Warm greetings to all!
There’s been a few mentions in the forums lately of one of my most favorite places to visit, close to where I grew up! Although many people have of heard of this town, it is interesting that different people have completely different visions of this important historical and religious location.
Let’s take a look at the famous “Witch Town”:
The town of Salem, Massachusetts is most commonly known for being the location of the Salem Witch Trials in the 1690s, where a wave of hysteria caused 20 people to be accused of being witches and were tragically sentenced to death. The Town later gained interest with various practitioners of magick and those with an interest in the occult. Salem is a town of interest not only for its ties to witchcraft but also for its beautiful scenery and varied history.
Today there are numerous museums, monuments, and memorials dedicated to the history surrounding the Salem Witch Trials, where visitors can experience what the town was like during the early colonial period, and learn more about the religious ties to the region.
Salem is also home to the National Historic Landmark: The House of Seven Gables . This is the home that famous American author Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his book House of Seven Gables in 1851 . The estate is beautiful and in addition to touring the gorgeous house, the landscaping and herb gardens outside are also a pleasure to visit
~International Arts and Culture~
While Salem is more commonly known for its ties to witch culture and American history, Salem is a place where international arts and culture thrive. The Peabody Essex Museum located on the main street close to the waterfront has a beautiful collection of arts and historical artifacts from around the world.
The most stunning exhibit in the museum is Yin Yu Tang- a traditional Chinese house saved and brought over piece by piece from China. Visitors can explore the completely restored building in all its majesty and learn about the fascinating cultures of distant lands.
Tourism is the main draw to the city of Salem, MA and most of the exhibits and attractions are either based on witchcraft or historical tours. In addition to historical sites, museums, and numerous shopping opportunities, Salem also boasts a beautiful waterfront with walkable docks leading out into the harbor .
Being right on the ocean caused the creation of some top-notch seafood restaurants , and there are beaches not too far away for swimming . If you’re in Massachusetts and by the water, don’t forget to try the local specialities: clam chowder and lobster rolls !
Salem is the Halloween capital of the world! Festivities begin as soon as October arrives, and the town of Salem is packed with tourists for the entire month of October.
On the 31st, walking through Salem is an out-of-this-world experience, with the entire downtown closed off to traffic and numerous parties spilling out into the streets. Everyone wears costumes, there is live music, a carnival offers rides and attractions, and many street vendors have interesting festival delicacies for sale.
~New Age of Witchcraft~
The unfortunate Salem Witch Trials sprung out of religious fear and unfounded beliefs, and for many generations after the trials the subject of ‘witchcraft’ was taboo in the area . However, new times brought big changes and the history of the trials gained new interest and eventually led to historical research and tourism in the town .
While many attractions are clearly designed for tourists looking for a thrill, Salem has also become the home base of serious religious practices that revolve around different interpretations of witchcraft and paganism. Here’s an interesting article that goes to depth about the different views of witchcraft: There weren’t any witches in Salem in 1693- but there sure are now .
There are countless witchy shops of various levels of intensity along the main street and the waterfront. Some are clearly very touristy- selling silly merchandise and trinkets based on old stereotypes. Others are very serious witch stores, where you can go for magical advice, spiritual readings, or to purchase high-quality tools for your craft.
A few of the more famous shops include:
- The Coven’s Cottage: Family owned and operated witchcraft shop
- The Cauldron Black: Purveyors of Fine Occult Goods
- Enchanted: A Magickal Shop
- Artemisia Botanicals: The Witches’ Apothecary
Have you ever been to Salem?
- No, but I want to go!
- No, and it’s not for me.
I absolutely love the town of Salem and all its fascinating aspects- there’s really something there for everyone! If you’ve been and have recommendations, know of another witchy town, or have any thoughts about Salem (perhaps on the sometimes controversial balance between serious witch practitioners and tourism based off of Hollywood stereotypes) please feel free to share below!
May you go on great adventures both outside and within, and may the long road always lead you back home again!