1692 Salem, Massachusetts
served as the
for the worst case of
mass hysteria in American history.
It started with the ravings of 4 young girls.
Fears of the Devil interfering with the souls of
these poor little girls caused otherwise normal
human beings to
badly overreact. The tragedy saw the
imprisonment of hundreds of
innocent people. Even worse, before it was all over, 24
men and women who were accused of the sin of witchcraft
went to their death.
By the time the infamous Salem Witch Trials were over, 19
men and women had been hanged to death on Gallows Hill,
4 died in prison, and one defiant man, Giles Corey,
was crushed to death beneath
stones used to torture him
into giving a confession. His
courage and refusal to give in was nothing short of
300 years later, many of the historic sights in
Salem, Mass. are still preserved for generations to
come. The Salem cemetery is
the 2nd oldest cemetery in the country.
This cemetery holds the final resting places
for many of the 'Witch Trial' participants.
Even though the tombstones are worn from time,
they are still legible.
The gallows tree still stands and
so do the original homes of accused witch,
Rebecca Nurse, and trial Judge Jonathan Corwin.
These places serve
as grim reminders
that "those who forget the past are doomed to repeat
MARLA AND RICK GO
day before our New England cruise was to begin, Marla and I
took a side expedition to explore the dark side of Salem Village.
Salem is about 30 miles northeast of Boston. However
since the drive takes you through at least half a dozen
small towns, the actual drive time turned out to be around
an hour and a half.
Marla had suggested we fly into Boston a little early to
experience some of the rich history of the Boston area.
Thoughts of Paul Revere, the Freedom Trail, the USS
Constitution, the Boston Tea Party and Bunker Hill bubbled
to the surface of my mind, but Marla said the first place
she wanted to visit was Salem.
I raised an eyebrow, but knew better than to say anything.
Long-time readers of my travelogues will sense this
might be the perfect opportunity for me to write
something humorous, but you might be surprised to
discover my desire to live is more powerful than my
desire to express myself in a witty fashion.
I have learned on certain issues that Marla is a
force of nature. When I saw that "look", I
quickly fell into line. I immediately replied,
"Of course, Darling, that is exactly what I was
Wouldn't want to make her mad, now would
I? Besides, in the pictures at right, you can
see she is already a bit over the edge.
Therefore nothing more will be said about Marla's
desire to visit Salem Village at this time other
than I thought it was a great idea and that Marla
seemed right at home.
first place we visited in Salem was the village
cemetery where many of the victims were buried.
Ironically, although none of the people who were
executed ever admitted to being a witch, here in modern
times Salem has become a mecca for many people who
actually do claim to be witches.
Everywhere we went, there were people dressed in
black or people dressed in robes who looked like
they would fit right in at a Halloween Party...
except this is their daily garb.
I soon discovered they didn't appreciate being
watched either. Nor did they look friendly
enough to consider taking their picture.
decided it was prudent to mind my own business.
cemetery Marla and I saw a very strange-looking tree
which was quite likely to be the hanging tree.
shadows were ominous indeed. One of the
witches stood next to the hanging tree in the
picture I took, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the witch
was missing from the original image.
Yes, Salem was a very creepy
modern-day Salem seems more than happy to cash in on
its gruesome heritage.
Salem advertises itself as the "Halloween Capital of
America". From what the local people told us,
the town gets pretty wild at Halloween time.
They said the entire city is completely packed with
wall-to-wall crazies. Considering some of the people
I saw that day, Salem was already halfway there a
month ahead of time.
By the way, Marla reminded me to say this was
definitely a fun side trip.