I will not go into detail about the history of the Salem Witch Trials, because I have a page already about it here. But I will say that I have REALLY wanted to visit this town for a few years now, ever since I started reading about the trials. So, I will just put up a few photos from Salem and tell you what they are.
When I arrived in Salem, I was booked into the Hawthorne Motel. Since it was late, I didn't go anywhere, but rested up as I knew Monday the 9th August was going to be a long, hot, tiring day. And it was.
The south facing side of the "salt box style" Rebecca Nurse Homestead. Rebecca was one of the most noteworthy of all the condemned "witches" of the Salem Witch Trials. Rebecca protested her innocence right to the end.
The northern side of the homestead. The house is open to the public from 10AM to 4PM Friday to Sunday in September through to October and 15 June to (US) Labor Day. As I was outside these times, I did not get to see inside the house.
From the west side of the house is a large grassed area. In the background, you can make out the family graveyard.
The entrance to the Nurse Family Graveyard with the monument to Rebecca.
Erected in 1885 in memorial of Rebecca Nurse, whose body was secretly removed from her grave 2 days after being hanged in 1692 and reburied in an unmarked grave at this site. The inscription on the monument reads "Rebecca Nurse, Yarmouth, England 1621. Salem, Mass., 1692. "O Christian Martyr/who for Truth could die/When all about thee/owned the hideous lie!/The world redeemed/from Superstition's sway/Is breathing freer for thy sake today."
The remains of a man, believed to be George Jacobs Snr, who was executed on August 19, 1692 as a witch, were recovered from the Jacobs property in the 1950's. They were eventually laid to rest in the Nurse Family Graveyard on August 2, 1992, 300 years after he was hanged on Gallows Hill.
After visiting the homestead, I made my way to the Salem Village Parsonage.
This is all that is left of the parsonage. It was here, in the parsonage, where the Salem Witch Hysteria began when Reverend Parris's slave, Tituba, told her tales of magic and the occult from back in her homeland. Her ethnicity has been debated ever since the hysteria. It is ironic that Tituba, the third person accused of witchcraft and the first to confess to having "spoken to the devil", that Tituba was never executed. Confessed witches were normally hanged for their crime. This was in agreement with the Biblical verse that "the people ought not to suffer a witch to live". There are no records of what Tituba did upon her release from jail.
A plague at the site.
I headed to Gallows Hill where the executions took place. Gallows Hill is now a baseball diamond.
The exact execution site is not known.
It could have been here...
Or, it could have been here. Who knows. What is understandable though is that maybe it is best that the exact location is not known. I mean, just behind the above picture are houses. Would you want to live somewhere knowing that 18 (1 was pressed to death at a different location) witches were executed where you live? I think not.
Next on my day tour was the Witch House and Museum. Judge Jonathan Corwin bought this house in 1675 and lived here for over 40 years. The house remained in the Corwin family until the mid 1800's. The threatened destruction of the house in 1944 was the catalyst that launched a wave of restoration in Salem of relics from the Salem Witch Trials. A group of citizens raised the $42,500 needed to move and restore the house. The house opened as a museum in 1948.
Period dining room and furniture inside the Witch House.
A section of the original wall structure. Not in bad shape really considering this was built over 300 years ago.
One of the last places I visited was "The Burying Point". Established in 1637, it is the oldest burying point in Salem.
The entrance to the Burying Point. The graves all face west.
Gravestone of John Hathorne ESQ.
Close up of the headstone so you can read the inscription.
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial Stones. There are 19 stones here. 1 for each victim of the Salem Witch Hysteria. Each engraved with a name of a person executed. While I do have photos of all the stones, I will not put them here as this page is getting big enough already!
Last stop for today was the Salem Witch Museum. There is a wonderful exhibit inside, but alas, photos are not allowed. Shame that, the exhibit is excellent.
Anyway, that was my day in Salem. I headed back towards Florida the next day.
Onward to Florida
Or back to my trip page.