Haunted Places in Salem, Massachusetts

Salem is a historic and spooky town on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Although Salem is famous for being the place where the Salem Witch Trials occurred, it is also rich in colonial and maritime history.

Not surprisingly, Salem’s historic and dark past has led to lots of rumors of ghosts, curses and hauntings in the town.

Many of historic buildings and locations are believed to be haunted by their previous inhabitants. With so many historic locations in the town, that has led to a lot of haunted locations in this small city.

The following is an overview of the many haunted places in Salem:

Bunghole Liquors:

Address: 204 Derby Street, Salem, Mass

Bunghole Liquors is a liquor store on Derby Street that is said to be haunted by ghostly cats and a mysterious woman.

The building was reportedly once a funeral home which hosted a speakeasy in the basement during Prohibition, according to the store’s website.

The story goes that the owner’s friends suggested that once prohibition was over he should turn the place into a bar or liquor store, which he did, and he obtained the second liquor license issued in Salem in 1933.

Yet, according to the book Salem Secret Underground, it’s not clear how true the story is since the store has moved many times:

?So was it this building that was the funeral home? Or was it the Bunghole Liquor’s first or second location? They were across from the Witch’s Brew and also on the location of the West India Good Shop.?

In addition, the funeral home wasn’t even located where the store is now and was actually further down Derby Street so, who knows?

Regardless, employees at the store claim ghostly cats and the spirit of a woman haunt the aisles of the store.

Cinema Salem

Address: 1 Church Street, Salem, Mass

Cinema Salem is a movie theater, art house, cafe and live music venue. Employees at the theater claim that ghostly men and women dressed in Victorian clothing haunt the theater, which is strange since the cinema is located in a mall that was built in 1977.

One explanation for this though is that the mall is located on Church Street, which is one of the most haunted areas of Salem, and the cinema is located on a section of Church Street that didn’t exist during the Victorian era because it was an extension of St. Peter Street.

St. Peter's Church, photo taken circa 1866-74 from non-extant section of St. Peter Street where Cinema Salem is now located.
St. Peter’s Church, photo taken circa 1866-74 from non-extant section of St. Peter Street where Cinema Salem is now located.

At that time, the land that the cinema sits on was actually an intersection where Church Street, Brown Street and St. Peter Street met, at a time when St. Peter Street extended further south than it does now and connected to Essex Street.

Salem business district map, showing section of St. Peter Street that no longer exists, circa 1919
Salem business district map, showing section of St. Peter Street that no longer exists, circa 1919

The southern end of St. Peter Street was later filled in and developed and by the 1920s and 1930s the land the cinema sits on was the home of a commercial building. In 1977, the Witch City Mall was built on the location, which is where the theater is located.

Hawthorne Hotel

Address: 18 Washington Square West, Salem, Mass

The Hawthorne Hotel is a historic hotel on Essex Street that is reportedly one of the most haunted hotels in Salem.

The hotel was built in 1925 on a plot of land that was once home to the Salem Marine Society hall which was built in 1766.

Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, Mass
Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, Mass

The Salem Marine Society hall was razed to make way for the hotel and it is believed that the old captains who used to frequent the society still haunt the land.

It is rumored that room 612 is one of the most haunted rooms in the hotel with reports of a ghostly woman wandering the hall outside the room and often stopping in front of the door.

Room 325 is another room that is reportedly haunted and guests who have stayed in that room report being touched by an invisible hand, hearing a baby crying and seeing lights and faucets turn off and on by themselves.

Hotel employees have also reported setting up tables and chairs and briefly leaving the room only to return and find everything moved around or facing a different direction.

The hotel has been featured on the paranormal television show Ghost Hunters and it sometimes hosts public ghost hunts with local paranormal investigators.

Howard Street Cemetery

Address: Howard Street, Salem, Mass

Howard Street Cemetery is a historic cemetery on Howard Street that is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Salem Witch Trials victims Giles Corey.

The cemetery was established in 1801 and prior to that had been an open field. The cemetery is located near the old Salem jail where the accused witches were held in 1692.

Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Mass
Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Mass

In September of 1692, when Giles Corey refused to continue with his witchcraft trial, Sheriff George Corwin tortured Corey to death in that field by slowly pressing him to death with large stones. Corey is reported to have cursed Sheriff Corwin and Salem shortly before dying and locals now believe Corey’s spirit haunts the cemetery.

Corey’s spirit has reportedly appeared in the cemetery numerous times before a terrible event happens in the town, such as before the Great Salem Fire of 1914 when witnesses saw a ghostly figure of an old man floating through the cemetery just before a fire broke out near Gallows Hill and destroyed much of the town.

