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Salem Massachusetts Old City Hall Best Haunted Ghost Tour Review In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Salem Ghost Night Tour


If you’ve always wanted to go to Salem like us, and especially if you’re intrigued by the Salem Witch Trials, this less-than-one-mile walking tour is our #1 recommendation!


CONTENTS



Where is the Salem Night Tour?

Salem Ghost Night Tour operates out of Remember Salem Gifts, located at 127 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts 01970, in the heart of Old Salem, which is where we started and ended our tour. It’s approximately .8 miles total to walk, which our large group did at a casual pace.



How to Get to the Salem Night Tour

To get to Salem from the Boston North Station, take the MBTA Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line train. It will take about 45 minutes and costs $8, as Salem falls into Zone 3 on the MBTA’s fare zone pricing system. The train starts at 5:30am and leaves about once an hour until around 11pm, with a couple extra trains during heavier commuting times. Once you’re off the train, it is easily walkable (just a few blocks) to Old Salem and all of the attractions there. If you would rather drive, there’s some parking available in and around the area (although it will be scarce if you’re visiting in October), but honestly, the train will be faster and may even be cheaper than parking.


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How to Get Tickets for a Salem Ghost Tour

Theoretically, you could book the tour once you get there, but from our experience visiting Salem in October, you have a better chance of catching a tour by pre-booking through their website. During October, the tours WILL sell out, so book early. We recommend visiting Salem another time of year if you can, because it is CROWDED in October and feels more like a fair you didn’t ask for than a historic city.


The Night Tour we took can be booked for $30 (plus a few dollars for the online booking fee, which is worth it to make sure you get a spot) via their website. They also offer daytime tours, but we’re not sure how the locations and information will differ from the tour we took.


Pickman House in Salem Massachusetts Old Burying Point Cemetery Gift Shop Ghost Hauntings Tour Review In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Our Experience

We took a day trip from Boston to Salem as one of our stops on our month-long Amtrak USA Rail Pass adventure, but found the city to be disappointing in how commercialized it becomes, especially in the month of October. We’d pre-booked the Salem Ghost Night Tour before we even started the trip and hoped it’d be better than the day we’d just spent.


Luckily, not only was it the best thing we did in Salem that day (and night), but it was one of the best things we did on the entire month-long trip. Phoebe and I are both very into history; even more so when we’re visiting a place we’ve learned about for so long and have a great guide or docent to give tidbits of details we may not have noticed otherwise.


To tell the truth, we’re not much of a ‘walking tour’ couple. We both love to do research, so we’ll usually have a good idea of what we’re seeing or where we’re going. We also have a tendency to visit new places where friends live that can show us around (it’s one of the reasons we unexpectedly fell in love with PIttsburgh).


Elaina, our intrepid guide through the streets and underbelly of Salem, was insanely knowledgeable about the town and its history and she managed to present the information like she was a friend, rather than a teacher. This is in part due to the fact that Salem very heavily regulates the tours; a guide has to go through multiple tests about Salem’s history before they’re allowed to guide tourists around town. Of course, this is an indication that the city’s image is heavily regulated, but more on that later.


Haunted Walking Night Tour in Salem Massachusetts Ghosts At Old Burying Point Charter Street Cemetery Salem Massachusetts Photography By In The Great Wide Travel Blog

There were about 30 people in our group for the walking tour and we all met on Essex Street, which is the main drag through Old Salem. There are a ton of walking tours up and down Essex - we were surprised by how many - and this one just happened to operate out of a Salem gift shop. As we progressed around town, it would appear as if our group would grow and shrink, due to the massive amount of tourists still hanging out in Salem into the night.


The tour started near the Peabody Essex Museum and Charter Street Cemetery. Elaina pointed out the Pickman House and told stories of a child in a time long since past who caught ill and was sent up to the top floor to be sequestered away in order to keep the rest of the family from getting sick. Unfortunately, the child perished in that attic, and now people have reportedly seen a child’s face in the window, although the old house is now a gift shop.


Inside the Old Burying Point, there is a tree that was constantly struck by lightning, despite the myth that lightning never strikes the same place twice. Townsfolk were suspicious of ghosts or demons or retribution from God on some poor soul, but it turns out it was just a metal rod that the tree had grown around over the years, causing it to act like a lightning rod.


