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16 Facts About Salem, Massachusetts, That You Probably Didn't Know

Get to know this city by the sea.

If you love all things spooky, chances are you've heard of Salem, Massachusetts. It's usually one of the most popular destinations in the US to celebrate Halloween, but this year, tourists are being urged not to visit because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But fear not (about missing out, at least)! We've rounded up some interesting facts about Salem so you can enjoy it from home this season. Check them out below.

1. The infamous Salem witch trials lasted for approximately one year between 1692 and 1693.

2. The Witch House is the only building you can visit in Salem that has a direct connection to the witch trials of 1692.

 old black weatherboard historical house in Salem with sign reading "Witch House"
Xeni4ka / Getty Images

It was the home of Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges who presided over the trials.

3. The city ran a public competition to design the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, and it was officially dedicated in 1992 on the 300th anniversary of the trials.

4. The Salem Witch Museum offers an educational experience about the historical trials, and it was recently featured in Netflix's Hubie Halloween.

exterior shot of a building with sign reading "Salem witch museum"
Netflix

The building was constructed in the mid-1800s and was originally used as a church. After that, it was the Salem Auto Museum and Americana Shops before becoming the Salem Witch Museum in 1972.

5. Disney's 1993 cult classic Hocus Pocus featured numerous filming locations around Salem.

6. There's a monster museum in town — Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery — which is home to a life-size replica of Hocus Pocus's Winifred Sanderson.

7. In 1970, Bewitched filmed the "Salem Saga" episodes in the city after the show's set in California burned down.

8. The House of Seven Gables is the real-life setting of Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 novel of the same name.

9. Room W17 at the Salem Inn is believed to be haunted — many guests have reported "strange happenings" like things moving mysteriously and unknown shadows.

10. Salem is the birthplace of the National Guard, which dates back to 1636.

US National Guard members
Chandan Khanna / Getty Images

President Barack Obama signed legislation officially recognizing this in 2013.

11. Opened in 1799, Salem's Peabody Essex Museum is the oldest continuously operating museum in the US.

12. The game manufacturing company Parker Brothers was founded in Salem over a century ago.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Salem local George S. Parker started the business in 1883 and was later joined by his brothers, Charles and Edward. The company's most popular games include Monopoly, Clue, and Risk.

13. These days, Salem is home to a number of witchcraft shops, including Hex: Old World Witchery, the Coven's Cottage, and Crow Haven Corner.

14. The Old Burying Point Cemetery (aka Charter Street Cemetery) opened in 1637, making it the oldest cemetery in Salem — and one of the oldest in the whole country.

a fenced off grassy field with gravestones and trees
Bttoro / Getty Images

Here, you'll find the grave of Judge John Hathorne, one of the key magistrates of the Salem witch trials. (Bonus fact: He was the great-great-grandfather of Nathaniel Hawthorne.)

15. More than 75 massive street art murals can be found in the neighborhood known as El Punto (the Point).

16. And typically, over half a million visitors flock to Salem each October to celebrate Halloween.

People walk the streets in costume during Halloween on October 31, 2019 in Salem, Massachusetts
Joseph Prezioso / Getty Images

This accounts for around 30% of the city's annual tourism.

But alas, this year you're probably better off staying home and spending Halloween watching Hocus Pocus instead.

Buena Vista Pictures / Via giphy.com

You can enjoy Salem from afar and get a head start on planning your adventure for next fall!

Don't forget to check out Bring Me! for all of BuzzFeed's best travel tips and hacks, vacation inspiration, and more!

illustrated city skyline
Jay Fleckenstein / BuzzFeed