Witch hangings memorial.

Salem Witches Hanging Site

Field review by the editors.

Salem, Massachusetts

Nineteen people (14 women, five men) were hanged as witches on Gallows Hill during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 -- and then the town did its best to forget it ever happened. A long overdue memorial was dedicated to the victims on July 19, 2017, the 325th anniversary of the first hangings. Part of the reason it took 325 years to build an execution site memorial was because, until recently, historians couldn't agree on the exact location. By 2016, experts had finally pinpointed a rock outcropping named Proctor's Ledge as the travesty-of-justice-dispensing part of Gallows Hill. Today it overlooks a Walgreens.

Salem went out of its way to make its memorial as understated as possible (There is plenty of over-the-top witch drama elsewhere in town). It sits at the base of the sloping (and now neatly landscaped) hill, next to the street: a low wall with the names of the nineteen victims etched into it, set around an oak tree (symbolizing strength and endurance). Spotlights illuminate the names at night.

The actual hanging spot, atop the hill, is inside the fenced back yards of a couple of homes, whose owners may not have been expecting all this attention.

Salem Witches Hanging Site

6 Pope St., Salem, MA
East of downtown. From Hwy 107/Highland Ave., turn west onto Proctor St. just south of Collins Middle School. At the stop sign, turn right onto Pope St. The memorial will be on the left, just past the Salem Heights Apts on the right.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

The Witch Dungeon MuseumThe Witch Dungeon Museum, Salem, MA - < 1 mi.
Bewitched StatueBewitched Statue, Salem, MA - < 1 mi.
Where the Witches Were TriedWhere the Witches Were Tried, Salem, MA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
MIT Museum, Cambridge, MA - 14 mi.

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October 24, 2020

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