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How Salem Became the Most Haunted City in the World

It’s almost Halloween, and that means it’s time for all things spooky. Little kids are getting their ghoulish costumes together, and young lovers are going to see horror movies to get scared out of their socks. A brave few of us are looking to take the season’s scares to the next level.

During October, cities around the country, big and small, put up Halloween-themed attractions like haunted hayrides and paranormal escape rooms. 

But if that isn’t enough for you, you might need to travel for the real thing. Not every city in the country has as haunted of a history as Salem, Massachusetts. 

From the famous witch trials of the 17th century to the trial of Dorothy Talbye and the large population of Wiccan practitioners who live in Salem today, explore what made this colonial hamlet the most haunted city in the world. 


The Salem Witch Trials

The infamous witch trials began in 1692 in the township of Salem, one of the biggest colonies in the new European settlement in North America. 

It all started when two local girls, Abigail Williams and Betty Parris, accused their enslaved nurse, Tituba, of witchcraft. Over the next year, accusations piled up as the town descended into madness, executing a total of 19 men and women for connections to the Devil.

During the Salem witch trials, the murder of innocent civilians left a dark stain on the town that can still be felt (and seen) today. Take a tour with US Ghost Adventures and see for yourself.

House of the Seven Gables (1915)

The House of the Seven Gables

The famous American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a book about the House of the Seven Gables, a foreboding-looking, black colonial home in the center of Salem. 

Also called the Turner-Ingersoll House, this bewitching building was once home to John Hathorne, a distant relative of Nathaniel’s, who served as a judge during the witch trials. The Hathornes were one of the wealthiest families in all New England before the trials, and over the generations after, members died mysteriously, grew ill, and lost their wealth in bad deals.

The “Hathorne curse” still hangs over the brooding House of the Seven Gables, threatening anyone with death, disease, and doom if they dare enter.

The Dorothy Talbye Trial

Long before the witch trials ever scattered vengeful blood across the soil of Salem, there was another grievous crime committed against an innocent. 

In 1639, a severely mentally ill woman named Dorothy Talbye killed her 3-year-old daughter “because God told her to.” The government hung her, but many legal experts at the time and nearly a consensus now believe that there must be distinctions in sentencing sane vs. insane convicts. 

Now the lost, bereaved soul of Dorothy Talbye creeps around the Salem graveyard, looking for her daughter.

October Samhain Celebrations

Practitioners of Wicca and other earth-based magic religions have re-embraced Salem as a magical, mystical town. Many modern-day witches live in and around Salem and, each October, congregate in town, lighting up wicker men and singing ancient chants to welcome the fall harvest.

Don’t Be Scared

Whether you believe in magic or not, you deserve a spooktacular Halloween. There’s no better place for that than in Salem.


Photo Credit

Cemetery from piqsels
The House of the Seven Gables is from Wikipedia Creative Commons

Guest Author Bio
Russell E.

Russell is an ex-Marketing Journalist. He lives in Utah with his family and is a keen aviation enthusiast in his spare time.



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