The Salem Inn

Posted by amber in Salem Ghosts
The Salem Inn - Photo

Beautifully designed and affordably posh, The Salem Inn was conceived over 30 years ago by the Pabich family. A husband and wife duo bought the former home of Captain Nathaniel West, intending to establish the best inn win the City of Salem, Massachusetts. The inn is actually three houses combined, all of which date back to the early nineteenth century. The West House, the Curwen House, and the Peabody House all make up the inn.


The Haunted Crown Jewel of Salem


photo shows the front of the west house, the main portion of the salem inn. the home is made of red brick and has over 20 windows in the front!
The Salem Inn, in all her glory and splendor. No wonder her ghostly residents don’t want to leave! Source: Wikimedia Commons


The West House was built in 1834 by Nathaniel West, a prominent sea merchant, and is considered to be the central part of the inn. The rather imposing Federalist-style home houses 22 rooms and suites, each with its own unique antiques. The house would later become home to Union General William Cogswell, and he would serve as the sixteenth mayor of Salem and be later elected the city’s nineteenth mayor. With a welcoming fireplace in the parlor and a complimentary sherry, there’s a personal touch to the Salem Inn that isn’t found in the area’s larger hotels. For those that love to travel with pets, the West House is pet friendly, and the Salem Inn is the only hotel in Salem that allows furry companions. There’s even a ghostly cat that roams the halls!

The second oldest of the three homes that form the Salem Inn is the Curwen House. It was constructed in the Italiante Revival style twenty years after the West House. It was built by the Curwen brothers, Samuel and James. This part of the hotel is strictly adults-only and is meant to be a getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The youngest of the three houses is the Peabody House, built in 1874. It’s a grand Dutch Colonial-style home, built as a single-family home originally. It’s important to note that the Salem Inn is one of Massachusetts’s most historic treasures. Each home of the Salem Inn offers a different experience, each one special and unique in its own way. The homes share one commonality; however, they’re all reportedly haunted.


The Inn’s Beginnings


Over thirty years ago, the West House was dilapidated and falling into ruin. Luckily, the Pabich family arrived in Salem in 1983 and breathed new life into the home. They were looking for a property to invest in, and the West House was the perfect candidate.


photo shows dick and diane pabich sitting in the front room of the salem inn
The innkeepers, Dick and Diane Pabich. Source: WickedLocal


The City of Salem was ecstatic at the beautiful job that Dick and Diane Pabich did and quickly listed the Nathaniel West house on the National Register of Historic Places. After a few years, the Pabich’s acquired the Curwen House and the sadly neglected Peabody House soon after.


Renovations Begin


More than twenty years ago, in 1995, Dick and Diane began the process of restoring the Peabody House and the rest of the inn to its former glory. It was a tedious process, and when they were finally able to rip up the ratted and stained carpeting, underneath was something so sinister, so elusive and horrifying, the Pabich’s couldn’t believe their bad luck – linoleum. One can only imagine the terror upon finding such a ghastly discovery. The Pabich’s carried on, and beneath the nearly impossible-to-remove linoleum were the original cherry and ash hardwoods from the home’s original construction in 1874. Their luck seemed to be changing! After a few years of hard work and passion, all three homes of the Salem Inn were restored and ready to welcome guests. Today, the inn features forty-two rooms, twenty-one fireplaces, and enough history to fill one hundred suitcases. Beautiful historic details and evident love for old homes aren’t all that can be found at the inn, however.


The Salem Inn’s Ghostly Residents


Even before the Salem Inn opened its doors, reports of paranormal happenings were flooding out of it and spreading all throughout the town. The energies that gather within the houses in undeniable and guests and staff of the inn have each had their own share of encounters in each of the rooms and throughout the inn itself.

One encounter of a ghostly breeze was told by an employee of the inn. Working the guest counter early one winter morning, she retells the story with slight discomfort. She left her post at the counter to light the fireplace in hopes of warming up a bit. She quickly heard someone call for her and stepped back into the foyer, feeling a freezing cold breeze rush by. She says it was unlike the feeling of the cold air coming from the front door; she described it as ‘someone rushing by me and up the stairs.’ Understandably freaked out, she retold the story to another employee later in the day, and her only response was, ‘oh, that’s just Katherine.’

The spirits have names at the Salem Inn, and the identity of Katherine isn’t known, but both guests and employees tell of her accompanying cold breeze. The inn’s staff swears that at least three ghosts are haunting the Salem Inn; Katherine, a small child, and a ghostly black cat in the parlor. As for the paranormal feline, there are no living cats on the premises. Strangely, guests who have allergies to cats find themselves with the old familiar symptoms when stepping inside the parlor where the cat is seen. Other guests have reported a cat darting about out of the corner of their eye. How ‘Salem’ can it get, a spirit of a black cat in a haunted inn!

The spirit of a young child, whose laughter and little feet can be heard trotting up and down the steps and down the hall above the front desk. Several employees have even heard this spirit dropping unseen pebbles onto the front desk from the staircase above. Even the Steven King-like guestbook has tales of ghastly encounters, including a woman watching her bedroom door slowly open and then slam shut, thumps and bumps in room seventeen exclusively, and disembodied conversations coming from empty rooms. Unexplainable shadows, personal items going missing and reappearing somewhere else, and apparitions are familiar in the Salem Inn.


The Ghost of Room Seventeen


So bumps in the night fill the ears of whoever stays in room seventeen, but who or what exactly is causing these sounds? Some have dubbed the ghost of the room Elizabeth, perhaps as a reference to Nathaniel West’s wife, who famously divorced him for his extramarital affairs. Others say that Katherine haunts room seventeen, as well as the rest of the historic inn. According to one guest that stayed in the room, a well-known psychic, she claims that the room is indeed haunted by the ghost of a woman who was killed by her husband. This betrayal has led to her mistreatment of any man who stays in the room. Usually, when a man does dare to stay the night in room seventeen, she becomes quite loud and active to disrupt their sleep. She bangs walls in the closet and stomps about the room. It has been said there’s a way to quell her anger, and that’s with an offering of whiskey on the bedside table.

Have you or yours stayed with the spirits of the Salem Inn? We’d suggest the next time you visit Salem, check it out! Not only is it filled with historical delight, but it’s also actually quite affordable! For more haunted inn options, check out our most haunted inns in Massachusetts article!


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Featured Image Courtesy of Flickr