8 Days Left! Gain something by Helping our Kickstarter campaign!

Check out Salem House Press’ project on Kickstarter.com. The illustrator of my books has a new one coming out called “Mr Pelinger’s House & Intergalactic Roadshow”. Plus he is offering a reward in which you can become one of the characters in the book! Check it out here.


Help Salem House Press Print their First Hardcover!


My name is Chris. I am the author of Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City. My new book is “Mr. Pelinger’s House & Intergalactic Roadshow.” We have a kickstarter campaign that is offering you the opportunity to be able to tell your grandchildren you are a character in their favorite book! Help Salem House Press and me  print our first hardcover book!
Donate Today!

New Winter Commons Walking Tour from Salem Smugglers’ Tour

Look forward in the next week to a new walking tour featuring the history of the Common from its creation, its dedication to the local militia, the fight between Commoners and Villagers over its use, the old industrial nature, and the beautification by Col. Elias Hasket Derby Jr. and the Salem Common Improvement Fund Subscribers.

Pictture of Elias Hasket Derby Jr. in Salem MA

Col. Elias Hasket Derby Jr.

The Salem Common Improvement Fund was an alias for a series of investors who filled in the 5 ponds with dirt from the tunnels they were digging and attached their new brick homes around the Common between 1801 and 1860 to them. The tour will show you various pictures of the sealed tunnels leading from these houses and give you the history of Federal Architecture and its real reason for being created.


The tour will showcase many images of the Common through time on a tablet and tell you entertaining stories, tales of ghosts, and how the tunnels were used. Plus we can peer into two locations that once were entrances to the tunnels.


Check the Salem Smugglers’ Tour web page next week to find out more information. Imagine a walking tour through the snow on the beautiful Common!

Edward Augustus Holyoke~ Founder of New England Medical Journal

Holyoke, Dr. Edward A.

  • Edward Augustus Holyoke (1728-1829) physician and scientist was a much loved figure in Salem, as a doctor, founder of libraries and historic institutions.
  • He entered Harvard at age 14, graduating in 1746.
  • Holyoke made the first connection between the use of pewter dishes and lead poisoning.
  • He was the first to use the smallpox vaccination successfully.
  • Holyoke helped organize the Massachusetts Medical Society and was awarded the first M.D. degree ever given by Harvard Medical School.
  • Locally, he helped found both the Social and Philosophical Libraries in Salem, and was an incorporator of the Essex Historical Society, later the Essex Institute, in 1821.
  • Holyoke, a near vegetarian, died in 1829 at 101 years old. He left behind many journals and diaries.
  • The Holyoke Mutual Insurance Company was named for Dr. Holyoke.
  • Most organizations he had founded utilized the tunnels through town. His Salem Bank, Essex Historical Institute, and Salem Athenaeum were connected to the tunnels in multiple locations his organizations resided in. He would also visit his daughter by walking through the tunnels to the Joshua Ward House.
  • Looks like Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin’s grandmother in drag in the 1700’s. Florence Dowgin was an RN. Edward and Florence were both in the medical field and they both had great grandfathers, grandfathers, fathers, sons, and grandson’s named Edward.

A Walk Through Salem, A Fairy Tale for Those over 50?

Yes you have heard me correctly. A Walk Through Salem and the other two books in the trilogy is a fairy tale set in Salem that is loved by those over 50! Follow me, Mr. Zac, through the Unzipping Tree tonight after dusk as the shadow from the flagpole highlights the zipper on the Unzipping Tree in front of the Knights of Columbus. Some say I have a touch of Willie Wonka and Uncle Albert, but do not worry, I do not bite. Unless you ask…

Follow me through and learn about Salem’s past as we meet Fredrick Douglass, Charles Remond, ghosts, vampires, Alexander Graham Bell, and witches as we see the Immaculate Conception Church turn into a rocket ship, Vikings storm Dead Horse Beach, and Pigs Fly inn front of the Pigs Eye. After you read the book you will notice many of its characters walking past you in real life. You might end up in the Lobster Shanty and see the Congress Street Dream Bagger playing harmonica with the Erinn Brown band or you might see Elias Hasket Derby hiding in the Harry Potter shop selling you wands. I just can’t promise once you have entered the pages that you will ever be able to leave our world…

Just a warning. Since you are the main character in each of these books.

They are available at the Crafters Market on the wharf. They are also available at  the Harry Potter Store, Bewitched, and Wicked Good Books on Essex Street. Go get yourself a copy today! Also visit http://www.awalkthroughsalem.com to see live webcams from the city and play a few games!

