If you’ve ever heard of Salem, then you probably know this city is the favorite destination of many Halloween lovers (and Hocus Pocus fans!), but did you know there are actually haunted hotels in Salem, Massachusetts? These buildings have gained a reputation for their intriguing past and numerous tales of paranormal activity, drawing visitors from all over the world searching for a thrilling experience.
So, if you’re into all things paranormal, these 5 most haunted hotels in Salem MA must be on the top of your list!
Note: If you’re curious about haunted places in Salem in general besides hotels, check out my other article here!
Haunted Hotels In Salem MA (With Backstories!)
The following hotels stand out for having interesting and sometimes catastrophic backstories that stuck with them for years, leading some to think that supernatural energies may still linger behind their walls. And for good reason, reports from guests and staff members include objects disappearing or changing places, lights turning on and off by themselves, strange noises, and many other unexplainable happenings.
So, without further ado, I dare you to dive into the mysteries of these Salem hotels – or even better, to stay in one of them!
The Hawthorne Hotel is located right in the heart of downtown Salem and it is considered a historic landmark in the city. It was named after the famous local writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, best known for his novels ‘The Scarlet Letter’ and ‘The House of the Seven Gables’.
Since it opened its doors in 1925, the hotel has welcomed many notable guests, including celebrities, politicians, and artists. It also served as a base for the U.S. Navy during World War II and hosted several events to raise funds for the war.
In addition, the building was also used as a filming spot for popular productions such as ‘Bewitched’, ‘Joy’, and the paranormal investigation show ‘Ghost Hunters’.
Is The Hawthorne Hotel Haunted?
Beyond its historical highlights, the Hawthorne Hotel is known for being one of the most haunted hotels in Salem, Massachusetts and it’s said to be haunted by multiple spirits. Over the years, guests and staff have reported hearing footsteps, disembodied voices, seeing lights turning on and off, and even occasional apparitions!
What is more, the 6th floor is said to be particularly haunted by supernatural phenomena. Guests staying on this floor have described a feeling of uneasiness as if they were not alone in the room.
Although evidence of real paranormal activity has never been found, these stories have contributed to the hotel’s popularity becoming one of the most visited spots in the city. What do you think, is the Hawthorne Hotel really haunted?
Tip: Book your room a year in advance or stay there right after Halloween to get a great price! – this goes for all hotels in Salem!
If you’re visiting Salem, make sure to check out these Hocus Pocus filming locations!
You might also enjoy this list of things to do in Salem in October
Fan of ghost stories? Read all about my own haunted experience at the Sorrel Weed House in Savannah, GA
The Salem Inn is a hotel comprised of three adjacent buildings, all of which date back to the 19th century and have their own unique stories.
The oldest building and main house, also known as the Captain West House, was built in 1834 and was originally the private residence of sea Captain Nathaniel West. Years later, the property would be bought by the Pabich family with plans to save it from its dilapidated state and make it into one of Salem’s most successful inns.
The second oldest building, called the Curwen House, was built in 1854 by the Curwen brothers, who were descendants of the Salem witch trials’ judge, Jonathan Corwin.
The third and newest building is the Peabody House, which was built in 1874 by a wealthy merchant named Joseph Peabody and became the last addition to the Salem Inn.
Is The Salem Inn Haunted?
If there’s something that these three houses have in common, it’s they all host undeniably strange energies, which makes the hotel an exciting destination for those interested in the supernatural and paranormal. This, combined with its prime location close to popular attractions like The Witch House, places the Salem Inn among the most visited haunted hotels in Salem MA.
Fun fact: not only is it the only pet-friendly hotel in Salem, but it also has its own ghost cat!
The Ghosts Of The Salem Inn
The Salem Inn is said to be home to three ghosts; a woman called Katherine; a child whose footsteps are heard on the staircase, and a spectral black cat living in the parlor.
Countless times, members of the staff have witnessed objects disappearing, heard someone calling them when there was no one around, or felt an unexplained cold breeze drifting throughout the property even on the hottest days. Apparently, these happenings are so common in the hotel that the staff refer to them as ‘Katherine’, a woman whose spirit shows up in the form of a cold breeze.
On the other hand, the young child’s ghost is often heard running up and down the stairs or laughing in the hallways.
As for the ghostly pet, there have been many reports of a cat wandering around, even though there isn’t any cat living in the building. Other guests, who have allergies to cats, find themselves feeling their symptoms when they get into the parlor where the cat is usually seen.
However, most of the paranormal activity in the hotel seems to come from room 17 in the West House, where strange noises have been heard by those who spend the night there, including thumps, doors being slammed, and disembodies voices.
Do you dare to spend a spooky night in the company of these ghostly friends? Book your stay here!
The Merchant is a luxurious boutique hotel in downtown Salem and a true historical gem that dates back to the 19th century. Since its construction in 1784, the building has served as a home and trading center, a tavern, a grand bank, and a bookshop, until it eventually made its way to the list of most notable haunted hotels in Salem Massachusetts.
But in spite of all the renovations and repurposing over the years, the hotel still preserves its historical roots through its unique design and architecture, combined with modern amenities and contemporary decor.
Is The Merchant Haunted?
The Merchant has a reputation of its own for ghosts roaming its halls, due to its extensive and dark past. The property was originally a home located on a wharf belonging to Joshua Ward, a successful sea merchant that made his fortune trading goods on ships departing from his home.
