Posted on January 4, 2020
Salem, Massachusetts is rife with witchcraft lore, with many of its locations said to be haunted. This is in large part due to the Salem Witch Trials that took place way back in 1692 and 1693. As many as 19 innocent people died as a result of what turned out to be nothing more than mass hysteria run wild.
The aftermath has caused many locals and tourists to cite several locations in Salem as being haunted. From graveyards to businesses, they all share the commonality of being inhabited by the spirits of Salem’s past. Whether that of an apparition of one of the Salem Witch Trial’s executed or the lost spirit of a past love, all have had their fair share of paranormal activity.
Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub is one of these allegedly haunted places. The now-vacant building is well-known among locals as being one of Salem’s most haunted structures. From guests to employees, the stories that have been shared are enough to give you nightmares. Before coming to be known as Murphy’s, however, this pub once operated under the name of Roosevelt’s.
Both eateries used to cater to Salem’s locals and tourists alike. Many patrons were familiar with the paranormal activities that took place in the bar due to its physical placement and relation to the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
Just mere footsteps away from Murphy’s sits the Old Burying Point Cemetery, which is unique in the fact that it is the final resting place of many who were directly involved with the trials – and worse, those convicted and executed. Many of the accused had their bodies unceremoniously dumped on the grounds for fear of what might happen to those who touched their corpses.
Although it is now closed, Murphy’s stands as a reminder of what was at one point a main attraction of Salem, Massachusetts, drawing many ghost-hunters and thrill-seekers from around the world to its location in the hopes of witnessing a ghostly encounter. These occurrences have been well-documented over the years, leaving a collection of stories that could fill a book.
Paranormal Encounters Within Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub
Murphy’s has had quite the history of paranormal sightings. These encounters all stemmed from an awful automobile accident that occurred many years ago resulting in the casket of a young child being thrown from the hearse that was transporting it. Upon being ejected, the casket crashed through Murphy’s exterior wall.
While a wreck of this magnitude is enough to make your skin crawl, pictures have allegedly popped up online that show the aftermath of this accident, although no such photograph could be located upon research.
Tim Maguire, who co-owns the Salem Night Tour – an open-air history and haunts experience – claims to have seen the actual photograph of the wreck and says the casket pictured was very small. Further corroborating his account, there is a large patch of plaster on part of the building that employees say is the spot where the accident occurred.
Roosevelt’s, and later Murphy’s, was at one time considered to be a hot spot for demonic activities. Its former owner, Henry McGowan, once maintained that he came face-to-face with a female apparition while he was working alone late one night.
At about 3:00 AM, he says that he was up on the second floor and, when looking up toward the third floor, he saw someone in the shape of a woman looking down at him. Startled, he did a double-take and the apparition had vanished. His story frightened him so much that he reported it to the local newspaper. This story was actually printed and reported in the North Andover Eagle Tribune back in 2001.
In reports that seem to validate the former owner’s sighting, witnesses at the pub’s bar have also reported the apparition of a young lady wearing blue. Others have claimed to have seen a similar ghostly spirit, the only variation being that they saw her carrying around a picnic basket with a small boy dressed in black by her side, possibly the child from the wreck.
Keeping in line with the aforementioned hearse accident, guests have said that they’ve heard the cry of a young child, while others have said that there are cold spots within certain areas of Murphy’s. Adding to this are the rumors that its foundations are built upon another old burial site from Salem’s early days.
Employees and owners alike have also noticed that their surveillance cameras would malfunction on a regular basis. The times that the cameras did work, however, they would find that a bright streak of light would usually be in the shot, along with glowing orbs and strange mists.
Lastly, visitors have regularly claimed that they’ve spotted the popular “Lady in White”. Not just in Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub but in and around many other locations in Salem, the Lady in White is rarely captured in photographs. She is sometimes seen wandering around the Old Burying Point Cemetery, and as such shows up in select pictures as a slight apparition.
It has long been argued as to who the Lady in White’s spirit truly belongs to, but there are some clues throughout Salem’s history to help make an educated guess. Her ghostly apparition has mostly been reported coming from within Old Burying Point Cemetery and around the marker of Mary Cory.
Mary was the second wife of Giles Cory, who, if you recall was executed by Sheriff George Corwin during the Salem Witch Trials. His execution was different than the normal hangings, with Sheriff Corwin having him crushed to death with stones near Howard Street Cemetery.
While Mary was indeed Giles’ second wife, historians surmise that she was also the love of his life, so it lends to reason that her marker would be highly haunted. It’s interesting, too, that when her spirit is seen it is often heading toward Howard Street Cemetery.
Given that Murphy’s has so many paranormal stories related to it, there is little doubt as to whether or not it is truly haunted. And with Old Burying Point considered by many to be one of the top three most haunted locations in all of Salem, one has to believe that many of the above encounters are true.
The Salem Witch Trials were an awful period of time for all involved. One has to imagine that they would have certainly crossed paths with areas where many modern buildings now stand. This in itself would seem to give enough reasoning for any place to be haunted.
If Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub is truly built upon an ancient Salem burying site, chances are that ghostly activities are going to be a foregone conclusion. The burial grounds back in Salem’s early years were, like in other parts of the world during that time period, crude to say the least.
Little care was taken in burying different types of people. As sad as it is to us today, back then people accused of witchcraft, slaves, and even some soldiers did not receive a proper burial. Instead, their bodies were simply dumped anywhere that was convenient, without the dignity of having a headstone or marker.
It was also considered to be unlucky and unlawful to touch the corpse of an alleged witch or warlock, which explains why so many bodies were dumped out in the open or in ditches. And this was considered standard procedure back in the early days of Salem.
Many at the Old Burying Point Cemetery are “buried” this way. Case in point: there are some 600 people laid to rest there, yet only around 485 headstones are present. It was also not unusual to see a single marker used for a group of people.
Several families at Old Burying Point are buried in this fashion. Members of the Wade family, who started the cemetery, have a burial plot with a single headstone that belongs to four members of their family.
While it is very unlikely that those who are underneath Murphy’s will ever be properly identified, they are all more than likely buried with fellow family and friends. Often, as bittersweet as it is, those accused of witchcraft were of relation and therefore endured the same kind of deaths.
When you take into account all of the paranormal ties Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub has, you have all of the makings for one of Salem’s most well-known haunts.