I did this tour during the day and it was a lovely walk through old Salem. Standard disclaimers apply – not all of these buildings are open to the public and in all things, be safe.
1) Ye Olde Pepper Companie Address: 122 Derby Street. Fuel up for your tour at the oldest candy company in the United States, located right across the street from the House of the Seven Gables. Nothing haunted here that I know of, but it’s America’s oldest candy company so… I had to include it.
Continue down Derby Street past the tourist entrance to the House of the Seven Gables, and make a right on Turner.
Go to the end of the road and sit on the stone bench there, where you can see the coal black House of the Seven Gables.
2) House of the Seven Gables (Turner-Ingersoll Mansion)
Address: 115 Derby Street
Story: Something about this house sends shivers up your spine – is it the ominous charcoal colored paint? The crooked timbers? Built in 1668 by sea captain Jonathan Turner and sold to Captain Samuel Ingersoll in 1782, the house was visited frequently by Nathaniel Hawthorne, who was a cousin to the owner, and inspired his novel, House of the Seven Gables. The house is said to have been a destination point on the underground railroad.
Manifestation: A female ghost seen roaming the house and gardens – possibly the daughter of Captain Ingersoll, the spirit of a noisy young boy running in the attic, and the ghost of a male slave upon the hidden staircase. Note: You can take an official tour of the house via the 115 Derby Street entrance. Tours take around 40 minutes, but plan for an hour to see the other lovely homes on the compound, including the home Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in.
Walk west (towards the historic downtown) on Derby to the Customs House (on the right side of the street).
3) Customs House
Location: Base of Derby Wharf
Story: Nathaniel Hawthorne, who worked there from 1847-1849, reported seeing ghosts walking the halls. Constructed in 1818.
Manifestation: Reports of disembodied voices speaking of shipping matters, footsteps, flickering lights.
Turn around and walk down Derby Wharf.
4) Derby Wharf
Story: This wharf was used as a base during the Revolutionary war and is now a popular tourist attraction.
Manifestation: Spirits of seafarers have been seen clambering out of the water and onto the pier, where they wander near the lighthouse (built in 1871).
Note: Managed by the National Parks Service, the wharf also is lined with interpretative displays of ye olde seafaring days.
Return to the Customs House and turn right. Enter the brick pedestrian walkway at the Hawkes House and meander past several historic homes, including the Narbonne House, built in 1675, to Essex Street. Turn left and walk down Essex, passing the Hedges House at 81 Essex on the left. The Hawthorne Hotel is a commanding multi-story hotel on the right side of the street on the corner of Hawthorne Blvd and Washington.
5) Hawthorne Hotel
Address: 18 Washington Square West (Adjacent to the Commons)http://hawthornehotel.com/
Story: Opened for business in 1925 and used to film several episodes of the TV show, Bewitched.
Manifestation: The ship’s wheel on the top floor has been seen to spins by itself then stop, disembodied voices in the rooms, toilets flushing and water faucets being turned on and off by themselves, footsteps, a female apparition in the elevator (and the elevator moving about with no one operating it), knocking in the rooms when no one is there, sense of a feminine presence.
Continue down Essex Street. The Gardner-Pingree House is located on the right side of the street at #128.
6) Gardner-Pingree House
Address: 128 Essex Street
Story: Said to be haunted by the ghost of Captain Joseph White, who was murdered there in 1830 by an assassin, employed by his nephew. The assassin bludgeoned him, fracturing the Captain’s skull, then stabbed him 13 times with a specially made dagger. The history of the mansion is believed to have inspired the board game “Clue,” and it is sometimes called “The Clue House” for this reason.
Manifestation: The murder is reenacted on the anniversary of the Captain’s death. The figure of a man (the Captain?) seen peering out of the windows of his mansion.
Continue down Essex Street and just past the library, turn right in the pedestrian pathway, toward the Visitor Center. Stay in the driveway, and walk around the back of the library, then make a left in the driveway toward Brown Street.
7) John Ward House
Address: 132 Essex Street (but it actually is on Brown Street)
Story: Those accused of witchcraft during the infamous trials were taken to this house, stripped and tortured. The house was moved from its original location by the Peabody Essex Museum.
Manifestation: The sounds of cries, screams, and thumping. Photos of the exterior have revealed the images of distressed looking specters within. Orbs have also been photographed around the house.
Note: Tours by reservation with the Essex-Peabody Museum.
Return to Essex Street, turning right, then follow the signs on the left which will take you down pedestrian trails to the Witch Trials Memorial. Stop at the cemetery.
8) Old Burying Point Cemetery and Witch Trials Memorial
Address: Liberty Street
This hauntingly beautiful old cemetery is a lovely wander, and the Witch Trials Memorial, great stone paving slabs with declarations of innocence by the accused, well worth a look.
Return to Essex Street, turning left, and continue down the pedestrian shopping area, lined with occult shops and Salem tourist shlock (no judgments, I shopped here). Turn right at Washington Street.
9) City Hall
Address: 93 Washington Street Manifestation: ghostly footsteps, thumping sounds in the halls, oppressive atmosphere, feeling of being spun in circles.
Story: Ghost of a suicide victim, which no one can verify.
Note: The City Hall now houses a museum of sorts, and is open most weekdays, though it closes early on Fridays.
Continue down Washington and make a right on Essex, then left on Summer Street. Retrace your steps and return to Essex Street, turning right.
10) Jonathan Corwin House (the Witch House)
Location: 310 ½ Essex Street
Story: Jonathan Corwin was the magistrate who investigated and judged those accused of witchcraft during the infamous trials of 1692. His judgments resulted in the deaths of 19 people.
Manifestation: Residual energies of anger, anxiety and fear have been experienced by people once they cross the threshold. The ghost of a woman has been seen in the upstairs master bedroom and dining room. A ghostly couple has also been seen wandering the grounds. The sounds of footsteps and furniture being moved when the house is empty. Note: Open March thru November from 10 AM – 5 PM by admission only (i.e. it’s not free).