I went to Salem this weekend and it was much more than I ever expected.
Salem, Massachusetts is known for the infamous witch trials that took place between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, 20 of which were executed. Now, Salem is like the Mecca for witches, wiccans, pagans, Satanists and psychics. And during the month of October, the town of Salem is open 24 hours a day, with haunted houses, a carnival, candlelit walking tour, psychic readings and a witchy market.
Once we got to Salem, which is about an hour’s drive outside of Boston, we went to the Salem Wax Museum, which is the start of the Salem Witch Village. The wax museum itself was a journey through the history of Salem. The wax figures are probably just as horrifying as if you went into the haunted houses … Not life-like at all but very cringe-worthy.
I am going to be honest, haunted houses freak me out. I was going to make the sacrifice to go in at least one of them in the name of the FreeP, but I totally chickened out. The lines to get into each one were too long (1-2 hours, usually) for my patience level, anyway.
The cemetery is located behind the Salem Wax Museum, right before the trail to the Visitor’s Center and Witch Market. I don’t think people understood that it’s a real cemetery, based on how they were acting. The tour guides said it’s the oldest one in New England, but I’m not so sure about that.
The town of Salem is like “Halloweentown,” but with tattoos and booze. The market strung through the center of town. What amazed me was that every year-round shop also had to do with witchcraft and psychic readings. Even the CVS carries Halloween decorations year-round. The streets were lined with booths selling witchy art, costumes, soaps and herbs. One booth was even giving lessons on spell casting.
The costumes were also awesome. A lot of people dressed in gothic or satanic outfits, but some people got pretty creative with costumes and makeup. I, personally, channeled my old middle school goth phase, from when I dyed my hair black for a day and thought I was a Wiccan (I watched a lot of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as a kid).
While my friend and I were walking through the market, we saw a group of people crowded around a woman and two men dressed in pilgrim attire fighting. The excitement caught my eye and I was taken into the crowd, flooding into a theater to watch a re-enactment of a witch trial. My friend and I, without thinking, paid $15 to get in.
It was … interesting. The performance was an immersive experience where the crowd was the jury, allowed to ask the actors questions and make the final verdict of whether the witch went to a full trial or was proclaimed not guilty.
My day in Salem was definitely not what I expected, but I would definitely recommend going if you really want to get in the Halloween spirit.