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Wicca Pissah, Dude!

This weekend I had my first chance since we've moved to really wander around Salem and get my bearings. Saturday morning I dropped Lizzie off at the Salem train station and wandered down Essex Street to grab breakfast at Red's Sandwich Shop. Nice little place with tables and counter service. Being close to Halloween the clientele seemed to be a mix of locals and tourists. It was odd to see people sitting at the counter in black velvet "witch" dresses, elbow to elbow with guys in t-shirts and Red Sox hats. Maybe I should get used to it.

This time of year is definitely the peak of the tourist season for Salem. This town has somehow managed to turn a tragic and historic case of mass hysteria into a tourist attraction. Back in 1692, a couple of young girls with overactive imaginations accused their Caribbean nanny and two other women of witchcraft, kicking off an infectious storm of wild accusations and paranoia resulting in the conviction and execution of 20 people. It is fairly safe to say that none of the executed where actually witches, and despite torture and persecution, most of them swore they were innocent even as they died on the gallows. Oddly, modern Salem has become a haven for modern wiccans. The storefronts around the wharf are full of new age book stores, wiccan shops, psychics, and horror-themed "museums". Don't get me wrong... I LOVE that stuff. I'm really happy to be living in a town that embraces Halloween so wholeheartedly. It's just a weird reversal of history. The Salem residents of 1692 must be spinning in their graves so hard and fast that it's making their great great great great grand children dizzy.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 18, 2004 4:17 PM.

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