The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 have forever made this city a place of historical importance and lore. Salem, MA, is also a major Halloween attraction of sorts and a downright fascinating US destination to check out—it's a place that feels spooky any time of year, but especially in the fall.
With so many historical sites, tales of dark magic, iconic movie/TV filming locations, and several museums dedicated to witches, it's not hard to see why Salem is the place to be if you're into all these wonderful things.
In fact, here are ten witchy things you'll learn when visiting Salem, Massachusetts, that will leave you wanting more.
10 Welcome To Witch City
If you weren't referring to Salem, MA, as Witch City before visiting, you definitely will after you explore this magical place. This mysterious town got its name from the infamous 1692 Witch Trials.
There's even a memorial in the location where many of the hangings took place, and distant descendants, along with the masses, mourn the needless loss of life and this dark moment in history.
Today's Salem or Witch City is a truly different place and is a proud town that embraces its witch heritage.
9 What A Difference A Year Makes
Speaking of the Salem Witch Trials, the way history, pop culture, film, literature, and lore tell it, this tragic moment in time lasted for ages, if not several years.
But, the reality is the Salem Witch Trials lasted for approximately one year (between 1692 and 1693).
What's more, during said period of mass hysteria, more than 200 people were accused, thrown in witch jails, tested, and put on trials with no means of defending themselves.
In total, over this one-year period, 20 innocent people were executed.
8 The House That Stood The Test Of Time
The Witch House is more than just a creepy-looking abode. This is the only building in Salem that directly connects to said witch trials that visitors can visit.
For travelers who do not know the history, this was the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin (the judge who presided over the trials).
Now forever synonymous with these gruesome events that took place centuries ago, Judge Corwin's former home is both eerie, remarkably intact, and fascinating. So make sure you check it out when you're in town.
7 Men & Women Weren't The Only Accused
So often, cats, crows, and other animals have been inexplicably linked to witches and the devil's magic.
But, during the Salem Witch Trials, all animals were kind of created equal. Two dogs were actually put to death based on suspicions of witchcraft.
Thanks to "an afflicted" girl and her accusations, a neighbor's dog was said to be guilty of bewitching people, specifically this girl. So, In October of 1692, in true witch-hunt fashion, the villagers immediately shot the dog, no questions asked.
It wasn't until Minister Cotton Mather's death that this poor pupper was declared innocent.
The other dog that was slain was thought to be a victim of witchcraft but was still arrested and later put to death.
6 Witch Tests Were A Thing
The court and witch-crazed community adopted a variety of witch tests from across the pond—all of which were impossible to pass.
A few common tests of the times include the Incantation Test (rebuking the devil verbally), the Skin Test (the mark of the devil), the Swimming Test (basically drowning people), and the Witch Cake Test.
Notably, the Witch Cake Test involved the assistance of K-9s. So not only were dogs part of the accused and victims but they were also used to indicate the presence of witchcraft—by eating cake soaked in the afflicted person's urine, of all things.
Dogs were also expected to point out people bewitching others in the community.
5 Hocus Pocus Is A Beloved Cult Classic
On a lighter note, lovers of all things witchy can delight in the filming locations of Disney's 1993 cult classic Hocus Pocus.
There are tours available and information for self-guided exploration of all of these witchy sites. Plus, more than a few of these Hocus Pocus spots are intertwined with the annual Salem Haunted Happenings (SHH) festival.
For interested travelers, SHH is a fun-filled celebration of Halloween and fall in New England that has been going strong for 40 years now.
For the entire month of October, Witch City lovers, locals, and visitors can enjoy a host of events, including the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, a parade, and Family Film Nights (guess what's playing?).
There are also ghostly activities, live music, a costume ball, and chilling theatrical presentations.
4 Bewitched Was Here
Yet another beloved display of witchery, also known as the sitcom Bewitched, has forever left its mark on this town.
More than a few episodes of this delightful show were filmed in Salem!
So to honor that or pay tribute, there is a bronze statue of good ole Samantha (the main witch and character of the show) located in the heart of Witch City.
That said, if you're too young to know about Bewitched, drop everything and stream this classic witchy show right now.
3 Some Spots In Salem Aren't For The Faint-Hearted
If the dark arts, non-religious lore, and a satanic place of worship aren't your cup of tea, then get ready to be appalled.
Unsurprisingly, however, this temple is often where Salem loses a few faint-hearted visitors. But, if you dare to check this spot in town out, you'll quickly learn that Sabrina Morningstar isn't leading the charge.
Instead, there are what some consider to be formal ceremonies (mainly weddings), witchy lectures, and screenings on occasion.
2 It Takes A Village—A Witchy One
That's right, there is a spectacular Salem Witch Village, and it's everything witch lovers could ever need or conjure up.
So if you have always wanted to chat with local witchcraft experts, take a tour around town with an actual witch, or simply learn more about the ins and outs behind the myths, legends, and truths, here's your chance at Salem Witch Village.
Here, visitors can enjoy this entertaining, exciting, and educational experience that covers both modern-day Salem and the infamous Salem of the past.
1 Witches Are Everywhere Now
Last but not least, it is interesting to see that though there clearly weren't any witches in Salem from 1692-1693, Witch City has more than a few witchcraft practitioners, Wiccans, and warlocks now.
Whether you believe in magic or the mystical, there's no denying the fact that witchcraft has genuinely become a brand, and nowhere is that more true than in Salem.
But that doesn't mean it's a bad thing—quite the opposite—witches are everywhere now, bringing a little magic and fantasy to this town, especially during Halloween, and we're all here for it.