museum is like no other Salem Attraction! They have over 60 life-sized professionally made characters by over 35 Hollywood Special Effects Artists! The museum turns into Salem’s most Terrifying Haunted House Experience October weekends with ghouls waiting for you around every darkened corner!  It’s located at 285 Derby Street if you want to check it out.

I think it’s pretty obvious why we didn’t think it was appropriate for the kids, but it’s right up MY alley, so if I get back to Salem without the kiddos, I want to check it out.

If you are looking for a spooky spot for a getaway this October (or any time of the year) Salem, Massachusetts, can’t be beat.

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  132 Responses to “Haunted Happenings in Salem!”

  1. Looks like the perfect Halloween and October getaway town to visit and will have to totally keep this in mind now!! 🙂

  2. What a great thing to do with family during this time of the year. Most of that would freak me out, but my son would love it!

  3. Salem is the perfect destination in October! I would love to be able to visit and check out all of the history and haunted spots.

  4. Ahh I can’t do scary stuff like this! I have to bypass your pics. I’m such a baby. lol

  5. I’ve always wanted to visit a haunted house in Salem, Massachusetts when I was younger and fearless. Now days I get scared easily lol The hubby would have a blast there.

  6. As cool as this is, I am a fraidy cat! I would be totally freaked out. However my oldest would love it

    • I think I am the only one in the family who would like this! The rest of them put up with my love of everything spooky and scary but they’re not fans!

  7. I bet Salem is just THE place to be during this time of the year! I completely understand why so many people flock there in October. It seems like the perfect place to get your spooky thrills in and learn a little history!

  8. It’s amazing the number of spooky attractions there is in just 1 city for Halloween!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  9. It sounds like Salem has really played up their history, and keeping the stories alive. I am such a big chicken though that I would probably have to sit out a lot of those places.

  10. So my fun for those who are into historical spookiness. I would probably wimp out and just peek through my eyes when visiting there 🙂

  11. These places would give me the creeps. I am not a big fan of scary stuff, but I am sure my boys would love this. I can just imagine them screaming!

  12. I was just reading your post and looking at your pictures and I can already feel the hair on my nape rising. My husband and kids would love this place, though.

  13. What a fun time you had. I would love to hang out here fro sure.

  14. How interesting! The history always interests me more then the spooky side of things – we’re only talking about events 400 years ago which isn’t a massive stretch of time considering people though like this!

  15. So cool you have that in Massachusetts. I think I saw a couple of the places on Taps that investigated those places.

  16. I can’t believe I still haven’t been to Salem! I’m not that far away and I’d love to visit especially this time of year. The story is that some of my ancestors were part of the Salem witch trials. Evidently, they were among the people doing the hanging which is ironic to me because I think I can relate better to the people were hanged. lol

  17. I am not a big fan of spooky, but if I was, this would be the place to visit! If I were just passing through, which museum would you recommend to provide the best blend of history and scary thrills?

  18. Wow. Your town goes all out! I am not a spooky fan… but I enjoy hearing about others experiences. 🙂

  19. Many of these are just plain frightening, yet exciting!

  20. Ok, now I am jealous! LOL Salem has been at the top of my travel wish list for quite some time. One of these days I am going to get there!

  21. These are the things that make me miss living in Massachusetts! Growing up, my brother and I used to love when we would go to Salem this time of year. I’ve never been to the Philips House so that’s going on my list for my next visit.

  22. Okay, a haunted cruise- sign me up, that’s my type of Halloween haunt! We’re planning on going to a haunted hotel (that was used for much of our city’s red light district ‘back in the day.’)

  23. That sounds like tons of fun. Salem is like the hub of all things Halloweeny and scary. I love it!

  24. Perfect get away for a haunting adventure I bet it was fun and entertaining for the kids. Loved your graphic.

  25. Well, of course Salem is great for Halloween. It’s like the hub of all the things that we do on Halloween.

  26. Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with all of us! I would love to visit this area! Halloween or not!

