Old Burying Point, or as it is known now as Charter Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States. It is here that many notable figures from the 1692 witch trials are buried including John Hathorne. He was the leading magistrate during the trials. Adjacent to the cemetery is a memorial for the 20 individuals that were put to death during the trials. Nineteen were hung and one was pressed to death. The witch hysteria only lasted 9 months but it is a long lasting stain on our American history.
If you are visiting Salem during October you will need to scan a QR code at the gate to select a free time to visit the cemetery. However, the memorial is outside of the gates and can be viewed at any time. We arrived around 7:30 am to be able to find parking and walk around before the crowds set in. The cemetery did not open until 10:00 am and we were able to snag the first slot to enter. In the mean time we visited the memorial and then walked several blocks to see the house of Seven Gables without anyone around. I am intrigued by old cemeteries. I have been searching for certain symbols from this time period for years and was extremely excited to find several Skulls and angels with wings. I even spotted my Holy Grail of gravestones- a skull and crossbones!
The cemetery itself is very small but well worth the visit. I recommend coming early to avoid the crowds and lines that form shortly after the town comes alive for the Haunted Happenings on the weekends in October.