Visit Salem and Dive into the History of Witches
Who has never heard of the city of Salem and its witches? Located just 25 miles north of Boston, is easily accessible from the latter.
When on the road map I realized that this mythical little port city was located so close to my destination, I did not hesitate to add it to my weekend program in Boston. You can also find my very complete article on my suggestions for things to do in Boston as well as the one on six cities in the Eastern USA to visit during a road trip.
From Boston, four modes of Transportation are possible. By car, train, boat or bus. You can find all the information to go to Salem on this site.
Salem, a City of Witches
As I said before, Salem is best known for his sordid history of witch hunts. Although it has a very important harbor past, it is rather the latter that made its fame.
During the colonial period, in 1692, 21 people from Salem and neighboring villages were accused of Witchcraft and executed. Two young girls and their friends began to behave strangely and accused a black slave and two old women from their village of witchcraft.
A collective hysteria began in which some accused others. More than 200 people were imprisoned in the region’s prisons awaiting trial in Salem. Thirty people died in the course of this story. Of these, 21 innocent men and women were executed, mostly by hanging, before a governor finally put an end to these paranoid crimes.
All these people were innocent. Several hypotheses have been made to explain this delirium. One of the two girls who laid the charges later admitted that she had done it for fun.
A dark slice of New England’s history that can still be seen during a visit to Salem.
Interesting Places to Visit in Salem
I’ve only been here a few hours. But here are the various places that I have visited, or not, in Salem and that are worth the detour as much in the history of witches as in the port and historical importance of New England.
The Witches Of Salem
The story of the Salem witches is visible throughout the city. It is a subject that is heavily exploited for its tourist development. Here are some places to visit in Salem to understand the sordid history that made the reputation of this city.
Salem Witch Museum
Salem Witch Museum is the most visited museum in the city. Among the many possible choices, I went to this huge building of Gothic style that piqued my curiosity when I arrived. A huge statue draws attention to the front of the building. Already in “”history of witches”” mode I thought at first that it was one that stood in front of us. But it was rather a question of a great figure in the history of Salem, Roger Conant, the founder of the city.
The museum is not terrible in itself, but it does give a good understanding of the events of 1692. We sit in a dark room where only a red circle illuminated in the center sets the atmosphere of what will follow. Suddenly, a male voice from an audio recording starts.
A light appears suddenly, and its beam illuminates a first scene of the story. A decoration with wax figures appears all around the room, a few meters from the floor. The light beam moves from one scene to another throughout history. We discover the key characters in the story, take part in a trial and the story ends with the heinous crimes of hanging that they were subjected to.
Outside the large hall, a guide explains witchcraft as it was in the past and how it is today, and they also tell us about some plants with powers.
This museum is a good introduction if you don’t know the history of the Salem witches.
An audio recording in French is also available. Ask the front desk. Here is the website of the Salem Witch Museum for more information.
The Witch House
The Witch House, also known as The Jonathan Corvin House, is the only building still present in connection with the history of witches.
This old house, which dates back to the 17th century, belonged to one of the judges, Jonathan Corvin, who condemned people for witchcraft in 1692. This house is very well preserved, and each room allows us to understand part of the way of life of the inhabitants of the time. The architecture, objects and educational documents Project us right into the way of life of these early settlers.
Witch Dungeon Museum
The Witch dungeon museum offers an interactive experience, with actors, of the trials that were raging at the time and which led to the death of several people. There are also replicas of the dungeons of the time that held captive, for nearly a year, those who were accused of witchcraft by their peers.
I didn’t have time to visit the place, but in the logical continuation of the understanding of the history of Salem, it can be interesting to go there.
Despite the drama that has plagued this city, the atmosphere today is quite festive and in connection with the Halloween party. So we can afford to take funny pictures in front of this museum.
Old Burying Point Cemetery
Your visit to the history of the Salem witches should end at the Old burying point cemetery. This cemetery is the place where the victims and key figures of this story are buried. Large, flat stones are placed around the perimeter, in which the names of the innocent victims are engraved.