Let’s just say that the builders of Joshua Ward House didn’t quite think it through when they began construction on the large brick styled mansion. The land (and foundation) was built upon a house that once belonged to the infamous Sheriff George “The Strangler” Corwin, aka one of the most notorious interrogators and witch killers in American history.
During his rein of terror, Corwin made a reputation for himself as being a sick, sadistic, monster whose methods were unusually cruel. His favorite way to get accused witches to talk was to tie them from neck to ankles until a fountain of blood would rush from their nose. He was also famous for torturing a prisoner for hours, only to crush them to death with a large rock afterwards.
George “The Strangler” Corwin was personally responsible for the deaths of 19 men and women.
When Corwin died of a heart attack in 1697 his body was buried in a grave in the basement of the Joshua Ward house. His family, fearing that the body would be exhumed and dismembered by the locals, kept him burred in the basement for years, until he was moved to Broad Street Cemetery years later.
So, as you can imagine, building the Joshua Ward House directly over top of the home where Corwin lived, committed murders, and eventually died, is pretty much a perfect recipe for paranormal activity.
There are three spirits that supposedly haunt the Joshua Ward House. For years people have reported being choked by invisible hands that are usually attributed to the ghost of the “strangler.” Another is the spirit of Giles Corey, a man who was personally tortured and killed by Corwin after being accused of being a warlock. He often is responsible for trash cans being kicked over, books being pulled from shelves, cold spots, and candles that are often found in a puddle of wax even through they have never been lit.
The most famous ghost at the Joshua Ward House is the spirit of an innocent woman who was accused and killed for being a witch. Amazingly, she was photographed by a visiting realtor one afternoon, standing in the hallway of the mansion. When the picture was taken no one was present, but once the imgae developed an image of a woman with wild black hair appeared. Needless to say, the realtor left the house quickly.
The Ward House is a perfect Halloween location, and a big piece of Salem’s very strange and documented history. So if you’re looking for a spooky bit of history to explore this fall, the Joshua Ward House is a perfect stop!