Jean M. Missud and the Salem Common Ghost Band

Jean M. Missud died in 1941, but some still hear his music today in the Salem Common.


  • Jean Missud (1852-1941) was the long-time director of the highly acclaimed Salem Cadet Band, which he directed for 63 years, setting a national record for band longevity. The talented Missud was born in Nice, France in 1852. After showing aptitude for music at an early age, he played clarinet in the USS Sabine’s ship band. His naval career was brief, and after arriving in Boston in 1870, he left the navy to pursue a career in music.
  • The Salem Cadet Band featured woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. It grew from the dozen original members in 1878 to close to 30 members by 1900. For 25 years it was the official musical organization for the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston. Locally they played regularly on the Salem Common and the Salem Willows. Hamilton Hall on Chestnut Street was another frequent venue, providing music for Salem Assemblies, playing a mixture of waltzes, two-steps and lanciers. They also toured major cities and Canada quite regularly.

On foggy nights many citizens walking pass the bandstand, which was dedicated to him in 1976, still see his band playing. For many years people have commented on seeing this group of performers play through the veils of time. So take a walk this summer late at night and pause at the bandstand, you  might just hum a few bars of his ghostly music.

For more about the tunnels in Salem read Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City. Also you can venture on the route of the tunnels and learn their history first hand by going on one of Salem’s best walking tours there is!  The Salem Tunnel Tour offers tours at various times throughout the week. Check them out today!


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