Mr. Zac looking down at you Mr. Zac looking surprised. Flying pigs on Derby Street in Salem, MA. Zooming_In_to_Immaculate_Rocket_Finished Space_Age_Bird_Hotels Skateboarding_Done Sling_Shot_Power_Plant Immaculate_Rocket_Blast_Off.jpg Dream_Bagger_Back_Again Armory_Color_Done 2.Above_Commons_Background - .jpg


Hello there,

Its Mr. Zac again! I know you have not read the book yet, but you in the back have. IP address, you have read the free preview on Google Books 6 times, pay up! Go ahead and head down to your local bookstore and get your copies of the Salem Trilogy. The only series of books in which you are the star. If they do not have it in stock, ask them to order it!

Follow me through these whimsical journeys  through the Unzipping Tree into the magical side of Salem. In A Walk Through Salem you will see Vikings storm Dead Horse Beach, churches turn into rocket ships, and see tall ships drop anchor next to parking meters. The second tale, A Walk Under Salem,  brings you through the underground tunnels to rescue the golden egg that was stolen from the Boy Emperor of China before an international war breaks out. The last, A Walk Above Salem,  has you flying high above in a pumpkin balloon as the Salem Boys Fraternity fights it out with the Mack industrial School for Girls; the weapons of choice.. peashooters and Nerf guns!

Winner of 3 Mass Cultural Awards this series is available at you local bookseller and on Amazon.com!  In Salem you can find them at Wicked Books, Remember Salem (Harry Potter Store), and Bewitched on Essex Street. Also at the Crafter’s Maket on Pickering Wharf.

A Walk Through Salem

A Walk Under Salem

A Walk Above Salem

Vikings Storming Dead Horse Beach

Vikings Storming Dead Horse Beach


Zooming Over Salem!

Flying pigs on Derby Street in Salem, MA.

When Pigs Fly in Salem!

The Train Station

The Train Station

The Caddy Balloon.

The Caddy Balloon.

Goblin Bank.

Goblin Bank.

The Farmers, Fire Boxes, Electric Lights, Transcendentalist, and World Peace in Salem!

Moses and his daughter Sarah Jane Farmer were two amazing people who lived in Salem. Their house at 11 Pearl Street was the first home in the country lit by electric lights and a refuge for those people traveling on the Underground Railroad. The father was the inventor,  He had more than 100 patents, including the fire alarm pull box that is still in use today, and the daughter was the angel of world peace.

Sarah Jane Farmer (1844 – 1916) was the founder of Green Acre Bahá’í School where informal talks put together by Teddy Roosevelt were held between the Czar of Russia and the Emperor of Japan to end the Russian-Japanese War. Hannah’s many interests and accomplishments included raising funds to help save the old North Church in Boston from demolition; sending supplies to Southern hospitals during the Civil War, and establishing Rosemary Cottage in Eliot, ME, as a summer retreat for children and mothers from the inner city.

The Farmers were Transcendentalists who were associated with the Abolitionists and other progressive movements. Their home was a way station on the Underground Railroad. Sarah Farmer grew up knowing influential writers, inventors and thinkers of her day, including John Greenleaf Whittier; Harriet Beecher Stowe; Sojourner Truth; Dr. W.F. Channing; Frank J. Sprague, a former student of her father; Alexander Graham Bell; Lord Kelvin, the famous English scientist; Charles Proteus Steinmetz; Professor William B. Rogers; and her father’s brother-in-law, writer Charles Carleton Coffin. These associations contributed to Sarah Farmer’s understanding of social problems and the importance of peace, freedom and equality.

In 1890, Sarah Farmer joined four businessmen to open a hotel in Eliot. The poet John Greenleaf Whittier came that first summer and gave Green Acre its name. In 1892, Sarah Farmer had a vision that Green Acre should offer conferences on progressive subjects the sciences, arts and religion universal in scope and open to all races and creeds. Over time, these conferences brought together leading writers, educators, philosophers, artists and activists.

In 1894, under a tent banked by fragrant pines, Sarah Farmer dedicated Green Acre to the ideals of peace and religious unity and founded the “Green Acre Conferences.” She raised the world’s first known peace flag, explaining: “In looking for an emblem, we wanted something that would be a call to everybody and fit everybody-and we felt that the Message that had been brought to the world by prophet after prophet was the message of ‘Peace.’ So we have put on a large banner over our heads: PEACE.”

Well the father missed out on the Telephone. He had sent assistants to help Bell, but gave up on the project when the Navy asked him to move. He was the official electrician for the Navy. Then he will die at the Chicago World Fair setting up an exposition of electric light. The daughter lived a full life bringing peace to the world and stuff…

Oh well, they seemed interesting enough.

~Mr. Zac

Mr. Zac from the Salem Trilogy written by Chris Dowgin and published by Salem House Press.

To find out more about Mr. Zac and his journeys through the magical whimsical side of a quirky little town called Salem, visit The Salem Trilogy site. Then buy the three books; A Walk Through Salem, A Walk Under Salem, and A Walk Above Salem;  today and take yourself on a truly amazing adventure into the truly warped.

