With a fascinating history that stretches back hundreds of years and involves one of the most horrific witch trials the United States has ever witnessed, Salem is also home to some of the most haunted places in Massachusetts.
Although it’s most famous for the Salem Witch Trials, the witch city has plenty more haunted places that attract ghost hunters and lovers of everything paranormal from all over the country.
Salem comparatively turns into the Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas on October 31st. Around this holiday, the city’s population doubles as thousands of people travel to explore Salem and its haunted and historic sites.
If you don’t want to risk missing out on an important place, join one of the many haunted walking tours in Salem, MA. These tours take you to all the major (and some of the lesser-known) chilling and historically significant sites in the city.
To experience the more supernatural side of the city, definitely be sure to visit these reportedly haunted places in Salem, Massachusetts.
12 Haunted Places in Salem Massachusetts
Hidden deep below Salem’s streets is a network of tunnels three miles long. The tunnels were formerly used by ships to transport cargo to the Old Town Hall. Today, the tunnels are storage facilities for nearby restaurants and businesses.
I’m not sure if it’s due to my extensive visits to the underground vaults in Edinburgh, but my first thought about the tunnels in Salem was, “These tunnels must be haunted!” This leads us to our first haunted place in Salem, Massachusetts.
Rockafellas, located on the original site of Salem’s First Church, has a history steeped in murderous secrets. An old sea captain fell in love with a young woman named Sarah. However, Sarah fell in love with another man – a young sailor she planned to run away with while the captain was out at sea.
Unfortunately for Sarah, the captain returned from sea early and was so furious with what she had planned that he hit her with a giant plank of wood. They say she died in the alley next to the old church and that the captain buried her body in the underground tunnels with the help of the church minister.
The minister was so distraught at his actions that he committed suicide. But some say he was murdered by the captain who thought the minister would reveal what happened to the police.
Salem’s Underground Tunnels
Today the tunnels below Rockafellas are used as offices and storage areas. Staff and patrons of Rockafellas have reported witnessing several spirits, including the Blue Lady and a man in black who’s thought to be the tortured minister.
Many believe the Blue Lady to be Sarah or a woman once employed by the building’s owner, Daniel Low. Sarah has been captured on film by various bar patrons and now has a drink named after her. Be sure to ask the servers about their personal experiences with the Blue Lady when you visit Rockafellas.
Address: 231 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970, USA
Cinema Salem is haunted by several film-loving spirits. And who can blame them? A cinema is probably the best place for a movie fan to spend the afterlife, as they’ll always have a front-row seat for the latest flicks.
The Museum Place Mall, where Cinema Salem’s located, is also one of Salem’s haunted attractions. But most ghostly sightings are in the cinema, where spirits have been spotted lurking amongst the seats of the dark, empty theatres.
Theatre Three is a favourite haunt for a ghostly woman who lingers in the back row, wearing 19th-century clothing and making her appearance known to staff cleaning up at the end of the night.
Other staff members have reported seeing an older man sitting in an empty theatre alone. When employees went to inform him there was no movie screening planned, he had vanished, and there was no one there. If you want to visit one of the haunted places in Salem while watching a film – Cinema Salem Massachusetts is the place for you.
Address: 1 E India Square Mall, Salem, MA 01970 USA
Tuberculosis was running rampant in Salem during the late 1700s when Elizabeth and Abigail’s parents died from the disease, leaving their daughters to fend for themselves.
Abigail went on to marry judge Nathaniel Ropes Jr, while Elizabeth contracted tuberculosis. Not having anyone else to care for her, Abigail was left with the daunting task of taking care of her sister for the rest of her life.
After Elizabeth passed away from the disease, Abigail became a recluse who screamed and hit people with her cane if they came too close to her. She spent her nights tirelessly screaming in her mansion, throwing anything she could at anyone who came to check on her.
Abigail’s Horrible Demise
Abigail got too close to the fireplace, and her nightgown caught fire. She screamed for help but was trapped in her fiery clothes and, as a result, slowly and painfully burned to death.
