SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

December 19, 2008

Salem's Witch House slams the door on ghost hunters

SALEM — This old city, some say, is locked in an eternal wrestling match with itself. Is this the historic seaport of art and culture, or the "Witch City" of psychics and ghost tours?

The Park and Recreation Commission ventured into that quicksand this week when it denied a request by a group of paranormal investigators from Rhode Island to search for ghosts in the Witch House, the former home of Jonathan Corwin, an infamous judge during the Witch Trials of 1692.

In essence, a majority of the board — only three of the five members were present — said it would be in bad taste to allow ghost hunters to go inside an historic, 17th-century house that is tied to such an important and tragic event.

"We have to have respect for the gravity of the injustice that occurred in 1692," member Chris Burke said.

After the rejection, Spirit Finders Paranormal Investigators said they were "severely disappointed."

They asked questions that others have asked: How could a city that licenses psychics, sends its children to Witchcraft Heights School and sells official Salem blood during Halloween turn down a "scientific" investigation of one of its most historic witch properties?

Where does Salem draw the line?

In an interview after the meeting, there was even a suggestion that the city is being hypocritical for calling this 9 North St. property the "Witch House."

"Then don't call it the Witch House anymore," said Eric Fraize, the self-proclaimed "Witch King of Salem," who represented the paranormal group at the meeting. "Call it the 'Jonathan Corwin House.' You can't have it both ways. ...

"If they wanted to have respect, they'd take the witch off the police cars. ... They'd stop calling it 'The Witch City,' and Haunted Happenings would shut down."

Spirit Finders was certainly caught off guard by the board's decision.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Comments Tracker