100th Anniversary of The Salem Fire Ghost Story

Ghost story? What ghost story? Am I talking about all of those disposed ghosts who had to flee their burning homes in search of new haunts, no silly. Even though that is a good point. I mean do they now haunt invisible houses? Or, I know they get mad when you renovate a home, what do you think would happen when yo build a new home through theirs? No. I mean the famous one. The ghost story of the couple who was put to death in 1692.

Here is the facts we know about the Salem Fire of 1914:

  • The famous Salem Fire of 1914 was one of the largest fires in the history of Massachusetts. Burning about 253 acres or two square miles, the Salem blaze began in the early afternoon of June 25, 1914, at Korn Leather Co. factory at 55 Boston St. in the city’s Blubber Hollow section of town. It spread to 20 factories, most used for leather-working. The wind pushed the fire toward south Salem, spreading to wooden residences and crossing the railroad tracks into South Salem.
  • Thirteen hours later, after the fire had run its course, the damage was assessed: 20,000 homeless, 50 people injured, 1,000 buildings burned and total loss estimated at $12,000,000. Fifty-one streets were totally wiped out and 48 partially burned.
  • The 200 children from the Orphanage on Lafayette Street were removed safely to Salem Willows, as were some of the patients from the hospitals, though some were taken to Danvers Hospital.
  • Forest River Park and Bertram Field were both used for relief camps. Bertram Field had 152 tents with 470 occupants while Forest River Camp accommodated 1,500 people in 400 tents. The Salem Militia and the Red Cross set up and ran these and other food relief efforts.
  • One of the worst losses was St. Joseph’s Church, a twin-towered structure on Lafayette street erected only a few years before the fire. The fire house in Pigeon Park ironically burned down first. The church was rebuilt in 1949.

Now there was a even more famous church in this story. The First Church. Here is a quick fact sheet:


  • The First Church Unitarian, considered the oldest continuous Protestant congregation in America, was established in 1629. This was the church that persecuted the innocent Christians in 1692.
  • Between 1635-1673 the First Church congregation gathered for worship in a succession of meeting houses on or near the former Daniel Low building in Town House Square. In 1647 George Corwin Sr. (Sheriff Corwin’s father) and William Lord pay for the repairs to the church.
  • 1670 is the year in which the first building is given over to a new one. It is within the second building they persecuted the innocent of witchcraft.
  • The present church edifice at 316 Essex Street was built in 1836. This was the fifth building they erected on the site. This is the now famous Daniel Lowe Building.

So what happened to the first building? It was eventually moved to a rear portion of the Proctor Estate off Boston Street. So why was it moved there after they built the second building on Essex Street? John Proctor owned an estate with a tavern on Old Ipswich Road which now runs from Boston Street-Bridge-Goodhue-Mason-North Streets and up around to Danvers. His property went from around Proctor Street to the base of what was Felton’s Hill in Mack Park. While John Proctor was sitting in jail in Boston accused of witchcraft, the church confiscated his property. Years before, in 1672 the first building is handed over to the town to move and use to its liking. They added it to the Old Watch House and held a school within. Then in 1760 Thorndike Proctor removed the church from the old watch house and settled it on his ancestor’s lot which he regained from the church. This building was the one that was much loved by Sheriff Corwin’s father.  Sheriff Corwin was the man who had Martha Corey and John Proctor hanged.

Now the first building stood on that location till it was taken down in 1856 to be removed to its current home behind Plummer Hall next to the Visitor Center. During its stay on Boston Street it was used as a tavern, an inn, a garbage shack, and a horse stable. So it is safe to say that the First Church was full of horse shit for awhile.

In 1902 The Korn leather Factory opened for business on that location. Their building had multiple tenants employed in the art of cobbling. The Korn Leather company had on its site a chemical combination of cellulose and alcohol used to tip shoes. This caught on fire and spread up past the trees in which the innocent were hung upon.


Now on the night of the fire it was rumored through the lore of Salem that Giles Corey was seen laughing from his point of crushing in the Howard Street Graveyard near the old prison laughing at some nuns who were standing just outside. He was pressed to death in 1692 while Sheriff Corwin was trying to obtain a plea from him. His wife, Martha,  had hanged on the hill behind the Korn leather factory till she was dead.

Could it be said that the spectral apparition of John Proctor lit the flames in the factory, on the location the First Church’s building had once resided on, and Martha Corey fanned it up the hill and beyond the tree the two of them hung from while her husband laughed at nuns on the location of his execution. It can be said.

This is one of many ghost stories on the Salem Tunnel Tour.

Come on by and take a tour! A few years ago I went through them to recover the Golden Egg for the Boy Emperor of China before he started an international temper tantrum. Now that was an adventure!

