The Hawthorne Hotel is a favorite haunt of past guests,
Mariners and Sea Captains.
An innocent victim of the witch hunts still has a positive,
friendly attitude and does what she likes.
Named after the famous Salem author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Hawthorne Hotel is a six story, historic 1925 landmark, upscale hotel, featuring lovely brickwork and granite highlights, with dentils along the top of the building. It still has its old charm, but has been nicely updated for 21st century travelers on holiday or business, who expect certain amenities. The management tries hard to please its guests, offering friendly service and accommodations to requests, which helps to explain why one must make reservations far in advance.
Every room is unique in size and lighting, as the hotel was renovated over the years without a master plan, giving individual rooms a charming quirkiness. The Hawthorne Hotel states on their website: “Each of our 93 rooms is individually furnished and tastefully appointed with 18th century-style reproduction furnishings, reflecting our unique New England charm and character. Our rates range from $114.00 to $315.00, depending upon the season and the type of accommodations.”
The Hawthorne Hotel also has a charming, upscale foyer with oriental rugs, and many chairs to sit in and relax. It has a lovely restaurant, “Nathaniel’s,” a bar, and a ballroom event center for wedding receptions. The structure on the top of hotel is called “The Cabi,” used exclusively by the Salem Marine Society for their quarterly meetings.
The Hawthorne Hotel hosts social events. “With 89 traditionally-appointed guest rooms, two award-winning restaurants and private banquet space, we can accommodate your welcome receptions, brunches and more.”
There are two restaurants for guests to choose from. “Nathaniel’s Restaurant allows our guests to dine in historic fashion for breakfast and dinner. Visit our other charming restaurant, Tavern on the Green, that offers a variety of New England pub-style food for guests.”
The city of Salem was formed by a group of fishermen in 1626, in the strategic spot at the mouth of the Naumkeag River. Salem was incorporated in 1629.
The land upon which The Hawthorne Hotel sits was once the site an apple orchard in the 1690s, planted by Bridget Bishop, a lady who was the first to be hung on Salem’s Gallows Hill in 1692, for being convicted of the crime of witchcraft. She was later found to be innocent. Bridget’s hanging came by slow strangulation, as the executioners had no idea on how to make it humane by snapping the neck.
Since 1830, the main headquarters of The Salem Marine Society has been located on this spot. The organization was formed in 1766 by sea captains, acting in response to the high mortality/injury rate of mariners who met misfortune on the sea.
It was common for sea captains and their men to perish while at work on their ships (House of the Seven Gables Museum). The Society provided relief for family members of perished sea captains, and support for disabled or elderly former captains. Members also shared information about the treacherous waters they traveled to promote better outcomes for survival.
In 1925, the city fathers decided that a central hotel in Salem would be good for economic development. A deal was struck between the city, the future hotel owners, and The Salem Marine Society, who agreed to let their building be torn down, if they could always have a place to meet and conduct the important business of their organization.
On the roof of the hotel, a structure was built, that mirrored the cabin of a barque. It was called the Taria Topan, and was reserved permanently for The Salem Marine Society.
After raising more than five hundred thousand dollars through the sale of stocks, the handsome, upscale Hawthorne Hotel was renovated, opening on July 23rd, 2012. It has been serving the needs of travelers, and visitors to Salem, promoting economic benefits and growth to local businesses ever since.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
When buildings are torn down, and new structures are built, spirits who have been attached to the spots where their buildings once stood, move into the new structures, and make themselves at home.
Capitol Records Building, TN (When the Jacob Schnell Mansion was torn down to make room for the new Capitol Records Building, the spirits of the two reclusive, docile Schnell sisters moved into the new building, and decided to reside on the eleventh floor).
Joshua Ward House (Merchant Hotel), MA (Joshua Ward built his house on the lot where the infamous Sheriff George Corwin had his house and torture chamber in the basement. Spirits from his house moved right into Ward’s House and have expressed their anger to the living. The spirit of George was a proven sadist and still wants to strangle people on occasion for old-times sake, and bully the living when he can).
