Hauntings in Salem, Massachusetts

Updated on July 23, 2018
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has had paranormal experiences her entire life. These experiences have fueled her passion to write about all things supernatural.

The Witch House in Salem, MA has direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials. No wonder it's haunted.
The Witch House in Salem, MA has direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials. No wonder it's haunted. | Source

Is Salem, MA Haunted?

Salem is a town located in the New England state of Massachusetts that is steeped in American folklore and Puritan history. Intriguing stories of Salem being a town of witches dominate the Boston suburban town to this day. The rich history of Salem began in the seventeenth century, when certain townsfolk were accused and tried of witchcraft. Some were hanged for their supposed crimes. One man was crushed to death with large stones. The theories of what actually happened to the town during the Witch craze still abound. Some say it was ergot poisoning. Others say it was simply superstition and mass hysteria fueled on by a group of pubescent girls searching for attention. No matter what happened, one thing is for sure—Salem is not only full of modern-day witches, it is full of Colonial ghosts.

The Haunted Salem Cemeteries

What lurks behind the weathered, wrought-iron cemetery gates of the old Salem cemeteries? Are they ghosts of mere Salem settlers, or are they the ghosts of the tortured souls who lost their lives due to accusations of witchcraft during the infamous Salem Witch trials in the late 1600s?

Loads of pictures have been taken by tourists while visiting the old Salem cemetery known as Saint Mary's Cemetery, and out of those loads of pictures taken, dozens have turned up evidence of ghosts haunting the old cemetery. Some visitors of this haunted Salem cemetery have reported seeing strange white lights floating around the cemetery, as well as bone-chilling sounds. Sounds of a dog running from within the haunted Salem cemetery have been heard, and also general feelings of being watched or stalked while walking through the haunted Salem cemetery.

Another very well-known haunted Salem cemetery is the Howard Street Cemetery, the site where a man named Giles Corey was pressed to his death by large stones during the witch trials and witch hysteria in the late 1600s. Giles Corey had been accused of witchcraft by the townsfolk and town officials and refused to admit to the charge of witchcraft. Because he refused to admit, the town of Salem was permitted to torture him by using large stones and piling them one on top of the other on top of Giles Corey. He died in the spot due to the stone torture and is said to haunt the Howard Street Salem cemetery to this day. There's an old haunted Salem legend that Giles Corey's ghost hates all of the town's sheriffs and will visit them from time to time, causing a specific feeling of weight being pressed upon their chests. It is said that many of the sheriffs since the sheriff who ordered the torture of Giles Corey have died of heart attacks while holding the sheriff position.

Rebecca Nurse's story is one that is sadly haunting, in more than one way. Rebecca Nurse was a woman in her early seventies who lived in Salem in the late 1600s with her family which consisted of eight children. She was very loved by the community and was considered to be a very faithful, pious church-goer. But the fate that befell Rebecca Nurse could have caused her ghost to linger on this earth for eternity. . . she was one who was hanged at Gallows Hill for unproven crimes of "witchcraft." There is a memorial for Rebecca Nurse and her house still stands today and can be visited year-round. There are those who say that Rebecca Nurse's ghost has been captured on film, haunting her house as well as her memorial. She doesn't understand why she died and may even want revenge. . .

Cemeteries in Haunted Salem

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Howard Street Cemetery Gravestones with unidentified mist in frontRebecca Nurse's Memorial, notice the mist coming down from the top!Another strange mist at a Haunted Salem Cemetery
Howard Street Cemetery Gravestones with unidentified mist in front
Howard Street Cemetery Gravestones with unidentified mist in front | Source
Rebecca Nurse's Memorial, notice the mist coming down from the top!
Rebecca Nurse's Memorial, notice the mist coming down from the top!
Another strange mist at a Haunted Salem Cemetery
Another strange mist at a Haunted Salem Cemetery

Haunted Gallows Hill

One of the women wrongly accused of witchcraft in the 1692 Salem hysteria named Bridget Bishop was the first person to be hung on Gallows Hill in haunted Salem. A dozen more innocent souls were loosed on Gallows Hill after Bridget's wrongful hanging.

Today the haunted Gallows Hill is a part of a field used for recreational sports; however, the locals and ghost hunters will tell you that this piece of land is very haunted. Could it be the ghost of Bridget Bishop or the ghosts of all of the innocent lives that were taken for no logical reason? We may never know who exactly haunts this wretched place, but we know for sure that something haunts it.

Gallows Hill is an infamous part of haunted Salem and will remain so. Dozens of ghost pictures and ghost videos have been shot on Gallows Hill throughout the years, and probably dozens more will be shot in the future.

I wonder if you stand in that spot at midnight if you can hear the gentle swaying of a rope. . .

Haunted Salem's Houses

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The House of the Seven Gables is said to have a few ghosts on the premises.The witch's ghost at Joshua Ward House
The House of the Seven Gables is said to have a few ghosts on the premises.
The House of the Seven Gables is said to have a few ghosts on the premises. | Source
The witch's ghost at Joshua Ward House
The witch's ghost at Joshua Ward House

Haunted Houses in Salem

The House of the Seven Gables is a beautiful wooden mansion located in Haunted Salem. The mansion is also known as the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, as these were the two families who lived in the wooden mansion since the 1600s. The famous American author Nathaniel Hawthorne was actually the cousin of Susan Ingersoll, one of the owners of the beautiful, haunted Salem mansion. What do you think inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne to write his work The House of the Seven Gables? That's right; it was his cousin's Salem home.

Today The House of the Seven Gables can be toured and boasts a ton of artifacts and beautiful interior, and is also rumored to be haunted by Susan Ingersoll's ghost. A little boy's ghost is said to be trapped in the attic and can be heard playing on certain quiet nights. Faucets are said to turn on an off by themselves, as well as toilets flushing on their own. The ghost of Susan Ingersoll has been seen peering out different windows of the mansion and some wonder if Nathaniel Hawthorne's spirit doesn't pay his cousin a visit from time to time. . .

The Witch House in Salem is the last standing building directly linked to the Salem Witch Trials and is therefore called The Witch House. Although, no accused witches were living in it, the judge who would try some of the witches lived there. His name was Jonathon Corwin, and it is rumored that he might have held secret trials or witch torments inside his house. When my husband and I visited The Witch House last year, we definitely felt a negative presence there. If it's not the house itself, the witchcraft objects on display in the house could very well be haunted by spirits of the past. There are witch bottles, poppets, and documents from the Colonial times all detailing superstitions of the past on display at The Witch House.

The Joshua Ward House has been the site of numerous paranormal phenomenon, including a famous picture of a witch's ghost which I've posted here. The story goes that a woman was snapping a polaroid picture within the Joshua Ward House and when it processed, the bone-chilling image of a woman with black hair and a black dress showed up in one of the hallways of the mansion. Items are turned over randomly, as well as cold spots that make the hair stand on the back of your neck, are felt frequently. Some even claim that the house is cursed, as it was built on the foundation of the Sheriff who condemned Giles Corey to death in 1692 (Sheriff George Corwin).

With a long and tumultuous history, it's no wonder the whole town has experienced ghosts at one place or another. In addition to these creepy, hair-raising haunted Salem locations, there are dozens more. More and more ghostly occurrences are happening every day in Salem. No doubt on Halloween the ghosts of the innocent souls from 1692 will wander the town of Salem looking for a reason to right their wrongful deaths. . .

The John Ward House said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman.
The John Ward House said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman. | Source

Participate in a poll:

Have you visited any of these haunted places in Salem?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Kitty Fields


    Submit a Comment

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      3 years ago from Summerland

      ABR - I'm so happy you enjoyed it. Hope you could sleep last night. :) I agree, sickening but a part of our history nevertheless.

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 

      3 years ago from USA- Florida

      This was a fun read. Might have to sleep with my light on tonight. LOL! Looks like you did a lot of research here. Good job.

      It make me sick to think about all those folks who were falsely accused and brutally murdered.



    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      Khrystal - I am so jealous! I want to go SO very badly...know a lot about it but haven't actually visited yet. And you're right, a couple teenage girls have more power than we sometimes think, right? They have protests there? I would assume a lot of Christians might be there protesting witchcraft, but were the witches protesting too? I'd love to hear more. Thanks for the recommendation on visiting. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great page. I went to Salem for halloween always been a dream of mine lol. Im a New England girl. It was a great place with great atmosphere especially during halloween. Only thing i didn't like was the protests that they had. between the christians and the wiccans. I feel to each his own, live and let live. ya know. But Anywhoo, lol. I have always been interested in the salem witch trials. Watched the movies read the books, seen the shows. It's sooo sad what a couple of bored teenage girls can create. MASS HYSTERIA. My favorite place is the witch house. Never got to see any ghost though, :( my loss I guess. Might also be because of all the people. definitely recommend if anyone is going to salem choose anyday in October except halloween.

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      Thank you and I agree, ThePuritan. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This story is always so sad, i always feel bad for the people that were hurt in this event just because some girls didn't want to be in trouble, i also hate that this event gave a bad name to the puritans.

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      tom - Again, you're right when you say that they probably weren't witches; though the idea of what a "witch" is has been GREATLY misconstrued throughout the centuries and has created fear in society. It's unfortunate, but true. The word "witch" actually means "wise woman"...did you know that?

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      7 years ago from home


      I gotta say-witches are skevy n creepy but it's a shame some of those women were probably NOT witches and that is the sad part of it all reat hub kit-


    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      dahoglund - Very true, indeed. Thanks for reading!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      A well written article on an intriguing subject.Even skeptics are fascinated by the concept of ghosts.

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      goody7 - That's absolutely fine. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • goody7 profile image


      7 years ago from over there under the sycamore tree

      This subject really fascinates me kitty, and this is a great hub. Thanks for sharing, and I just had to put a link from my ghostly hub to your ghostly hub. I hope that's okay, and you like it. If you don't like the link, then please let me know, and I'll remove it for you at your request.

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      writer20 - Thanks! Cool...I'll have to check it out.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      7 years ago from Southern Nevada

      This is a creepy good hub.

      The piece a boy a young boy sounded something like my story 1081 Stewart St.

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      St. Cyprian - Ohhh, I'll have to check out his work then..sounds like some good reads to me! Thanks for the recommendation. I didn't know that the Puritans destroyed May Day in America, but I'd sure believe it. Dang Puritans.

      Venz - Thanks, glad I could clear it up for you.

      selfdefenselesson - Awesome, I'm happy you learned something about Salem, MA! I've never watched Vampire Diaries, as I am a Truebie by heart (True Blood fan), and I didn't know they talk about Salem in the show, pretty cool! Thanks for reading.

    • selfdefenselesson profile image


      7 years ago

      Cool hub.

      I must admit I knew nothing about salem before I read your hub or when I watched the occasional tv episode of vampire diaries with my girlfriend.(Yes they talked about salem in that show too)

      So thank you for the good read Kitty.

    • VENZKHVAM profile image


      7 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

      Oh that is nice kittythedreamer for explaining me the witches theory.

      Thanks for the fast reply too.

      You seems to be avery interesting person. Nice to have met you here in hubpages.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Excellent article! Those are some really compelling photos. I've read just about every word Nathaniel Hawthorne ever wrote and I'd love to see his place. He has an interesting short piece, by the way, that seems like the kind of think you might like... Here it is: The Maypole of Merrymount - http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/1790/ - It's a short story about May Day and, if I remember right, the king and queen of the forest. He wasn't fond of the Puritans, although he was a descendant. And, he wrote a lot about hauntings, the devil, the Puritans, strange gardens, etc.

      You probably already know this as a Wiccan, but it was essentially the Puritans who destroyed May Day celebrations in the U.S - ah, but not everywhere!

      Accolades and vote up!

    • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      Venzkhvam - I didn't know that India had a Salem, too. Pretty cool!

      To your question about if there's witches in this world: Yes, of course there is. But not in the image that you're thinking. The twisted image of a woman riding a broomstick, lying with the devil, and putting spells on people is incorrect and always has been. It was used as a fear tactic from the church to persuade Pagans away from their natural practices, as well as other reasons.

    • VENZKHVAM profile image


      7 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers


      Do you know that salem is a district in one of the states of Tamilnadu in India.

      I think after reading this whenever I pass through salem three things i will always remember one is kittythedreamer another one is witches in london'S SALEM.


      I really do not know?

      voted up and interesting.


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