  27. How fun I totally want to go. I love that spooky feeling. Fall is the perfect time of year to get spooked out.

  28. Wow, this tour sounds like a fun blend of history and spooky thrills!

  29. I have always wanted to visit Salem! Such interesting history and supposed hauntings there!

  30. This looks like a great day. My boys and I just do the candy collecting thing though as they are still little.

  31. This is the kind of tour I wish we had here in Michigan. I have always wanted to visit Salem. Your guys look like they are having more fun then they are at being scared lol you will have to really find a place where you can make them truly scared for all the times they try to scare you lol
    Halloween seems like a lot of fun in your family.

  32. This looks like a great place to go for a weekend getaway. The museums sound really cool. I will add Salem to my must visit list.

  33. I can only imagine how scary and fun it would be to go to Salem for haunted stuff. I would think that would be ground zero!

  34. I have always wanted to visit Salem any time of year, but how awesome would it be to visit during the Halloween season? I’m going to have to plan a trip one of these days!

  35. OHHHH You are so lucky!! I’ve been wanting to travel stateside to Salem for years!

  36. I have always wanted to visit Salem. I love all the history and it looks like so much fun around halloween time!

  37. What a blast!! Holy moly, there’s so much to do there!! I have to confess…I do love scary stuff (like books and movies) — the scarier the better –but I really cannot handle scary haunts like houses and whatnot. I get really, really paranoid about being touched in a haunted house-type environment. I practically have a panic attack, so I can never really enjoy them. But I SO want to!! It sounds like you guys had a blast, though!

  38. Wow, I didn’t know any of that. Looks like the whole town goes all out for Halloween. I would be so scared to enter that house – I’m such a baby.

  39. I look forward to your posts like this. Your blog is such a great guide for areas around you. I’ve always wanted to visit Salem. October seems like a great month to plan.

  40. There is probably no better place to be for a spooky Halloween than Salem. I never did get to visit there. Maybe someday

  41. Wow! It looks like the Salem community really takes Halloween to heart! Lots to do indeed!

  42. When I hear the name “salem” my thoughts go to the day time soap opera! LOL!
    I never knew the history behind the witch hunts either.

  43. I have been loving all of your spooky posts lately. I think this place looks like a beautiful place to visit.

  44. I have always wanted to visit Salem I am fascinated by its supernatural history and the persecution of supposed witches!

    • If you’re going to visit someplace haunted, it def. should be in Salem. 🙂 ’tis the time of year to get scared and be glad for it. 🙂

  45. My cousin got married in Salem and I made sure I went to the Witch Museum, I loved it. I want to bring my kids there next October.

  46. Your family goes on so many fun adventures. This looks so fun especially for kids.

  47. I have always wanted to visit Salem. It looks like there are so many fun things to do there!

  48. Oh wow there are so many great attractions there. I’d love to learn some more history of the infamous trials and the Nightmare Gallery sounds fun too.

  49. This is a great roundup of Halloween fun. I would love to head that way to experience them.

  50. We went to Salem in June and so want to get back for this time of the year! The locals told us that so much occurs around Halloween time :). Even though we went in June we still had a blast in Salem

  51. I would love to visit this historical area. You see so many references to it in movies it would be awesome to actually be there in person.

  52. I have been/done almost all of these things! We love Salem! I plan on going back next year!

  53. Going to haunted places just totally freaks me out but I hope everyone has fun. Salem looks like the place to be on Halloween.

  54. I have a fascination with the Salem Witch Trials so actually visiting Salem someday would be a dream come true. I am sure it would make for a fantastic learning experience too!

  55. OMG! How super fun! We always go to Salem when we visit my husband’s family in MA we haven’t been there during Halloween though. I would love to go during that time, it looks extra fun!

  56. Wow, that’s so spooky!! I love it, though. We are really aiming to go one of these days. A day trip! Or maybe an overnight.

  57. I would expect Salem to do some fun stuff for Halloween. It looks like a lot of great events are happening.

  58. Now that just looks like way too much fun for your boys. I love all of this haunted house happenings and I think it is something my husband and I would love to experience a bit of. Love The House of Seven Gables!

  59. I visited Salem many years ago, but it would be so much fun during Halloween.

  60. I would love to visit Salem at this time of year! It looks like it is so much fun.

  61. Looks like fun. Fun and creepy, a perfect combination.

  62. That is so cool that they have a witch museum. I have always wanted to go to Salem… Thanks for sharing.

  63. I use to work right near Salem but unfortunately it was only for a short time and never got to experience all the cool Halloween stuff

  64. That is the best place to go to for Halloween, I imagine!

  65. Seriously, that’s a lot of things to do and places to go to! It makes going to Salem definitely worth it!

  66. This would be such a fun tour to go on. My teenagers would love it. If i am ever in the area i will definitely check it out.

  67. The Salem Witch Museum would be amazing to go to. I love learning about history.

  68. all of your adventures look so fun, and really offer a great feel for someone wanting to try out new places. So Cool!

  69. Wow, Salem looks like it really is the Halloween capitol of America. My husband and I would get a kick out of seeing these exhibits…my boys would be too terrified. One day maybe!

  70. Oooh, scarry. I just read your other post about Haunted Houses in Connecticut. Salem looks equally awesome and I’d definitely like to visit someday.

  71. I went to Salem this past summer and loved it!! I bet going in the fall is awesome!! There is so much history there!!

  72. What a fun place to visit, especially this time of year. Some day I hope to make it there.

  73. You are really getting to some interesting places. I would definitly visit Salem and check out the historical sites.

  74. It’s hard to believe the Salem Witch Trials were actually history. It seems like an urban legend. I need to see the history in person to get to know it all better.

  75. My brother went to Salem once for Halloween and told me how fantastic and amazing it is for the season. The whole town really gets into it.

  76. I had a weekend free before a business trip a number of years ago and drove around New England. I stopped in Salem of course intrigued about the history with the witch trials. I found it fascinating. I’m sure they have some spooky tours there.

  77. I have been wanting to go here – looks lke a ton of fun

  78. Creepy but exciting place to visit. Perfect for halloween. Can’t wait to went their.

  79. That’s such a creepy place to visit! I had no idea they had turned into such a tourist attraction! Sounds like you had a lot of fun there!

  80. You always hear about Salem in the horror stories. I’ve never been able to do horror-related stuff. LOL!

  81. What an awesome Halloween experience indeed. Truly spooky and creepy.

  82. This sounds like a fun tour and Halloween getaway! I’ve read about Salem’s history and it’s very interesting. It’s amazing how they are preserving their history.

  83. I can only imagine how cool of a place that would be to visit – Especially near Halloween. I would love to check it out one day.

  84. The Salem Witch Museum is huge. Salem is one of the places that always come to mind when I hear witches .. that massacre of 62 was quite unfortunate

  85. This is a fun place to visit if you are looking for a thrill this Halloween. The The House of Seven Gables looks spooky.

  86. Hi Robin..
    Sounds like you have an amazing and fun life 🙂 I always learn new things from your site everyday. I can’t wait to visit those places!

  87. What a fun place for Halloween. I love this kind of activities i am excited for Halloween

  88. I love the picture of your boys on the ship/boat. We have never done anything like this.

  89. Wow, salem is one big scare fest isn’t it? I think the picture of the boys and your husband on the boat is my fav.

  90. Salem’s history is renown. I would visit – not for the spooky stuff but to see the historic sites.

  91. I’d love to visit Salem someday and I imagine Halloween is an especially great (but busy) time.

  92. My daughter just started learning about the Salem Witch Trials from her friends and now she is all about seeking more information on the subject. She would love this!

