The Joshua Ward House, Salem MA
I decided to start things off with one of my absolute favorite haunted spots, The Joshua Ward House. I have driven past, walked past, and even almost worked at this extremely active paranormal location. The craziest thing to me though is the fact that not many people besides locals know it even exists. It often times makes top haunted lists for not only New England, but the entire country, yet there are only few who know if it’s true history.
The Joshua Ward house use to be the site of Sheriff George Corwin’s home. For those of you who do not recognize this name, George Corwin was the main official during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. He was the one who would arrest, torture into confession, and condemn all of those accused of witchcraft during the time. He was known by many as “The Strangler” because he would suck the confessions out of people and he was also known to hold many witchcraft interrogations in his basement.
One of the most famous instances of his tyrannical torture spree, would be the pressing to death of Giles Corey. When Corey refused to admit he was a witch, Corwin ordered for a board to be placed on Corey’s chest with constant weight being added. When he thought this would get a confession out of Corey, Corwin was shocked when the only response to come out of the accused witch was “more weight.” This unfortunately led to the death of Giles Corey and the start of the supposed curse he left on the Corwin household.
It was said that Corey’s ghost would haunted Corwin and continue to haunt the sight of the Corwin household for all eternity. Spooky right? Well I’m not done just yet.
Corwin only lived to be 30 years old. At the time of the witch trials he was only around 25, so he really didn’t outlive those he murdered by very long. This caused the memories of the previous years to still be fresh in many villagers heads. When Corwin died of a sudden heart attack (maybe from Corey’s curse??), his body was placed in the basement of the Corwin household. This was due to two main reasons, one being that it was winter and the ground was too frozen to dig a grave, placing bodies in the basements of homes was actually very common. But what wasn’t common was the second reason, the family of George Corwin continued to leave his body in the basement for months because they feared his grave would be vandalized by those involved in the witch trials just a few years prior. It wasn’t until 6 or 7 months later that his body even got a proper burial.
The Corwin house would eventually switch hands and be torn down by a sailor named Joshua Ward who would build his own mansion on the lot. But it is said that tearing down the house and rebuilding a new foundation did not get rid of the ghostly spirits said to haunt the land. Giles Corey, George Corwin, in a woman in black who is believed to be a soul tortured my Corwin in life, are said to continue haunting the location.
The woman in black is considered the most active of the ghostly occupants and over the years the house has gone from a household, to offices, and now to a boutique hotel. No matter what resides within the household, anyone who dare enters usually leaves with a tale to tell. For more ghost stories and the full history, check out my video above! Enjoy!!