Jerusalem's Lot (Stephen King)

Jerusalem's Lot (Stephen King)

Jerusalem's Lot (often shortened to 'Salem's Lot or just the Lot) is a fictional town in the works of horror fiction writer Stephen King. The town first appears in the novel 'Salem's Lot, then in the prequel short story "Jerusalem's Lot", and then in the sequel short story "One for the Road." It is then subsequently mentioned in passing in The Shining, The Dead Zone, The Body, Pet Sematary, Dolores Claiborne, Dreamcatcher, and the last three books of the The Dark Tower series (Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah, and The Dark Tower). It is also mentioned in Alan Moore's comic The New Traveller's Almanac.

In adaptations, it appears in the 1979 Salem's Lot miniseries and its 1987 sequel A Return to Salem's Lot, the 1995 BBC radio drama, and the 2004 Salem's Lot miniseries.

Together with Castle Rock, Maine and Derry, Maine, it is one of the principal towns in King's fictional Maine topography. In 'Salem's Lot and "One for the Road", it is described as being located in Cumberland County, between (or including parts of) the towns of Falmouth, Windham, and Cumberland, near the southern part of the state about twenty miles north of Portland; however, on the map of Maine at Stephen King's official website, it is placed considerably further north, approximately in Northwest Piscataquis.[1]

King himself has publicly conceded that ‘Salem’s Lot was his own personal favorite of books he has written. In his Playboy interview, the interviewer wrote that King was planning a sequel, but more recently his official website states he has finished the story thread in Wolves of the Calla and Song of Susannah.[2]

The town is mainly prototypical to later King towns, such as Derry and Castle Rock, and is not a commonly used setting for his stories.

Origin and Inspiration

In Danse Macabre, King's non-fiction, semi-autobiographical review of horror in all media forms, King confesses that 'Salem's Lot was largely derived from the town of Durham, Maine; specifically the area in which he resided as a youth known locally as "Methodist Corners." The Marsten House of Salem's Lot was based upon a vacant house of the same name in Methodist Corners; he and his friends had explored the real Marsten House as children.[3]

History and myth

The town was incorporated in 1765, before the U.S. existed and Maine became a state. The town gets its name from a myth about one of the earliest town residents, Charles Belknap Tanner. He raised pigs, one of which was named Jerusalem. One day Jerusalem escaped from her confines into a nearby forest, and became aggressive and wild. Mr. Tanner began warning young children who trespassed on his property to "Keep 'ee out o' Jerusalem's wood lot," lest the pig devour them. Eventually, the phrase "Jerusalem's Lot" was adopted as the town name.[4]

Sometime between the town's incorporation and 1850, the Lot was abandoned. When aristocrat Charles Boone and his manservant Calvin McCann went looking for the town in 1850, they found it deserted. There was evidence of a cult of witches there that worshipped Yog-Sothoth and Boone and McCann found a copy of De Vermis Mysteriis. They claimed to have found a gigantic wormish monster in the town church, hinted to be an incarnation of the Cthulhu Mythos deity Shudde M'ell, which later killed Calvin. Boone drives off the monster by burning the book, but flees himself when he sees the corpse of his great great grandfather crawl out of the hole left by the worm's departure. In the letters Boone writes to his friend describing these events, he states that he intends to kill himself in order to end the Boone line and end the evil in Jerusalem's Lot.

At an unknown date sometime after Boone and McCann's exploration, people began inhabiting the town again. The town had a representative named Elias Jointner in the House of Representatives by 1896.[4] As chronicled in the novel 'Salem's Lot, Jerusalem's Lot has been identified as a residence for great and mysterious evil, particularly vampires.


  1. ^ Map of Maine from Stephen King's official website
  2. ^
  3. ^ Pg. 159
  4. ^ a b Stephen King, Salem's Lot, part 1 chapter 2.

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