With the numerous tourist attractions that focus on Salem’s witch hysteria, the jaded tourist might feel he or she has seen it all.

With the numerous tourist attractions that focus on Salem’s witch hysteria, the jaded tourist might feel he or she has seen it all.


Nevertheless, The Witches Cottage hopes to change such a cynical view as it offers visitors a different look at Salem’s ghosts, witches, and supernatural through a live-theater production.


Erik Rodenhiser — a Salem resident and actor who is also known as the I-Party guy from television commercials — opened the attraction four years ago, in 2005, as a means of supplemental income for the Griffen Theatre, which he also owns and operates.


Having been involved in Salem’s tourist industry for many years, Rodenhiser created The Witches Cottage and put “a lot of money” into the production’s special effects, lighting, costumes, etc. Each year he now transforms the Griffen Theatre into The Witches Cottage beginning in mid-June and running through October.


Rodenhiser added that he spent the money he did because he did not want to rely on costuming alone. He said the theater cares about what their visitors are seeing because they are seeing an actual stage show.


“We didn’t want dusty mannequins either,” Rodenhiser said in reference to other attractions in town.


In addition to the eerie special effects, the interactive stage production also deals with multiple aspects of Salem’s past including: a Puritan’s meeting with a witch, tales of local hauntings and a Native American mythic creature called the “abamacho” — all presented by live actors.


Rodenhiser said by not just focusing on the witch hysteria and by offering all these different stories they are able to change the show around and keep it from getting stale. This means visitors can visit more than once and get a different experience.


“Not only does it keep it fresh for visitors, but it gives us a chance to see how we’re going to entertain ourselves as well,” he said.


The Witches Cottage seats a maximum of 90 visitors, and offers a show with a question and answer period after the performance. Visitors will find that in addition to history and entertainment, the special effects add to a sense of nervous apprehension.


“It was a lot more than I expected,” James Laird of New Hampshire said. “I have been to some of the other attractions, and while I enjoyed them, this was different. I liked being able to sit and watch the show.”


“They got me good a couple of times, and I didn’t think that would happen,” Cheryl Laird said. “I kept jumping and grabbing my husband’s arm, but it was fun.”


When told he gave one of the visitors a healthy scare, lead actor Paul Morin smiled and said, “Good that’s what we want.”


Even in the off season, when The Witches Cottage reverts back to the Griffen Theatre, they still offer a show that takes a comedic look at Salem’s past.


Voted one of the top 10 sites on tripadvisor.com, the Witches Cottage is located at 7 Lynde St.


For booking information, call 978-825-0222. For a preview of the presentation, visit witchescottagesalem.com.