Friday, September 30, 2011

The True 1692 at CinemaSalem

We got to see the premier of the new 3-D film, The True 1692, at CinemaSalem on Thursday.  If you are interested in the Witch Trials of 1692, you may want to add The True 1692 to your itinerary.

The film leads you, via first-person narration, into the world of Salem Village and Salem Town in 1692.  It talks about the social and political (and economic) atmospheres that caused unrest before the hysteria began.  It presents the afflicted and the accused, and gives the viewer a three-dimension perspective on the trials that happened so long ago, yet affect us in Salem every day.

Paul Van Ness, who produced the film, said at the premier that they chose the 3-D platform because 3-D requires the viewer to focus more on the film, and thus be more involved in the story.  It's true. The film is incredibly rich, and some of the scenes truly "pop" via the 3-D.  It immerses you in 1692 via the preserved landscapes at Salem 1630: Pioneer Village and the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, and draws you into the lives of colonists.

Particularly touching is the portrayal of Mary Eastey, who was hanged on September 22, 1692.  She writes a heartfelt letter to the courts, and her plea is rarely featured by other interpretations of the Witch Trials. 

If you see The True 1692, consider visiting the Witch Trial Memorial on Liberty Street afterward to pause for a moment of remembrance of what happened in Salem in 1692.  And think about the final words of those who were condemned, which are inscribed on the entrance stones to the memorial, disappearing under the stones on either side, unheard, just as Mary Eastey's words went unheeded.

Visit for tickets and information.

Explore Salem with the Witch City Adventure Pass

This is for everyone who is calling, and emailing, with one question on their mind: "Where's the deal? Where's the discount? Are there any coupons?"

With your requests in mind, I am pleased to present "Your ticket to fear - the Witch City Adventure Pass."  You can buy tickets online, or at any of the three participating attractions, including The Witches Cottage (main show), Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery and the Nightmare Factory.

The adult Adventure Pass costs $22 and the child pass costs $11, which, as the graphic tells us, is a $6 savings per person.

So get out there and get scared!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A "nerve shredding" thriller takes to the STC stage

The Salem Theatre Company will kick off their Season Nine Main Stage programming by shredding some nerves and chilling some spines with Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of the Susan Hill novel The Woman in Black.

A classic of the thriller genre, The Woman in Black has an unusual framework: a lawyer hires an actor to tutor him in recounting to family and friends a story that has long troubled him when he attended the funeral of an elderly recluse. There he caught sight of a woman in black, the mere mention of whom terrifies the locals, for she is a specter who haunts the neighborhood where her illegitimate child was accidentally killed. Legend says that anyone who sees her dies. As a means of catharsis the lawyer has invited some family and friends to watch as he and the actor recreate the events of that dark and stormy night with unforeseen results.

Time Out New York says The Woman in Black “...provides a pleasurable ripple of fear down one's spine and an uncomfortable lurch in the pit of one's stomach."

The Woman in Black
September 29 - October 15
STC Theater
90 Lafayette Street
Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
Tickets:, 978-790-8546, or
Online ticketing ends 24 hours in advance of each performance.

The production is directed by Catherine M. Bertrand of Salem and features Salem State University theatre professor and Actors Equity Association member David Allen George of South Hamilton and Allen Vietzke of Salem. Marcie McKenzie of Beverly serves as Assistant Director and Emma Cavaliere of Salem serves as production stage manager.   

STC‘s Season Nine is devoted to Grand Delusions, exploring the foibles, eccentricities and boundaries of human imagination. 
The company is led by Artistic Director John Fogle, Executive Director Gary LaParl, and Board President Peg Howard.
Details about tickets, the theater on Lafayette Street, and Season Nine are at

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Need free transportation in Salem? Your search is over!

There's a new way to explore Salem, and it's free and available to residents and visitors!

A new bicycle sharing program, provided by the City of Salem and Salem State University, opened near the Hawthorne Hotel and at the Salem State Central Campus on Monday.

Called Salem Spins, the program makes bikes available for free (a credit card and valid ID are required for security purposes) to residents, visitors and students.

There are two hubs in Salem, one at Salem State University, which is available only to students and faculty with a Clipper Card, and the other at the Hawthorne Hotel (near Essex Street and Hawthorne Boulevard).  To borrow a bike, simply visit the front desk at the Hawthorne Hotel, where you’ll be supplied with a key to unlock one of the bicycles. Although there is no charge to borrow a bike, you will need to show a credit card and valid ID for security purposes. It’s an easy transaction, and an easy and unique way to explore historic Salem…and it's FREE!

