Using tree saplings as his sole material, Patrick Dougherty created this outdoor stickworks art called "What the Birds Know," at the corner of Hawthorne and Essex Streets in Salem, Mass. These look like my stereotypical view of where a stereotypical witch might live. Or really big bird tree houses. But either way, they are enjoyable to just look at. Aug. 18, 2017
It was the perfect atmospheric day, gray skies with a slight drizzle, to hang out in Salem, Mass. I took a bus tour there, but it can easily be done on your own and even though I had four hours to wander, it just wasn’t enough time.
The town of Salem, founded in 1626 by Roger Conant, is identified by its role as the location of the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692. Rampant fear among the Puritans in the New England village sparked attacks against anyone suspected of witchcraft. A doctor’s diagnosis of bewitchment put into motion the forces that would ultimately result in the death by hanging of 19 men and women. In addition, one man was crushed to death; seven others died in prison, and the lives of many were irrevocably changed.
Today’s Salem has commercially capitalized on its witch trials history while also paying homage to those who lost their lives and to diversifying what being a witch means. Defined as a woman thought to have magic powers, especially evil ones, witches are popularly depicted as wearing a black cloak, pointed hat and flying on a broomstick.
In Salem, you’ll find shops like Salemdipity, Salem Spice, Witch Teas and specialized witch shops like Crow Haven Corner, HausWitch and Hex: Old World Witchery. My four hours in Salem could have turned into eight and I still would not have had enough time to explore the museums, shops and historical attractions this city, with its witch twist, has to offer.