Halloween is the perfect time to take Comfort Tour’s bus tour to Boston. This special tour is different than any other Boston tour because it also visits Salem. Halloween in Salem is a big spectacle because of its storied past. Salem’s haunted history begins with the infamous 1692 Salem Witch Trials where the justice system executed locals for allegedly practicing witchcraft.
What Happened in Salem?
Where does Salem get its spooky reputation from? At the beginning of 1692, two young girls reported feeling very ill. Their symptoms included making strange sounds, hiding under furniture and tightly clutching their heads. When medicine and prayer failed to heal the afflicted, the town believed witchcraft was the cause with witches casting spells and tormenting others. Soon, others began showing symptoms of the same illness as well. Spirits were stabbing and choking them according to their own testimony. The famous witch trials began when the afflicted named suspects in statements and examinations, usually after long interrogations and torture.
In 1692, the court sent 150-200 people to jail for witchcraft. In the end, 14 women and 5 men were hanged, one man was tortured until death, and at the very least 5 people passed away in prison. The decision to allow use of spectral evidence made it easier to convict suspects. The Salem Witch Trials was the biggest series of witch trials to occur in North America and the final large scale witch panic/scare to happen in the English colonies. Governor Phips dissolved the court he created to oversee the witch trial cases in October of the same year. This occurred due to numerous petitions, letters, and accusations of high status individuals including Governor Phips’ wife. By January of 1693, a full year since the first accused fell ill, the witch trials were over.
In the following years, people involved in the trials gave a few apologies. The government eventually paid restitution to many victims and their families. While a judge and several jurors formally apologized, some never believed they did anything wrong. Since 1711, the town has made efforts to clear the names of the victims. However, seven names were excluded initially and, therefore, were still convicted of witchcraft technically. Legislation repeatedly left out names until a resolve in 2001. Still, one name remained uncleared until a group of middle school students took the matter into their own hands and cleared the final victim of their conviction last year in the summer of 2022.
Our Salem Halloween Tour
On our tour, we will guide you through the historic past of Salem. Today, the town is know for its grand Halloween celebration that takes place throughout October. Salem embraces its past and ties to all things witches, including the season of Halloween. Here, you can still find the Witch House, the only building directly connected to the trials left standing where a presiding judge lived. You can join in on the festivities with Comfort Tour on our Boston/Salem tour in October. The Salem Witch Museum is a very popular stop on the tour where you’ll learn more about the trials in the place it happened.