Salem Spins will be offered from September through November and will re-open after the winter season in March.  Rental schedules are weather permitting and the program is active only during daylight hours.

Program underwriters and sponsors include the Green Communities Division of the MA Department of Energy Resources, the Hawthorne Hotel, and Salem Cycle.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Get Ready for A Wicked Weekend!

The Haunted Neighborhood is kicking off Salem Haunted Happenings with a wicked good deal!  On October 1 and 2 you can experience all FIVE of the October weekend attractions in the Haunted Neighborhood for just $20 per person! 

That deal includes...  
  • The Salem Wax Museum
  • Salem Witch Village
  • Frankenstein's Laboratory
  • Witching Hour Spellcasting
  • Candlelit Ghostly Tour
 It will cost you more than $33 (for adults) to buy all five admissions later in the month.  This is a great deal!

You can buy tickets when you get here, or beat the lines by purchasing tickets in advance at


Friday, September 23, 2011

Walk with Witches

We got out of the office here at Destination Salem to experience the relatively new walking tour, "The Witch Walk."  Created by local witches Christian Day and Lorelie, the Witch Walk is a guided tour of modern witchcraft entwined with Salem's history. 

The tour began at Crow Haven Corner, 125 Essex Street, with a spell casting demonstration.  Our guide, Tom, talked about the elements on a witch's altar and the ceremonial use of tools including candles and knives (no tourists were harmed in the making of this tour).

From Crow Haven Corner we began a walk around Salem, which talked about Salem history, stopping at the Roger Conant Statue, the location of the old Salem jail, 43 Church, Hex, , the Bewitched statue, Omen, the Old Burying Point, and back to Crow Haven Corner. 

The tour made interesting connections between Salem's history and Witches, identifying some of the magic (and even the curses) that can be found in stories of Salem both old and new.

I don't want to say too much, because then you won't want to take the tour. This 90-minute tour is a great option for anyone looking to learn more about Witches and Witchcraft in Salem.   Visit for more information.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

43 Church celebrates its grand opening

There's a new restaurant option on the block in Salem.  43 Church, formerly The Lyceum, celebrated its grand re-opening last night. We are really excited about the new menu and updates to the historic location.

Check out the Haunted Happenings events at 43 Church, including a Children's Halloween Party on October 23 and Bridget Bishop's Ball & Costume Party on October 29.  

Salem Patch shot video at the opening, which we're happy to share.  If you can't see the video, click here to see it on the Patch site.


Congrats to 43 Church!  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Witch Trial History, Giles Corey rememberd 319 years later

Today is the day that Giles Corey succumbed to being pressed to death, a torture inflicted upon him because he refused to stand trial.  He refused to enter a plea, and in the 17th Century, a person who refused a plea could not be tried.

Giles Corey refused to plea because in those days, you were damned if you did (plea innocence) and damned if you didn't (and plead guilty).  Either way, you would lose all of your worldly possessions, which was less appealing to Giles Corey than death.  The Salem Witch Museum Miscellany suggests that Corey "was a stubborn old man who perhaps did not understand fully the results of his actions."

His refusal to stand trial, and agonizing death, has made Corey a bit of a folk hero from the Witch Trials.  I'm not sure the status is warranted, though, as most accounts I have read paint him as a bit of a curmudgeon.  Corey testified in the Witch Trials against his third wife, Martha Corey, who was hanged on September 22nd, and was found guilty of murdering a farm worker in 1675.

His motivations aside, Corey deserves a moment of remembrance for the horrible, torturous death he endured, and for the conviction to stand up to the Court of Oyer and Terminer.

You can learn more about Giles Corey on the University of Virginia's Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project web site.  We don't know for sure where Giles Corey was pressed to death, but respects can always be paid at the Witch Trials Memorial on Liberty Street between Charter Street and Derby Street, behind the Old Burying Point.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Germans are Coming! Oktoberfest in Salem to benefit Salem YMCA

On Saturday, September 17th from 5 – 10 pm , Munich comes to town at SALEM OKTOBERFEST , a benefit for the Salem YMCA, at Old Town Hall in Derby Square.

Enjoy a German beer hall with live performances by Salem favorites Clay Ventre & The Bond Girls, The Dejas, Richard the Accordian Player and from Boston, The Riffnicks and Mighty Tiny.  Prizes will be awarded for best German outfit as well as other contests and fun games taking place on stage.

