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Are you interested in learning more about the most haunted places in Salem MA?
On the coast of Massachusetts, Salem holds court as a town that is rich with history. Most of us immediately think of its infamous history as the site of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
Thirteen women and five men were hanged, and one man suffered an unusually cruel death: death by “pressing,” or having rocks stacked on top of him until it killed him.
The rest died imprisoned for their alleged association with witchcraft.
It’s not a stretch to speculate if these horrifically dramatic events have left a lasting impression on this land. According to those who claim that Salem remains haunted by the spirits of those who were so egregiously wronged, it did.
Proctor’s Ledge and the Old Burying Point Cemetery are two such haunted Salem spots, so tread lightly and be respectful as you explore these areas.
Read on to learn where spirits still wander in the most haunted places in Salem MA, and the haunted hotels in Salem you can book to this day!
Most Haunted Places in Salem MA
1. The Old Burying Point Cemetery
Location: 51 Charter St, Salem, MA 01970
The second oldest cemetery in the United States, you will find gravestones at Old Burying Point Cemetery that are so weathered and battered by the elements and the years that you will no longer be able to make out who lies below.
There are many people buried and entombed here who played significant roles in the witch trials. Notable unsavory characters include Judges Bartholomew Gedney and John Hathorne.
Both presided over the witch trials. Hathorne was particularly zealous in his “work,” having accused and interrogated a 4-year-old girl of witchcraft.
Several others interred here made accusations against the women and men who were sentenced to death for their supposed involvement with witchcraft.
Did those who perpetrated this tragedy ever feel remorse for what they had done? Are their spirits still unsettled?
Visitors have reported orbs of light, cold spots, disembodied voices, and other strange happenings in this Salem cemetery, so if you decide to visit, beware.
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is just beyond the wall of the cemetery for visitors to pay their respects to the innocent lives cut short by this tragic event in history.
2. Turner-Ingersoll Mansion
Location: 115 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970
Originally built in 1668, the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion was the inspiration for The House of the Seven Gables. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne was a descendant of Judge John Hathorne , The Hanging Judge of the Salem Witch Trials, and he spent time at this historic home with his cousin.
Popularly known as The House of the Seven Gables – despite actually having 8 gables – this historic mansion has all the kinds of interesting nooks and crannies that wealthy older homes have… like secret staircases!
The secret staircase that leads to the attic of this historic home is where most of the paranormal activity has been reported, with visitors reporting feelings of unease and disembodied voices.
3. Hawthorne Hotel
Location: 18 Washington Square W, Salem, MA 01970
Did you know that the Hawthorne Hotel is considered one of the Top 20 Haunted Hotels in America?
Today, guests of Hawthorne Hotel report paranormal activity in several areas of the hotel, including seeing a specter of a woman that roams the halls.
There are two rooms to request if you are looking to experience a taste of the paranormal for yourself:
Guests of Room 612 report seeing the apparition of a woman standing just outside the door, and Room 325 is known for having faucets that turn on and off by themselves, lights that flicker, and the crying of an inconsolable baby that can be heard as if from just the next room over.
4. The Samuel Pickman House
Just a few feet behind the Peabody Essex Museum, the Samuel Pickman House rests, situated beside the Charter Street Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Salem.
Referred to as a First Period house, this historic home was built in the 1660s and is one of the few remaining Salem structures that still sits on its original foundation.
Samuel Pickman was a local mariner, and his family played a notable role in the Salem community. Samuel’s wife, Lydia, was one of the women called on to inspect the accused women’s bodies during the Salem Witch Trials.
This isn’t the reason it is considered haunted, however. Local lore tells the story of a family of three: mother, father, and young daughter. The father, struggling with mental health, began to see demons around the family home.
As his grasp on reality weakened, his outbursts became more violent. Eventually he chained his young daughter upstairs in the attic, and his wife outside to a tree. He is said to have murdered his wife by suffocating her with hot wax poured over her head.
His daughter did not have such a quick end, and she languished in the attic until she finally succumbed to starvation.
The most oft reported supernatural event at this sad address is the appearance of a young girl staring out the upstairs window.
