Get Witch It: Salem, Massachusetts

Salem stirs the cauldron for Halloween. Haven’t made your plans for tricking or treating yet? The best place for a magical awakening this Halloween is Salem, Mass. The scene of the infamous witch trials of 1692 has changed plenty from those hysterical days when a group of girls ran around on all fours, barking and accusing 190 people of witchcraft.

Wiccan advocates, the Witches Education Bureau and the Witches League for Public have made sure attractions such as the Salem Witch Museum, Legends of Salem, and the Witch History Museum set the record straight.

The witch trials were based on fear and scapegoating (saying “the devil made me do it” was not a good excuse back then). It’s even been suggested the teens whose behavior sparked the controversy had ingested an hallucinogen called ergot (LSD is a derivative) found in the mold of rye bread dough. Most Salem witch attractions go to great pains to explain that the victims of the trials were often women healers who used herbs to help cure the sick.

All is not solemn in this Boston bedroom community, however. October is filled with spellbinding fun. The town’s 25th annual Haunted Happenings celebration starts on October 6th with a grand parade. Plus, there are seances, ghost tours, psychic fairs, spell-casting demonstrations and costume parties galore. On the 29th there’s Hawthorne’s Medieval Madness, featuring three floors of dancing and entertainment at the Hawthorne Hotel ($85), and on the 31st, Victoria Station Restaurant features a $200 prize costume contest.

But the witchy-est of all is the Oct. 31st Samhain Magick Circle Ceremony and Walk with the High Priest and Priestess of the Temple of Nine Wells at Gallows Hill Park.

Are you witch it? Boo!

Posted by Maureen Littlejohn on September 17, 2005 in Travel

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