In addition, it is believed that Corey’s curse came true after Sheriff Corwin died just a few years later of a heart attack, at the age of 30, and numerous other Salem sheriffs ever since then have also died of heart attacks or rare blood disorders.

The Merchant Hotel (Joshua Ward House)

Address: 148 Washington Street, Salem, Mass

The Joshua Ward House is a historic Federal-style brick mansion that is now a hotel, called The Merchant, which is reportedly haunted by at least three different people involved in the Salem Witch Trials.

The house was built in 1784 by merchant Joshua Ward who purchased Sheriff George Corwin’s former house on Washington Street, razed Corwin’s house and built the large Federal-style brick mansion that still stands today.

It is believed that both Sheriff Corwin and Giles Corey, whom Corwin tortured to death in a field in 1692, haunt this house. There are reports of furniture being overturned, books pulled from shelves, cold spots felt in certain rooms, candles bent and broken and etc.

In addition, there are also reports of a ghostly woman haunting the house, although it is now known who she is she is suspected to be one of the accused witches, and her spirit is sometimes seen wandering the halls and has even been photographed during a publicity photo by a realtor from Carlson Realty.

Murphy’s

Address: 300 Derby Street, Salem, Mass

Murphy’s is a pub and restaurant that is located adjacent to the back corner of the old Burying Point cemetery, which is considered a paranormal hot spot.

The pub is reportedly haunted by the ghost of a woman dressed in a blue Victorian-era dress as well as by a little boy with a picnic basket. There are also stories of a Lady in White haunting the pub and the nearby cemetery.

Employees report hearing disembodied voices, footsteps, television’s turning off and on by themselves and one employee was even pushed by an invisible spirit.

In addition, there is a rumor that a casket once burst through the restaurant’s wall, which is a retaining wall for the cemetery next door.

Old Burying Point Cemetery

Address: 51 Charter St, Salem, Mass

The Old Burying Point Cemetery is a historic cemetery on Charter Street that is reportedly haunted by Judge John Hathorne of the Salem Witch Trials, who is buried in the cemetery.

Visitors report feeling rapid temperature drops within certain parts of the cemetery and being pushed by an invisible force and have even snapped photographs of what appear to be ghostly faces near the headstones.

The cemetery has been featured in episodes of the popular ghost hunting television shows Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures.

Old Salem Jail

Address: 50 St. Peter Street, Salem, Mass

The Old Salem Jail is a historic jail built in 1813 that is reportedly haunted by former prison guards and inmates.

The bottom floor of the jail has since been converted into an arcade-themed bar and restaurant and the top floors are now luxury apartments. Both employees and residents report lights turning on and off by themselves, objects breaking, the feeling of being watched, and feeling cold spots in random places.

Old Salem Jail, Salem, Mass
Old Salem Jail, Salem, Mass

Some residents have even seen the ghost of a former prison guard wandering around the building with a clipboard.

It’s not surprising that the building is reported to be haunted, especially given that executions of inmates used to take place regularly at the jail, including the execution of two convicted murderers Joseph and Frank Knapp in 1830.

In addition, the jail is next door to the Howard Street Cemetery which is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Giles Corey.

The Pickman House

Address: 43 Charter Street, Salem, Mass

The Pickman House is a historic first period house built in 1664, making it the oldest house in Salem, and is reportedly haunted by a young girl who died in the house.

The house was built by colonist Samuel Pickman and is not open to the public because it currently owned by the Peabody Essex Museum who use the building as administrative offices.

Pickman House next to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem, Mass
Pickman House next to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, Salem, Mass

Local legend says that a horrific murder-suicide occurred in the house in the 18th century when a man chained his seven-year-old daughter up in the attic and let her slowly starve to death before killing his wife by pouring boiling wax over her head and then taking his own life.

It is reported that the ghost of the daughter has been seen staring out of the second floor windows and museum employees report hearing disembodied voices at night, particularly the voice of a child.

The Ropes Mansion

Address: 318 Essex Street, Salem, Mass

The Ropes Mansion is a historic house that is reportedly haunted by former residents of the house.

The mansion was built in 1727 by the Ropes family and a number of the family members died in the house, such as Judge Nathaniel Ropes Jr, who died of smallpox in the 1774.

In addition, Nathaniel’s wife Abigail also died in the house decades later after she stood too close to the fire and her nightgown caught on fire in 1839.

It is has been reported that Abigail’s ghost now wanders the upper floors of the mansion and Nathaniel’s ghost has also been seen walking in the halls.

Rockafellas

Address: 231 Essex St, Salem, Mass

Rockafellas is a restaurant located in a historic building that is reportedly haunted by its previous owners and tenants.

The building, known as the Daniel Low building, was constructed in 1826 on the site of the First Church of Salem. The second floor of the building continued to operate as a church while the first floor was reserved for commercial use, housing everything from a dry goods store to a bank.