Today, it is the welcome center for the Charter Street Cemetery (also known as Old Burying Point) so you can visit and see the home for yourself while learning more about early Salem burying practices.
5. The Joshua Ward House aka The Merchant
Location: 148 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970
Built in 1784, the Joshua Ward House was home to a wealthy sea merchant, Joshua Ward, and even hosted George Washington at one time.
The paranormal associations of the Joshua Ward house are not believed to be from Joshua Ward and what he did with his life, but rather from the man who lived here before: George Corwin.
Corwin was the High Sheriff responsible for much of the horrific torture that the accused were made to endure during his “interrogations.” It is rumored that he may have conducted some of these torture session in the basement of his own home, but this remains unproven.
Whether he tortured on this land or not, he was the main person who arrested, tortured, transported, and then ultimately hung (and pressed in the horrific case of Giles Corey) these unfortunate folks.
This despicable character also used his walking stick to callously shove Giles Corey’s tongue back in his mouth after it rolled out while being pressed to death. Not a nice guy, this one.
Visitors to this historic site have experienced notable paranormal activity. Expect cold pockets, candles mysteriously melted down despite never having been lit, books and pictures that fall from shelves randomly, feelings of being watched, and even unsettling physical sensations such as feelings of being strangled by phantom hands around the throat.
There has even been an unexpected appearance of a ghastly specter with pale skin and dark curly hair in a photograph that was taken at a Christmas party in 1981.
Today, it has been given a second life as The Merchant, a beautiful inn. Book a room and see for yourself if there is any paranormal activity to be found!
6. Proctor’s Ledge
Location: 7 Pope St, Salem, MA 01970
For centuries, there was some confusion over where the hangings of the Salem Witch Trial victims took place, with many pointing to Gallows Hill, just up the hill from Proctor’s Ledge.
In forensic and historical investigations spanning over several decades, the spot of Proctor’s Ledge was confirmed as being the spot of the hangings and the unceremonious dumping of their bodies below.
Touching a “witch,” even just to bury them, was illegal at the time, forcing family members to return under the darkness of night to retrieve their loved one’s bodies and move them themselves for a proper burial on family lands.
Would it be a surprise to anyone that these troubled souls continue to haunt this space? Cold spots, orbs, and the sounds of distant wails have been reported by visitors to the site. The town of Salem has created a memorial on this space to remember the innocent lives that were taken there.
7. The Jonathan Corwin House aka The Witch House
Location: 310 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
The Witch House (currently a museum) is where Judge Jonathan Corwin lived, the man responsible for signing several arrest warrants for the accused.
Surprisingly, it isn’t his ties to the Salem Witch Trials that paranormal investigators believe are responsible for the residual supernatural energy in the Jonathan Corwin House.
The most frequently reported paranormal activity in the Jonathan Corwin House is hearing the voice of a child, perhaps one of the five children that Judge Jonathan Corwin and his wife Elizabeth lost during their years in the home.
In addition to these tragedies, four of the remaining Corwin adults lost their lives in the home prematurely to fever. It is felt by some that such a long period of heartache and loss has tied the Corwins to these walls and why cold spots and sensations of being touched are sometimes reported during visits to the museum.
Read Next: 12 Fun and FREE Things to Do in Salem MA
8. Historic Salem Jail
Location: 50 St Peter St, Salem, MA 01970
The historic Salem Jail was constructed in the early 1800s, and consisted of a jail keepers house, a carriage house, and the original jail building. Declared unfit for human habitation in 1991, it sat abandoned for twenty years before being repurposed into residential apartments and commercial space.
Housing prisoners in less than exemplary conditions for almost 200 years, it is said that while inmates have not been held here for decades, the dark and tortured energy of the many who suffered here remains.
In fact, this is one of the oldest correctional institutions in the country! Today you’ll find an exhibit on the history of the jail near the residential apartments that have given this space new life.
Ghost hunters and paranormal investigators assert that cold spots and poltergeist activity have been experienced onsite.
9. Wicked Good Books
Location: 215 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
Firstly, Wicked Good Books is by and large considered the best bookstore in Salem, so if you’re a bibliophile, add it to your must visit list!