But even years before Ward’s house was built, this land was a jail owned by Sheriff George Corwin, better known as ‘The Strangler’ of the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century. Here’s where he interrogated and tortured those suspected of witchcraft. It was also his duty to carry out the death sentences of accused prisoners, and this is probably the reason why the spirits of innocent victims still remain in The Merchant up to this day –even the spirit of the Strangler himself.
Fun fact: local legend says that Corwin’s death (caused by a heart attack) was actually the result of a curse. Since then, the curse has also killed many other sheriffs in the county who also died of heart conditions until the jail was finally shut down.
Regarding paranormal encounters in the Merchant Hotel, guests have shared some scary experiences such as finding unexplained scratches and burns on their arms and the feeling of being strangled by someone while being completely alone in the room. These and other events have been made public in the book ‘Ghostly Hauntings’, contributing to The Merchant’s popularity as one of the most haunted hotels in Salem Massachusetts.
As one of the oldest houses in Salem, The Daniels House preserves the city’s heritage through its long history and distinctive architecture. Since its construction in 1667, the building has served many purposes as a home, nursery, boarding house, and tea house, being occupied by numerous generations of families, shipbuilders, and carpenters over the centuries.
However, it wasn’t until 2019 that the place underwent a full restoration by its newest owners. At this point, The Daniels House not only became a remarkable bed and breakfast in the city but also a historical gem that witnessed Salem’s beginnings and changes throughout history like no other building.
Is The Daniels House Haunted?
Although the Daniels House may not rank high on the list of haunted hotels in Salem Massachusetts, the hotel occasionally experiences lights flickering and guests’ belongings being moved from their place.
Additionally, some guests, staff, and neighbors have reported seeing a ghost cat roaming the place at night that then simply vanishes out of nowhere, a man that appears in the Grand Room who is believed to be the house’s original owner; and a mysterious female figure whose identity is unknown. Although there is no proof of paranormal activity other than these rumors, the residence is more than 350 years old, and a lot can happen in 3-and-a-half centuries.
Haunted or not, the unique facade and atmosphere of the Daniels House will surely make you feel like you’re inside an old horror film! With its distinct black exterior, antique furniture, old paintings, and open-hearth fireplace, staying in this hotel is a truly immersive experience that feels like being transported back in time.
Tours In The Daniels House
Apart from its unique amenities, the Daniels House offers several guided tours of the house and neighborhood where you can get some interesting –and creepy– insights into Salem’s past and mystique. Tours are open to all and can be arranged for individuals or large groups whether you’re staying at the hotel or just visiting.
Visit the website to see all tours and dates available.
Other haunted places in the U.S. to visit this October:
Old Town Savannah, GA – Explore the city like a local
Sleepy Hollow, NY – 7 Spooky Halloween Events
New Orleans – 10 best things to do for Halloween
Another historical building worth including among these haunted hotels in Salem Massachusetts is The Red Lion Inn located in Stockbridge, a neighborhood in Salem. The house was built in 1773 and actually started as a quaint tavern and inn.
Over the years, many different owners have occupied the property, expanding its size and adding more sections and guest rooms. Even after its unfortunate collapse due to a fire in 1896, causing severe structural damage in the building, the hotel was astonishingly rebuilt in just a matter of months, reopening its doors to the public and getting its incredible reputation back. Since then the inn has been host to several important American figures, such as presidents Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Calvin Coolidge.
Today The Red Lion Inn is recognized not only as a luxurious hotel in the city but also as an iconic landmark – with some ghostly visitors, of course 😉
Is The Red Lion Inn Haunted?
According to staff members, strange and unexplained happenings have been going on in the hotel for quite some time. Some of the most frequently heard stories include cold spots throughout the building, random knocks on the door, and the feeling of someone standing by their bedsides.
It’s also common for some guests to feel as if someone were laying on the bed with them or tugging the bedsheets in the middle of the night, especially those who have stayed in room 301, which apparently is where most of this disturbing activity concentrates.
Although these enigmatic experiences have attracted the attention of ghost hunters and paranormal investigators on multiple occasions, the causes for the strange activity at the hotel are still unknown even to this day.
What we do know for sure about The Red Lion Inn is that it has become one of Salem’s favorite spots for visitors seeking nice amenities and –hopefully– a spine-chilling adventure!
Looking for a first-hand experience? Book a room here.
Ghost Tours In Salem
If you think it might be too scary to stay at any of these haunted hotels in Salem Massachusetts, you can still have your share of Salem’s mystique and local history by going on a guided tour. There is an amazing variety of tours that lead you to the city’s most haunted areas such as the Burying Point Cemetery, the Witch House, and many other famous landmarks.
These are some great walking tours I recommend for a night full of spooky sights and horror stories –goosebumps guaranteed!
- History and Hauntings of Salem
- Mysteries and Murders of Salem
- Salem Witch Trials Historical Walking Tour
Last Few Thoughts
I hope you enjoyed the stories of these haunted hotels! Without a doubt, Salem is a destination with a fascinating past, and it’s amazing that part of its history is still alive thanks to these beautiful buildings.
Now, you’re probably wondering if the strange events mentioned on this list are the result of real paranormal activity or simply rumors.
Maybe the best way to figure it out is to be brave and see it for yourself! Would you spend a night at any of these hotels?