Perhaps you have seen it. Even if you have never been to Salem, Massachusetts, you may have seen the Ropes mansion on television or in the movies. It is the mansion used in the movie “Hocus Pocus” as the home where Allison lived. The exterior shots were used in the movie while interior shots were filmed at a set.
The twenty room mansion at 318 Essex Street was built in 1727 for merchant Samuel Barnard. Salem was once the main maritime port in the colonies. It is still famous for its maritime history although the infamous witch trials of 1692 have long overshadowed the former. The Witch City boasts a host of ghostly locations but it is the Ropes Mansion that is reported to harbor the most ghostly activity.
Judge Nathaniel Ropes and his wife Priscilla acquired the mansion in 1768 and it stayed in the family until1907. Ropes was friends with the likes of John Adams, but when the struggle for independence broke out, the judge announced that he was a Tory, or sided with the King of England. When the folks on the side of liberty became aware of this, they stoned his home and later demanded he come out and face them. When they found out he was on his deathbed, they retracted their threat and dispersed.
Nathaniel Jr. took over the mansion after his mother died. He married and had a daughter named Abigail. Abigail, or Nabby, as she was known, was unmarried when a tragic event took place that would scar the walls of the mansion for eternity. One day Nabby was walking by a fireplace when her clothes caught fire. Her screams went unheard and she suffered for three weeks before succumbing to her injuries. The Salem Gazette from April 26, 1839 wrote she died from, “a distressing illness of three weeks caused by her clothes accidentally taking fire.”
Her spirit returned to scene of her demise to forever haunt the home. The Blue Room is where Nabby met her fate and it is that room where people passing by the mansion she her peering out the window. Some have witnessed a full-body apparition in a long skirt, hair tied up in a bun, wandering through the house. Former caretakers of the mansion, Rich and Georgette Stafford experienced various paranormal events that occurred on their watch.
Several times the burglar alarms went off but a thorough search of the home proved it was uninhabited by any other living beings, save themselves. Fire alarms were also prone to the same mysterious occurrence. Items would fly off shelves or fall from their secured place of rest.
One of the most disturbing occurrences is the blood curdling screams in the night as if Abigail was reliving her fateful moment once more. There is also a famous photo of what appears to be two hands and a transparent form sitting on the couch in the front hall where often times, Judge Ropes and John Adams would argue politics. This photo appears in Ghostly Haunts by Robert Ellis Cahill, former Sheriff of Salem.