Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Scary Salem

No one really knows what caused 2 young girls to fall ill in Salem, Massachusetts in the winter of 1692.  Did the girls eat grain that had gone bad and caused it to become hallucinogenic? Was it adolescent mass hysteria (the most common theory)? Or was it due to economic hardship caused by a brutal winter (the newest theory)? Whatever it was that caused the daughter and niece of a minister to fall ill "in fits", witchcraft will forever be tied to the city of Salem.( Twenty people were tried and executed for practicing witchcraft and putting "spells" on the young girls.)  And that makes Salem, the Witch City for over 300 years, one of the most popular places to celebrate Halloween in the US.

People come from all over dressed in costume and ready to celebrate witchcraft and the underworld. And there isn't a lack of it in Salem. Salem takes full advantage of it's past to help you celebrate.  There are 3D Haunted Adventures , a parade, a carnival,, graveyards, witch museums, ghost tours, witch tours and plenty of celebrating the macabre. And if you need a psychic reading, Halloween in Salem is your place.  But did you know that Salem has a seafaring past and you can visit a large historical park there? I didn't. Had we had more time, I would've liked to dig into the rest of Salem's history.

A very old and large graveyard sits in the middle of town where some of the most important people from Salem are buried. But none of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials are buried here. Since they were accused of unsavory "witchcraft", the family members of the hanged had to pick up their bodies and bury them elsewhere.

In fact, when my daughter and her friends went to Salem to celebrate Halloween last year, the graveyard appeared so disney-esque to them that they thought it was fake. It is, however, very real. And very old.

So if you want to celebrate Halloween with a little bit of fun, a little bit of ridiculousness, and a little bit of history ...head to Salem. Prepare for crowds and parking issues. But have fun. And Happy Halloween!

Full disclosure: I did not celebrate Halloween in Salem, just a short afternoon visit in the spring. I couldn't resist taking my picture with this statue from Bewitched which was a gift to the city of Salem.

If you want to read more about the Salem Witchcraft Trials and various theories on what caused the young girls fits, you can do that here

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