Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Amy Julian

All Hallows Eve in Salem, Massachusetts. You can’t get much more authentic than that, right? A location of eminent proportions, Salem provides visitors and residents with cultural and historical information on some of the most famous witch-hunts in history. And on Halloween itself, The Boston Athenaeum will play host to expert author and prized historian Dr. Gretchen A. Adams. The event is sure to be a treat.

Dr. Adams’ latest literary concoction, The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America, takes us through history and parallels many of the events throughout time with the 1692 Salem Witch Trials. She uses her immense knowledge of the history of The Salem Witch Trials as a foundation for explaining and understanding the true impact the Trials had on history. Adams discusses the political and social ramifications of the infamous “witch-hunts” and the lasting impact of the hysteria. She will be on hand to discuss her book and breathe life and understanding into the subject.

The event will be held at The Boston Athenaeum, one of the oldest and most prominent independent libraries in the country. The library itself is the perfect setting for such a ghostly event; some even say that you can feel the presence of past writers. With its backdrop of Granary Burying Ground, the Athenaeum offers the perfect amount of eeriness for such an event. With its rich history, The Athenaeum has been the library to spawn some of the greatest writers and figures of all time; Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Quincy Adams have all sat inside of its haunting halls.

Taking a trip to Salem on Halloween may seem like a daunting task. While you may have to fight crowds of tourists and rowdy folks, seeking solace inside of the ghostly Athenaeum is well worth it. The event will start promptly at 12:00 noon on Friday October 31. All are welcome to attend and the event is free of charge, but anyone interested in going is required to make reservations by calling (617) 720-7600. For more information, you can visit The Athenaeum’s website at

So make your way to the most haunting place around and marvel in the superb writing of one of the most famous Salem Witch Trials experts, Dr. Gretchen A. Adams. You will be able to get to know a little more about these incredibly famous and impressive historical events that took place centuries ago, right in your own backyard, all while taking in the festivities and celebrations that are ever-so-present in Salem this time of year.

Amy Julian can be reached at [email protected]