Witches Take Over Salem … Again

Michael Hogan

It is October again. The leaves are turning colors and falling from the trees and Salem is gearing up for their biggest celebration of the year. Just a few stops North of Boston on the commuter rail this seaside city of America’s ultimate Halloween destination. Known primarily as the site of one of the most infamous trials in history, Salem is more than just the site of puritanical hysteria, and October is the best time to check it all out.

The month of October in Salem, dubbed as Haunted Happenings, is an annual celebration of history and tradition. All things mystical and magical can be found somewhere in Salem this month. Ghosts and werewolves walk hand in hand through the cobblestone of the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall, goblins and ghouls frolic together on the Common. From the metaphysical wonders of the Annual Psychic Fair and Witch Expo to the elegance of the lavish Halloween Ball there is something for everyone.

In the spring of 1692 Salem, the birthplace of author Nathaniel Hawthorne, was a place of persecution and fear. In this strict God fearing city 19 men and women were convicted of witchcraft and put to death. Some 300 years later their memories live on as a testament to the futility of religious intolerance. In Salem today there are a number of museums dedicated to the trials. The Salem Witch Museum, the Witch Dungeon Museum, and the Witch History Museum all have special events celebrating the month.

Beginning with the Grand Parade, on October 4, with this year’s theme of “The Wizard of Oz”, and ending on October 31 with the Feast of Samhain, the holiest night of the Witch’s Year, Haunted Happenings is jam-packed with something for everyone. We all remember those days as children when Halloween was more than just an excuse to get drunk and dress like a fool. The month of October in Salem is an opportunity for all to try to regain some of that magic from the days when we used to cover ourselves in bed sheets and filling pillowcases with penny candy.