Back in 1692, strange happenings created paranoia and hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts. Over 150 people were arrested on the basis that they had sold their soul to the devil and were practicing witchcraft throughout the town. During the infamous Salem Witch Trials, 20 people were tried and hanged. Over 300 years later, the people of Salem still embrace their history.
Essex Street is rife with businesses and stores that capitalize on the legacy of the trials. Dungeons and ghost tours are popular ways for people to have a haunting Halloween experience. And if that wasn’t enough, there are stores selling herbs, potions and even brooms; anyone can feel like a true witch even for a day.
But if you want to learn more about supernatural wonders, just talk to one of the real, modern witches who live without shame among regular civilians. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, witches are not seen as evil or threatening, but rather as magical individuals who provide psychic wisdom and mystical guidance. The negative stereotype branded to witches during the 17th century has not deterred contemporary witches from making their home in Salem; in fact, they feel it’s the best place to be to educate others on the beauty of their beliefs.
And tourists and locals alike are falling under the spell. Every October, Salem goes into a Halloween frenzy, decorating the whole city with cobwebs, pumpkins, black cats and, of course, broomsticks. Everyone participates in the festivities, from putting on re-enactments of the witch trials to children learning to make magic wands. The ominous environment of Salem makes it even easier to accomplish a hair-raising effect. Cobblestone streets, colonial buildings and ancient cemeteries hold an eerie presence all their own, without any extra help from the residents of Salem.Salem Witch Museum or the House of Seven Gables—made famous by Salem-born author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Or just go to enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the Salem coast. No matter when you decide to go, whether it’s during the ghoulish holiday season or the warmer summer months, you can experience the never-ending dedication this city has towards its history and heritage.