What Salem is most famous for is its Witch Hysteria and the Witch Trials which led to the deaths of 20 innocent men and women; 19 were hanged and one elderly man by the name of Giles Corey was pressed to death. The Salem Witch Hysteria played itself out in approximately one short year, but over three centuries later people are still intrigued by the dark past and mysteriousness that still lingers throughout Salem's enchanting but allegedly cursed grounds. Today those put to death during the 1629 Witch Hysteria are honored by a public memorial where local witches and tourist like can pay respect to the innocent lives lost.
Given the name "Witch City" appropriately fitting not only Salem's past but its present as well, Salemites cannot deny the history for which the city has become notoriously haunting and haunted. Numerous ghost stories have circulated over the years emanating from the accused during the Witch Hysteria, as well as stories about the curse of Giles Corey. Other local ghost stories tell of the legends of pirates, slaves, local author Nathanial Hawthorne, historical residents of the House of the Seven Gables, specters wandering the Old Burying Point cemetery and of course the ghosts of the Hawthorne Hotel.