National Aviary, PA (An old prison was torn down to make room for this building, the National Aviary. Confederate prisoners and inmates who died in the prison moved into it, and love to walk around and see all the birds on display, finding peace that calms their restlessness).
Hawthorne Hotel, MA (The spirit of Bridget Bishop appreciates the hotel, still loves people, and likes to visit where her apple orchard once stood, which helps her to temporarily forget her painful end).
Entities sometimes can’t let go of their passions, and need to continue to do what they loved doing while alive.
Bair Bistro, WA (Warren L. Bair dearly loved his pharmacy and store when he was alive. He and his female spectral companion tried to jump right in to help the living, but became a handful).
Sacramento Library, CA (The spirit of a researcher appears in his see-through form, showing his distinguishing characteristics. His spirit has been seen looking over and studying reference books in the reading room).
Redwood Library and Anthenaeum building, RI (The spirit of Abraham Redwood or another past staff member is still upset that 10% of the rare collection of books is still missing, and wants to help the library by personally being on duty to prevent the living from mistreating/stealing the volumes).
Hawthorne Hotel, MA (In the Taria Topan Cabin Area, the spirit of a sea captain loves to study in the maritime library of the Salem Marine Society. The spirit of Bridget loves to remember all the apple pies she baked).
Sometimes spirits of owners and employees can’t let go of something they loved, so they try to help and guide the living, letting them know their preferences.
Hotel Colorado, CO (The spirit of the hotel’s first owner, who loved his establishment, is still front and center, even correcting decor mistakes).
Lake Hotel, WY (The spirit of a former lead porter who loved his job appears in solid form and helps the living who are struggling with their luggage).
Bullock Hotel, SD (The spirit of Captain Seth Bullock, who loved his hotel, is still the no-nonsense spectralowner. He supervises the living and does bed checks).
Hawthorne Hotel, MA (The spirit of a past owner or employee disagreed with the living employee on how tables and chairs should be arranged in the lower library).
Sometimes items brought into a structure can have spirits still attached to them, as they meant a lot to these spirits when they were still alive.
Brumder Mansion, WI (The spirit of a female organist still likes to visit the pump organ in the Brumder’s foyer as she has many good memories playing it).
Grapevine Farm, NY (When David Hitlz’ grave stone was moved inside so the owner could cut the grass, it wasn’t put back, and the spirit of David, who was attached to it moved back inside his old home, deciding to stay in his old bedroom).
The Clayton House Museum, AR (Some of Powell Clayton’s most treasured possessions are on display in a case in the office area which explains why this spirit visits so often).
Hawthorne Hotel, MA (The steering wheel in the hotel’s restaurant may have a spirit of a sea captain attached to it).
Guests who were loyal to their favorite hotel while alive may continue to reside for free in their afterlives.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, CA ( Spirits of the prominent and the ordinary haven’t checked out and still enjoy themselves. Some even go swimming in the pool in the wee hours of the morning).
Menger Hotel, TX (Is the afterlife home of many spirits who were war casualties and satisfied former guests from years ago).
Hotel Congress, AZ (A variety of past guests, and residents still keep the living company, while they enjoy the hotel in their afterlife).
Hawthorne Hotel, MA (The spirits of former guests who loved staying in the Hawthorne Hotel have chosen to spend their afterlives here for free. They sometimes don’t like sharing rooms).
The spirits who reside here love the hotel, and find it to be a place where they can continue to enjoy aspects of their former lives. Most of the time, the spirits are willing to share the hotel, except in one guest room where the spirits will share it with the guests until they want their turn.
The Spirit of Bridget Bishop
Despite her unfair, painful ending, she doesn’t hold a grudge against the living, and still is friendly and outgoing, finding joy here, and in several other places in Salem.
Whenever paranormal investigators happen to be in the building where she is, they always get friendly and pleasant responses to their questions, recorded on EVPs (See the Salem Witch House story on hauntedhouses.com).
Still Does What She Loves
She enjoys memories of picking her apples in the orchard that once stood on this lot, and baking her pies.
The wonderful aroma of baking apple pies drifts all over the first floor of the hotel.
