Each review of a tour or an attraction will receive an average rating, and a breakdown of criteria that has informed this rating.
(You have to go into the shop in order to receive the stickers you wear on your person that indicates what tour you’re with.)
127 Essex Street
Salem, MA 01970
Tour Length: 75 minutes (Everyday @8pm)
Engagement with the Audience
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆
He took us to a lot of sites you expect (like the Burying Point Cemetery above, but he also took us to the site of Houdini’s Great Escape, and some of the homes that inspired H.P. Lovecraft (the Crowninshield-Bentley house, for example, is mentioned as the ‘Crowninshield house’ in The Thing on the Doorstep, 1933). He explains the murders that took place in the house (the last stop on the tour), but doesn’t mention this site as being specifically associate with H.P. Lovecraft. He does however, mention a separate location as another source of inspiration. He mentions some things about the Salem Trial victims that maybe you didn’t learn in grade school American History (i.e. that Giles Corey refused to plead because if he died without being convicted he wouldn’t loose his land). Those tid bits were interesting.
Because tours are run by licensed performers the humor was a bit over the top at certain points. But considering that one expects this from this type of tour (especially in Salem. Where they embrace a lot of the kitschy aspects of magick and ghost hunting). He’s dressed in garb, as many tour guides of this nature are, complete with a cane and a hat. He cracks cheesy jokes every so often, some of which are funny and others, less so. He mentioned that he was previously employed to haunt many years ago, and he’ll demonstrate his “haunt” voice if you ask. Overall, he’s a charming guide.
Engagement with the Audience
His engagement with the audience is my highest rating because he does a good job at picking out people within the tour group to purposefully tease (generally spooking people who are obviously more easily frightened by startling sounds in the middle of the night). So some aspects felt acted and thoroughly prepared, but others felt more natural. However, he did mention things like their appearance on the Ghost Hunters TV show that seemed a bit more like a ‘plug’ than necessary information. Towards the end he mentioned things that have happened on other tours (mostly around the possibilities of orbs in people’s photos), and engaged the present group in a similar fashion.
Who do I recommend this tour to?
I recommend this tour mostly to people who may not have a thorough understanding of the Salem Trials. Some of the information provided is fairly general knowledge (especially if you’re someone who has looked into this further). I think this type of audience member is likely to get the most out of it. I enjoyed it, although it wasn’t my favorite. I appreciated some of the new information, but a lot of it was material I was already familiar with. I found the tour charming, but pretty general.
1. St Peter’s Chapel
2. Colonial Claims Service (Historical Witch Trial Dungeon)
3. Turner’s seafood Grill and Market (was featured on Ghost hunters, the upstairs banquet is reportedly haunted)
4. Center of the Salem market (a few film locations nearby, Hocus Pocus and The Lords of Salem)
5. The site of the Great Escape
6. A house that inspired H.P. Lovecraft
7. A home next to the Memorial that has been the site of more than a few deaths.
8. Salem Witch Trials Memorial (Burying Point Cemetery)
9. The Crowninshield-Bentley house
If so inclined, you can purchase your tickets online here.