Oct 6, 2022

Proctor's Ledge - Salem, MA

 If you've been following me for awhile, and have a really good memory, you may recall a post I did about the re-dedication of the Witch Trials Memorial in downtown Salem. That memorial was created in 1992 to honor those who were persecuted for witchcraft.

In 2016, a group of researchers determined the actual location of the Witch Trials hanging executions is a place now called Proctor's Ledge and not the nearby Gallows Hill area. In 2017, a new memorial was dedicated at the base of this location, which is where the victim's bodies were unceremoniously dumped after being executed.

Sorry for the "shady" photo. I went at 8:30 on a Saturday morning because when I went Friday afternoon there were people there. Even Saturday morning, a car rolled up across the street with Virginia plates and a family of 3 got out to take photos.

It sits on a one-way street nestled in a small residential neighborhood behind a Walgreens. Your typical Salem sightseer is unlikely to stumble into it because it's not in the main downtown, touristy area. As it should be, it's not an overly commercialized type of place, it's a simple memorial area. The names and dates of the 19 who were executed by hanging line the back wall.

At the front of the memorial, an oak tree is planted with the words "We Remember."

Up the hill behind the memorial is the ledge where the executions took place.

It's a little, peaceful wooded area that's obviously used for partying judging by the various colored, broken glass scattered around. There are signs posted stating you can be fined if found here after dusk.

If you happen to be of a historical mind, there's plenty of info out there about the Ledge.
Here's a couple articles of interest.

The Salem News from 7/19/17 on the memorial dedication.
A good read from the History Of Massachusetts Blog about the memorial and how the site was determined to be the location of the executions. 
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  1. Very cool. I always like visiting interesting historical places like this.

    1. It's definitely not a light hearted Halloween post, but being in the area it's nice to bring a little local history in October.

  2. Salem along with Sleepy Hollow is on my bucket list. Some day...

    1. I'd love to go to Sleepy Hollow someday too! The closest (not really) I've gotten is the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery here in MA which has some famous authors buried there.

  3. Dex, that is cool and sad all at the same time.