February 28, 2005
Salem Witch House bills itself as "the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the 1692 Salem Witch Trials." That is probably because Salem really had little to do with the events of 1692 – the actions that led to the Witch Trials actually occurred in what is now the town of Danvers, then known as Salem Village, several miles northwest of Salem. No person accused of witchcraft ever lived or was imprisoned in the Salem Witch House. But Salem relishes its devilish claim to fame while in Danvers, where there are several such buildings, the community has distanced itself from the 17th-century mass hysteria.
The Salem Witch House is a foreboding, severe-looking black house, especially gloomy on a rainy day, and I thought, just the perfect house for a judge in the witch trails. In 1692, it was owned by Jonathan Corwin, a Salem merchant. He was one of those who investigated the witchcraft allegations and examined several accused witches, possibly in one of the rooms of his house, and served on the court that sent 19 to the gallows.
The tour guides of the Salem Witch House do a good job of blending information about 17th-century lifestyles, furnishings, and architecture with meaningful insights into the events of 1692. Their aim is to give visitors a deeper understanding of the lives of those involved in the madness and the origins of the frenzy. The guide kept a good pace for us to view the house and hear the accounts but was not so long-winded as to provoke impatience for moving on to the next room.
From journal Which Witch City?