For hundreds of years the town name of Salem has been synonymous with tales of witches and ghosts. Established in 1629, Salem, Massaschusetts was named for the Hebrew word “shalom,” which means peace. However, Salem tour guides will inform you of the historical truth and chaotic madness that enveloped this New England town in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Hocus Pocus Tours
Hocus Pocus Tours is named after the movie “Hocus Pocus” that was filmed in Salem. It offers 60 to 80 minute walking tours beginning at sunset. Visitors will be guided past a variety of historic sites, all while hearing stories of Salem’s most intriguing residents. You’ll learn about notorious murders that took place here, including the innocents that were put to death during the infamous Salem witch trials. Another part of this tour focuses on the town’s maritime history, as well as Salem’s own Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of “The Scarlet Letter.” Tours are given daily throughout the year and start at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Salem Historical Tours
Established in 1997, Salem Historical Tours features three daily walking tours showcasing different parts of Salem’s history. Daytime tours include either the cemetery or witchcraft walk tours. Guides will take you through Salem’s legendary cemetery pointing out actual gravesites of accused witches, former governors, Mayflower ship pilgrims and a witch trials judge. On the witchcraft walk, you’ll learn the history of witch accusers, see sites of the former town church, the hanging tree and Prison Lane. Salem Historical Tours also features an evening get together called Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tours. It departs at 8 p.m. daily and you will be led through town by expert guides in paranormal hunting and investigating. Visitors will learn true stories of Salem’s murder history and reported paranormal activity from various locations.
Derby Square Tours
The Salem Secrets and Treasures walking tour is seasonal, led by town historian Jim McAllister. On this tour you’ll visit downtown Salem, and learn of the town’s connections to famous people, TV shows, books and even board games. The Salem Secrets and Treasures tour operates from mid-May to Nov. 1, Friday through Monday. You’ll depart from the Salem Visitor Center around 9:30 a.m. and no reservations are required. In October, Jim also offers two additional tours of Salem — the Witch Trial Trail and The Terror Trail. These two tours focus specifically on the witch trials, wrongful deaths and other bloody history Salem has incurred over the last 320 years.
Licensed paranormal investigator and tour guide, Mollie Stewart, operates Spellbound Tours in Salem. Her company offers seasonal tours from April to November, during the day and evening. Daytime tours visit historic Salem sites like the local cemetery and homesteads of accused witches. Guides give historical accounts of various Salem events including the era of witchcraft hysteria. Evening tours take on more of a supernatural nature. Visitors will be taken to a number of Salem hot spots that are said to have paranormal activity and ghostly sightings. Mollie Stewart’s tours have been featured on various TV shows like The Travel Channel and Good Morning America, as well as in a number of newspapers and magazines around the world.