Secondly, it also has an interesting history: it sits above the hidden Salem underground tunnels that were uncovered during renovations. Thought to have been created in the early 1800s, these tunnels are believed to have been used for smuggling both goods and people.
Paranormal investigations of the underground tunnels have revealed the feeling of a “presence,” and human remains were uncovered that are unidentified to this day.
Within the walls of Wicked Good Books, reports of books coming off of shelves and other unexplained phenomena have been occasionally reported, according to the folks over at Ghost City Tours!
Even if you don’t see any paranormal activity at this supposedly haunted Salem bookstore, book shopping is always a blast!
10. The Ropes Mansion
Location: 318 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
Recognize this haunted house in Salem? If you’re a kid of the 90s, you most likely remember this as Alison’s house in Hocus Pocus!
Did you know there’s more than meets the eye to this historic Salem home?
Constructed in 1721, this home has seen some dramatic tragedy in its day.
Not one, not two, but three of the wives of the original owner passed, and Nathaniel Ropes, Loyalist to the throne, died of smallpox inside as townsfolk rioted outside of his home in an attempt to sway him to join the revolution.
Fast forward over half a century later to the tragic burning death of Abigail Ropes after her clothing caught fire.
Notable paranormal activity in the haunted Ropes Mansion includes disembodied voices, the specter of a woman in the window upstairs, and even a photo published in Ghostly Haunts of two ghostly hands on a couch in the home.
11. Salem Lyceum
Location: 43 Church St, Salem, MA 01970
Once known as Lyceum Hall, this building is where Alexander Graham Bell first demonstrated the success of his cutting edge communications technology, the telephone!
Today, it is Turner’s Seafood, one of the best restaurants in Salem, and considered one of the places in town where Bridget Bishop’s spirit is said to remain.
Once upon a time, this property was a part of Bridget Bishop’s apple orchard, the first person to be hanged for witchcraft in Salem.
Over the years, employees have stated that boxes and other items have seemingly moved themselves, doors open and close with no one there, and occasionally there is a feeling of being touched or pushed by something unseen.
One employee even told the History Channel of a time when she was certain she saw the apparition of Bridget Bishop herself!
12. The Salem Inn
Location: 7 Summer St, Salem, MA 01970
Considered one of the most haunted places to stay in Salem, The Salem Inn is made up of three historic properties.
Each of its historic properties are said to be haunted by unique spirits, with notable reports of a laughing child and a black cat that has been seen by guests, and employee reports of the feminine spirit they call “Katherine.”
Looking to increase the odds you’ll experience some paranormal activity at The Salem Inn? Request Room 17, if you dare!
13. Bunghole Liquors
Location: 204 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970
Before this site housed a liquor store with an… interesting name, it was a funeral parlor.
During the Prohibition era, the undertaker of this funeral parlor took on more than just Salem’s dead when it began using the underground tunnels of Salem to move bootlegged liquor.
Soon, there was a popular speakeasy being ran in the same space where cadavers, coffins, and embalming fluid was also being stored! It is said that the speakeasy was such a success, that once Prohibition was lifted, the owner decided to ditch the funeral business for the more lively (he he!) bar business.
Today, this is a package liquor store with an interesting haunting reported by an actual employee: the sensation of a furry animal rubbing against his leg, like a cat!
Now, this isn’t totally out of step with reports of ghostly black cats seen about town – because of course, right? – but the other commonly reported spooky sighting in Bunghole Liquors is of a ghostly woman typically spotted by the wine racks.
I suppose even in the spirit world, some might still be drawn to this location for a drink!
Haunted Hotels in Salem MA to Book if you Dare
It’s interesting to read about haunted places that are known for supernatural happenings and to go on ghost tours at some of these spots, but it takes a whole other level of bravery to actually stay the night in one of them!
Are you that person? Then perhaps one of these 5 most haunted hotels in Salem MA might be on your list of places to stay!
18 Washington Square W, Salem, MA 01970
As mentioned above, The Hawthorne Hotel is not just one of the most well-known haunted hotels in Salem, it is also said to be one of the most haunted hotels in America.
It opened its doors in 1925 and is named after “The Scarlet Letter” author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Located in downtown Salem, this is a very popular Salem place to stay, with one of the best restaurants in town and very pet friendly policies.
