Hawthorne Hotel

More From Salem More From Massachusetts

The Hawthorne Hotel is a favorite haunt of past guests
and Mariners & 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. This old hotel still has its 1925 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 throughout the years without a master plan, giving the 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 Cabin”, used only by the Salem Marine Society for their quarterly meetings.



The city of Salem has been in existence since the 1600s, formed by a group of fishermen in 1626, at the strategic spot; the mouth of the Naumkeag River. Salem was incorporated in 1629.


The land upon which The Hawthorne Hotel sits once was the site of Bridget Bishop’s apple orchard in the 1690s, a lady who was the first to be hung on Salem’s Gallows Hill in 1692, for being convicted of the crime of witchcraft, probably by a kangaroo court. She was later found to be innocent. It was by slow strangulation, as they had no idea on how to make it humane by snapping the neck.

Since 1830, the main headquarters of The Salem Marine Society, also was located on this spot. This organization was formed in 1766 by sea captains, due 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). This organization provided relief for family members of sea captains, and support for disabled or elderly former sea captains. Members as well as shared information about the treacherous waters they all traveled to promote a better outcome for survival, working at sea.

In 1925, the city fathers decided that having 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 for as long as they are a group.

On the roof of the hotel, a structure was built, that mirrored a cabin of a barque, calling it the Taria Topan, reserved permanently for The Salem Marine Society.

After raising more than five hundred thousand dollars spending through the sale of stocks, the handsome, upscale Hawthorne Hotel was built, opening on July 23rd, 2012. The Hawthorne Hotel has been serving the needs of travelers, and visitors to Salem, promoting economic benefits and growth to local businesses ever since.



When buildings are torn down, or structures are built upon land where spirits are attached, the spirits who resided there sometimes decide to haunt the land, and move into the new structure.

The Hawthorne Hotel is still the meeting place of the The Salem Marine Society, made up of present day Salem mariners and sea captains, as well as descendants of families, still carrying on the original work of the organization. These two environmental triggers are thought to draw in entities from the past, who worked on the sea.

Apparently, this upscale structure also appeals to the entity of Bridget Bishop.

Entities sometimes can’t let go of their life’s passions, and need to visit and supervise the living.

Spirit people who may be attracted to the Hawthorne Hotel could be former dedicated employees & owners.

Entities sometimes attach themselves to objects that they cared about while alive.

The steering wheel in the restaurant may have a spirit attached to it.

Entities of former guests who had many good times at the Hawthorne Hotel may have decided to visit or stay there during their after-life, remembering/watching the living.

Incidents on the third floor of the Hawthorne Hotel suggest that some guests haven’t checked out.



Entity of Bridget Bishop

Room 612

Staff and guests have reported the sighting of a female apparition, just outside the door. This possibly could be Bridget, though it also could be a former guest.

The strong aroma of baked apples can be smelled around the hotel, when no such dish is being cooked in the kitchen, or anywhere near the hotel.

Entities of Mariners/Sea Captains

The Hotel’s Restaurant

Now called “Nathaniel’s”, originally was known as “The Main Brace”, that had 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 turning it. It was rather heavy, and wouldn’t be moved by vibrations, etc. Even after being stopped, it would start up again.

Taria Topan Cabin Area

Despite of being locked in a secure structure, probably an entity of a sea captain who once was active in this organization, is looking at the The Salem Marine Society’s current charts and journals.

Unknown Entities

Could be those mentioned above, or perhaps past guests and/or past staff members or owners.

Doors open and close by themselves.

Objects move by themselves.

In the lower deck library: Perhaps a past employee stepped in to help!

A staff member had just reorganized the chairs and tables in the lower deck library. When he returned moments later, the tables and chairs were moved by unseen hands in the opposite direction.

Probably Entities of Past Guests

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 are heard by guests.

Guests have felt a coldness surround them while they lay in bed.

Guests of the hotel are touched by unseen entities while they sleep.

A female guest felt a cold unseen hand on her shoulder.

salem hotel


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. Felt an unseen presence studying them and followed 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, did an investigation at the Hawthorne Hotel, not really trying to engage the spirits, just relying on their equipment, which was typical of their investigation style during their early years, before they evolved into more effective investigators, and had added some female investigators. Places that Ghost Hunters investigated, like the Lizzie Borden House that they thought weren’t haunted, later were found to be so, by other paranormal groups, such as Ghostlab, and The Dead files.

Not surprisingly, Ghost Hunters in their investigation didn’t catch anything, 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 some 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 don’t have permission to share on line what they have caught there. Or, perhaps they also 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
(978) 744-4080

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
    Llewellyn Productions
  • 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

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Haunts in Salem Haunts in Massachusetts