The Salem Witch Museum

Washington Square

Salem, MA

October 01, 1999

We decided to visit Salem in October which meant that all the "Halloween Witch Hunters" were out in force. There were also a lot of what they call "leaf peepers" visiting. These are people who are visiting New England to watch the changing of the leaves. I will admit that the leaves are spectacular. We made the mistake of driving into Salem. We later found out that Massachusetts has a commuter train which they refer to as the "T" (which we later used to get to Boston). This form of transportation saves a lot of wear and tear on nerves. We finally arrived at the visitors’ center in Salem. It had a number of really nice exhibits including the one shown here, which is a model of Salem as it was in its beginnings as a fishing village. We finally decided to take the trolley to give us an overview of the city and its attractions. We have found in many cities that the trolley offered by the visitors centers usually gives you an idea of what you want to see without struggling over a map trying to figure out where everything is at.
One of the things we discovered while on our trolley ride (and if you are stalwart enough to brave the traffic in Salem with your RV) is an excellent, but little known, campground out at the Marina on Winter Island. It is called the Winter Island Maritime Park. It isn’t advertised much (I saw a listing for it in Woodall’s) but as we drove through it on the Trolley, it looked really lovely and was sitting right next to the bay.
Salem is a city alive with history and tradition. The trolley driver did an excellent job in explaining the historic sites as we drove around, including pointing out the shop of the "resident witch." Although there were several places that presented something about the Salem Witch Trials we decided to go to the Salem Witch Museum.

We were fortunate enough to meet Ms. Tina Koutsos-Jordan who is the Director of Sales of the museum. Although she was pressed for time, she was able to give us a press packet to give us some background on the museum.

The building that the Museum is housed in was originally a Second Church Unitarian that was built in 1845. The presentations about the witch trials are given every half hour daily from 10am to 5pm. These presentations are centered about a lighted circle on the floor of a dark room. The circle has the date of the witch trials (1692) and the names of the 20 people who were put to death as a result of the trials. In addition during this time 150 others were accused of practicing witchcraft during the Witch Trials. The presentation was done through 13 life-sized stage settings. It is an extremely powerful presentation which is all the more horrifying because it all really happened.

In January of 1692, the daughter and niece of Reverend Samual Parris of Salem Village became ill. When they failed to improve, the village doctor, William Griggs, was called in. His diagnosis of bewitchment put into motion the forces that would ultimately result in the hanging deaths of 19 men and women. In addition, one man was crushed to death, several others died in prison and the lives of many others were irrevocably changed. The story of the man who was crushed to death created an interesting precedent in jurisprudence. It seems that in those days a person could not be tried until they entered a Guilty or Not Guilty plea. Well if you entered a plea and were found guilty then all of your property would be seized and your heirs would be left penniless. The man in question did not want to leave his wife and children penniless so he simply refused to enter a plea. In order to induce him to do so, they tied him down and started putting large boulders on his chest. Needless to say it didn't take too long for that method of "persuasion" to end his life. But he remained adamant to the end that he would not enter a plea.

It is amazing today to look back and see how peoples' fear and superstition could allow a group of juveniles to throw suspicion on absolutely innocent people which would ultimately end with their death. Not until many years after the trials were over did some of the girls finally admit their guilt in naming innocent people as witches. Could history ever repeat this terrible travesty? Well, what do you think? If you’re interested in visiting their website log on to : Now, I understand you can log on at any time, but you might do it at midnight by the light of a full moon and see what happens. (cackle-cackle). Oops sorry I always get carried away by these kinds of stories, or is it possessed?

Good Luck! Have Fun! and Stay Safe! and Sweet Dreams!