We walked by the Salem Town Hall (featured in the movie Hocus Pocus) and Elaina told us about the city that was under the city. Tunnels ran all around underneath Salem (and are presumably still there) that were used by those of ill-repute to conduct business or drink or gamble or do anything that the Puritans would not allow you to do above ground. It’s not a stretch to assume that a lot of murders happened in those tunnels, leading to a large number of ghosts wandering under Salem and popping up from time to time.


Around the corner at Turner’s Seafood, the ghost of Bridget Bishop, the first accused witch to be hanged during the Salem Witch Trials, steals silverware from unsuspecting patrons. The waiters are so used to this, that glimpsing Bridget coming down the stairs, or piling extra silverware in the dining room to replace for those who lose theirs, is not uncommon.


Bridget Bishop Ghost Haunting At Turner's Seafood Restaurant In Salem Massachusetts Night Walking Tour Review By In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Elaina then walked us to a parking lot, which doesn’t sound that exciting, until she points out the office building that now stands where the Salem prison used to be. The prison during the Salem Witch Trials was a horrible place to be, with almost no food, no warmth, and no medical care to speak of. A few of the accused witches died while in prison. Some, who were found not guilty, couldn’t be released until they paid off the debt they accrued for living at the prison during their internment (yes, that was a thing). So now the modern building has had its fair share of ghostly encounters, and most businesses that rent from the building don’t stay very long. There was a phone company in the building at one point and the operators would get calls without a connection on the other end and hear people screaming on the other end.


Across the street from the old prison is now a parking lot that used to be a field - the field where Giles Corey was pressed to death for not pleading whether or not he was a witch. There were a lot of reasons why he refused to plead guilty or not guilty, but that’s a story for another time. Just beyond that field-turned-parking-lot is the Howard Street Cemetery, which, according to Elaina, is “way more haunted” than the Old Burying Point. Light orbs are seen frequently darting around the Howard Street Cemetery, which we wandered over to independently after our tour ended just to take a peek.


The last stop on our tour, very close to the start on Essex Street, is the Gardner-Pingree House, otherwise known as the “Clue Mansion”. In 1830, Captain James White, a very wealthy man, was murdered. Elaina told us that this murder led to the inspiration to create the game Clue, as the Parker Brothers game company, was started in Salem. It was a fascinating story, but unfortunately, some simple research shows that Clue was actually originally called Cluedo and was created by a British man during World War II. The Parker Brothers company bought the rights to the game and cooked up the story for publicity and to make it seem like they originated the game. It became clear by the end of our tour that the city of Salem presents itself in a very specific way and often embellishes stories to make them more exciting. If you ask us, we think the true, honest history is far more fascinating - and far more satisfying rather than learning that the stories you were told aren’t true. As for the other stories Elaina told us on our tour, we have no reason to believe that they are untrue.


Gardner Pingree House Clue Mansion Salem Massachusetts Best Haunted Ghost Tour Review In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Our Verdict

The Salem Ghost Night Tour is completely and totally worth the price of admission; it’s our #1 recommendation for an activity in Salem, MA! If she’s available, ask for Elaina to be your tour guide. If not, we’re sure that any guide that takes you around will have some amazing stories to tell. This short walking tour is perfect for history buffs like us and anyone who is into the supernatural!


Pickman House Child Haunting Story Of Ghosts Walking Tour in Salem Massachusetts Best Activity Review By In The Great Wide Travel Blog

Quick Reference Guide

What

Where

How to Get There

The MBTA Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Train Line runs through Salem. Parking is available but can be extremely scarce and expensive in October.

Time Commitment

The tour takes 90 minutes, but they request you arrive 30 minutes early, so in reality, this is a 2-hour commitment.

Cost

$30 per person

Reservation Info

Pre-book your tickets on their website to make sure you get a spot - especially in October! You can chance it to book for same-day tours in-person at their storefront in Salem if you want, but you’ll likely get confused about which one you’re looking for because there are TONS of walking tours available on Essex Street.

Our Verdict

This is our #1 recommendation for Salem! Without it, we would have left Salem very disappointed. It’s informational, entertaining, and takes just the right amount of time. Ask for Elaina to be your tour guide!


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Adam Neubauer And Phoebe Meador Travel Blog Writers For In The Great Wide History Travel Blog

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