The Salem Witch trials occurred in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. During this time, more than 200 people were accused of being a witch and many were given a death sentence by hanging. The witch hunt began when young girls in the town began acting out and acting strangely. The girls claimed they had been taken over by magic and there were witches causing them to act out. This led to the girls falsely accusing random (mostly women, for money) in the town and the hysteria began. There were many accusations and deaths that occurred in this time frame, making this one of the most tragic and historic events in American History. There is a much larger history of the Salem Witch Trials, but it is too much to cover in this post…
(I recommend googling the tragic history to learn more as it was due to money and corruption within the town, and had almost nothing to do with witchcraft.)
There are many locations in Salem that are said to be haunted and I will be writing a mini-series of Salem blog posts to cover the various locations that are said to have paranormal activity. For this post, I will be focusing on The Lyceum and the Old Burying Point Cemetery.
The Lyceum, which is now Turner’s Seafood Restaurant, was home to one of the accused witches and the first woman hung named Bridgette Bishop. Bishop lived in the home by herself after her husband died and she inherited the land (which was unheard of for a woman in those days). She also enjoyed having fun, which was a major no-no back in the days of the Puritans as well. Due to these reasons, she was the perfect person to falsely accuse of witchcraft as the judges felt she would be the easiest to convict. In 1830, the Salem Lyceum was established where lectures and seminars were presented to the public. A notable historical figure that held a demonstration and lecture was Alexander Graham Bell, where be debuted the use of the first telephone. Now, the building is home to Turner’s Seafood and is said to be haunted by the spirit of Bishop. Others believe that another “witch” haunts the building as well. Employees have witnessed and reported objects flying off shelves, boxes being thrown, and having the feeling of being touched.
THE OLD BURYING POINT CEMETERY
This cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in MA but also in America. Created in 1637, there are headstones dated from 1683 and the latest being dated in 1881. Within in this cemetery, there are several notable figures buried here such as a pilgrim that came aboard from the Mayflower and Judge Hawthorne, one of the judges of the Salem Witch Trials. Regarding the reported paranormal activity, it is said that there was a little girl who may have been buried alive there and people have claimed to see a little girl playing in the cemetery during the night. Judge Hawthorne is said to also be haunting the cemetery as well. During his time alive, he was known for being a cruel man and judge who sent most of the accused witches to their deaths. Near his grave, people have been said to capture a shadow figure on camera. There are also rumors that some people who practice magic consider this cemetery sacred and use the graveyard dirt in rituals…
My Experience at the locations
I was able to visit and stay in Salem for four days back in September of 2019 and it was the best vacation I have ever been on. It is especially important to learn about the history and pay respects to those who were wrongfully accused and murdered. The area is beautiful, the locals are so kind, and there are so many different shops for witchy things; it was amazing! During one of the nights, we took a ghost tour around the area to learn more about the haunted history. While I was not able to conduct a full investigation with my equipment (this is planned in the future with Ivy…), I did get to learn about the haunted sites and the tour guide was a ghost hunter himself.
I didn’t know that the Lyceum was now Turner’s Seafood and I ended up going there every night for dinner. I did not experience anything paranormal but in the future, I would like to conduct a full investigation of the building. The Old Burying Point cemetery was one of the first places we visited during the daytime. I did not experience anything paranormal but during the tour, the tour guide let us know the paranormal occurrences and asked everyone to take photos to see if we could catch anything. We didn’t catch anything on camera but in the future, again, I would like to do a full paranormal investigation of the cemetery and the area.
Overall, the tour was amazing, and I would recommend taking the Spellbound Tour as it was highly informative of Salem’s history and the paranormal locations around the town. The tour guide himself is part of a paranormal investigation community and was great to talk with regarding investigations and his experiences in Salem. I cannot wait to go back once it is safe to travel again and conduct an investigation with Ivy to see what we can find!
To Note: Some of this information has also been gathered through years of studying this location, talking to local investigators/locals, watching/reading every source, and hearing these rumors firsthand.