Salem Witch Trials Experience in Massachusetts

by Emily Goins

Have you ever wondered what it was like during the time of the Salem Witch trials? I went up to Salem, Massachusetts to learn all about it.

The Salem Witch trials took place in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts. It was a series of accusations and prosecutions of the people that were accused of being witches or taking place in witchcraft. During the months that the trials took place 20 people were killed.

Most were sentenced to death by hanging but one man Giles Corey was crushed to death. The hangings took place on Gallows Hill. They would be hung and left hanging for two to three days. A small hole would be dug, just enough to cover the bodies and they would be put into it. It was against the law for anyone to come and move them but that didn’t stop them.

The company I work for was taking a bus trip to Salem with a group of girl scouts. I was lucky enough that they let me go along. While I was there I visited a few places and learned more about the trials. I got to hear about how they began, how some of the prosecutions occurred and the stories that have been left behind. After driving through Salem, we (the girl scouts), went to the Salem Witch Museum.

In the museum they had a room with different scenes set up that had a major impact on the trials. The scenes were laid out in chronological order. “I think it would have been nice to have had people there acting out each scene. It would have given them (the girl scouts) a better understanding of everything,” said Carol Goins, tour manager of the trip.

After the museum we saw a show titled “Cry Innocent,” a short show based on Bridget Bishop’s trial. The show started out with her arrest outside of the old town hall. If you have ever seen Hocus Pocus, it’s the building where the dance takes place. The show consisted of interactions with the audience and then allowed the audience to determine whether she was guilty or not. During the show we saw, we found her not guilty.

That night we went to another show that told about some of the stories and myths that went around during the time of the trials. The show consisted of a lot of lighting and technical work that was used to scare the audience. Following the show we went on a ghost tour through Salem. While walking our tour guide asked us “Do you smell apples?”

She asked this because we were coming upon a building that held Bridget Bishop during the time of her trial. Bridget Bishop used to own an apple orchard and there had been rumor that some people could smell apples while walking past it. Although I wouldn’t admit it to her when she asked, I could smell a hint of apples in the air.

We then walked through an old cemetery in the middle of Salem. In this cemetery there was a stonewall. Every few feet one stone would come out like a bench. These stones had the name of each person that was killed during the trials engraved on them. “It was nice knowing you,” said a group of the girl scouts as they linked arms to walk through the cemetery.

We had walked through this same cemetery during the day and everything was calm, but when walking through it at night you could feel the chill in the air. It was those chills that just shoot down your body and startle you a bit.

Next to the cemetery was the Joshua Ward house. We had gone by early in the day and taken a few pictures and they all turned out clear but when we went back at night all of our pictures turned out as just flashes of light. My sister however took a picture that came out completely clear.

We zoomed in to get a closer look at the house and noticed something in the window. There were two faces. One looked to be an adult the other looking to be a child, staring out from the front window. We looked back at the house to see there was nothing in the windows. “This is scary as heck…I hope I can sleep tonight,” said Megan Goins, who took the picture.

While there we also got to go into Boston where we followed the Freedom Trail. The Freedom trail is marked off with a red line along the sidewalk that leads you to every historic location in Boston. Including Paul Reveres House, USS Constitution, and the Bunker Hill monument. Not only did Salem and Boston have a lot of history involved but also they were beautiful places to visit, especially this time of year.