Something wicked this way came in early 1692, when the Reverend Samuel Parris’s daughter Betty and niece Abigail Williams embarked upon the massive pre-adolescent freakout that would lead to the execution of 20 people and the imprisonment of many more.
The Salem Village Parsonage, in modern-day Danvers, is where it all went down. While the parsonage was built in 1681 (and first housed one George Burroughs, an unfortunate cleric who was later himself accused of witchcraft and hanged), it was torn down by the late 18th century in a state of near-collapse. Only the foundations—and a creepy neighborhood cat with a twitchy tail and eyes that follow you—remain today.
To get here, take the little path that leads behind 67 Centre Street. It’s literally in someone’s backyard, but open to the public. If you don’t feel like fighting the crowds in downtown Salem for Halloween, slip off to Danvers instead, and get a glimpse of this strange and dark chapter of history without the incense and tour guides.
Know Before You Go
Look for the little plaque between the houses of 67 Center St. and 65 Center St. The plaque will read Samuel Parris Archaeological Site. Best to park on a side street and walk over but beware that parking can be difficult to find. Please respect the residential character of the neighborhood!