~Mr. Zac

Mr. Zac looking down at you


To find out more about Mr. Zac and his journeys through the magical whimsical side of a quirky little town called Salem, visit The Salem Trilogy site. Then buy the three books; A Walk Through Salem, A Walk Under Salem, and A Walk Above Salem;  today and take yourself on a truly amazing adventure into the truly warped.


Benson, Frank Weston. Famous Painter From Salem.

Mr. Zac looking down at youOK I have seen many galleries in Salem. I have also seen nobody buying anything… They all close up. Salem lets all of the good ones go. Duke Ellington used to play at the Willows from 1924 to 1958. For three summers he played every Tuesday. Now who plays at the Willows? Do you know who the painters of today in Salem are? Many work for Heavy Metal, paint scenes for famous movies, illustrate children’s books, have their own comics, and have sold their paintings to celebrities like Madonna. Many would love your support. Why is it an artist has to be starving or filthy rich. Why can they not just have the same salary as a plumber, IT specialist, or librarian? They just need enough to raise a family and buy a house. So go out and buy some books and art…namely the books with me in it god damn it!

Here is a profile of one who became stinking rich…

Benson, Frank Weston

  • Frank Weston Benson was born in Salem in 1862 and died at age 91 on Nov.14, 1951. He lived in Salem most of his life, though he summered in Maine and Cape Cod. He attended the Museum School in Boston and painted under the tutelage of Otto Grunderson and Frank Crowninshield. Benson was both a founding member of the Copley Society and member of Boston Guild of Artists.
  • Benson’s work was very popular in his lifetime and he was successful financially as well. Benson was known for his portraits. His later work became more impressionistic and he often painted outside.
  • Benson’s work can be seen at most of the major art museums, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
  • Frank Benson lived on #14 Chestnut Street in Salem from 1925-1951 and had a studio he shared with another painter, Philip Little at #2 Chestnut Street. He also lived in the Hodges House on the corner of Essex and Orange Streets. You know the famous house with the tunnels attached to them…

Here is a few Paintings…

Frank Benson Painting www.salemhousepress.com
Now go buy some art or a book from one of our talented Salem locals. It is much more fun and less of a mess than hiring a plumber!
~Mr. Zac
To find out more about Mr. Zac and his journeys through the magical whimsical side of a quirky little town called Salem, visit The Salem Trilogy site. Then buy the three books; A Walk Through Salem, A Walk Under Salem, and A Walk Above Salem;  today and take yourself on a truly amazing adventure into the truly warped.

The #2 Pencil, Dixon, and Salem

Pencil_Kid copyOK. We all have used them. Some of us remember when schools provided them to us for free. We used them to take our S.A.T.s, to finish our homework, to take notes, and some us loved to doodle with them. The brand of course was Dixon. So who is Dixon. Well he was just this guy from Salem…

Joseph Dixon’s fascination with new technologies lead to many innovations such as a mirror for a camera that was the forerunner of the viewfinder, a patented double-crank steam engine, and a method of printing banknotes to thwart counterfeiters. Most notably, Dixon manufactured the first wood and graphite pencil in the country. Right in Salem.

In 1827, Joseph Dixon began his business in Salem, Massachusetts and, with his son, was involved with the Tantiusques graphite mine in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Dixon discovered the merits of graphite as a stove polish and an additive in lubricants, foundry facings, brake linings, oil-less bearings, and non-corrosive paints. He might of made his bread and butter from the industrial uses of graphite, but his fame came from his #2 Pencil that he first manufactured in Salem in 1829. Legend has it that Dixon started to make lead pencils by hand in the “Pencil House” on North Street, and went door to door selling them.

During the 1860s, people typically wrote with quill pens and ink even though Dixon introduced graphite pencils in 1829. But the American Civil War created a demand for a dry, clean, portable writing instrument and led to the mass production of pencils. So for all of you entrepreneurs, just remember it took over 30 years for the pencil to become a success… So keep trying!

At the time of Dixon’s death in 1869, the Joseph Dixon Crucible Company was the largest manufacturer of graphite products in the world. By 1870, The Joseph Dixon Crucible Company was the world’s largest dealer and consumer of graphite. By 1872 the Dixon company was making 86,000 pencils a day.

So as you are absently minded doodling on a piece of scrap paper, take a moment out to thank Mr. Dixon. I do, since my father was a pencil and my mother was a set of watercolors….

~Mr. ZacMr. Zac from the Salem Trilogy written by Chris Dowgin and published by Salem House Press.


To find out more about Mr. Zac and his journeys through the magical whimsical side of a quirky little town called Salem, visit The Salem Trilogy site. Then buy the three books; A Walk Through Salem, A Walk Under Salem, and A Walk Above Salem;  today and take yourself on a truly amazing adventure into the truly warped.