Welcome to part 1 of my new Halloween Series that will be continued sporadically throughout the month of October! I decided to take a closer look into one of the most haunted cities in the United States: Salem, Massachusetts. Now I have already posted about one haunted location in Salem before: The Jonathan Ward House, which is believed to be one of the most haunted places in New England. So for those of you who have not already read that article, I highly recommend checking it out! For now, let’s start this series off with the Old Burying Point Cemetery.
The Old Burying Point Cemetery was established in 1637, making it the oldest cemetery in Salem as well as one of the oldest in the entire country. It began when the starting townsfolk of Salem realized they needed a burial plot for the growing population of dead residing within the town. What tends to shock many tourists upon first arrival to the cemetery is the shear size of it. The entire plot of land is only 1.47 acres, making it extremely small compared to other notably haunted old cemeteries in the United States. But for what it lacks in size, it makes up for in headstones and notables buried feet below.
Some of the most notable graves located in the cemetery belong to Judge John Hathorne (judge during the Salem Witch Trials as well as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Great-great grandfather), Nathaniel Mather (brother to Reverend Cotton Mathers, a notable figure in the witch trials as well), Mary Corey (one of Giles Corey’s wives prior to the start of the witch trial in which he and his third wife were murdered after being accused of witchcraft), and Samuel Shattuck (assisted in accusing Bridget Bishop, one of the most notable ‘witches’ on trial, of witchcraft). So with a starting line up like this, it’s pretty safe to assume the small cemetery has its fair share of hauntings right? Right.
First thing to note is that the Old Burying Point Cemetery is closed at dusk every day, but a large chained fenced to keep curious onlookers out. This is mainly to preserve the history as unfortunately over time many of the graves have been broken, vandalized, or grave-rubbed to the point that it is now illegal to do so. But even with these circumstances, it does not stop those from experiencing quite a few spooky encounters even in the light of day.
Many who try and capture images throughout the cemetery will spot orbs floating throughout their images after the fact. Who exactly do people believe are the ghostly apparitions behind the orbs? Well that is where the mystery comes into play, no one knows exactly who is behind the hauntings within the cemetery walls. Many like to assume it is those of the more notable headstones such as John Hathorne, but the most notable figure spotted is that of a Lady in White. She is often seen but not photographed. It is said she turns into an orb once the image is reviewed. But like I said above, no one knows exactly who this Lady in White may be. Some theorize it could be Mary Corey, but no one knows for sure.
Others claim to have heard disembodied voices or caught EVPs on recording while on or near the cemetery grounds.
One fun fact that I wanted to share before closing out today’s post is that Nathaniel Hawthorne frequented the cemetery often during his time in Salem. He and his wife would actually take midnight strolls through the cemetery grounds and it is believed that many of the headstone names inspired a lot of the characters within his books! I may do an entire post about his life because his ancestry is certainly haunting within itself!