In 1874, Daniel Low opened a jewelry shop on the first floor of the building and he eventually died in the store of angina attack in 1911. The building stayed in the Low family for decades until it was purchased and re-purposed as a restaurant in 2003.

Restaurant employees and patrons report seeing the apparition of a grumpy-looking minister who has even spoken to witnesses at time, telling them he doesn’t want to talk to them right now.

Others have witnessed and even photographed a ghostly woman in a blue dress. Employees also frequently report hearing the random, piercing screams of a woman coming from the vault downstairs.

The Salem Inn

Address: 7 Summer Street, Salem, Mass

The Salem Inn is a historic inn that is reportedly haunted by its former owner.

The inn was once the home of Captain Nathaniel West before it became a bed & breakfast 35 years ago. The inn also consists of two other historic 19th century houses as well, the Curwen House and the Peabody House.

Room 17 of the West House is reported to be the most haunted room in the inn and guests often report that items mysteriously move on their own and that shadow people and full body apparitions sometimes appear.

Employees also report seeing a ghost cat wandering the inn and hearing the sounds of a giggling child and tiny child-like footsteps following them around the building.

Turner’s Seafood (Salem Lyceum)

Address: 43 Church Street, Salem, Mass

Turner’s Seafood is a restaurant located in the historic Salem Lyceum building which was built on the former site of the apple orchard owned by accused witch Bridget Bishop. The location is reportedly haunted by Bishop.

Visitors report seeing a woman in a white gown floating on the building’s main staircase and she has been seen in windows and mirrors throughout the building. In fact, most of the paranormal activity occurs on the second and third floor.

Employees also report the smell of apples wafting through the building and maintenance workers reported objects being thrown down the stairs by invisible forces.

It is interesting that people report seeing the ghost floating and that most of the activity occurs upstairs because during Bishop’s trial in 1692, one of the witnesses testified that they saw something flying through the apple orchard knocking apples off the trees and they believed it was Bishop’s specter.

In 1973, the building was re-purposed as a restaurant, the Lyceum Bar & Grill, and it has served as the location of various restaurant ever since.

Wicked Good Books

Address: 215 Essex Street, Salem, Mass

Wicked Good Books is a bookstore housed in a historic building that is over 200 years ago and is reportedly haunted.

The building has served as a bookstore for decades and visitors report strange activity such as full-body apparitions appearing in the store and books flying off the shelves.

There are also tunnels located under the building, as there are throughout Salem, which are reportedly haunted as well and human remains have even been found in the tunnel system at one point.

It’s not surprising that the site is reportedly haunted since it has a lot of history. In 1803, the site was home to a block house, a type of military fortification, and trading post before it was rebuilt as a commercial building and became a hardware store in the 19th century and then a Haberdashery Shop in the 1950s. Who knows what went on at the location during that time?

Witch House

Address: 310 Essex Street, Salem, Mass

The Witch House is a historic house in Salem that is reportedly haunted by its former owner, Jonathan Corwin, and/or his victims.

The Witch House is a first period house built in the 1670s and is where Salem Witch Trials judge Jonathan Corwin lived during the trials. It is actually the only building still standing in Salem that has direct ties to the witch trials.

The Witch House in Salem, Mass
The Witch House in Salem, Mass

Four of Corwin’s children died in the house over the time, so it has seen its fair share of tragedy, and many people think the house is either haunted by Corwin himself, his children or the accused witches he sentenced to death. Visitors report hearing disembodied voices, feeling cold spots and being touched.

The house briefly serve as a commercial building for a while during the 19th century, when it was home to an antique store and a pharmacy, but was eventually purchased by a historical organization and opened as a historic house museum in the 1940s.

In 1944, the house was even moved, prior to becoming a museum, about 35 feet back from its original location when North Street was being widened yet the hauntings continue.

The house has even been featured on the paranormal television shows Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures.

For more information about Salem, check out this article on popular places to visit in Salem.

Haunted places in Salem, Mass

Sources:
Hartley, Ethan. ?North Shore Historic Sites Have Ghost Stories to Tell.? Wicked Local Salem, 31 Oct. 2015, salem.wickedlocal.com/article/20151031/NEWS/151039138
Curely, Jerome. ?215 Essex Street.? The Salem Patch, 3 Sep. 2010, patch.com/massachusetts/salem/not-just-witches-salem-history
?About Us.? Bunghole Liquors, bungholeliquors.com/about-us/
?About Cinema Salem.? Cinema Salem, cinemasalem.com/wordpress/about/
Dowgin, Christopher Jon Luke. The History of the Tunnels in the City. Salem Press House, 2017.