RIP on the Road

For the first road trip of 2015, some of the members of RIP headed to Salem, MA, “Witch City,” for SalemCon on April 11. Organized by Marc Arvilla and the Mass Ghost Hunters Paranormal Society, it boasted some big names in the paranormal field. Not only was the convention housed in the historic and haunted Hawthorne Hotel, but we had the pleasure of staying there as well, meaning that we were in walking distance of all of the wonderful things Salem has to offer.
Some of us arrived on Friday and had the chance to take the trolley tour. It gave a great overview of the city and some of its history. The city has accepted its part in the tragic witch trials and now much of the area’s commerce and attractions focus on witchcraft and all things eerie. On Friday evening, we took the Spellbound Tours company’s Voodoo, Vampires & Ghosts tour. Our guide led us around the town center, including past the supposed location of Giles Corey’s execution, and the 2nd oldest cemetery in the US, where lies the body of the only judge who never recanted his role in the witch trials. We also saw the house featured in Hocus Pocus, and heard some spine-chilling vampire tales. Overall, we were entertained and impressed by our guide.
Saturday, the Hawthorne was up and hopping by 9am for SalemCon. Vendors took up space in the ballroom on the main floor, as well as another room on the 2nd floor. RIP had a prime location right by the entrance, where we showed off some of our evidence, and the books written by founding members Peter Leonard and David DeProspero. From our vantage point, we could see the tables of Dustin Pari and Joe Chin, and were able to wave across the room to John Zaffis. There were continuous lectures in the library and various RIPpers were able to hear Dustin Pari, Brian Cano and Jeff Belanger speak. We were equally impressed and entertained. Comparing notes afterwards, we thought that they all had very similar approaches to investigation. Among other things, they reminded us to use our senses, and not lose the importance of personal experiences amongst all the high-tech gear and instruments.
RIP had the honor and pleasure of dining with the great John Zaffis on Saturday evening. We went to A& B Burgers, which is housed in the former Old Salem Jail, a location that Zaffis had previously investigated. We can’t claim anything supernatural happened, but we did enjoy a nice meal. SalemCon had organized several ghost hunts for that night, but RIP decided to use the time to explore the town a little more instead. We ended the evening by checking out Murphy’s Bar, because of a story our tour guide the night before had told us. The bar is right next to one of the old cemeteries, with its back wall actually against and below ground level of the cemetery, meaning you are enjoying your drink mere feet from the deceased. Our guide told us of a mass hallucination where all the patrons one night saw the wall cave in and dirt, coffins, and bodies spill into the bar. However, when the police arrived, everything was intact.
On the way out of town the next morning, a couple RIPpers checked out a witchcraft museum, and then attempted to find Gallows Hill Park, where our guide maintained the witchcraft hangings occurred. It took a few tries, especially with the giant snowbanks still around from the long winter, but we eventually accessed a walking path. Historians differ on the location, so we may never know, but it would clearly be a nice park by day, and an interesting locale to investigate some evening.
Another couple RIP members headed to the NJ Parunity Expo this past weekend. We will look forward to hearing all about this road trip as well.
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