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Find the Magic in Salem, Massachusetts

Updated on August 28, 2012

Magic in Salem, Massachussetts

375 years of American heritage and maritime history come alive in America's most bewitching town - Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem's name means "City of Peace"; however it's history is anything but peaceful. This city was where the Salem Witch Trials occurred over 300 years ago.

In the winter of 1692, some local girls become sick with ergot poisoning and accused members of the community for their illness. As a result, hundreds of innocent people were accused as witches and tortured during the hysteria, ultimately 20 men and women died.

Image: the House of the Seven Gables @

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Witch Trial Memorial

In 1692, 14 women and 6 men were accused of being witches, they were tried, convicted, and executed. The executions took place on June 10, July 19, August 19, September 19 and September 22, 1692. To this day, the horrific events of 1692 are used to measure the current state of civil rights and due process in our fragile society.

Dedicated by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel in August 1992, the Witch Trials Memorial was a part of the Salem Witch Trials 300 year remembrance. The design by Maggie Smith and James Cutler was inspired by the Vietnam Memorial.

The Memorial, found in an area adjoining the Old Burying Point, is made up of 20 granite benches inscribed with the accused names, and the method and date of their execution.

Susannah Martin- "Witch"

"I have no hand in witchcraft."

Salem Witch Museum

19 ½ Washington Square North, Salem, MA 01970

This museum presents a dramatic look at the Witch Trials of 1692. These horrifying and tragic events are depicted in the museum's thoroughly researched and powerful presentations.

Witch Exhibit: Traces the myths of a mysterious religion; from midwives and healers to witch hunts and Wiccans.

Did you say you don't believe in witches? You may change your mind after visiting this popular museum.

Salem, Massachussetts

Salem, Massachussetts
Salem, Massachussetts

Top 10 FREE Things to Do in Salem, Massachusetts

1. The National Park Visitor's Center (2 New Liberty Street) plays the film "Where Past is Present", and the Salem Maritime Historic Site (193 Derby Street) plays "To the Farthest Ports of the Rich East". By watching these films, you are sure to learn something new about Salem, Massachusetts.

2. The African American History Trail, the Nathaniel Bowditch Trail: A Walking Tour of the Great Age of Sail, and the McIntire Historic District Walking Trail each take about one hour and show hidden points of historical interest. Get maps at area visitor centers.

3. A nationally Registered Historic Landmark, Chestnut Street, in Salem's McIntire District, is considered one of the most beautiful architectural streets in America. A showcase of grand houses, take the time to wander and read the plaques to learn about the people who lived in these mansions.

4. Visit the Ropes Mansion Gardens (318 Essex Street). Designed in 1912; it is owned and operated by the Peabody Essex Museum and open year-round, 24 hours a day. The adjacent Georgian-style mansion was built in 1727 and once housed three generations of Salem's Ropes family. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The gardens are open to the public.

5. Salem Common, is a nine-acre park; originally used as a grazing area for livestock, and training the Salem army. Currently, it is a favorite spot for jogging, relaxing, concerts, and weddings.

6. The Salem Maritime National Historic Site consists of Custom House, Derby House, Narbonne House, West India Goods Store, Orientation Center and the Wharves.

7. Discover Salem Willows, which is a short drive (or long walk) from downtown. The Willows offers a waterside park, beaches, a fishing pier, children's rides, amusement games, and food.

8. Reflect on the lessons of human rights and tolerance at the Witch Trial Memorial (Liberty Street between Charter and Derby Streets). Dedicated in 1992, the 300th anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, this symbolic, award-winning memorial sits behind the Old Burying Point Cemetery.

9. The Old Burying Point Cemetery (Charter Street) is the oldest cemetery in Salem. It contains the graves of a Mayflower pilgrim, witchcraft trial judge Justice John Hawthorne, an ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne and architect Samuel McIntire.

10. Many of these sites, along with Salem's excellent museums and attractions, are linked together by an actual Red Line painted on the sidewalks.

"Follow The Red Brick Road!"


Visiting Salem

Salem: Place, Myth, and Memory
Salem: Place, Myth, and Memory

"A truly unusual collection that will both entertain and educate those interested in this city." --Library Journal


Peabody Essex Museum

161 Essex Street, Salem, 01970

(866) 745-1876

Explore 200 years of extraordinary art, architecture and culture from New England and the world! Described by The New York Times as "a cross-cultural marvel," the museum's preeminent collections contain over 1,000,000 objects to excite your curiosity and broaden your horizons.

View the finest maritime art in the United States, art and cultures of North America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands, and three centuries of American life in historic period houses. The Phillips Library houses the original court documents of the Salem Witch Trials.

Salem on Google Maps

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Your Thoughts about Salem?

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      My family and I visited Salem a number of years ago and loved it! We live in Keene, NH, but right now we're in Brazil and writing about that here on Squidoo. Salem NH is also a pretty interesting place!

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      Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      You've given a great overview of the town. I'd love to visit. Blessed.

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      bdkz 8 years ago

      Sounds like fun!