A Brief History: Located on Liberty Street in Salem Massachusetts, the Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a crucial landmark of American history. Built in 1992, the design of this memorial was selected in an international competition. The winning design was by Maggie Smith and James Cutler, and was inspired by the Vietnam Memorial. It was meant to memorialize the 14 women and 6 men who were accused, convicted, and eventually executed for witchcraft in the year of 1692. The memorial is made up of 20 granite benches along a stonewall, each engraved with the name of the accused along with the dates and means of their execution. Many people associate “burning at the stake” with the Salem witch trials, however upon inspection of the stones it is evident that majority of the accused were hanged, with the exception of Giles Corey, who was pressed to death. The memorial is an excellent effort to carry on the names of the accused, however books, plays, television shows and even movies have helped carry on these legacies and have made many of these names famous today. Some of these names include Rebecca Nurse, John Proctor, and even Giles Corey, the man who is known for screaming “more weight” as he was pressed to death by stones.
Haunted History: The memorial is built right behind Old Burying Point Cemetery, the oldest burial ground in Salem. Needless to say, there have been claims of seeing spirits in the cemetery from the memorial. It is also very widely believed that Giles Corey not only haunts the memorial and cemetery, but the entire city itself. It is said that he cursed the sheriff as well as the city as he was being tortured. There have been claims of Giles Corey sightings right before a terrible event occurs in Salem, the Great Salem Fire of 1914 included. Some people even go as far as to say that his curse on the sheriff impacted future sheriffs because they all died of heart related issues. In fact, it wasn’t until 1991 when the sheriffs office was moved, that the sheriffs stopped dying of heart related problems. These are just a few of the superstitions that flood the city of Salem even today.