  93. Wow, that must be a cool place to visit. I loved the movie Salem’s Lot when I was younger.

  94. OH my gosh how awesome was that trip!!!!! I went once to Salem as a Girl Scout during the summer time and LOVED it. I would love to go during October to see the town come alive for Halloween! Thanks for all the awesome pictures!

  95. I would LOVE to check out these places. How cool. I am fascinated with Salem and the witch trials and history of the entire area!

  96. This makes me really want to go to Salem! Those museums look wonderful and there’s so much to do!

  97. I love hearing about haunted stuff this time of the year. I would love to do that for a visit.

  98. Thanks so much for sharing. I had no idea there were so many activity options and I know these have to be a hit for older kids!

  99. Looks like a great place to visit. Will have to put this on our list for a place to go soon. My husband loves creepy things and our daughters love history… so should be something for all of us!

  100. I never heard of that story about Salem before, how scary. I love all these places though, great to visit this time of year.

  101. I have never been top Salem before but have read a lot of the history. I would love to go on The Salem Trolly. A tour would be a great way to learn and see the sights.

  102. Looks like a lot of fun! I’ve never been to Salem, but definitely want to now that I’ve seen your pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  103. I have to admit I would love to visit Salem, I remember learning about it at school and for some reason it fascinated me. x

  104. Girl! I was just telling my husband last night that I wanted to go to Salem for Halloween! We were watching Sleepy Hollow and it just popped in my head. I’ve always wanted to go because of the The Salem witch hunt!

  105. Salem is one place that we haven’t visited in New England. Definitely sounds like a great place for witch happenings

  106. I remember reading a book about the Salem witch hunts when I was a preteen and it was fascinating to me. To actually visit Salem during Halloween time would be awesome!

  107. Whoa! There are a ton of places to visit. I really want to do this!

  108. Salem is one of those places I really want to visit!! I have always been fascinated by the witch trials. I didn’t realize there were so many different thigns to do there!

  109. I’m fascinated by the history of Salem. I had heard that their tours were really terrifying- nice to know there are some more family-friendly things to do there, too.

  110. Always thought the stories about Salem were myths. The museum sounds fascinating and well worth checking out to find out the actual facts.

  111. Hmm, this sounds really interesting. I grew up hearing tales of Salem, but I’ve never been.

  112. I’ve always heard of the witches of Salem but never thought of actually visiting there. What a great experience.

  113. The Salem Witch Hunt is a horrific event that happened in history. This is so spooky to visit, especially around Halloween.

  114. What an awesome area Salem must be during Halloween! I hope I can visit it one day.

  115. My High School had a chance to visit Salem as our Senior trip and we loved it. I wish we could have gotten the chance to go during Halloween because I know that would have added to the mystery and history of it all…

  116. Ok, this would totally freak me out, but at the same time it looks like so much fun! the kids seemed to be enjoying it

  117. We don’t celebrate Halloween, but the historical aspects behind these sites are always interesting.

  118. Oh my gosh, this is one place I’d love to visit. It looks so fun and great to bring your family.

  119. This looks like so much fun for the whole family! I think my wife would certainly freak out. I would love it all!

  120. I think I’d enjoy the Pioneer Village most of all. My daughter and husband would want to see all of it, though.

  121. looks like you guys had a great time! my kids would love to visit here, looks awesome.

  122. Salem seems like it would be THE place to hang out at Halloween. Especially given its unique history.

  123. Wow. What a spooky good time to have on Halloween.

  124. that has got to be the best place for Halloween. I love how you pulled everything together here for your locals and tourists. So much to do

  125. I forget about all of the Salem witch trials. It makes perfect sense that the town would play it all up during this time of the year.

  126. I so wish I could live there to take the boys here!

  127. I love all of these haunted places you’re showing! So cool!

  128. This looks like tons of fun. I miss living there!