The Ghosts of the Salem Inn

If you're looking for a haunted Bed and Breakfast in Salem, this could be the one you're looking for

The Salem Inn was conceived over 30 years ago, by the Pabich family. Husband and wife, Dick and Diane bought the former home of Captain Nathaniel West, with the intention of establishing the best inn within the City of Salem.

The inn actually sets across three houses, all of which date back to the nineteenth century. These three houses are the West House (7 Summer Street), the Curwen House (15 Summer Street) and the Peabody House 331 (Essex Street).

The West House was built in the year of 1834 by Nathaniel West, and is considered to be the main of the three houses that form the Salem Inn. The Federalist style West House offers 22 rooms and suites, each of which features artfully placed antiques. And, for all of you who prefer travelling with your pets rather than your family, you will be pleased to know that the West House is pet-friendly, in fact, it’s the only hotel that is in Salem. Side note, keep an eye out for their ghost cat.

The second oldest of the three is the Curwen House, it was built in the Italianate Revival style two decades after the West House, in the year 1854, by the Curwen Brothers, James and Samuel. And, like the West House, it too was specifically designed so that each room would present a special level of uniqueness. The Curwen house is a great house for a staycation or for couples looking to explore the city, as this hotel is strictly adults-only.

Now, if you are traveling with your little munchkins, then the youngest of the three hotels, the Peabody House (built in 1874) is the perfect choice for you. Which makes sense, especially when considering this Dutch Colonial was built as a single family house. While, the Peabody House is great for kids, it’s also well suited for all parties.

Each of the Salem Inn’s houses offer something different, making each house special onto itself, but there is one common thread they all share. And, no, I am not referring to the fact that they were all built in the nineteenth century. No, indeed, to what I am referring to is something much more abnormal, actually paranormal. The houses which comprise to make the Salem Inn are all reported to be haunted.

The History of the Salem Inn

Hauntings aside for a moment (and only a moment I swear), it is important to note that the Salem Inn is one the most historic treasures that can be found in Massachusetts.

The Salem Inn, also known as the West Cogswell House, was built in 1834 by Nathaniel West (as previously mentioned). West was one the preeminent sea captains and merchants in Salem.

The house would later become home to Union Civil War general, Williams Cogswell. Cogswell, would go on to serve as the 16th Mayor of Salem, and was later elected as the city’s 19th Mayor as well.

The Inn Begins

Over 30 years ago the dilapidated West House found new life as The Salem Inn. The Pabich family came to Salem from Norwood in 1983, looking for a property to invest in, not knowing they were about to find their calling as innkeepers,

Dick and Diane Pabich had never specifically dreamed of having a bed and breakfast, but jumped at the opportunity to convert the old West House.

The City of Salem was ecstatic with the wonderful job the Pabich family did in restoring the Nathaniel West House, and thusly listed the house onto the National Register of Historic Places.

After time, Dick and Diane, purchased and restored the equally historic second location of the inn, the Curwen House. With their growing success and Salem’s growth as a destination city (the Hocus Pocus bump), the Pabiches additionally purchased the Peabody House as the Inn’s third house.

The Peabody House

More than two decades ago, in the year of 1995, Dick and Diane began the process of restoring the neglected Peabody House. It was a tedious process, as the house had layers of ill advised decisions that the Pabiches had to make their way through.

Case in point, once they were finally able to rip up the stained and ratty carpet, which seemed to be cemented onto the floor for eternity, they found—linoleum. Imagine the horror, just how terrified they must have been upon finding such a ghastly discovery.

But, Dick and Diane, carried on, as they believed, hoped, or just figured whatever is beneath the linoleum, can’t be any worse than the linoleum itself. Much to the couple’s delight, beneath the linoleum was something better indeed, beneath the tacky tile was the cherry and ash hardwood flooring from its original construction in 1874.

With passion, and elbow grease, The Pabiches, like they did with the West and Curwen houses, were able to once again bring the Peabody House back to life. Dick and Diane appear to be the defibrillators of historic Salem.

Today, the three historic houses which make up the Salem Inn offer a unique atmosphere for its guests. The inn features 42 rooms, each a one-of-a-kind antique filled paradise, the inn also has 21 fireplaces, because 20 is just simply not enough. But, that’s not all you can find at the inn...

The Ghosts of the Salem Inn

Even before the Salem Inn officially opened, reports of paranormal happenings begin circulating around the city. And, the energy within the houses that form the Salem Inn is undeniable. The guests and staff of the inn have had their fair share of encounters in each of the rooms.

Some of the strange occurrences the guests and staff have experience include that classic ghostly behavior of thievery. Countless times, members of the staff have complained of coal logs vanishing from the fireplaces, and even freshly set up candles disappearing from the surface on which they were placed upon.

