Think of witches and the town of Salem might come to mind.
It did for me, and because I have a fascination for anything mysterious, I made sure to head over to Salem for the day when I was in Boston. (I took the train. My broom was in the shop).
I loved wandering around town and poking around the quaint little stores full of magic potions, natural health remedies, and even ‘grow your own voodoo dolls’.
You can also get a photo of your aura, if you’ve ever been curious to see what colour it is. Mine was indigo with purple highlights. Just as I suspected. (Ok, I did not suspect anything other than I was probably getting just a little bit fleeced). I’m not sure what special aura cameras they use, but in a town where they sell voodoo dolls, you just do what you are told. I was told: “Do you want a photo of your aura?” It also makes for a pretty cool souvenir if you are enthralled by the ‘abra cadabra’ scene.
Salem got its witchy reputation for being the site of the infamous witchcraft trials of 1692.
According to British law, which Massachusetts followed in the 17th century, black magic and anything relating to the Devil was outlawed and punishable by death.
Hundreds of men and women were accused of witchcraft and unfairly imprisoned. Nineteen of those were hanged; one 80-year-old man who refused to go to trial was pressed to death; seven others died in prison.
The evidence used to convict was mostly spectral evidence-a form of evidence based upon dreams and visions. So basically, someone could say they dreamt that someone (that they probably didn’t like or understand) was a witch and this was enough to make an arrest. Those that did practice pagan or natural arts or perhaps did not go to church as often as their neighbours thought that they should, were often suspected of dabbling in the black arts.
Fear, misunderstanding, and the mass hysteria of a ‘witch hunt’ led to the events that took place in 1692.
The witch trials have been used in literature, political rhetoric and pop culture, as a cautionary tale of the dangers of religious extremism, unfair accusations and trials, and the scapegoat mentality.
The Salem of today is home to many modern day witches and the mentality surrounding witchcraft has changed significantly. The Salem Witch Museum offers information about the history, practices and beliefs of witches, and hopes to dispel traditional negative stereotypes.
From the Salem Witch Museum:
“It is widely understood that witchcraft is a pantheistic religion that includes reverence for nature, belief in the rights of others and pride in one’s own spirituality. Practitioners of witchcraft focus on the good and positive in life and in the spirit and entirely reject any connection with the devil. Their beliefs go back to ancient times, long before the advent of Christianity; therefore no ties exist between them and the Christian embodiment of evil. Witchcraft has been confused in the popular mind with pointy black hats, green faces and broomsticks. This is a misrepresentation that witches are anxious to dispel.”
Salem’s witch reputation was made even more popular-in a more positive light- by several movies and TV shows taking place or being filmed there.
The family movie Hocus Pocus and the new TV series SALEM also take place in the Witch City.
Halloween, as you can guess, is an especially popular time to visit. check out their list of events during the month of October.
Of course, Salem is more than just witches. It is a city full of heritage buildings, maritime history, museums, parks, great cafes, and an eclectic mix of activities and people.
Want to know about Salem? Fly over HERE for a spell.