However, The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including a woman in a long white gown. There have also been reports of doors opening and closing on their own and mysterious footsteps; ghost hunters often request rooms 325 and 612.
It’s also home to one of the tastiest breakfasts in Salem!
Daniels House Bed and Breakfast
1 Daniels St, Salem, MA 01970
One of the oldest haunted houses in Salem, the Daniels House Bed and Breakfast was built in 1667. This gorgeous historic property has been beautifully maintained and restored and is a lovely Salem B&B with lovely antiques and Colonial-era architectural features like open hearth fireplaces.
Daniels House B&B is said to be haunted by a male ghost, often appearing in full Puritan dress, a woman dressed in period clothes that takes a fall down a staircase, and a cat that appears quite real until it vanishes in mid-air right before your eyes! Guests have also reported hearing the sounds of footsteps and doors opening and closing.
Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites
225 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970
The Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites is not a historic property, but it’s built on the site of the former Salem Marine Society, which was established in 1766. With onsite dining, indoor pool, and fantastic waterfront views, this is a popular Salem place to stay!
Now, we might be stretching a bit here to call this one of the most haunted hotels in Salem as it hasn’t seen nearly the same reports of paranormal activity and investigations that the others on this list have, but this TripAdvisor review seems to suggest that there might be something more than meets the eye! Perhaps this waterfront hotel has retained some of the energies from all the sailors who’ve died at sea?
7 Summer St, Salem, MA 01970
Comprised of three historic properties, including the Captain West House, the Peabody House, and the Curwen House, Salem Inn is a very good choice if you want to stay in a haunted hotel in Salem MA. Guest rooms in each historic home are generously appointed, and the Curwen House is adults-only for those looking for a little more peace and quiet… from the living.
Each Salem Inn house is said to be haunted, with reports of strange noises and sightings of ghosts, including a laughing child, a feminine presence named “Katherine” by employees, and a black cat. Guests with cat allergies will sometimes even become symptomatic despite there being no (living) cat on the premises!
If you want to be sure to get a haunted hotel room in Salem MA, request Room 17. The owner of this site stayed at the Salem Inn a few years back and did not request a haunted room, and thankfully, that’s what they received! In their experience, Salem Inn is is a beautiful historic property with plenty of non-haunted rooms available, too.
148 Washington St, Salem, MA 01970
The Merchant is a boutique hotel located in the heart of Salem, and many say it is the most haunted hotel in Salem. Spacious rooms, generous amenities, and a great location make this a popular spot to stay in town.
Built in 1784 on property that was once Sheriff George Corwin’s home and jail, The Merchant is said to be haunted by the ghosts of those who were injured by his cruel actions, with objects moving randomly and unexplained noises in the night. One particular spirit that has gained notoriety is the Lady in Black, captured on a photo in the 1980s with a black period dress and unruly black curls, and transparent skin. Spooky!
If you’re looking for a spooky place to stay in Salem, Massachusetts, any of these haunted hotels will do the trick.
Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, there’s no denying that these old buildings have seen a lot of history happen throughout the years, some of it dark and grisly. Book a room if you dare, but maybe be prepared for a few ghostly encounters!
Final Thoughts on Salem Hauntings
In 1957, the town of Salem MA formally apologized for the tragedies that were committed almost three centuries prior, but is there any way to completely clear a location of this kind of heavy heartbreak?
For many that visit and investigate Salem paranormal activity, the answer here is no, and they believe the supernatural residue of these horrors will never completely wash away from Salem.
For those who want to come see for themselves, the month of October is an especially busy time of year to visit if you are looking to experience some paranormal activity, and there are several ghost tours to choose from.
Don’t forget to check out the filming locations of the iconic Halloween film Hocus Pocus, and there are plenty of cool places to stay while in Salem, including some really neat Airbnbs.
Even if you’re not looking for the paranormal, Salem is an incredible place to visit, and it’s on just about every list of things to do in Massachusetts for a reason.
As the town slogan says, Salem MA is “Still making history,” and you’ll definitely want to see it for yourself someday.
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- Where to Eat: The Best Restaurants in Salem MA