Entries Tagged as 'USA- MA, Salem'

Salem- Witch House

The Witch House(on 310 Essex Street) is an impressive 17th century wooden structure.  Its exterior is painted with a shade of black that is both stark and forboding.  The interior, on the other hand, has white washed walls, wooden floors, a brick fireplace, and fine period furnishings.

This was once the home of Jonathan Corwin, who served as a judge during the Salem Witch Trials.  Imagine the sleepless nights he must have spent in this place, pacing the floor while he decided whether he would send his neighbors to the gallows.

Or perhaps he enjoyed the power being on the court gave him, and he used it to settle a personal score against an enemy, or as an opportunity to buy the condemned person's land on the cheap.  God only knows. 

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Salem- Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch Trials Memorial

The Witch Dungeon Museum(16 Lynde Street) is a good place to see a live reenactment(in period costume) of  a snippet of the Salem Witch Trials.  In it, a young girl accuses one of the defendants of using witchcraft to assault her(the girl).  After the performance was over, I had a nice chat with a lady who worked at the museum.  She said that she was descendant of Giles Corey(one of the victims of the trials), which I thought was pretty interesting.

Then I visited the Salem Witch Trials Memorial(98 Liberty Street), which is an impressive stone monument to the victims of the trials.  More specifically, it lists the names of the victims, such as Bridget Bishop, Sarah Good, John Proctor, and(of course) Giles Corey.  And it records the final words of the victims before they went to the gallows, such as the haunting "Oh Lord, help me.  I am wholly innocent."

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Salem- Witch Trials, Witch Museum, House of the Seven Gables

In the years 1692 and 1693, hell was let loose on the streets of Salem, Massachusetts.  This was the time of the Salem Witch Trials, when neighbor accused neighbor of colluding with the devil.  The ultimate victims in this tragedy were the 19 poor souls who were condemned to death by the courts.  Most of these met their end with a trip to the gallows.

It is a period in our history that we will never forget.  Even today, when people are accused of commiting a crime without any real proof to back it up, we compare it to the Salem Witch Trials.

When you visit Salem, make sure to stop at the Salem Witch Museum(19 1/2 North Washington Square).  Housed in a former church, it has a cool old audiovisual presentation on the trials that I highly recommend.  It also has a good collection of books on the trials for sale in the gift shop.

Then visit the incredible House of the Seven Gables(115 Derby Street), which was around at the time of the trials.  Looking at the formidable and slightly forboding structure, it's not surprising that Nathaniel Hawthorne used it as a model for his gothic horror story of the same name.

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