Her screams for help were ignored, as people in town were used to her angry screams and cruel behaviour toward anyone who tried to help.
Days later, the townsfolk found her charred remains, and since that day, her apparition has been spotted in the upper windows of the mansion, looking out at the beautiful gardens which surround the house. The Ropes Mansion is now known as one of the most haunted places in Salem, Massachusetts.
Address: 318 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970, USA
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Mercy Tavern (formally In a Pig’s Eye)
Salem is a port city, and being a port city comes with port-related terrors, like pirates. Mercy Tavern on the historical Derby Street, a place which was a notoriously adulterous area loaded with brothels and booze, at the time when captains, sailors and pirates flooded the town.
Rumour has it that pirates used the tunnels beneath the tavern to smuggle goods and kidnap women unnoticed.
People have spotted the spirits of pirates throughout the building and have reported hearing fighting, swearing and shouting coming from the tunnels below.
Address: 148 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01970, USA
Turners Seafood at Lyceum Hall
Bridget Bishop was the first woman hanged during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. During her time in Salem, she owned an apple orchard on the land that Turner’s Seafood now occupies.
Most of the ghostly activity reported here happens on the second and third floors. You might catch a glimpse of a woman dressed in white, assumed to be the spirit of Bridget Bishop.
The spirit is seen as a full-body apparition, or additionally, she is seen in reflections and in mirrors. The scent of apples tends to radiate throughout the halls and outside of the restaurant whenever she’s present.
Address: 43 Church Street, Salem, MA 01970, USA
The Merchant (The Joshua Ward House/George Corwin House)
The Merchant is by far one of the most haunted hotels in Salem, MA. If you get the chance, you should definitely book a stay here! Formerly the Joshua Ward House and the George Corwin House, The Merchant is said to be haunted by “The Strangler,” also known as Sheriff George Corwin, who brutally murdered witch trials’ victim Giles Corey.
The sheriff lived on the land now occupied by the hotel and held prisoners in his root cellar prison below the house. Corwin was buried beneath the house when he died from a heart attack, in fear that the townspeople would tear his dead body limb from limb because he was so violently hated.
Numerous ghostly activities have been reported, including lights flashing so brightly from within the building that they’ve resulted in car accidents on the street.
Surveillance cameras inside the building showed trash barrels suddenly being stacked 20 feet high, office printers turning on and off, and candles burning with an “S” shape flame with the wick still intact.
When a construction company was working onsite, each worker had a headshot picture taken. One of the pictures revealed a woman in a black dress and wild black hair. As I don’t own the photo, I can’t show it here. But I’d love you to see it, so
Address: 148 Washington Street, Salem, MA 01970, USA
Wicked Good Books
Another place on the list of the most haunted places in Salem is the bookstore Wicked Good Books on the historical Essex Street. It was during renovation work that supernatural activity began.
Construction workers in the tunnels underneath the bookstore (See? Haunted tunnels again!) discovered human remains — but that was just the beginning of the spooky goings-on. Add into the mix books flying off shelves and strange paranormal activities happening on a regular basis, and Wicked Good Books could easily be the most haunted place to visit in Salem, MA.
Address: 215 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970, USA
The Witch House
The Witch House is the only remaining building directly involved in the Salem Witch Trials, which still stands today.
I didn’t find the house spooky or feel any haunted vibes, but many others disagree. Several paranormal groups, including the American TV show Ghost Adventures with Zak Bagans, have conducted paranormal investigations of the old house.
Investigators state that two females haunt The Witch House, and staff have reported hearing whispers and footsteps coming from the second floor. If you don’t visit the house for the paranormal, at least give it a visit for its history!
Address: 310 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970, USA
Related Post: Visiting the Witch House in Salem
The Hawthorne Hotel
If you’re looking for haunted hotels in Salem, MA, The Hawthorne Hotel is the place to stay! The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem is actively haunted. With rooms 325 and 612 being home to most of the otherworldly activity.
