Salem; Massachusetts’ Spooky Site
Visit Salem Massachusetts
“Salem” is a name that always reminds people of witchcraft, black cats, and all things spooky. This town in Massachusetts is best known for the Witch Trials of the late 1600s that made its mark on history.
History of Salem
In 1692, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams were witnessed having violent fits, with screaming, throwing things, and shaking. They were diagnosed as bewitched by local physician, William Griggs. Soon after, many other girls in Salem began getting diagnosed. By late February, Sarah Good, Sarah Osborn, and Tituba were accused of bewitching the girls. They were accused mostly based on their reputations and on a possible family feud between two families, some historians say.
The trial began and the accused were questioned in front of Jonathon Corwin and John Hathorne, who were the magistrates. Good and Osborn adamantly denied the accusations, even with the accusers in the courtroom, some even still contorting and screaming. However, Tituba confessed. Many historians believe that she only confessed to avoid conviction by exposing the other “witches.” Tituba also mentioned that there were others in the community who were responsible.
Mass hysteria ran rampant throughout Salem and more women were accused, including a four-year-old girl. Several women began to confess, and the trials became extremely common. On June 2nd, Bridget Bishop was the first to be convicted and hung on Gallows Hill in Salem. By September, 18 more people were hung, while seven accused witches died in jail.
Those in power began to take notice of how unfair the trials were. Cotton and Increase Mather, respected men of Salem, pushed the idea that convictions should be based on the same standards of evidence as other crimes. Governor Phips eventually dissolved the court in October, until trials ended by early 1693. By this time, the women who were still in prison on witchcraft charges were pardoned and released.
In 1697, the court of Massachusetts called the trials unlawful and the leading justice apologized for his part in what happened. A day of fasting in remembrance of the tragedy was introduced that year as well. In 1711, legislation was passed establishing the innocent names of those convicted and condemned, and financial restitution was granted to their heirs. After this time, no one has been hung for witchcraft in the United States to this day.
Thing to do in Salem, Massachusetts today
Favorite Historical Attraction – Witch House
For an informative tour, the Salem Witch House is perfect. It is the last remaining structure that has proven ties to the witch trials. The tour is filled with interesting displays and artifacts.
Coolest Tourist Attraction – Salem Voodoo Vampires and Ghosts Walking Tour
This tour explores the haunted local history of Salem with information from paranormal investigators along with actual historians. It is so interesting and definitely a good time.
Best Bite – Turners Seafood
Many people have called this the best seafood in Massachusetts. If you’re feeling hungry, go to Turners for a delicious meal, great service, and nice ambience.