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Best Things to Do in Salem, Massachusetts

Hey witches, if you’re planning a trip to one of the spookiest places in the United States, this is the travel guide for you. Made famous from the witch trials of the late 1600s, there have been a number of alleged haunts in the area that tourists come to explore, especially around Halloween.

For the History Buffs

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Before European settlers arrived and declared the land to be Salem, it was home to the Naumkeag tribe in Massachusetts. The group was partially nomadic, which made their villages appear “abandoned” at times. Pioneer Village, located in Salem, Massachusetts, was founded in 1930 and is the first living history museum in the United States. It has examples of indigenous and colonial life with structures and medicinal gardens.

After your visit to Pioneer Village, head to the Witch House (reservations must be made in advance for the month of October). As the only building in Salem directly connected to the Salem Witch Trials, this home was occupied by Judge Jonathan Corwin, who held initial questionings and a number of witch trials within the home. 

There are a number of other museums and memorials in the area that you can also visit during your time in Salem. For more information, head to Salem.org.

For the Ghost Hunters

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Whether you’re a believer or a full-on skeptic, a little bit of ghost hunting is always fun during Halloween. The Witch Trials Memorial is a somber but appropriate start to your ghost tour of Salem. The memorial features benches with the names of those tried and the dates of their executions.

For many years, historians believed that the Salem Witch Trials’ executions took place at Gallows Hill. However, in 2016, it was confirmed that they did not happen there. In fact, the trials took place on Proctor’s Ledge, which has since become another memorial site in Salem. Historians know this because people who lived near Proctor’s Ledge wrote first-hand accounts of watching executions from their homes. This is definitely one of the spookiest locations in Salem.

For Hocus Pocus Fans

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For die-hard Hocus Pocus fans keen on visiting film locations in town, be aware that Max and Dani’s house is not available for visitation.

However, you can visit Max and Allison’s school and the Old Town Hall. Bette Midler might not be there to perform “I Put a Spell on You,” but it’ll be exciting to stand where the Broadway star stood and performed this iconic song.

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