Immersive Haunted Happenings at The House of the Seven Gables

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Immersive Haunted Happenings at The House of the Seven Gables

SALEM — In October in Salem, some of the best adventures lurk in the shadows.

Stroll down Derby Street, past the shops and restaurants, past the lighthouse and Custom House. Soon you’ll encounter a formidable mansion, doused in shadow and made elegant by its seven peaked gables. Centuries of stories live here.

And it’s here, at The House of the Seven Gables, that Haunted Happenings visitors will experience dramatic interpretations of nearly true tales and some rather discomforting events — all in fun, of course. The Gables is located at 115 Derby St., 978-744-0991.

Three presentations by heralded actors and entertainers — “Daemonologie: Sinew and Soul,” “Haunted Fables at The Gables,” and “Tales of the Macabre” — are scheduled throughout October and early November. Tickets must be purchased in advance from The Gables’ website, Tickets are not refundable. All performances take place on the campus of one of this country’s oldest and most revered historic sites. 

“There’s something for everyone at Haunted Happenings,” says actor Paul Riopelle, known for his thrilling storytelling and dramatic interpretations of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe, including October’s “Haunted Fables at The Gables.” 

“If you want to be scared in a kitschy, Halloween-y way, there’s lots to do,” says Riopelle. If you’re interested in history, you’ll find many things, as well. And there’s everything in between. I like to think The Gables’ provides a place for all these people and their varied interests. The offerings are historical. They’re full of whimsy. Expect a lot of humor. And the scare is definitely there!” 

Schedule of October presentations:

Haunted Fables at The Gables

Created and performed by Paul Riopelle

October 4–10

7 performances at various times of the day and evening

It’s as if Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe stand before you, delivering their gothic tales as they were meant to be understood, experienced and felt. Paul Riopelle masterfully channels these two great New England writers in ways that bring new meaning and powerful emotion to their works. Riopelle transforms and performs in an intimate Victorian study. The energy, humor and, yes, dread are palpable as the stories yield their many surprises. Riopelle created “Haunted Fables at The Gables” specifically for The Gables, where everyone can feel Hawthorne’s presence. His birthplace is on the property. Riopelle’s nuanced interpretations lend great thrills and new meaning to pieces like “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee.” Children 10 and up are welcome to attend.

Tales of the Macabre

Created and performed by Jennifer Emerson, founder of The Petticoat Pages

October 15–29

7 performances at various times of the day and evening

Actor, historian, author, playwright and founder of The Petticoat Pages, Jennifer Emerson of Salem, brings her lively and captivating take on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving, Charles Dickens and, of course, Nathaniel Hawthorne to The Gables during Haunted Happenings. Prepare to be surprised, says Emerson, as her interpretations in “Tales of the Macabre” are not necessarily akin to the way we learned these stories in school. Emerson is appreciated for the way she uses a broad range of skills, from costuming to mannerisms to diction to imbue her characters with their distinctive and defining traits. 

“What I do in ‘Tales of the Macabre’ is bring back what’s called parlor theater,” says Emerson. During the Victorian era people hired actors to come into their homes and perform. I do this with great passion and respect for the text and the audience. It can be interactive at times. I invite people to participate in the dramatic readings. People will see how literature used to be ingested and shared. Because this approach opens up the literature, it’s a fun way to promote literacy. And I do this in Victorian mourning clothes. It makes a powerful impression. I’m dressed in black, from head to toe, complete with a veil. It’s historical, theatrical and literary.”

Daemonologie: Sinew and Soul

Created and performed by members of Intramersive Media

October 23–November 3

7 performances on various evenings.

Curious folks looking for a Haunted Happening theatrical experience that’s edgy, deeply immersive and interactive will want to know about “Daemonologie: Sinew and Soul” performed at The Gables by Intramersive Media. “Sinew and Soul” follows Jon, who in 1794, desperately sought to cure his beloved dying sister. Enter Harvard medical students, willing to do anything to succeed.

“Daemonologie” is one in an anthology of speculative history theater events using live action role playing, or LARP, to propel the action. Audiences can expect a lively, heady interaction with Intramersive cast as all involved explore cultural history, the roles of women, and aspects of the supernatural. Intramersive promises unique, memorable experiences for those in attendance. No two theater events are the same. 

About The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association 

The mission of The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to be a welcoming, thriving, historic site and community resource that engages people of all backgrounds in our inclusive American story. For more information visit


Paul Riopelle mesmerizes audiences with his pitch-perfect portrayals of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. He will bring these two popular gothic authors to life at The Gables this October.

Jennifer Emerson performs her haunting “Tales of the Macabre” in Victorian mourning garb. Her dramatic interpretations at The Gables invite audience interaction and deeper appreciation of gothic authors Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.



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