I don't like Halloween.  Never did.  I'm not sure why, but I think it had something to do with my Mom and Dad being too busy to take me out for Trick or Treat, but... I do like that this holiday gives us an opportunity to remember a fascinating time in our history:  The Salem Witch Trials.

  • If you lived in Salem, Massachusetts in February of 1692 and May of 1693 and you happen to have had any kind of good fortune that made you some money, you may have been accused of being a Witch.
  • If your child was unruly or rude, they may have been accused of being a Witch.
  • If you had a family member that was a little strange, (and who doesn't have a family member that isn't?) they may have been accused of being a Witch.

The Salem Witch Trials was a crazy time in our history and I have, at certain times in my life, been rather obsessed with it.  Between February 1692 and May 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts, and the surrounding towns now known as Danvers, Andover, and Topsfield, the deadliest witch hunt in the history of North America took place.

The accusations started in 1692 when two young girls aged 9 & 11 got sick.  The illness spread to other girls in the neighborhood, then across Essex County.  A slave named Tituba, who lived with them at the time, was accused of witchcraft by the girls.  Tituba, being a slave, had no defense and was the perfect target, according to salemwitchmuseum.com.

Tituba, as it's now told, was beaten by her Master into bringing other names into the accusations.  She accused two other girls at first, Sarah Osborne and Sarah Good.    Although Tituba was accused, she was not scheduled for execution.  The judges thought she could lead them to other witches.

It was mass hysteria with everyone accusing everyone else for the smallest of reasons.  There were more than 200 people accused, 30 were found guilty, 19 were put to death by hanging, one was "pressed to death," and others died in jail.

When you walk around Salem, you will see memorials for those who have died.  Although the exact location of their burial is unknown, it is a powerful place to be.  When I was there, I felt the energy of those who have passed, especially with the inscription on this tombstone;

GOD KNOWS I AM INNOCENT

It just sends chills up my spine.

As much as I dislike Halloween, it does remind people of that awful time in our history.  Because of that, the least we can do is remember how they died and maybe see a little of ourselves in them.  As much as you think you could never accuse someone of witchcraft, it was the way things were at the time.  Puritanical New England was no place for you to have original thoughts or ideas.

There is much to see in Salem and I can not recommend it highly enough.  If you HAVE TO go in October, be prepared to wait for every restaurant and deal with the crowds.  I have done Salem on Halloween and it really is fun, but if you have kids, I would suggest going at a different time of year.  There is much to see no matter what the month.  Check out:

1.  Peabody Essex Museum - They currently have an exhibit about the Salem Witch Trials

2.  Salem Food Tours - Truly, the only way to experience the food of Salem

3.  The Salem Witch Museum - A must go!  It's smaller than you think and remember, you don't HAVE to go in October.  Any time of year, this place is fascinating.

I think I may have a witch in my office right now too.... I tried to move this hat a few times, but it always ends up back in that same spot on that wicked, wicked old chair.

Happy Halloween!

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