I toured a ‘haunted’ Airbnb in Salem that costs $1,300 a night. I was charmed by its bright pink living room, but the feeling of a ghostly presence was uncanny.

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The author outside the Henry Derby House in Salem, Massachusetts.

  • Ann Matica visited the Henry Derby House in Salem, Massachusetts, to see what the Airbnb was like.
  • The owner says it might be haunted by spirits, and the home is decorated with Halloween decor.
  • While it had an eerie feeling, Matica could see herself returning next October with friends.
The Henry Derby House is well known among locals in Salem, Massachusetts, as being haunted. In 2015, the owner, Phil Marchand, turned the home into an Airbnb after he and his wife had their first child.

The front of the Henry Derby House.
The house was built in 1838. It was named after the original owner, Henry Derby, who worked as a tailor in Salem. The house received a plaque from the Historic Salem organization for being a historical building in town.

A plaque on the Henry Derby House.
I decided to check out what the $1,295-per-night Airbnb looked like inside — and see if I’d have any ghost encounters of my own while touring it.

The front door.
Marchand said he and his wife, Jocelyn, spend an average of 15 to 20 hours per week running the Airbnb. The couple said business is most booming during the month of October, when people book their stays a year in advance.

Phil and Jocelyn Marchand standing in front of a lake.
Phil and Jocelyn Marchand.

A small wooden bookshelf was set up to the left of the front door. It was well stocked with brochures and maps for guests trying to navigate their stay in Salem.

A bookshelf with resources for guests.
On top of the bookshelf was a book featuring art by local artist Charles Lang.

A book of art made by a local artist.
Lang’s art was also featured in frames on the walls.

Wall art from a local artist.
My personal favorite was this distinguished cat gentleman rocking a mustache.

Cat gentleman wall art.
To the right of the entrance was the doorway leading to the living room. I was taken off guard by the bright pink walls.

The pink living room.
Marchand said the pink paint had been his mother’s selection. She’d previously owned the house and ran it as a bed and breakfast before passing away in 2012.

A wall mirror.
The living room has vintage furniture that was mostly sourced from local antique stores and Facebook marketplace, Marchand said.

Two dolls on a table.
The two dolls sitting on a side table helped give the house a spooky feeling.

Two dolls.
There was also a welcome desk in the living room for guests staying in the house.

The welcome desk for guests.
On top of the desk was a framed piece of paper with important information for guests, including where guests should park, the password to the WiFi, and information on the amenities offered.

A framed resource sheet for guests.
After walking through the French doors in the living room, I entered the bright blue dining room.

The dining room.
A chandelier hung from the ceiling directly over the table.

A chandelier.
The room also had a large marble fireplace that had been there since the house was built almost 200 years ago.

The fireplace in the dining room.
The dining room table offers seating for six guests.

The dining room table.
A coffee station was also set up in the dining room for guests to enjoy.

The coffee station.
The kitchen had up-to-date appliances, including a gas stove, microwave, and dish washer, for guests to use.

The kitchen.
A doorway off of the kitchen led to a family room that Marchand said had been added as a new addition to the house when he was a child.

A table in the family room.
While running the house as a bed and breakfast, Marchand said he and his wife exclusively lived in the family room with a small bathroom attached.

The family room.
After exploring the downstairs, I headed up the red staircase to the second floor.

A view of the front door from the top of the stairs.
The long, curved staircase gave the house a regal feeling.

The red staircase.
Once I reached the second floor, I made my way into the first bedroom. The house has a total of seven bedrooms scattered throughout the three floors.

The two beds in the yellow bedroom.
The room has bright yellow walls that reminded me of the outside of the house. It had a queen-sized bed and a small fireplace.

The yellow bedroom.
There was also a twin bed tucked in the corner.

The yellow bedroom on the second floor.
Framed black-and-white photos hung on the wall around the fireplace.

A gold framed black and white photo.
The vintage photographs made the house feel like it was frozen in colonial times when it was built.

A framed black and white photo on the wall.
The house has four bathrooms in total. On the second floor, connected to the yellow bedroom and the hallway, is the largest bathroom on the premises.

The blue bathroom on the second floor.
I walked into the next bedroom on the second floor and immediately fell in love with the deep red color of the walls. Out of all the bedrooms, Marchand said the red one is most guests’ favorite.

The red bedroom.
It had Halloween-themed decorations and felt more eerie than the rest of the bedrooms.

Framed art of two skeletons.
The red bedroom had a small bathroom off the side of it that had been converted from a closet by Marchand’s mother.

A converted bathroom.
When I started walking up the small staircase up to the third floor, I began to get chills. While living in the house as a child, Marchand said he was always wary of the third floor because he thought it could be haunted.

A hallway on the third floor.
A hallway on the “haunted” third floor.

A room with a TV and bean bag chairs felt like the perfect place to hang out for children visiting with their families.

The TV room.
The bedrooms on the third floor had slanted and low ceilings that made it slightly difficult to comfortably walk around in them.

A dresser and lamp in a third floor bedroom.
A bedroom with two twin beds was located at the end of the long hallway.

Two beds in one of the third floor bedrooms.
While the third floor bedrooms looked comfortable enough, I couldn’t help but think that if I was renting the house I would prefer to stay on a lower level due to the uncanny feeling that a ghost could potentially be occupying the space, too.

A bed in a bedroom on the third floor.
Once I’d explored the whole house, I returned to the living room to check out the welcome desk intended for guests.

The welcome desk for guests.
I flipped through the notebooks with handwritten reviews left behind by people who had stayed at the house.

A note from a guest.
There were drawings left by former visitors, too.

A drawing from a guest.
After exiting the house from the side entrance, I was welcomed by a quaint backyard.

The side entrance to the house.
An outdoor table and chairs were set up on the patio for guests.

A table and chairs on the patio.
A stone path led to the small backyard that had been beautifully curated by the gardener Marchand hired.

A stone path in the backyard.
There were multiple stone statues hidden among foliage that made the backyard feel like it could be haunted.

A statue in the backyard.
I was thoroughly charmed by the house, which blended old styling with new. While some rooms felt unsettling to walk through, I’d love to return one day as an Airbnb renter. Next time, though, I’ll bring a large group of friends — just in case there are any spirits lurking around.

The writer leaning against the Henry Derby House.
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