Few American cities are so famous for a sordid past as Salem. Its nickname “Witch City” comes from the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, when 19 men and women were accused of witchcraft and hanged, and 150 more were arrested and charged. Today, this town of 41,000 residents throws one of the country’s biggest Halloween celebrations, including the annual Festival of the Dead which “explores death’s macabre customs, heretical histories, and strange rituals.”
Salem is also home to the Joshua Ward House, said to be one of America’s most haunted houses since being built atop the grave of the witch trials’ malevolent high sheriff. The grave was eventually relocated, but the ghostly phenomena persist.