Guests will sample craft beer from Notch American Session Beer, Narragansett, Salem Beerworks, Blue Hills Brewing, 21st Amendment, Penn Brewing, Uinta Brewing, Konig Brewing as well as mead from local producer Isaak’s of Salem.

Traditional German fare, as well as some American classics will be available for plates between $1 and $5 from Café Polonia, The Lobster Shanty, Polonus, The Upper Crust as well as sampling of seasonal desserts from Rita’s Ice. 

Mari Matt, the new Director for the Salem YMCA is “thrilled to have this event happening in support of the Y.”   “It is a great opportunity to enjoy a great night in Salem and help support our commitment to the community through providing Y services to all of its residents.”

Tickets are $20 and include a German hat and kazoo (to the first 300 guests) a tasting glass, beer sampling and entertainment.  Tickets are available at Pamplemousse (185 Essex St) Café Polonia (118 Washington St) Salem Cycle (72 Washington St) and also at the door.  This is a 21+ event.

Salem Oktoberfest is sponsored by Pamplemousse, Café Polonia and Eastern Bank. For more information, please call 978-745-2900.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bill Johnson at Count Orlok's. A match made in horror.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Horror Fans!  Bill Johnson, known as Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, will be in Salem on October 14th & 15th, signing autographs and meeting fans at Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery

Bill Johnson is one of several horror film stars who will be stopping by Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery in October.  Check out the full schedule on or

I've mentioned here before, and I'll mention again, Count Orlok's is one of my favorite spots in Salem.  Part cinematic voyage, part labor of love, visiting Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery on Derby Street is always an awesome experience.  There are new characters since last year, so even if you can't stop in for the Bill Johnson event, stop in to see the characters from your favorite nightmare-inducing films. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's a jump to the left...

...and a step to the right!

Salem State University Center for the Arts have dug into the archives and exchanged Thriller for the Time Warp, giving us The rocky Horror Zombie Dance on Salem Common!

Learn and perform “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show with faculty and student dance instructors. Each Halloween the dance program takes to downtown Salem to add some dance moves to the Halloween spirit. All ages are encouraged to join the workshop, don your zombie best, and share your dance moves with the crowds of Salem on the Common at noon. Reservations recommended for the workshop. Prizes for the best dancer and the best zombie. Let’s do the time-warp again!

Saturday, October 29, 10 am workshop, Noon performance
Boys & Girls Club, 13 Hawthorne Boulevard, Salem
$15 general / $8 students and seniors
Free with Salem State student ID
Purchase tickets online:
Ticket information line: 978.542.7555

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

October Availablity at the Amelia Payson House

This just in! October availability at the Amelia Payson House, one of the historic B&Bs in downtown Salem. 

Sept. 29th, 30th, Oct. 1st
Three night minimum: $175 per night.October 3rd, & 5th. $175 per night. No minimum stay required.

October 10th, 11th, & 12th
$175 per night. No minimum stay required.

October 16th, 17th, and 18th
$175 per night. No minimum stay required.

October 19th, 20th, 21st, and 22nd
Four(4) night minimum. $195 per night. One room left.

October 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th
$175 per night. No minimum stay required.

See website for deposit and cancellation terms.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Find your inner witch or wizard at Remember Salem

Harry Potter fans, rejoice! We have a little piece of Diagon Alley right here in Salem.  You can shop for wands, your house uniform, and even a sorting hat at Remember Salem at 127 Essex Street.

A unique shopping experience that makes fact out of fiction, Remember Salem has an amazing amount of Harry Potter memorabilia, as well as other magic-inspired gifts.   

Wands are made on site.

Perhaps you're interested in Harry's wand? Or Luna's?

The Sorting Hat.  It speaks to you.

Shop for your house uniform in Salem!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mark your map for the Visitor Info Booth in October


Each October Salem Main Streets colaborates with the Naitonal Park Service, the City of Salem, the Chamber of Commerce and Destination Salem to produce an information booth in Town House Square.  Town House Square is the intersection of the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall and Washington Street, just two blocks from the MBTA train station.

The info booth is staffed by volunteers on weekends in October, and they answer thousands of questions, which range from, "Where's the bathroom?" to "What should we do today?" to "What's good for kids?" They also answer the occasional, "Where do we park?!" screamed from a passing car.  

If it's questions you have, it's answers they've got, as well as maps, brochures, and program listings.  

Oh, and the closest (public, indoor) bathroom to the info booth is at the National Park Service Visitor Center at the corner of Essex and New Liberty Street.