Named after Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The House of the Seven Gables, the hotel was built in 1925 in an attempt to attract tourists to Salem.
The hotel quickly got tied up in controversy when the cast and crew of the show Bewitched came to town to film several episodes. Salem locals were incredibly unhappy about a witchcraft comedy show being filmed in their city, which was still recovering from the dark stain the Salem Witch Trials had left on its history.
The Hawthorne Hotel is commonly visited by the spirits of sea captains and sailors. The previous ghostly activity includes bathroom lights and faucets turning on by themselves, random icy cold spots and light fixtures moving on their own. Guests have repeatedly reported feeling cold, disembodied hands touching them at night.
Address: 18 Washington Square W, Salem, MA 01970, USA
Old Burying Point Cemetery
The Old Burying Point Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Salem, located on Charter Street in the Charter Street Historic District. It’s home to the cruel John Hathorne, who mercilessly sent several witch trial victims to their deaths.
The cemetery is lined with hundreds of old, weathered and worn headstones that tell 300 years of stories of Salem residents.
Noted as one of the most haunted attractions in Salem, MA, the city boasts several ghost tours and historical walking tour groups that will guide you along the paths that crisscross between the ancient gravestones.
People say apparitions appear in their cemetery photos, and ghostly sounds can be heard on EVP recordings taken by visitors trying to contact the dead during their time in the graveyard.
Related Post: The Old Burying Point Cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts
The Grimshawe House
The Grimshawe House, on the outer corner of the graveyard, is spookier. This house was once owned by the Peabody family but now sits empty. Visitors claim to have seen people standing in the windows of the abandoned house, staring out at them on the street.
Whether or not the cemetery is haunted, be cautious and take extra care when visiting! Treat the historical cemetery with respect during your visit.
Address: Charter Street, Salem, MA 01970, USA
Related Post: The Grimshawe-Peabody House in Salem Massachusetts
Also within the Charter Street Historic District sits a little brown house known as the Pickman House. The building, now used by the city of Salem for storage, was once owned by Samuel Pickman, who did some terrible things.
Samuel Pickman’s time spent at the house was plagued by darkness. The demons convinced Pickman he needed to chain his young daughter up in the attic.
He proceeded to torture his child before he killed his wife and fled the house. There are many reports of an apparition of a young girl staring forlornly out the windows of the attic.
Address: Charter Street Historic District, Salem, MA 01970, USA (next to the Old Burying Point Cemetery and Salem Witch Trials Memorial)
Even More Haunted Places in Salem Massachusetts
If you’re looking for more haunted things to do in Salem, the city has several different seasonal “haunted houses.” Offering thrill-seekers an afternoon of fun.
Not actually haunted, these places feature actors who will surely give you a fright! If this is more up your alley, Salem also has several different escape rooms and houses of terror for you to experience.
Chambers of Terror
This haunted house is open in the summer and during the Halloween season. Chambers of Terror is a “haunted house” which features actors popping out at you dressed as demons and scary ghouls. You will have an afternoon of screams!
Address: 59 Wharf St, Salem, MA 01970, USA
This haunted house, the Witch Mansion, features animated ghosts and a spooky escape room. Because you can choose your level of horror before you go in, it’s suitable for the whole family.
Address: 186 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, USA
Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery Monster Museum isn’t really a haunted house. However, it’s still a really cool experience nonetheless! During your visit, you’ll walk through a dark horror museum full of life-size statues of classic monsters featured throughout cinematic history.
There are several haunted attractions in Salem, MA, for paranormal fans, history fans or just people who love a night of fright. Be sure to take one of the Salem ghost tours or Salem haunted tours available throughout the city while you’re there.
Address: 217 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, USA
More information about Things to do in Salem
- Witch History in Salem Massachusetts
- Spooky Travel Guide: Salem Massachusetts
- Visiting the Witch House in Salem
- The Old Burying Point & Witch Trials Memorial
- The 13 Best Salem Witch Trials Tours