|Hepzebah, Spirits of the Gables|
The daily Gables experience includes a guided tour of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion (AKA The House of the Seven Gables) and a self-guided tour of Hawthorne's Birthplace, which was moved to its current location in the 1950s. By day you will learn about the architectural, maritime, and literary heritage of Salem and the mansion. It is a fascinating tour (my favorite tidbit is that of the "King's wood" in the attic), but each October these houses breathe a new, spookier life as they come alive after dark with theatrical presentations.
You probably have not read The House of the Seven Gables, but if you want the most exciting version of Cliff's Notes ever produced, Spirits of the Gables will give you the highlights and may even inspire you to read the novel. Spirits features actors in each room of the mansion, each bringing one of Hawthorne's characters from the novel to life. This is one of Salem's original ghost stories, a tale of a curse that reaches back through generations, and the performers leaves you wondering if the house is still cursed today.
(It isn't, of course. The House of the Seven Gables is a work of fiction.)
If it's fact you're looking for - real history come to life - you will find that at Legacy of the Hanging Judge, a performance that will bring Nathaniel Hawthorne and his great-great-grandfather Judge Hathorne to life, talking to you in the home young Nathaniel once resided. Legacy takes you into the Salem Witch Trials. From a Judge to the accused to the girls who were presumably possessed.
As we left Legacy last week, my companion whispered in my ear, "Forget the haunted houses. This is the real stuff of nightmares."
Each performance is 35 minutes, and shows run continuously from 7:15 PM - 11:00 PM on October 19, 20, 26, 27, and 31 (shows conclude at 10pm on Halloween). Reservations are recommended. Call 978-744-0991, ext. 104 to save your spot.