The Pabiches are unquestionably more than just keepers of an inn, they are keepers of lost souls. They might be tight lipped in regard to the stories they have heard and activity they have witnessed. But, with the wink of an eye, and an all telling grin, you know that there is something that lurks in the shadows of the Salem Inn.

Guests and Ghosts

It’s no secret that many of the homes and businesses of Salem are haunted, stories of ghosts have plagued the city since its founding. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone who visits Salem, that no matter where they choose to stay during their trip, the chances they will encounter some sort of paranormal activity are high. And, this is especially the case with the Salem Inn.

One room that has achieved legendary status at the inn is Room 17. It is within this room that guests and staff alike have claimed to have experienced the most activity. Reports of items mysteriously moving from one location to another, and the sight of unexplainable shadows are not uncommon.

The trademark of every bed & breakfast is a guestbook, and the Salem Inn is no exception. But, while their guestbook is filled with praise and gratitude, there is something different to be found upon reading its pages. What’s so different? Well, the inn’s guestbook at times reads more like a Stephen King novel.

In the Salem Inn’s guest book, you will find tales from guests, accounts of their supernatural experiences from the night before. Some of these stories, share ongoings in the form of the typical, such as belongings going adios, but others have shared more chilling encounters, Encounters with spectral beings, who suddenly appear upon their bed.

After running their paranormal hotspot for more than 30 years, Dick and Diane are certainly well versed in the strange happenings that occur, and as such, there is seemingly very little that actually shocks them.

The Ghost of Room 17

Okay, so, we know that Room 17 of the Salem Inn, is perhaps the most haunted room the inn has to offer. But, who is it haunted by? That in itself is a mystery, the ghost of Room 17, is believed to be a woman. Some have dubbed her Elizabeth, perhaps a reference to Nathaniel West’s wife, who famously divorced him for his extramarital affairs. Although, others refer to the spirit as Katherine (sometimes with a C).

According to a psychic who visited the Salem Inn, she claims that Room 17 is indeed haunted, haunted by the ghost of a woman who was killed by her husband. This betrayal by her husband, has lead to her spirit’s ill treatment of any man who stays in the room.

Usually when a man does spend the night in 17, she’ll become quite active in order to disrupt their sleep. She achieves this by causing loud noises in the closet, and stomping around the room. But, don’t fret as there is supposedly a way to win favor with her. It’s been said, if you leave a tumbler of whiskey, or any alcohol for that matter, she just may leave you to a restful night of sleep.

Staff and Ghosts

According to members of the staff, there are three ghosts who roam the inn. Obviously, the star of the show is the ghostly woman in Room 17, but who are the other two? Well, the second spirit, isn’t so much of a who, as it is believed to be the ghost of a cat.

Before going any further it is important to note that there are no house cats at the inn. Yet, throughout the years the staff have claimed to have witnessed this ghost cat darting from one room to the next. Some guests, who were allergic to cats, have even questioned the staff about the possible presence of a feline upon having a reaction.

The last of this spirit triangle, is believed to be the ghost of a child. The staff have said that they’ve heard the sound of a child giggling, at times when there were no kids saying at the inn. Moreover, some staff members have also heard light footsteps following them around the inn. Footsteps so faint they could have only been made by a child, but upon turning around expecting to see a kid in need of assistance, they are baffled by the discovery of nothing.

Ghostly Encounters

A woman named Cathy stayed at the West House during the month of July back in 2012. The room she had booked was not 17, but Room 11. Apparently her encounter was with the ghostly cat. As she tells it, she was laying in bed, trying to get to sleep, when she felt a slight pressure on the bed, almost as if a small animal had jumped onto the bed. She claims, the cat began to paw at her feet, until she finally kicked it. Afterward, she didn’t experience the cat for the rest of the night.

A more recent occurrence at the Salem Inn, happened in 2015. The guest of the inn, Mary, was staying in Room 40. She was content to stay in her room for the evening, and had stretched out on the couch, and was watching the television. Moments later, she heard the door which lead out to the room’s balcony, slowly begin to open. Nervous, she stood up from the couch, as the door opened wider, then it suddenly slammed shut. Not quite the relaxing evening she had envisioned.

Staying at the Salem Inn

Located just 18 miles north of Boston, the inn’s centralized location at 7 Summer Street, allows guests the chance to explore nearly every sight in Salem by foot. The three historic homes that make up this old seaport inn, faithfully transports its visitors through New England’s rich history.

But, remember when booking a room at Salem’s Inn, you are not just getting a chance to spend the night in a historical house, but a truly haunted one. The experience that awaits you at the inn is not something you can avoid by requesting an alternative to Room 17.

As through the years there have reportedly been occurrences in nearly every room the Inn has to offer. So, if you’re planning on staying at the inn, come to terms with its ghostly reality now, that way you are prepared if you encounter one of the lost souls of the Salem Inn.

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