How Salem really became ‘Witch City’

Visit the the witch shop that launched the city’s reputation as a safe haven for spellcasters.

A black building with a lavender door and stripe painted across the middle.

Once named The Witch Shoppe, Crow Haven Corner is Salem’s oldest store of its kind.

As you stroll through Salem toting a sack of crystals and a grimoire tucked under your arm, you have one woman to thank for the bewitching experience the city is known for today: Laurie Cabot.

Dubbed “the official witch of Salem,” many local experts trace the city’s bubbling cauldron of Pagan and Wiccan cultures — not to mention a booming tourist industry that drew one million visitors in 2022 — back to Cabot.

Long before covens of visitors flocked to Salem every fall, Cabot was the first witch to stake her claim in Salem, opening one of the first — if not the first — witch shops in America at 100 Derby St. in the early 1970s. At The Witch Shoppe, she peddled items like bagged herbs. At the same time, national interest in witchcraft swelled, thanks to the TV series “Bewitched” filming in town.

The TV show and Cabot’s shop provided the perfect formula for sparking some Salem magic. After centuries of shying away from the tragic events constituting the local witch trials, the city leaned into its darker history to capitalize on the public’s newfound fascination with witchcraft.

A black and white photo of Laurie Cabot standing under doorway with a pentagram overhead, holding a cat.

Laurie Cabot in Salem in the 1970s.

Cabot eventually moved The Witch Shoppe to 125 Essex St., renaming it Crow Haven Corner. While Cabot no longer owns the shop — it now belongs to another prominent local witch named Lorelei — the unmistakable black and purple store still stands, stocking spell kits, books, tarot cards, and other enchanting essentials.

Here’s how you can interact with the oldest witch shop in Salem:

  • Stop by any day from 11 a.m to 8 p.m. to browse the witchy wares
  • Guests can book tarot + psychic readings in advance online or on-site
  • Adventurous visitors can rent an on-theme AirBnB located above the shop

Bonus: Book a Salem Witch Walk tour, which takes you through the shop’s yard to participate in a traditional circle dance.

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