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Photo Essay: Salem

Salem is most well known for the Salem Witch Trials.  And the city today definitely takes that to heart.  Everywhere you look there are pictures of witches, stores related to Wicca, and a memorial to those “witches” who perished during the height of the hysteria.  As you wander around, it is clear to see that Salem loves their strange history and it is what bring visitors to this otherwise “any town” USA location.

It is what brought us after all.

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The Burying Point graveyard was a great place to start, as you will see in the next 3 photographs.  It not only was the first place that Salem set aside for burials, so you can find some very old gravestones, but it also contained a memorial with the names and dates of those that died from claims of witchery in the late 1600s.

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The gentleman above was the only one of those listed at the memorial that was not hung.  It seemed to us that being pressed and crushed under the weight of heavy stones would be a much worse way to go than hanging.  Don’t you agree?

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The next 2 photographs were taken down at Pickering wharf.  The wharf was a great place to wander around on a nice sunny day like we had.  You can stop by the custom house, where taxes on cargo used to be collected.  And don’t miss the replica of the boat Friendship.  The original was built back before 1800 and sailed the world collecting spices and coffee.  It did cost to go aboard but you can walk along either side of the ship for free.  If you want to spend a few minutes in the area, walk down past the boat along the trail that leads to a small lighthouse.

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Things in Salem also got a bit corny and cheesy as well.  Although we loved that the town celebrated it’s history, the following statue and some of the retail shops went a bit overboard.  As for the statue, we would have preferred to see a portrait of one of the actual people condemned and hung, not the actress from Bewitched.  Salem’s history is rich in real “witches”, so why commemorate a TV witch in the middle of town?

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And as for the retail shops, many of them celebrated their history by selling strange crap you could get at any Halloween store.  We understand trying to get in on the witchcraft demands, but selling rubber rats and 2 headed demon dolls is just plain silly.  Does anyone really buy that stuff?

If you are wanting to check out some witchcraft merchandise, head to the center of town to the little brick shopping strip.  You will find the corny shops, but can also find some fun t-shirts and souvenir shops, as well as genuine Wicca stores that sell spelled candles and crystals.

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And how can a visit to Salem be complete without running into a black cat of all things.

Thinking about visiting Salem?  We think you should.  There is quite a bit of witchy history to see.  But unless you really want to spend quality time in each and every exhibit they have to offer, we saw most of the attractions easily in one day.  So spend a day or spend a few and see this great little historic town.

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