In Room 612, staff and guests have reported sightings of a female apparition, just outside the door.
This possibly could be Bridget, though it also could be a former guest.
The Spirit of a Mariner or Sea Captain
Now called “Nathaniel’s,” it was originally known as “The Main Brace,” and featured decor that reflected life at sea.
There was a ship’s steering wheel on display, that would turn by itself, as if an unseen presence was controlling it.
It was rather heavy, and couldn’t be moved by vibrations, etc.
Even after being stopped, it would start up again.
Spirits Who Miss the Sea
Despite Taria Topan Cabin Area being locked in a secure structure, it is thought that the once active spirit of a sea captain continues to look at the The Salem Marine Society’s current charts and journals in the library located there.
A female guest felt a cold unseen hand on her shoulder.
Not that Way!
The spirit of a past owner or employee stepped in to show the living the right way to do things.
A staff member had just reorganized the chairs and tables in the lower deck library.
When he returned moments later, the tables and chairs had been moved by unseen hands in the opposite direction.
Signs of Spectral Guests in Room 325
Lights come on and go off by themselves.
The water faucets turn on and off by themselves as well.
The disembodied cries of a child looking for its mother have been heard by guests.
Our Turn! Get Up.
In room 325, spirits who reside here sometimes have a hard time sharing the bed with guests, and try to wake them up.
Guests have felt a coldness surround them while they lay in bed.
Guests have been touched by unseen entities while they sleep.
A female guest once felt a cold unseen hand on her shoulder.
Guests and staff have had many personal experiences.
It has been reported that “Researchers have picked up on energy in the structure with EMF detectors and the KII Meter.”
Tri-County Paranormal Research Society caught and felt some interesting activity in the library. Members felt an unseen presence studying them and following them around the room. A picture of an orb in the place where they felt this presence was caught on film.
Ghost Hunters, in 2007, investigated the Hawthorne Hotel, without really trying to engage the spirits. They relied on their equipment, which was typical of their investigative style during their early years, before they evolved into using additional effective techniques. and added a female investigator to their team.
The Travel Channel TV episodes of their early investigations, such as the Lizzie Borden House, that they claimed were not haunted, later were found to be so, by other paranormal investigation groups, such as Ghostlab, and The Dead files.
Not surprisingly, Ghost Hunters didn’t catch anything in their investigation, but the credit card machine in the restaurant did unexpectedly spit out a paper, with the phrase, ‘Good Morning,’ typed on it. They couldn’t explain that occurrence; neither could the staff of the hotel.
Most probably so!
While hard evidence that has been caught, hasn’t been shared much, the hotel has gotten some compelling reports of personal experiences. I have the feeling that other investigation groups have come in and done private client investigations, like R.T.S. Paranormal, who have found enough evidence to confidently list The Hawthorne Hotel as being a haunted site, but they don’t have permission to share online what they have discovered. Perhaps they want to prevent other paranormal groups from stealing their evidence, as paranormal investigation is a very competitive field.
18 Washington Square West
Salem, Massachusetts 01970
The Hawthorne Hotel can be found in the heart of historic downtown Salem, near the corner of Essex Street and Hawthorne Boulevard.
It is in a great location, within walking distance of all the attractions of historic Salem. Hawthorne Boulevard, when it reaches the Hawthorne Hotel block, separates into two streets, with a divider between east and westbound traffic. Hawthorne Boulevard becomes one-way going west, while the other side of the street becomes Washington Square West, giving the Hawthorne Hotel its address, as well as its own street, which merges again into Hawthorne Boulevard.
- The Ghost Hunters Field Guide
by Rich Newman
- Haunted Salem and Beyond
by Lynda Lee Macken
Black Cat Press
- Hawthorne Hotel page on Trip Advisor
- Hawthorne Hotel Web Site
- Salem Marine Society
- “The Haunted History of Salem, Massachusetts” on haunted-places-to-go.com
- Hawthorne Hotel page on Tri-County Paranormal Research Society
- “The Hawthorne Hotel Investigation” on RTS Paranormal Investigations
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr