On a recent trip to Boston, Massachusetts, we stopped by in the small town of Salem. Salem is famous for the witch trials of 1692 where several people were executed for allegedly practising witchcraft.
Salem is easily accessible from Boston, being a 30-minute train drive at a cost of $15 dollars round trip. There is also a fast ferry to the town at a cost of $45 return.
Salem is a year-round destination and has a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants. Many of the activities are related to the witch trials, however, there are also things to do in the town that isn’t related to this historic event.
Our first stop was to see the Bewitched statue of Elizabeth Montgomery. Bewitched was an American fantasy sitcom series about a witch that ran in the 1960s to 70s.
After that, we explored the town to see what was happening. As is was a few days before Halloween the town had a great atmosphere and was busy but not ridiculously so. During the month of October special activities are organised for Halloween on the Haunted Happenings website, so this is always worth checking out for special events.
After stopping by for coffee in Gulu Gulu Cafe, where we also had waffles and maple syrup, we decided to visit Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, taking in the people dressed in costume lining the streets. Watch out for the scary clown!
Count Orlok’s was a fascinating little museum, especially interesting if you are into horror films. With full-sized waxworks that are very lifelike of horror characters from movies, this little museum is very well done. Look out for Nosferatu the vampire, Pinhead from Hellraiser, Pennywise the scary clown and the werewolf from American Werewolf In London amongst others. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take photos inside which was a shame but don’t let that put you off visiting if you are a horror fan.
Next stop Gallows Hill Salem. This is one of the top attractions in the town so we were excited to do the Witchcraft And Ghost Experience. We were joined by a group of teenage students from a local school, which only added to the experience as they were keen to join in! The show is dark and you sit down in an auditorium. Mixing history, legend and myth this theatre show about witches and ghosts was very entertaining. It has a few scares so I would say it isn’t suitable for children under the age of 10 unless they are brave. There is fog, ghosts and creatures that appear to come out into the audience in the dark and a few surprises also. Highly entertaining!
As it was a special show for the students we had an opportunity to see behind the scenes as well and that was fascinating too.
We also decided to do the scare attraction attached – The Lost Museum. You are accompanied throughout by a guide, who tells the story of a wealthy Salem merchant, who gathered strange ‘oddities’ and mythical objects from around the world. You are guided through the museum, but watch out as strange forces are at work! This attraction was good fun and had a few jumpy moments but nothing too scary. Again though I would say children over the age of 10 are the best age to enjoy it.
We thought both attractions were excellent and scary without being too frightening for the majority of people. Exercise caution however if you have young children.
Not far from here was the Salem witch trials memorial.
In 1692, 14 women and 6 men were tried, convicted, and executed for being witches. A form of mass hysteria came over the town after a group of young girls claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several people of being witches. The memorial consists of 20 granite benches surrounding an area adjoining the Old Burying Point. The benches are inscribed with the name of the accused and the means and date of execution. A sobering sight, and who is to say that a form of mass hysteria like this couldn’t happen again where innocent people are accused of something horrendous they didn’t do.
We had booked a reenactment of the witch trials with a theatre group and the show called Cry Innocent was next. The show revolves around Bridget Bishop, a real person in the 1600’s being accused of witchcraft and you, the audience has a chance to question her and the accusers. The show was an eye-opener and really worth doing if you want to get a feel for the persecution these people, mostly women, had.
Before we left Salem we had an opportunity to get a photo of Mr W in stocks, outside the Witch Dungeon Museum, well you have to don’t you!?
We really enjoyed our trip to Salem, and it seemed a lovely little town. There are many attractions we didn’t have time to do, including visiting the House Of The Seven Gables as well as many more scare attractions. If you have an interest in history, horror or witchcraft Salem is well worth visiting.
To find out more about Salem be sure to check out http://salem.org/
*We were given press passes by the Salem tourist board